DISCURSUS OF WOMEN POLITICAL RIGHTS BASED ON AL-QUR'AN; Empirical study on women's political participation in Jakarta, Indonesia

Arsyad Sobby Kesuma1, Syamsuri Ali1

1UIN Raden Inten Lampung, Indonesia


Abstract. The aim of this study is to illustrate the general Islamic view of women and their rights in political participation. Qualitative methods are used with the basis of collecting secondary data sourced from books, journals and scientific publications from relevant agencies. Geographically, the study provides an overview of women's political participation in Indonesia. This is based on the assumption that the majority of Indonesia's population are Muslim and the level of women's political participation in Indonesia is getting better every year. The result of the study is expected to be an overview and the basis of policy development related to increasing women's political participation in the perspective of Islam


Keywords: Women right, Political participation, perspective of Islam, Indonesia

JEL Codes: I

1.       Introduction

As a reference to the basic principles of Islamic society, the Qur'an shows that basically male and female positions are the same. Both are created from one nafs (living entity), in which one has no advantage over another. On that basis, the principle of the Qur'an on the rights of men and women is the same, in which the right of the wife is recognized equally with the right of the husband. In other words, men have rights and obligations on women, and women also have rights and duties towards men. That is why the Qur'an is considered to have a revolutionary view of human relationships, namely to provide justice between men and women. Moreover, if it is related to the context of pre-Islamic society that is transformed (Fakih, 2000).

The Qur'anic teachings on women are generally part of the Qur'an's effort to strengthen and improve the position of some or the weaker groups in the lives of pre-Islamic Arab societies. The position of women in the view of Islamic teachings is not as alleged or practiced by the temporary society. Islamic teachings essentially give great attention and honor to women (Shihab, 1996). The time of Prophet SAW is an ideal time for women's life. They can participate freely in public life without being distinguished from men (Nuryanto, 2001). However, according to Dale F. Eickelman and James Piscatori that on the one hand women become so central to the greater political and moral imagination, and essential to the enforcement of the civil order and virtue, but on the other hand there is still a man claim that women should not have the right to vote and be elected for example in membership in parliament (Eickelman and Piscatori, 1998). On that basis historically according to Asghar Ali Engineer, women still remain subordinated (below) by men (Engineer, 2003). 

The discussion of gender was primarily triggered by statements by the Indonesian political elite who, using language and in the name of religion, attempted to tackle their political opponents, whose political opponents favored women as leaders of this country, despite other worldly interests; those who used to crowded the slogan, then crowded also to deny it. In addition, there are those who still maintain these beliefs but then with the propositions or emergency reasons, the agreed beliefs can be tolerated and even violated.

Jakarta is the capital of the state of Indonesia, with its functions both as a center of government, a business center and a center of social activity hence population in Jakarta becomes one of the largest in Indonesia (Untari et al, 2017a), and the number of female population is quite large. Although Jakarta has a considerable amount of social and cultural diversity, the majority of Jakarta residents are Moslems. Gender issues become a strategic issue related to the political development in Jakarta. Although UN Conventions have been ratified and other international and national policies, women's political participation is still considered weak. They remain underrepresented substantially in political decision-making positions. In other words, politics is still dominated by men (Rahmatunnisa, 2016). The achievement of women on the executive side has indeed become one of the barometers of women's progress in terms of political quality. However, this does not seem to be maximal and does not go hand in hand with the legislative side. The number of women as members of parliament in Indonesia is still relatively low (Syafputri, 2014). Based on this background it is important to examine and describe the role of women in politics with the Islamic frame as the majority religion of the population in Jakarta.


2.       Method

The type of this research is a library research; by doing research on written sources, this research is qualitative. In this research is done by reviewing documents or written sources such as books, magazines, and others. The main sources, namely the data contained in the works of interpretation including the works of M. Quraish Shihab include: Women from Love to Sex, from Nikah Mut'ah to Marah Sunnah, from Old Bias to New Bias; Insights of the Qur'an: Tafsir Maudhu'i on Different Issues of the People; Tafsir al-Misbah; Grounding the Qur'an; Sowing Divine Messages. To analyze the data that has been collected, the authors will use several methods as follows:

a.       Hermeneutic method, this method describes the contents of a religious text to people living in places and periods that are much different from the owner (Hidayat, 2000).

b.       Analytical Descriptive Method, namely the way of writing by prioritizing the observation of symptoms, events and actual conditions in the present. This study is a study of a concept of M. QuraishShihab thought, then with this method can be used to describe and comprehensively describe the concept of M.Quraish Shihab on women's political rights.

c.       Eksplanatory Method, which is a method that provides explanations that are explanatory with the aim of explaining what will happen if certain variables are controlled or manipulated in a certain way.

d.       Comparative method, which is a method that compares the opinion of one with another to obtain a conclusion in researching factors related to the situation or phenomenon that is investigated or compared with the problem. This method is applied by comparing the thought of M. Quraish Shihab with the salaf cleric (formerly) and khalaf (present). From this comparison can be found the similarities, differences, advantages and disadvantages of each.

e.       Historical, a process that includes the collection and interpretation of symptoms, events or ideas that arise in the past, to find useful generalists in an attempt to understand historical realities.

3.       Result And Discusion

3.1.          M. Quraish Shihab's opinion on Women's Political Rights

Shihab (2006) in his book entitled: "Women from Love to Sex, from Nikah Mut'ah to Nikah Sunnah, from Old Bias to New Bias" states: "It must be admitted that past clerics and thinkers do not justify women occupying the post of chief but this is more due to the situation and conditions of the period, such as the condition of women themselves who are not ready to occupy the position, let the head of state, minister, or regional head no change Fatwa and views must occur due to changes in conditions and situations, and therefore it is no longer relevant to prohibit women from engaging in practical politics or leading the state.

In relation to the rights of women in politics, Shihab (2002) in his book entitled: "The Insight of the Qur'an: Tafsir Maudhu'i on the Various Issues" affirms: "We can conclude that, which can be understood as a prohibition of women's involvement in politics, or the religious provisions that restrict the field to men only, on the other hand, quite a number of verses and traditions can be used as a basis for understanding to establish those rights.

Shihab (2004) in another book entitled: "Grounding the Qur'an" states: One of the main themes as well as the fundamental principles in Islamic teachings is the similarities between men, between men and women and among nations, tribes and descendants. The difference underlined and which then elevates or demeans a person is merely the value of his devotion and piety to God Almighty.

When considering and responding to the views and opinions of M. Quraish Shihab then in the perspective that women have political rights. According to the author's analysis that the Islamic teachings that become the essence of the women's struggle is "humanize women". Women are no longer merely seen as objects, just the servants of their husbands, or their families, but women are also seen as free as a men in the most basic sense. Every human being will return to God to account for his actions. Every woman is equal to man, has a sacred nature, and his glory to God is measured not by gender, but from the thickness of his godly. Thus, Islam places women in a high position.

3.2.          Relevance of M. Quraish Shihab's Opinion with Actual Political Reality in Indonesia

When considering the reality in this world, it turns out that many women who occupy political positions such as women's presidents, women's ministers, female regents. In Indonesia, a presidential position was once held by a woman namely Megawati Soekarno Putri. During the period of Soesilo Bambang Yudoyono's administration, the position of finance minister was held by a woman namely Dr. Sri Mulyani. Similarly, the post of Governor and Regent / Mayor is held by a woman. Recently, the candidate for governor of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) Bibit Waluyo - Rustriningsih (former bupati) won the elections of the Central Java Regional Election in 2008. although there is no official election commission (KPU) count, they received 30% vote support in coblosan last June 22, so it will certainly take mandate to lead the Central Java in 2008 - 2013. Similarly, Bekasi (East Jakarta) recently held the position of a regent (Sri Sunarti Harumningsih). All of these show a new development and a step forward in the midst of the frenzied democratization and equality of rights.

The rampant discussion of women's problems was primarily triggered by statements by the Indonesian political elite who, using language and in the name of religion, attempted to tackle his political opponents, whose political opponents in turn favored women as leaders of the country. Although then because there are other worldly interests, those who previously crowded-echoed the slogan and then also busy to deny it. In addition, there are those who still maintain these beliefs but then with the propositions or emergency reasons, the agreed beliefs can be tolerated and even violated. However, at this time the discussion of women's problems is caused more by the unfair and inappropriate treatment of women; starting from his position in the household, in work, in social life, and others. Nevertheless, the topic that is still interesting is the issue of female leadership in all walks of life.

Women, according to Shihab (2002), have rights in politics, as in Q.S. 9:71. In the verse it is argued that men and women have an obligation to cooperate in various fields of life, including politics. According to M. Quraish Shihab, there is no solid foundation for the prohibition of women to engage in politics or to become leaders in politics. On the contrary found many religious arguments that can be used as a basis to support the rights of women in the field of politics. One of the verses that can be put forward in this connection is QS. at-Taubah [9]: 71.


3.3.          Empiricism Women's Role in Politics in Jakarta, Indonesia

Women's political participation has been recognized internationally as an important measure of the status of women in any particular country (Kasa, 2015). At this time the discussion of women's problems is caused more by the unfair and undeserved treatment of women; mulaidari position in the household, in work, in social life, and others. Nevertheless, the topic that is still interesting is the issue of female leadership in all walks of life. From here comes the pros and cons on the matter.

Some of the figures and ulama (Abu Abdillah Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Qurthubi, Muhammad Abduh, Abu al-A'la al-Mawdudi) by interpreting the arguments of naqli (al-Qur'an and Hadith) according to their version, concluded that women should not and not being a leader. They refer to the word of Allah SWT. in al-Nisa's verse 34. Besides the verse they also reasoned with the hadith narrated by al-Bukhari, which means: Had preached to us from Usman ibn al-Haisyam from Auf from al-Hasan from Abu Bakrah said: benefits to me with the words I heard from Rasulullah SAW during the Jamal war after I almost caught up with the camel riders and then I fought with them. He said that when it came to the Messenger of Allah that the inhabitants of Persia had appointed the son of Kisra as their leader, he said: "It will not be a happy people who give their affairs to women (led by a woman) (Narrated by Bukhari).

Both of these propositions, (and other postulates) serve as a binding argument for them that women are unfit and even illegitimate to be leaders. But for the recent which actually became the main mainstay argument is the hadith, because for reasons of the verse of the Qur'an is indeed visible weakness, because of the verse, the context is only talking about the problem of married life in the household and not at all talking about issues related to the public, especially women's leadership.

The high level of urbanization gives a significant impact on the growth of the population in Jakarta (Untari et al, 2017b). BPS (2017) notes that Jakarta's population of more than 10 million people with 5.1 million people is male and 5.06 million are female, thus the proportion of male and female population in Jakarta is almost equal. Jakarta residents, especially women, are quite empowered. In terms of constitution, Indonesian women have the same position as men. Women and men have equal rights, positions and opportunities for access to health, education, employment, the right to life, the right to freedom of thought, the right not to be tortured, the right to be recognized personally before the law, the right to associate, to organize, politics, and various universal rights protected by law.

Gender equality has not been reflected in women's and men's political representation (Bawa and Sanyare, 2013). To date, women's participation in political parties and legislative bodies is still low. According to the records of the Association for Elections and Democracy, the participation rate of women in the 2017 regional head election was in a low level. The number is only 44 women out of a total of 614 candidates for regional heads across Indonesia. This means only 6.9 percent. If we compare again with the data that 49.2 percent of the total population of Indonesia is female, of course the figure is apprehensive. 44 women were fighting in 41 areas spread across 28 districts, 9 cities and 4 provinces. Women's participation is declining compared to the first wave of elections held in 2015 at 0.30 percent, from 7.47 percent to 7.17 percent. (www.theindonesianinstitute.com, accessed February 18, 2017).

In general, the number of women elections as members of the legislative election results 2014 decreased compared to the 2009 elections. The following table shows the seats of legislative members 2014-2019,

Table 1. Legislative composition in Indonesia by gender






97 (17.3%),

483 (86.3%)



34 (25.8%),

98 (74.2%),


DPD Province

309 (14.6%),

1.805 (85.4%),

2.114 (33 Province)

DPRD Distric

2.406 (14.2%),

12.360 (85.8%),

14.410 kursi (403 Distric)

Sumber : http://www.puskapol.ui.ac.id, accessed on February 21, 2017

This representation gap between men and women will affect women's equality in social life. Komnas for example in the region, there are more than 300 discriminatory local regulations on women, generally regulating the question of how women should dress, the separation of public space, and the application of curfew. At the level of law (Act), there are also discriminative against women such as Law no. 44/2008 on Pornography which seems to criminalize the female body.

Figure 1. The distribution of Women's participation in politics in Jakarta

Sources : http://www.puskapol.ui.ac.id (prossed)


Women's participation in politics in Jakarta is generally quite good, as evident in the legislative assembly election of 2014, the percentage of women in council members is sufficient for the proportion expected by the Government of 30%. The proportion of women in board members for the period 2014-2019 reached 32%. The following table proportion of the number of board members by fraction and gender,


Tabel 2. The proportion of the number of Board members for the period 2014-2019































Source : http://data.jakarta.go.id, accessed on May 17, 2017

3.4    Forecse the Role of Women in Politics in Indonesia

The epresentation of women is stated in Invitation Act, where it is stated that women's representation is the same opportunity and declaration for women to carry out their roles in the executive, judicial and legislative, party and general election fields towards justice and gender equality . The following are data on trends in women's representation in the Indonesian Parliament

Figure 2.

Sources : Partisipasi Perempuan dalam Politik Pemerintah, 2010


                Figure 2 shows that the trend of women's participation in politics continues to improve, especially in 2009-2014. Political education and women's concern are what make women in Indonesia increasingly play a role in politics


4.       Conclusion        

There are many women who occupy important positions both at the level of the executive, legislative and judiciary. In Jakarta, the issue of women's political rights such as the head of state once stood out when Megawati Soekarno's daughter was nominated as president. The issue had caused pro and contra among participants of the Indonesian Muslim Congress in 1998. In addition to causing controversy among Muslims.

By looking at the highly controversial thinking of M. Quraish Shihab then more important is how to actualize the idea in society and country. This is given that Indonesians, especially Jakarta, whose population is predominantly Muslim and have Pancasila ideology, are still sharply polarized between allowing female leadership in politics and vice versa. So the authors suggest from the concept of M. Quraish Shihab, the need for a more detailed explanation in order to be understood by the community. For that it is good research on the mind of M. Quraish Shihab more opened possibilities. Because his thoughts can be used as comparative studies to measure the benefit of a country.

5.       References

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[15] www.theindonesianinstitute.com, “Mencermati Partisipasi Politik Perempuan”, accessed on February 18, 2017.

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