Building the Islamic state From ideal to reality (1947-1949)

After much preparation, during the 20th gathering of the Dewan Ima- mah in Cimampang, with the attendance of Kartosuwiryo, K.H. Gozali Toesi, Sanoesi Partawidjaja, Raden Oni, and Toha Arsjad, on 7 August 1949 the Negara Islam Indonesia is officially proclaimed with the words: Proclamation ofthe Establishment ofthe Islamic: State of Indonesia [NII], Dengan Nama Allah, Jang Maha Esa dan Jang Maha Asih, we, the Islamic Community ofthe Indonesian Nation announce the establishment ofthe Negara Islam Indonesia. And the law that governs the NII is Islamic Law.[1]

The 1947 invasion of West Java pushed Masyumi to proclaim resistance against the Dutch a jihad obligatory for all Muslims. Following the discord over the Linggadjati Agreement Sjahrir was forced to resign, then Masyumi refused to join Sjarifuddin’s ‘socialist’ cabinet, and by late September tensions could no longer be confined to the political field, as they spilled out among the population and onto the battlefield. The violence that had dotted WestJava throughout 194647 further escalated, even as the Indonesian Republic in Yogyakarta and the Dutch embarked on another round of diplomatic talks.

The Renville Agreement, signed by Van Mook and Sjarifuddin on 17 January 1948, was the outcome of heavy pressure from the United States and the United Nations. The international community had been lobbying to find a diplomatic end to the impasse caused by the military invasion on Java and Sumatra and to establish a roadmap for Indonesia’s self-government. The agreement established that West Java (with the exception of the Banten area) and the easternmost part ofJava (including Surabaya and Malang) would be officially controlled by the Dutch, whilst the rest of the island would constitute the territory of the Indonesian Republic.[2]

The separation of West Java from the Republican territory and the presence of Hizboellah and Sabilillah troops beyond the Van Mook demarcation line were crucial to the further shaping of the Darul Islam and Tentara Islam Indonesia in the early months of 1948. West Java was coming under Masyumi’s control, and the Republican police (Kepolisian Negara)accused the Islamic party of challenging the Republic on the political and military levels.

These accusations were formulated at the same time as the West Java branch of the Islamic party was gradually being transformed into the Darul Islam organization.[3] Kartosuwiryo’s decision to pursue this transformation resulted from a combination of factors: the Dutch increase in activity in the Priangan between the end of December 1947 and mid January 1948;[4] the withdrawal of TNI Sili- wangi soldiers from West Java to Yogyakarta to be completed by March 1948; the Islamic militias’ refusal to evacuate the region and their merger into one umbrella organization; the tensions between the TNI and the militias in the weeks leading up to the withdrawal; the scarcity of available weaponry; and the broad popular support for the Islamic militias. These factors strongly contributed to the shaping of the anti-Dutch resistance in West Java as an Islamic movement under Kartosuwiryo’s leadership.

This chapter follows the formation of the Islamic State of Indonesia, from its initial conception in late 1947 to the proclamation of its establishment in August 1949, paying a great deal of attention to the interaction between the Darul Islam and Soekarno’s Republic. The material is thus arranged chronologically, identifying four phases in this process. The first phase stretched from November 1947 until May 1948, when Kartosuwiryo, Oni and Kamran unified Hizboellah and Sabilillah into one Islamic Army, giving initial shape to the Darul Islam organization as a defence movement that sought the cooperation of the Republican Army (until its withdrawal from West Java), and led the expansion of Darul Islam control over the Priangan.

The next phase covers the second half of 1948, when the Darul Islam formed a ministerial cabinet, marking the transformation of the Majelis Oemmat Islam from a socio-political movement to a government body. During this time, Kartosuwiryo released the Constitution of the NII. With Muhammad and Medina as his models, Kartosuwiryo chartered a country - the Negara Islam Indonesia - built around the authority of a leader who embraced the spiritual, political and military legacy of the Prophet. It ought to be noted that at this point the NII still sought to collaborate with the Yogyakarta Republic, sharing the common goal of national independence. It was not until the third phase, from the second Dutch invasion in December 1948 to the Roem-Van Royen Agreement in May 1949 that frictions emerged, eventually leading to the antagonism between the Islamic Army and Siliwangi soldiers and to their ultimate parting of ways.

The last phase analysed here covers the August 1949 proclamation of the Islamic State of Indonesia as a political entity independent from Soekarno’s Republic. This phase thus also takes a look at the first attempts of the Masyumi-led cabinet to negotiate with Kar- tosuwiryo. In fact, despite the continued antagonism on the battlefield, Natsir and some TNI commanders showed sympathy for the Darul Islam, and throughout 1949 the Masyumi-led cabinet strongly supported a political solution to the ‘Darul Islam problem’.

  • [1] Qanun asasy Negara Islam Indonesia, AABRI DI no. 9.
  • [2] ‘Situation in Indonesia truce agreement and “Renville" principles, Consul-General Shepherd to Mr. Bevin’, in Correspondence part 2 January to December 1948, p. 3 onwards, FO480/2, NAUK
  • [3] As early as December 1947, Said Soerianatanegara (vice-chief of police in North Tasik)pointed out that Masyumi was increasingly resembling an independent state in the Priangan,undermining the authority of the Republic; see ‘Perihal: Politieke situasi’, 9 December 1947,KepNeg no. 495, ANRI.
  • [4] In their effort to bring the region under control, the Royal Netherlands Indies Army hadtargeted several villages around Kuningan and Tasikmalaya. A detailed description of the attackscan be found in ‘Laporan tentang keadaan didaerah Karesidenan Priangan, Kantor KepolisianKaresidenan Priangan’, 28 February 1948, KepNeg no. 495, ANRI. For reports of how the Dutchransacked civilians’ houses, stole livestock and bombarded villages, see ‘Politiek-EconomischVerslag betreffende de Residentie Priangan over de maand December 1947’, 2 February 1948,AMKRI no. 328, NA. Sabilillah also took revenge on those who did not support Masyumi; see‘Laporan tentang keadaan didaerah Karesidenan Priangan, Kantor Kepolisian Karesidenan Pri-angan’, 28 February 1948, KepNeg no. 495, ANRI.
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