Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Heart of Nusantara Islam

Every time I visit Indonesia I have mixed feelings about the country, the striking contrast is extraordinary: on one hand, abject poverty staring at you from every corner; on the other, people, poor people dwelling placidly and seem to be inwardly untouched by the harsh conditions of the outward. It amazes me how this bleak reality – endless maze of narrow jammed streets in which only two cars can pass within an inch from each other, little boys at junctions acting as traffic lights, tiny houses sprouted with incredible density and of course, ever-increasing prices and ever-cheating politicians – could not erase the overflowing courtesy, generosity, gentleness and joy of the people, poor people. What is the inexhaustible source of this nobility? There must be a secret that makes Indonesians so special human beings but I have yet to grasp it. One thing I know for sure: if someone wants to celebrate the immortal fame of human spirit he should do it in Indonesia, this is the place where it is so clearly manifested.

It is in no way a coincidence that the Islamic Currency – Gold Dinar and Silver Dirham – has at last become a reality here, in the heart of Nusantara. The return of Shariah Money which Umar Pasha Vadillo declared as the most important political event of the 21st century is happening here, in the island of Java. It didn’t “take off” in Turkey, Malaysia, Iran, Morocco or UAE whose governments nodded to the Islamic Gold Dinar but it came to fruition in the Muslim country called Indonesia. Who is behind this phenomenon in Indonesia? Political parties like Partai Keadilan Sejahtera, big Islamic organizations like Nahdlatul Ulama or financial institutions like Bank Syariah Mandiri? No, no, no. The force behind the success of Gold Dinar in Indonesia has been poor people, I should rather spell “Poor People”, Fuqara, for among them are the best of us. They have done it, they have acted upon the teachings of Shaykh Abdalqadir As-Sufi, they stood in the front line under the Jihad banner of Umar Pasha, they saw the light of Madina al-Munawwara from Far East, they minted the coins and used them day after day with Sufic certainty and detachment. It is the Poor People of Republic of Indonesia who are writing a new chapter not only in their country’s history but in the history of the entire Muslim world, and it is a glorious chapter for which the future generations will remember their names and praise them.

On 31st October 2009 in Jakarta there were held National Wakala Summit which convened representatives from all/almost all existing dinar wakalas in Indonesia, the gathering was chaired by the director of master wakala, Wakala Induk Nusantara, Pak Zaim Saidi. I knew Pak Zaim from distance but never met him in person, so this summit was an appropriate moment to greet him and also see the real people behind the Indonesian Miracle. With the permission and instructions from Umar Pasha I left for Jakarta. I was excited to see a great personality in Pak Zaim but what I saw was above my expectations: I encountered a handsome man of truly Javanese elegance tinged with Sufic profoundness; I felt his heart is bigger than the whole of Jakarta.

Zaim Saidi was a conspicuous figure in various non-government movements in 90-s, from consumer to green organizations. A native Javanese educated in the West he got involved in civic movements at early age because he loved his people and wanted to bring a change to their plight. The talent and hard work coupled with moral integrity and great charisma paved him a quick path to the national stage, in short time he became popular and reputable civil activist winning awards locally and internationally as well as attracting media attention. Prolific writer and excellent speaker, young and confident, Zaim could comfortably continue his fascinating career in non-government movement with possible prospect of turning later to politics. But then came 1997. Financial crisis struck the country like a tsunami mercilessly sweeping away the little wealth that people had accumulated by decades of hard labour; the government’s incompetence and helplessness was more than disappointing. Zaim always hated injustice, this crisis became the turning point in his life, this time his civic mind couldn’t be complacent anymore with the capitalist system stifling his country, his heart was aching from seeing the plunder of his people; he firmly decided he had to find the answer. The answer came from the leader of Murabitun Worldwide Movement, Umar Ibrahim Vadillo.

First gold dinar and silver dirham in Indonesia were minted in the year 2000 and two years later, in 2002, Pak Zaim set up the first outlet or wakala in Jakarta with the purpose of distributing Islamic coins to public; very few believed in the seriousness of the project, fewer yet in its success. Time proved them wrong: what started then with one wakala and 25 dinars today has turned into nation-wide system with 65 wakalas distributing thousands of dinars and dirhams every month. Pak Zaim always puts heart in whatever he does and this project was no different, indeed it was the dearest affair in his entire life. He didn’t rush but with the gift of a true leader executed every step with vision and meticulous planning, it took him 7 years to develop the wakala system with proper organization and mechanism as it is today. But the real expansion took off in October 2008 when the Amirate of Indonesia was formed and Pak Zaim was appointed as the Amir of Indonesia with the blessings of the founder of Murabitun movement Shaykh Abdalqadir As-Sufi and its leaders Rais Abu Bakr Rieger and Pasha Umar Vadillo. Pak Zaim courageously accepted the huge task placed upon his shoulders and started his journey. He created local amirates in several key provinces and through them coordinated dinar activities in the respected zones under unified commandment and strategy - opening wakalas, conducting seminar and workshops, organizing open markets and collecting Zakat. The results came before long: within a year the number of wakalas rocketed from 15 to 65 establishing the presence of Halal currency in places as far as Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali and key cities in Java such as Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta; the national daily newspaper “Republika” published the gold dinar rate in its every issue, it is the only nation-wide newspaper in the world today displaying the rate of gold dinar.

During the National Wakala Summit Pak Zaim announced the next phase of the journey: to increase the number of wakalas to 100 within next year and by the year 2012 to have total wakala coverage all over the country thus maximizing accessibility of the bi-metallic coins and efficiency of the payment system (clearance) and at the same time minimizing the minting cost; to establish regular open markets (souq) in key places; to expand the network of shops and businesses that accept dinar & dirham; to implement electronic payment system (by means of mobile phones); to introduce Fulus, the fiat money which is the last monetary component complementing Dinar and Dirham. Next year, 2010, he said, the Amirate of Indonesia would organize Souq Festival Month, a one month event during which there will be held one Islamic market after another every day moving from one city to another - a concerted series of open markets featuring cultural shows; he noted that markets are extremely important in advancing dinars and dirhams, because only in free markets people will finally realize the stability and strength of Halal Money. “In the year 2012 we’ll celebrate 20 years of the Return of Gold Dinar and I hope to celebrate it with fully functioning and robust payment system based on gold dinar and silver dirham in Indonesia”, - said Pak Zaim to the delegates.

I was intoxicated with the atmosphere in the hall, I wanted to bow my head before these poor men and women filled with kindness and dignity, who toiled all their lives against the extortion of the state and banks, never despaired, and now slowly but surely taking back what belonged to them. I was sitting down there and thinking, why don’t I see this kind of people in Malaysia where so much has been said and written about Dinar? Perhaps, but only perhaps, because the Indonesians unlike Malaysians do not cherish fantasies like Wawasan 2020, they know for certain the politicians will never fulfill their dreams. So they don’t listen to economic analysts talking about GDP growth, stock market indices and economic recovery just around the corner; they do their own study which tells them the price of gold in rupiah increased more than 150,000 times in the last 60 years; what a price for a flag and anthem!

Definitely, the new reality just starts unfolding in Indonesia and there will be a lot more to be implemented, as outlined in Umar Pasha’s plan “The Architecture Of Gold Dinar Economy”, but the Dinar and Dirham is there, and it is not worthless Paper Dinar like in Iraq or Paper Dirham like in Morocco, it is Gold Dinar and Silver Dirham of World Islamic Trade Organization, and it is spreading like a wild fire. The upcoming meltdown of the World Capitalist Casino will ultimately reveal the irrelevance and incompetence of not just financial class but, more significantly, political class, the political class that had endorsed the theft, the class which had never succeeded to protect its own people from injustice and oppression of the Usury and Kufr. The last and the best thing these spiritually and mentally bankrupt politicians can do is to submit to the turn of history which is preparing the stage for new leadership, Islamic.

During a dinner I asked Pak Zaim: “Would you like to go back to consumer movement that made you famous?" He smiled and replied: “I like consumer movement but I think I cannot be the same as before”.

I guess Indonesia too will never be the same as before.

“The age of republics is over; the age of princes has begun!”
(Shaykh Abdalqadir As-Sufi)