The Changeable and the Unchangeable

The term of religion is controversial definition that no agreement to define a religion is; moreover, the concept of religion has evolved and has political implication. Firstly, Christian community uses this term to refer to Christian piety, and then forced on other beliefs or traditions. Obviously, a certain terminology cannot be generalized to other traditions, because it has serious implication and brings indigenous knowledge that is very specific and particular concept. The becoming process from Christian piety to Christian faith and Christianity is called process of reification-Wilfred Cantwell Smith’s terminology. This process, I think, indicates that there is changeable thing and permanent one. No matter what, certain doctrine in every religion can change depends on condition. It is crucial, because some people believe that religious dogma was final, perfect, absolute and unchangeable. I assume every religion has changeable doctrine and absolute one.

Initially, every religion appears so natural and simple or not complicated that everyone can perform its rule such worship easily. Of course, that religion has particular rule, rite, and dogma reflected and adopted from indigenous culture in which differs from others. The religious life of Ancient India that later is called Hindu has certain rule and rite as distinguished from others. As well as Mohammad tradition in Mecca, that himself name it as Islam has particular rule. Certainly, each tradition has specific term to mention each rule, rite and dogma that cannot forced to other tradition, because certain term has definite character and definition that differ from other.

Fundamentalism term, for instance, which is firstly used in Protestant movement, now is used in other religious movement such Islam and Buddha. This term usually translated into Arab ‘ushuliyyah’ which its mean basis, and this term often used to name a certain religious movement such Jama’ah Islamiyah, al-Qaidah and etc. ‘Ushuliyyah’ term, I think, cannot replace fundamentalism term, because ‘ushuliyyah’ meaning isn’t compatible with fundamentalism meaning. Actually, protestant fundamentalism movement in which grows in America has a specific character that cannot be generalized to other traditions in which has particular characteristic too. Because of that, using a terminology frequently to other traditions is misleading.

Another terminology is term din. This term is Islamic terminology usually to refer Muslims’ belief. Firstly, this term very opened that refers not only Mohammad followers but also other religions which worship and belief in Allah. However, this term, then, just refers to Mohammad followers’ community. Of course, a term din cannot replace a term ‘religion’ totally which each of two appears and grows in different condition. As a result, each terminology has different context that cannot be simplified to name complicated thing.

As well as, above description indicates that in every religion has changeable and unchangeable doctrine and rite. Islam, for instance, firstly recommends all Muslims when perform shalat (prayer) to face Al-Aqsa Mosque (Jerusalem). This important doctrine then changes that all Muslims have to face al-Haram Mosque (Mecca). However, the essence of this rite does not change, namely worship to Allah. Either facing one Al-Aqsa or al-Haram mosque is not important. The important thing is worship and pray to Allah, who exists everywhere. In short, facing either al-Aqsa or al-Haram is changeable, but the essence of that prayer is unchangeable doctrine.

As a conclusion, different terminology, which reflects indigenous culture, people and knowledge, have to use carefully. Various terminologies will always change depend on development of human, but the essence of each terminology is always exist. Therefore, each religion has particular thing that is changeable and substantial thing that unchangeable.


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