Muhammadiyah (Arabic: محمدية, romanized: Muḥammadiyyah, lit.'followers of Muhammad'); officially Muhammadiyah Society (Indonesian: Persyarikatan Muhammadiyah) is a major Islamic non-governmental organization in Indonesia.[2] The organization was founded in 1912 by Ahmad Dahlan in the city of Yogyakarta as a reformist socioreligious movement, advocating ijtihad - individual interpretation of Qur'an and Sunnah, as opposed to Taqlid - conformity to the traditional interpretations propounded by the ulama.[3] Since its establishment, Muhammadiyah has adopted a reformist platform mixing religious and secular education,[4] primarily as a way to promote the upward mobility of Muslims toward a 'modern' community and to purify Indonesian Islam of local syncretic practices.[4] It continues to support local culture and promote religious tolerance in Indonesia, while a few of its higher education institutions are attended mostly by non-Muslims, especially in East Nusa Tenggara and Papua provinces. The group also runs a large chain of charity hospitals,[2] and operated 128 universities as of the late 1990s.[5]

Formation18 November 1912
TypeIslamic organization
PurposeSocio-religious, economics, education, and health
HeadquartersYogyakarta and Jakarta, Indonesia
Region served
Southeast Asia
50 million (2019)
Haedar Nashir
Abdul Mu'ti
AffiliationsIslamic modernism (Salafi movement)[1]
WebsiteOfficial website

In 2008, Muhammadiyah was considered the second largest Islamic organization in Indonesia with 29 million members.[3] Although Muhammadiyah leaders and members are often actively involved in shaping the politics in Indonesia, Muhammadiyah is not a political party. It has devoted itself to social and educational activities.


The Kauman Great Mosque became the background for the founding of the Muhammadiyah movement

On November 18, 1912, Ahmad Dahlan a court official of the kraton of Yogyakarta[6] and an educated Muslim scholar from Meccaestablished Muhammadiyah in Yogyakarta. There were a number of motives behind the establishment of this movement. Among the important ones are the backwardness of Muslim society and the penetration of Christianity. Ahmad Dahlan, much influenced by Egyptian reformist Muhammad Abduh, considered modernization and purification of religion from syncretic practices were very vital in reforming this religion. Therefore, since its beginning Muhammadiyah has been very concerned with maintaining tawhid and refining monotheism in society.

From 1913 to 1918, Muhammadiyah established five Islamic Schools. In 1919 an Islamic high school, Hooge School Muhammadiyah was established.[7] In establishing schools, Muhammadiyah received significant help from the Boedi Oetomo, an important nationalist movement in Indonesia in the first half of the twentieth century, which provided teachers.[8] Muhammadiyah has generally avoided politics. Unlike its traditionalist counterpart, the Nahdatul Ulama, it never formed a political party. Since its establishment, it has devoted itself to educational and social activities.

In 1925, two years after the death of Dahlan, Muhammadiyah only had 4,000 members but had built 55 schools and two clinics in Surabaya and Yogyakarta.[9] After Abdul Karim Amrullah introduced the organisation to the Minangkabau ethnicity, a dynamic Muslim community, Muhammadiyah developed rapidly. In 1938, the organisation claimed 250,000 members, managed its 834 mosques, 31 libraries, 1,774 schools, and 7,630 ulema. The Minangkabau Merchants spread organization to the entire of Indonesia.[10]

During the 1965-66 political turbulence and violence, Muhammadiyah declared that the extermination of the Indonesian Communist Party constituted Holy War, a view endorsed by other Islamic groups.[11] (See also: Indonesian killings of 1965-66). During the events surrounding the 1998 fall of President Suharto, some parts of Muhammadiyah urged the leadership to form a party. Therefore, the leadership, including Muhammadiyah's chairman, Amien Rais, founded the National Mandate Party. Although gaining large support from Muhammadiyah members, this party has no official relationship with Muhammadiyah. The leader of Muhammadiyah said the members of his organisation are free to align themselves with political parties of their choosing, provided such parties have shared values with Muhammadiyah.[12]

In 2008, with 29 million members, Muhammadiyah was the second largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, after Nahdlatul Ulama.


The central doctrine of Muhammadiyah is Sunni Islam. However, it emphasizes the authority of the Qur'an and the Hadiths as supreme Islamic law that serves as the legitimate basis of the interpretation of religious belief and practices. This is contrasted with traditional practices where shariah law is invested in religious schools by ulema. The main focus of the Muhammadiyah movement is to heighten people's sense of moral responsibility, purifying their faith to true Islam. Theologically, Muhammadiyyah adheres to doctrines of Salafiyya; calling for directly returning to the Qur'an and Sunnah and the understanding of the Imams of the Salaf (early generations), including the eponyms of the four Sunni Madh'habs (legal schools). It advocates for a purification of faith from various local customs which they consider to be superstitious, heretical and forms of shirk (polytheism). Muhammadiyya directly traces its scholarly heritage to the teachings of Muhammad Rashid Rida (d. 1935 C.E / 1354 A.H), Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab (d. 1792 / 1206 A.H), and the medieval theologians Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 1328 C.E / 728 A.H) and Ibn Qayyim (d. 1350 / 751 A.H).[13][14][15]

Muhammadiyah strongly opposes syncretism, where Islam had coalesced with animism (spirit worship) and with Hindu-Buddhist elements that were spread among communities from the pre-Islamic period. Muhammadiyah opposes the tradition of Sufism that allows a Sufi leader (shaykh) to be the formal authority over Muslims. As of 2006, the organization was said to have "veered sharply toward a more conservative brand of Islam" under the leadership of Din Syamsuddin the head of the Indonesian Ulema Council.[16] However, some factions of Muhammadiyyah tend to espouse the modernist movement of Muhammad Abduh rather than the Salafi doctrines of Rashīd Rîdá; which has been described as "rigid and conservative".[17]

Muhammadiyah takes soft approach on LGBT people. Muhammadiyah considered LGBT expression immoral.[18] They also support conversion therapy in schools.[19]


One of Muhammadiyah head offices in Jakarta

Muhammadiyah was noted as a Muslim reformists organization. Its main activities are religious practice and education. It has built modern Islamic schools, differing from traditional pesantren. Some of its schools are also open to non-Muslims.[20] In 2006 there were around 5,754 schools owned by Muhammadiyah.[21]

It also functioned as a charitable organization involved in health care. In 2016, it owned several hundred non-profit medical clinics and hospitals across Indonesia.[2] In 2006, it was active in campaigning about the danger of bird flu in Indonesia.[22]


Demonstration by the youth movement of Muhammadiyah in Muhammadiyah head office

The national headquarters was originally in Yogyakarta. However, by 1970 the committees dealing with education, economics, health and social welfare had been relocated to the national capital, Jakarta.[23]

Muhammadiyah is supported by several autonomous organizations:[24]

  • Aisyiyah ( Women )
  • Pemuda Muhammadiyah ( Youth )
  • Nasyiatul Aisyiyah ( Young Women )
  • Ikatan Pelajar Muhammadiyah ( Student association ) Archived 2019-07-19 at the Wayback Machine
  • Ikatan Mahasiswa Muhammadiyah ( College students )
  • Tapak Suci Putra Muhammadiyah ( Pencak Silat martial arts )
  • Hizbul Wathan ( Scouting ).

The central committee structure consists of five advisors, a chairman with several deputies, a vice chairman, a secretary general with some deputies, and a treasurer with some deputies.[25]

List of leaders

NumberPhotoNameTerm StartTerm EndDeliberation PlaceDescription
1.K. H. Ahmad Dahlan1 August 191223 February 1923YogyakartaMeetings 1st Year
2.K. H. Ibrahim23 February 192313 October 1932YogyakartaMeetings 12th Year
3.K. H. Hisjam10 November 193420 May 1936YogyakartaMeetings 23rd Year
4.K. H. Mas Mansoer25 June 193725 April 1942YogyakartaMeetings 26th Year
5.Ki Bagoes Hadikoesoemo24 November 19444 November 1953YogyakartaEmergency Congress
6.Ahmad Rasyid Sutan Mansur4 November 195325 March 1959PurwokertoThe 32nd Congress
7.K. H. M. Yunus Anis25 March 19593 June 1962PalembangThe 34th Congress
8.K. H. Ahmad Badawi3 June 196225 April 1968JakartaThe 35th Congress
9.K. H. Faqih Usman25 April 19683 October 1968PalembangThe 34th Congress
10.K. H. Abdul Rozak Fachruddin3 October 196817 March 1971Fait Accompli
17 March 197115 December 1990MakassarThe 38th Congress
11.K. H. Ahmad Azhar Basyir15 December 199028 June 1995YogyakartaThe 42nd Congress
12.Prof. Dr. H. Amien Rais28 June 199526 April 1998Banda AcehThe 43rd Congress
13.Prof. Dr. H. Ahmad Syafi'i Ma'arif26 April 199831 May 2000Tanwir & Meetings Plenary Session
31 May 200025 November 2005JakartaThe 44th Congress
14.Prof. Dr. K. H. Din Syamsuddin, M.A.31 August 20058 July 2010MalangThe 45th Congress
8 July 20106 May 2015YogyakartaThe 46th Congress
15.Prof. Dr. K. H. Haedar Nashir, M.Si.7 May 201519 November 2022MakassarThe 47th Congress
19 November 2022IncumbentSurakartaThe 48th Congress


The Muhammadiyah organisation has a number of universities which are spread out in several provinces of Indonesia, such as:

  • Ahmad Dahlan University of Yogyakarta (UAD)
  • Muhammadiyah University of Malang (UMM)
  • Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta (UMY)
  • Muhammadiyah University of Surakarta (UMS)
  • Muhammadiyah University of Purwokerto
  • Muhammadiyah University of Makassar (Unismuh)
  • Muhammadiyah University of Magelang (UMMGL)
  • Muhammadiyah University of Semarang
  • Muhammadiyah University of Metro
  • Muhammadiyah University of Palembang
  • Muhammadiyah University of Bengkulu
  • Muhammadiyah University of West Sumatra
  • Muhammadiyah University of North Sumatra
  • Muhammadiyah University of Aceh
  • Muhammadiyah University of Cirebon
  • Muhammadiyah University of Bekasi
  • Muhammadiyah University of Purworejo
  • Muhammadiyah University of Surabaya
  • Muhammadiyah University of Sidoarjo
  • Muhammadiyah University of Gresik
  • Muhammadiyah University of Jember
  • Muhammadiyah University of Kupang
  • Muhammadiyah University of Ternate
  • Muhammadiyah University of Gorontalo
  • Muhammadiyah University of Jakarta
  • Muhammadiyah University of Prof. Hamka (UHAMKA)
  • Muhammadiyah University of Parepare
  • Muhammadiyah University of Sukabumi
  • Muhammadiyah University of Ponorogo
  • Muhammadiyah University of Pontianak
  • Muhammadiyah University of Sorong
  • Muhammadiyah University of Bima

See also


  1. Nashir M. Si, Dr. H Haidar (2015). MUHAMMADIYAH: A REFORM MOVEMENT. Jl. A Yani Pabelan Tromol Pos 1 Kartasura Surakarta 57102 Jawa Tengah – Indonesia: Muhammadiyah University Press. p. 94. ISBN 978-602-361-013-6. From aqidah standpoints, Muhammadiyah may adhere Salafi , as stated by Tarjih in Himpinan Putusan Tarjih (wy: 11), that Muhammadiyah promotes the belief principles referring to the Salaf (al-fi rqat al-najat min al-Salaf).{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  2. A. Jalil Hamid, Tackle the rising cost of living longer . New Straits Times, 30 October 2016. Accessed 1 November 2016.
  3. "Muhammadiyah". Div. of Religion and Philosophy, St. Martin College, UK. Archived from the original on 2008-09-14. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
  4. Abu Zayd, Nasr (2006). Reformation of Islamic Thought. Amsterdam University Press. ISBN 9789053568286. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  5. Pieternella van Doorn-Harder, WOMEN SHAPING ISLAM: Reading the Qu'ran in Indonesia, pg .95. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2010. ISBN 9780252092718
  6. Burhani (2005), p. 101.
  7. "Short History of Persyarikatan Muhammadiyah". Muhammadiyah. Archived from the original on 2007-03-19. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
  8. Burhani (2010), pp. 65-66
  9. Ricklefs, M.C. (1991). A History of Modern Indonesia 1200-2004. London: MacMillan. p. 356.
  10. Ricklefs, M.C. (1991). A History of Modern Indonesia 1200-2004. London: MacMillan. p. 357.
  11. Ricklefs (1991), p. 288.
  12. "Muhammadiyah Makes Overtures to Islamists". Indonesia Matters. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
  13. Abu Fayadh, Faisal (23 July 2021). "Ustadz Adi Hidayat: Kita Semua Salafi" [Ustadz Adi Hidayat: We are all Salafis]. Retizen. Archived from the original on 23 July 2021.
  14. "Muhammadiyah Itu Golongan Ahlus Sunnah was Salafiyyah" [Muhammadiyah The Ahlus Sunnah was Salafiyyah]. Pwmu. 3 November 2017. Archived from the original on 18 October 2021.
  15. Muhtaroom, Ali (August 2017). "The Study of Indonesian Moslem Responses on Salafy- Shia Transnational Islamic Education Institution, Shiashia". Ilmia Islam Futuria. 17 (1): 73–95. doi:10.22373/jiif.v17i1.1645 via Research Gate. the development ofSalafi in Indonesia has inspired the emergence of anumber of organizations reformers of modern Islam in Indonesia. Organizationssuchas Muhammadiyah, Al-Irsyad,shared similar intentions to purify faith with the call back to the Quran and Sunnah, and leave many traditional customs that are claimed to be contaminated by heresy,tahayyul, and superstition... For Muhammadiyah, the purification of faith and the return to the Quran and Sunnah is an obligation... Muhammadiyah doctrine theology agrees with salafi, namely puritanist by going back to Al-Quran and As-Sunnah...
  16. In Indonesia, Islam loves democracy| Michael Vatikiotis | New York Times |6 February 6, 2006
  17. NASHIR, M. Si, DR. H. HAIDAR (2015). MUHAMMADIYAH: A REFORM MOVEMENT. Jl. A Yani Pabelan Tromol Pos 1 Kartasura Surakarta 57102, Jawa Tengah – Indonesia: Muhammadiyah University Press. p. 94. ISBN 978-602-361-013-6.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  18. "National scene: Muhammadiyah takes soft approach on LGBT - the Jakarta Post".
  19. Bakhtiar Rivai, Ardian (2017). "Muhammadiyah Ideology: Affirmative Action for LGBT Based on Nawacita". Proceedings of the International Conference on Ethics in Governance (ICONEG 2016). doi:10.2991/iconeg-16.2017.19. ISBN 978-94-6252-321-0.
  20. "USINDO Roundtable With the Muhammadiyah and Aisyiyah Delegation". The US-Indonesian Society. Archived from the original on August 13, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
  21. "Muhammadiyah urged Governot to Set Model School". Tribun Timur. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
  22. "Muhammadiyah to help campaign on danger of avian flu". Antara. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
  23. "Profil Muhammadiyah".
  24. "Autonomous Organizations". Muhammadiyah. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
  25. "Central Organization". Muhammadiyah. Archived from the original on 2007-03-24. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
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