This essay wants to continue the discussion about how Islamic studies meet with social sciences and humanities in Indonesia, where it is found that several scientific networks have influenced Islamic studies in Indonesia.
One of the most influential “networks” in the tradition of Islamic studies in Indonesia is the “Canada network” or the “McGill Mafia.” This network has been going on for decades, but in the 1990s, IAIN lecturers were sent to Canada to take Master’s or Doctoral degrees. “The McGill Mafia” has controlled some of the IAIN bureaucratic paths and the Indonesian Ministry of Religion. Therefore, it is not surprising that the “Canadian network” has had strong “roots” in Islamic studies in Indonesia, especially since Harun Nasution’s return. One of its Founding Fathers was H.M. Rasjidi, where he often provided opportunities for young Indonesians to study at McGill University in the 1970s and was invited to give lectures at the renowned campus. Akh Minhaji said: “The impacts of the IAIN-McGill cooperation are very broad. To begin with, we send our lecturers to McGill, and they return to IAIN to spread McGill fever. We have a McGill mafia here. Other countries and other institutions may even be jealous of the great cooperation we have (Al-Makin, 2003:3).
The “American network” has a long history in Indonesia. They have lived in this country for decades, and sometimes their thoughts influence some policies in Indonesia, not least in Islamic studies. One of the quite notable projects is the “Modern Indonesian Project.” Although sometimes they see Indonesia as part of regional studies, they cannot ignore the role of Islam in it. Names such as Deliar Noer and Taufik Abdullah pursue political studies but become Islam as the object of their research while in America. These two scientists are still considered the most prolific writers and are often used as mentors or professors at several universities in Indonesia. After the two scholars, the “American network” had a significant role in shaping the face of Islam and Islamic studies in Indonesia. If we want to see Islamic studies through the influence of this network, then inevitably, we have to see how the development of social science studies in America.
Meanwhile, the “Dutch network” played an essential role in the 1990s by sending young lecturers to the windmill country through various scholarship programs. Dutch scholars often go back and forth to Indonesia to collaborate and take some of their favorite students to pursue Islamic studies or Islamic community studies in the Netherlands. In addition to collaborative programs such as INIS (Indonesian-Netherlands Cooperation in Islamic Studies), few researchers from the Netherlands have written about Islam in Indonesia which has influenced the discourse on Islamic studies in Indonesia. To mention his name, Karel A. Steenbrink is a well-known scholar who researches Islam in Indonesia. At the same time, through the INIS program, scholars such as Martin van Bruinessen, Nico Kaptein, Johan Meulueman, Dick Douwes, and others are the successors of the Dutch tradition in researching Islam in Indonesia. However, other efforts made by the ability of the Dutch government besides training Islamic scholars also collected thousands of literature from the intellectual treasures of Islam in Indonesia, which makes the “Dutch network” a crucial factor in developing Islamic studies in Indonesia, especially in anthropology and philology.
The “German network” is not very well known in Indonesia because they are more interested in not seeing Indonesian Islam comprehensively. However, German alumni have colored Islamic studies in Indonesia in recent years. Of course, there is no denying the intellectual contact between German scholars and the government’s scholarship program for Indonesian students. One of the “German network” tendencies is to look at Islamic texts through a hermeneutic approach. So this network study seeks to preserve the classical tradition through a general approach in Germany. There has been no specific study on German and Indonesian intellectual contacts in Islamic studies. However, some scholars say that the Islamic intellectual tradition in Germany is overgrowing if the prospective scholar is willing and able to study German first.
Finally, the “French network” has not influenced Islamic studies in Indonesia. However, this country’s intellectual relationship with Islamic studies enthusiasts seems to have shown its influence. In particular, when several researchers on Islam conducted various researches in Indonesia. They have not had much influence in Indonesia, except through contemporary thinkers, namely Mohd. Arkoun.
Meanwhile, those who study in France will be significantly influenced by the model of study called “the history of mentality,” as seen in the works of Denys Lombard. However, the influence of France can be seen from the influence of Arab or Middle Eastern thinkers who have studied in Indonesia, especially among the younger generation. A name like Andree Feillard, since the 1990s, has become a French scholar who is actively writing about Islam in Indonesia. She actively came to Indonesia and met with various Islamic groups to write about Islam in Indonesia. One of the most influential scholars in Islamic studies was H.M. Rasjidi. He is an alumnus of one of the leading universities in France, and his works are mostly related to Javanese mysticism and Islamic studies.
The networks above significantly impact the model and way of approaching Islamic studies. Although there is not much literature that explores the influence of Western scientific networks on Islamic studies in Indonesia, in this essay, it can be said that they, admittedly or not, have helped shape the face of Islamic studies in Indonesia. In fact, since September 11, 2001, Islamic studies in Indonesia have gained a place among researchers in Singapore through a network of researchers at ISEAS, ARI, and RSIS. They continuously research, discuss, and publish various issues regarding Islam in Indonesia. Several young progressive writers were invited to Singapore to develop a model for Islamic studies there. However, the “Singapore network” has not yet had a tremendous impact because this network only takes advantage of the situation of “how to understand Islam after September 11, 2001.” However, the publication of ISEAS, which has been running for almost three decades on Islam and Muslims in Indonesia, must be considered a tangible form of the compilation of several results of Islamic studies in Indonesia. ISEAS actively publishes various books on contemporary issues in Indonesia.
The new network that has shown tangible results in the life of the Islamic community in Indonesia is no exception in Islamic studies is the “Malaysian network.” The study impact of this network is in Islamic economics and the process of spreading Islamization of Knowledge. In this regard, over the past decade, the number of Indonesian students studying in Malaysia has increased quite dramatically. Although there are no definite figures yet, the interest of Indonesians to study in Malaysia is quite felt, especially at IIUM (International Islamic University of Malaysia). However, the influence of spreading ideas about Islamic economics from Malaysia is quite felt, with the increasing number and influence of Malaysian alumni who participate in research institutions and universities in Indonesia. Likewise, the influence of ISTAC where not a few Indonesian students study there also shows results. Apart from being in English, their works are also published in Indonesian and Malaysian, which is not to mention the influence of the IIP program by placing the figure of Syed Naquib Al-Attas is a contemporary Islamic thinker in Malaysia. However, this “Malaysian network” cannot escape the influence of other “scientific networks,” which have also influenced Islamic studies in Malaysia. Until now, Malaysia has continued developing various study centers or universities specializing in Islamic studies.
From the description above, it can be concluded that scientific networks from America, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia have more or less influenced the model or approach to Islamic studies in Indonesia. There are three main poles from the results of this initial search, namely: “teacher-student relationship,” “the intensity of the relationship between researchers and current issues in Indonesia related to Islam,” and “the level of scientific publications related to Islamic issues in Indonesia by researchers. outside.”