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|Kyai Hajji Fakih Usman|
|Fakih in 1952|
|2nd Minister of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia|
21 January 1950 – 17 August 1950
|Prime Minister||Abdul Halim|
|Succeeded by||Post dissolved|
|6th Minister of Religious Affairs of Indonesia|
3 April 1952 – 30 July 1953
|Preceded by||Wahid Hasyim|
|Born||2 March 1904|
Gresik, Dutch East Indies
|Died||3 October 1968 (aged 64)|
|Political party||Masyumi Party|
|Occupation||Muhammadiyah Council Member|
Kyai Hajji Fakih Usman (also Faqih Usman; 2 March 1904 – 3 October 1968) was an Indonesian Islamic leader and politician with the Masyumi Party. He served as Minister of Religious Affairs on two occasions, first under the Halim Cabinet in the State of the Republic of Indonesia from 21 January to 17 August 1950, then for the Republic of Indonesia during the Wilopo Cabinet from 3 April 1952 to 30 July 1953. In his early years Fakih was criticised by conservative Muslims for his involvement with the modernist Islamic organisation Muhammadiyah, but is warmly remembered by the institution. A street in Gresik is named after him.
Born to a merchant and his wife in Gresik, Dutch East Indies, Fakih studied with his father and at a series of pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) until the 1920s. In 1925 he became involved with Muhammadiyah, rising quickly through the leadership until becoming head of the Surabaya branch in 1938; he also became active in local politics. When numerous Islamic organisations formed the Indonesian Islamic Assembly in 1937, Fakih became treasurer. He continued to be involved in these Islamic groups and politics during the Japanese occupation and ensuing national revolution. During his two periods as minister of religious affairs, during which he oversaw educational and institutional reform, Fakih also saw increased prominence within Muhammadiyah. He served as deputy chairman under several different leaders before being chosen as chairman of Muhammadiyah in late 1968, several days before his death.
Fakih was born in Gresik, East Java, Dutch East Indies, on 2 March 1904. His father, Usman Iskandar, was a wood merchant, and his housewife mother was the daughter of an ulama, or scholar of Islam. The couple, which was of modest means, had four other children; the family's lack of a noble background meant the children were unable to receive an education at Dutch-run schools. Fakih studied Islam from a young age, receiving much of his instruction from his father. At age he ten began studying at a pesantren in Gresik, finishing in 1918. The following year he continued his studies at several pesantren outside the city, including in rural Gresik and in nearby Bungah.
Fakih's father brought him into the trading business, although Fakih continued to study independently. When the modernist Islamic organisation Muhammadiyahspread to Gresik in 1922, Fakih was one of the first to join. Extremely active within the group, within three years he became its leader; under his leadership the group became a formally recognised branch. Through his work with the Gresik branch, Fakih became better known and later transferred to the branch inSurabaya, and in 1929 he was chosen to sit on that city's council. He also remained active in commerce, running a construction material trade and shipbuilding shop; he served on the local chamber of commerce during this period.
For the period of 1932 to 1936 Fakih was a member of the Muhammadiyah's regional council, serving concurrently as the editor of the organisation's official magazine Bintang Islam and on the Legal Affairs Committee. As he became more active, Fakih began commuting regularly from Surabaya to Gresik, handling Muhammadiyah business in Surabaya and the wood company in Gresik; this commute was done in Fakih's personal car, a rare luxury at the time. Studying Dutch in his spare time, Fakih continued to improve his knowledge of Islam through studying the thoughts of Muhammad Abduh.
On 21 September 1937, Muhammadiyah, the conservative Nahdatul Ulama (NU), the merchants' cooperative Sarekat Islam, and several other Islamic groups – which for the past decade had been feuding – united to form an umbrella group, the Indonesian Islamic Assembly (Majilis Islam Ala Indonesia, or MIAI), based in Surabaya; Fakih served as treasurer. In 1938 Fakih was made the head of the Surabaya branch of Muhammadiyah, replacing Mas Mansoer. In 1940 he began working full-time with MIAI, having been selected as the head of its secretariat in mid-September 1940. He resigned as head of the Surabaya branch of Muhammadiyah and as a city council member.
After the Japanese occupied the Indies in early 1942, on 9 March 1942 Governor-General Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer and head of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army General Hein ter Poortencapitulated. The Japanese banned all forms of organisations, which led to MIAI disbanding in May. It was reformed on 5 September 1942 and, at the end of 1943, renamed to the Council of Indonesian Muslim Associations (Partai Majelis Syura Muslimin Indonesia, or Masyumi). Fakih was made a member of the Japanese sponsored advisory board, or Syu Sangi In, for Surabaya, a position in which he served until the end of the occupation; he also continued to serve on the Masyumi board.
After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the proclamation of Indonesian independence in August 1945, the Japanese began withdrawing from the country. Fakih began making contacts within the new republican government. From 7 to 8 November 1945 Fakih participated in the Indonesian Islamic Conference (Muktamar Islam Indonesia) in Yogyakarta, which resulted in Masyumi being made a political party representing Islamic interests. Although he returned to Gresik after the conference, the outbreak of a battle at Surabaya led to him and his family evacuating to Malang.
In Malang, Fakih teamed with Masjkur and Zainul Arifin to start an armed resistance, using the Japanese-trained Islamic units Sabilillah and Hizbullah, with Fakih as deputy chief in command. After the Dutch launched Operation Kraai in December 1948, Fakih and his family escaped to Surakarta, where he again became active in Muhammadiyah, commuting between Surakarta and the organisation's head office inYogyakarta. He served as deputy chair, under Bagus Hadikusumo.
Minister of Religious Affairs
In late 1949 the Indonesian and Dutch governments held a several-month long conference which resulted in Dutch recognition of Indonesian sovereignty on 27 December 1949. This resulted in the formation of the Republic of the United States of Indonesia (Republik Indonesia Serikat, or RIS), which consisted of sixteen member states. On 21 January 1950 Fakih replaced Masjkur as Minister of Religious Affairs in the Halim Cabinet, representing the Republic of Indonesia; at this point the republic consisted of Yogyakarta, Banten, and much of Sumatra. Working with the RIS Minister of Religious Affairs Wahid Hasyim, Fakih began instituting a standardised religious curriculum in the public schools and modernising education at religious schools. Meanwhile, they worked to unite the ministries. On 17 August 1950 the RIS and its member states became a unified republic; Hasyim was kept on as minister of religious affairs.
Under Hasyim, Fakih served as director of religious education. Meanwhile, the different factions in Masyumi were in conflict over the path the party was taking; the NU members thought Masyumi was becoming too political, abandoning its Islamic roots. When the Natsir Cabinet began collapsing and Masyumi put forth Fakih as a potential Minister for Religious Affairs – an act which was controversial because four of the five allocated slots for the party were already filled by non-NU members – the NU pulled out of Masyumi, effective 5 April 1952. Fakih had been chosen with a majority of five votes, while the next leading candidate, Usman Raliby, received four.
Fakih was made Minister of Religious Affairs in the Wilopo Cabinet and sworn in on 3 April 1952, which led to he and his family moving to the capital at Jakarta. He began to work on reforming the ministry, including formalising its mission statement: to provide religious teachers, promote interfaith relations, and to establish the dates of religious holidays. He also worked on internal structure, including formalising the ministry's leadership hierarchy and the opening of the provincial and regional branches. The ministry also continued its promotion of religious education. Other issues included handling the large number of hajj pilgrims who left Indonesia yearly. The Wilopo Cabinet collapsed on 30 July 1953, following an immigration and land dispute in Medan. Fakih was replaced by Masjkur.
Further work and death
Fakih continued working with the ministry and Muhammadiyah, serving as the organisation's first deputy chair under Ahmad Rasyid Sutan Mansur; in 1956 he was one of three Muhammadiyah members who presented their concept of a truly Islamic society, one which emphasised social education. However, he was more active with Masyumi. After the 1955 Constituent Assembly election, Fakih was made a member of the Constitutional Assembly of Indonesia. This assembly, meant to reach an agreement for a new national constitution, failed to reach a consensus, and as such was disbanded by president Sukarno with his decree of 5 July 1959. That year Fakih spearheaded the magazine Pandji Masjarakat with Hamka, Joesoef Poear Abdullah, and Ahmad Joesoef. Sukarno later disbanded Masyumi on 17 August 1960, after the leading Masyumi members like Mohammad Natsir and Sjafruddin Prawiranegara were involved with the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia; Fakih had been involved in the negotiations with the Revolutionary Government, working with Mohammad Roem.
This left Fakih more time to focus on Muhammadiyah, serving as Second Deputy Chair under Junus Anis. During a leadership course run by the organisation during Ramadhan of 1961, Fakih began promoting an institutional identity through his lecture "What is Muhammadiyah?", which outlined the organisation as one based in dawah, focusing on real-world issues, and willing to work with the government to ensure a prosperous future for Muslims. These concepts were later formulated through 1962 and established as an institutional identity, one which called for Muhammadiyah to work towards creating a truly Islamic society while opposing leftist politics. This in turn was followed by refactoring within the organisation to better adapt the new identity.
From 1962 until 1965 Fakih served as First Deputy Chair of Muhammadiyah under Ahmad Badawi, while providing guidance for young religious leaders. After the failure of the 30 September Movement, duringthe ensuing killings and power shift, Fakih and several Muhammadiyah members sent a letter requesting that Masyumi be allowed to reform, permission which was not granted.
During Badawi's second term, Fakih became an advisor to the chairman, often taking management responsibilities. His health failing, when he was selected as the organisation's chairman at the 37th Muhammadiyah Congress in 1968, Fatih began work to ensure there would be a successor. On 2 October he had a joint meeting of the board at his home he outlined his plans for his three year period of leadership; Fakih also appointed Rasjidi and Abdul Rozak Fachruddin as temporary leaders while he went abroad for medical treatment. Fakih died on 3 October 1968, only several days after being selected, and was replaced by Fachruddin on the day of his death;[a] Fachruddin was chosen by acclamation and would serve as chairman for 24 years.
In the 1930s, conservative Muslims were disapproving of Fakih's work, giving him the nickname Londho silit ireng ("Dutchman with the black ass"). Critics often threw stones at his home in Gresik. Within Muhammadiyah he continues to be well respected, and is credited with the formulation of the "Muhammadiyah Personality" (Kepribadian Muhammadiyah), Muhammadiyah's institutional identity. Out of respect towards Fakih, Muhammadiyah continues to record his period as chairman as lasting the full three-year term. Didin Syafruddin, a faculty member at the Jakarta Islamic State University, writes that Fakih was highly dedicated to education, noting that five of Fakih's seven children eventually becoming doctors; Syafruddin also writes that, owing to a lack of human resources, Fakih was limited in his reforms while Minister of Religious Affairs. The street where Fakih lived as a child is now known as Fakih Usman Street.