Religion Top Down, Religiosity Bottom Up

THE DISTINCTION between religion and religiosity should be clearly understood. Religion is teachings that descends directly from God through revelation to the prophet. Its nature is top down. While, religiosity is human efforts to draw closer to God through various ways. Its nature is bottom up.

The simple understanding but fundamental above is part of major discourse in Maiyah knowledge forums including Kenduri Cinta. Emha Ainun Nadjib (Cak Nun) usually exposes the difference between religion and religiosity in order to respond the questions about bid’ah (heresy). The issue that getting popular nowadays whereas people are easily to judge other people or group commited to heresy. In the terminology of Islamic law, Cak Nun mentions that religion is in the scope of mahdhoh worship (obligation worship) embodied in the pillars of Islam. The outside activities of Islamic tenets on the scope of ghoiru mahdhoh (Arab; general practice that is allowed by Allah, e.g : studying, dhikr, preaching, and helping each other)—or in a broader sense, mua’malah (Arab; the rules that regulate interaction among humans being and all their acts and interconnections whether in the same faith or not in the same faith and even with the natural surroundings.

The term of bid ‘ah only applies in the context of mahdhoh worship. If there are symptoms of perversion or additions in the practice of mahdhoh worship, then it needs to be examined whether bid’ah or not bid ‘ah. While the practice outside the Islamic pillars, terminology of bid’ah is not applicable. It does not mean that practice outside of the Islamic pillars can not be given legal assessment (determined) either on the purpose, the principle or as a whole, as well as on its details, but it needs to be asserted that the basic understanding of bid ‘ah is the addition or hold a new things in or related to worship (religion).

The religion is the teaching of God that is principle, formal, normative and essence. We must behave ta’abbudi (Arab; accepting with no question to the things that do not require proposition and reasoning for example the number of raka’at in sholat). While religiosity is a wide area where we are required to do ijtihad (Arab; the effort and endeavor under¬taken for attaining some objective; Ibn al ‘Athir) due to the developments in many areas and life issues (social, political, cultural, technological, etc.) as it is indeed the nature of epoch and human history itself. According to this context, Indonesian scholars reformer of Islamic thought, Nurcholish Madjid, in his book, “Islam, Agama, Kemanusiaan (1995), ever had ‘read’ terminology of bid ‘ah as innovation in generic and positive meaning.

What is covered in the ghoiru mahdhoh is very broad. Cak Nun defined religiosity is human efforts to draw closer to God. It could provokes the religious studies keeps directing views and studies on human psychology such as education, anthropology, arts, culture, tradition, and local wisdoms. With this way, religious studies will be more recognize soul and human nature fully, not merely look at the man as an object of law.

Suppose that we do not venturing to that area, with more accurate understanding about religion and religiosity, we can propose simple questions to the religious developments around us. For example, now rife popular words such as album religi (Indonesia; religious album), sinetron religi (Indonesia; religious soap opera) and so on. Then we intrigued to contemplate what the significance of religi in those popular words?

When we say a religious word then we ask, is it taken as an derivative from religion or religiosity? If religious is an adjective that qualifies a person then what natures that are included in religious categories? Is it someone who looks diligent to do the worship but frequently offend his neighbours every day, for instance, can be regarded as religious? If in the case of “religious” already has a problems understanding then how his perception, more substantialy, towards the meaning of “religion”?

With a few minor questions above and the mapping of religion and religiosity, presumably it can be examined and studied the relationships that might have formed between religion and religiosity. It might be better to postpone our impulses in judging someone or group commited bid’ah. Better we focus on learning deeply so that our out put is knowledge and wisdom.