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The Role of Islam in Indonesia in Viewing the Infection of HIV/AIDS (The Preliminary Studies)


Doctor in Sociology from Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) Marseille – France.

Doctor/ PhD member of the Institut de diplomatie publique


As a social, cultural, and political factor, religion impacts the way in which

communities understand and respond to HIV/AIDS. Structural factors such as

sexual violences, policing, incarceration, drug treatment availability, drug use

law, immigration policies, stigma, and discrimination shape where and how risk

happens, and whether people receive needed assistance. Religion coincides with

numerous cultural factors, influenting perspectives on prevention approaches

and stigma toward people living with HIV/AIDS. The role of religious organizations

in caring for people living with HIV/AIDS has been limited and religious beliefs

may contribute to stigma and discriminations. The HIV/AIDS epidemics in

some areas in Indonesia has already reached the “concentrated” stage. It was

estimated that as of 2002 there were approximately 12 millions to 19 millions

people in Indonesia who were at risk of being infected with HIV/AIDS. Some

of the groups identified as being vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infection are Injection

Drug User (IDUs); female sex workers; male clients of female sex workers; men

who have sex with men (MSM), including male sex workers and gays;

transvestites and their clients; and sexual partners of people in these groups.

Based on HIV/AIDS sentinel surveillance results and a number of studies on

these vulnerable groups, it is estimated that about 90,000 to 130,000 people had

been enfected with HIV/AIDS by the year 2002. This paper will analyze the role

of religion when the religion, in this case Islam, look at the HIV/AIDS infection.

The questions will be pose are what are the patterns about HIV/AIDS in

Indonesia if associated with Islam? This research is preliminary research, thus I

use the literature reviews in order to write this paper.

I. Introduction

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transexual (LGBT) issue has actually been

a topic of considerable debate within the civilizatio of mankind. Community

norms that condemn various kinds of sexual deviations get challenges from groups

who feel disadvantaged over these norms. This kind of debate is becoming

increasingly visible after the campaign launched by the LGBT movement that

began in Western society (Usman 2018). The presence of LGBT in Indonesia has

led to widespread polemics, the majority of communities rejecting such behaviour

as perceived to be contrary to moral and theological values. So that many LGBT

individuals get scolding and rejection everywhere, especially religious organizations

and educational institutions. The Indonesian Ulama Council firmly reject the

existence of LGBT groups in Indonesia that are considered toe be contrary to the

religion, morals and culture of the nation. Religious assemblies consisting of

Islam, Catholicism, Buddhism, and Confucianism also express their rejection of

LGBT on the ground that such behaviour is a disorder and sexual aberation. The

religious assembly views LGBT activities as opposed to Pancasila, the 1945

Constitution article 29 paragraph 1, and law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage. LGBT

activity is also judges to be contrary on the doctrinal principles of any religion

(Usman 2018). Although discrimination againts women and ethnic or religious

minorities has been much discussed in Indonesia, very little progress has been

made in the fight for LGBT rights. Meanwhile, the LGBT community experiences

violence, fear of loss of employment, bullying in school and in the public sphere,

only because of their sexual orientation. Many people have argued that LGBT

people do not need to be protected. What makes them different?

The first reason is that there are many people who believe that same-sex

relationships are forbidden by God/religion. As a result, LGBT people do not

need to be given protection or be empowered. This belief is still quite prevalent in society and in state policy, and, as a result, violence is often considered

necesary or permissible because it indicates “they” are on a path not condoned

by God (Arivia and Gina 2016). The second reason is that many people believe

that LGBT is a lifestyle that can be avoided if a person wishes. This lifestyle is

viewed as destruction and in opposition to existing norms. Sexual relations such

as sodomy, and the lifestyle of gay people, are seen as a strange and abnormal

way to live. Since lifestyle is a choice, LGBT issues are not seen as human rights

issues but caused by the stupidity of the individual (Arivia and Gina 2016). The

third reason is that since the LGBT community is viewed as having a lifestyle

associated with glamour, it is thought that there is no one in the LGBT

community from poor sectors of society (Arivia and Gina 2016). The fourth

reason is that LGBT people often do not want their sexual orientation to be

known out of shame or for family reasons. They hide their attraction towards

the people they love, distinct from heterosexual couples (Arivia and Gina 2016).

With these four things, most LGB peoples do not appear whether they are gay,

lesbian or bisexual. They can have characters like ordinary men and women

without giving up their sexual orientation. This condition of course (very)

dangerous for their health because LGB people who “deceive” themselves as

LGBs will be embarrased to go to the Community Heatlh Centre (Pusat

Kesehatan Masyarakat/PusKesMas) or hospital to check their condition whether

they have been infected with HIV/AIDS or not.

According to research conducted by Kusman Ibrahim, Praneed Songwathana

and Umaporn Boonyasopun in 2015, there were an estimation 35 million people

living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) globally and 19 millions of

them do not know that they have the virus (Ibrahim et al. 2015). The HIV

pandemic is still a major problem and poses continual challenges to many

countries. Indonesia is one among 15 countries that reported over 75% of the

2.1 million new infection that occurred in 2013. Indonesia has been facing

increasing numbers of PLWH since the first case was identified in 1987. The country has been noted as having the fastest growing HIV epidemic in Asia. Up

to September 2014, the number of people with HIV were reported 150,296, and

55,779 persons have been in the stage of AIDS (Ibrahim et al. 2015), however

during the last decade, there has been much debate in Indonesia concerning the

imminent arrival of HIV/AIDS epidemic (Lindquist 2005).

After Irian Jaya in Papua Island and Jakarta in Java Island, the Riau

Archipelago in Sumatera Island – and Batam in particular – has the highest

official rates of HIV in Indonesia. Of the cumulative HIV/AIDS cases in

Indonesia, Riau Province has slightly less than 10%, the overwhelming majority

of which are concentrated in Batam and neigbouring islands, which have less

than 0.5% of the total population of Indonesia (Lindquist 2005). Meanwhile, if

we look at the rate spread of HIV/AIDS in Bandung (West Java), reported that

Bandung has a highest number of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWH) in

Indonesia, which was 3,267 cases cumulatively up to September 2014 (Ibrahim

et al. 2015). An estimated 25 million people have died since HIV/AIDS was

first recognized in 1981, making it one of the most lethal epidemics in history

(Monshipouri and Trapp 2011).

II. Methodology

This research is the preliminary research thus I only used literature references

and very short interviews (informal interviews) with six people infected with

HIV/AIDS. Review of literature involved an electronic search (Ibrahim and

Songwathana 2009) for information related to the consequences caused by the

religion, in this case of Islam. Beside using electronic references, I also used

several books and journals to search for data.

In this study, I only met six people in Jakarta who were infected with

HIV/AIDS and had a religion of Islam. They are my own friends who have

confessed that they have been infected with HIV/AIDS, therefore I have not

carried out “heavy” research. Conversations with them are done by “chatting”

in a cafe, their home, or in a place they feel comfortable. Because this research

is very sensitive, I will not publicize their real names in public. I will only use

pseudonyms and age as their identification. this research is purely qualitative

research, therefore I will only reveal the story in narrative form of five


III. Stigma and Discrimination Against People with HIV/AIDS

Indonesian LGBT suffers from prejudice (stigma) and discrimination.

Discrimination refers to the actual behaviours that are harmful or product

negative effects on LGBTs (Bohan 1996). The forms of discrimination that

Indonesian LGBT experience include being the subject of ridicule, getting fired

from one’s job, being the object of sexual harrassment, getting expelled from

school, getting rejection by peers, being disowned by one’s family, being forced

to remain in the closet, being pressured to conform to traditional gender roles,

and becoming the victim of violence, assault, and sexual assault. Underlying prejudice (stigma) and discrimination against LGBT is heterosexism. Heterosexism

is a world view or value system that prizes heterosexuality, assumes that it is the

only appropriate manifestation of love and sexuality, and devalues homosexuality

and all that is not heterosexual (Ellis and Murphy 1995). This heterosexual

assumption and the teaching of heterosexuality as the sole, legitimate expression

of sexuality and affection is ingrained in society’s norms, institutions, laws,

cultural expressions, media, and science (Macapagal et al. 2013). In Indonesia,

the prevalence concept of homosexuality is that of sickness and sin. LGBT

activity is generaly viewed by society include sinners, genetically deformed, and

psychology imbalance. Therefore fear of the HIV/AIDS virus occurs in the


The first time HIV/AIDS diagnosed in Indonesia was in 1987 (Samuels

2018). The epidemic has been rising since then, first mostly among injecting

drug users, but over the last decade increasingly affecting men who have sex

with men, female sex workers, and high-risk men and their wifes and children,

with an estimated 690,000 people infected by 2015 (Indonesia National AIDS

Commission 2014). But what is the biggest obstacles for HIV/AIDS prevention

in Indonesia? One of the biggest obstacles to HIV/AIDS prevention and control

in Indonesia is the high level of prejudice (stigma) and discrimination against

people with HIV/AIDS. Prejudice (stigma) comes from the mind of an individual

or community who believe that HIV/AIDS is a result of immoral behavior that

cannot be accepted by society. Prejudice (stigma) against people with HIV/AIDS

is reflected in cynicism and excessive feelings of fear. Many think that people

infected with HIV /AIDS deserve punishment due to their own actions (Shaluhiyah

et al. 2015). This is why people with HIV/AIDS infection receive unfair

treatment, discrimination and prejudice (stigma). Social isolation, dissemination

of HIV/AIDS status and rejection of the various spheres of community activities

such as education, work, and health services is a form of prejudice (stigma) that

often occurs. The high level of public rejection of people with HIV/AIDS causes some of them to live by hiding their status (Maman et al. 2009). Prejudice

(stigma) against people with HIV/AIDS has a big impact on HIV/AIDS

prevention and control programs. The risk populations will feel afraid to take

HIV/AIDS tests because if the results are revealed they will be ostracized.

People with seropositive are afraid to reveal their status and decide to postpone

treatment, particularly women with HIV/AIDS who are pregnant will have a

greater impact when they do not want to seek treatment to prevent transmission

to their babies (Maman et al. 2009). The Province of Central Java is the sixth

most number of cumulative HIV/AIDS cases in Indonesia. In March 2014, the

cumulative number of HIV infections was 7,584, while the cumulative number

of AIDS was 3,339 cases with 978 cases by deaths (Shaluhiyah et al. 2015). The

high mortality rate is most likely due to people with HIV/AIDS not having the

opportunity to get optimal care due to the high stigma and discrimination among

the community (Shaluhiyah et al. 2015).

With “low” knowledge and education, prejudice (stigma) and discrimination

against people infected with HIV/AIDS still occur in the community. Many

people refuse to be friends with people infected with HIV/AIDS. Even if there

were no evictions from their environment, there were still many people who

were reluctant to involve people infected with HIV/AIDS in their activities.

Apart of that, experience or negative attitudes towards people infected with

HIV/AIDS are considered as factors that can influence the emergence of prejudice

(stigma) and discrimination. Opinions about HIV/AIDS is a curse disease due

to immoral behavior also greatly influences people to behave towards people

infected with HIV/AIDS. Prejudice (stigma) and discrimination makes people

infected with HIV/AIDS treated differently from others and get an unfair action.

Prejudice (stigma) and discrimination arise because people do not know about

the information of HIV/AIDS in particular how HIV/AIDS is transmitted and

how to prevent it. Prejudice (stigma) and discrimination are obstacles in preventing

HIV/AIDS transmission and treatment. In addition, prejudice (stigma) and discrimination against people infected with HIV/AIDS also causes people who

have symptoms or are suspected of having HIV/AIDS are reluctant to do tests

to determine the status of HIV/AIDS because if the results are positive, they are

afraid of being rejected by the family. People infected with HIV/AIDS will close

themselves and tend not to interact with family, friends, and neighbors. This is

because some people think that people with HIV/AIDS are people who have bad

behaviors, such as women sex workers, drug users, and homosexuals.

IV. The Role of Islam in Viewing HIV/AIDS in Asia and Southeast Asia

Apart from the “high” prejudice (stigma) and discrimination against people

infected with HIV/AIDS, religious issue, in this case Islam, is also very

influential. The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has

reported the total HIV population of North Korea, Middle East and predominantly

Muslim Asian countries to nearly 1 million (UNAIDS 2005). It seems no country

has been unaffected by HIV/AIDS, including predominantly Muslim countries.

Asia is known as the most populous Muslim region in the world and has been

recognized as having the second largest population living with HIV/AIDS. The

review of the literature regarding HIV/AIDS epidemics in predominantly Muslim

countries in Asia addressed only those countries where Muslims comprise over

fifty percent of the population. These countries includes: Afghanistan, Pakistan,

Bangladesh, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, and Indonesia. Between 2003 and

2005, both the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS estimated that a

significant number of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) existed within

these countries. Indonesia, with the world’s largest population of Muslim,

reported an increase of 60,000 cases (110,000 to 170,000) of HIV/AIDS berween

2003 and 2005. Similar increases were reported in Malaysia, Pakistan and

Bangladesh, although less than 100 PLWHA were reported in Afghanistan and

Brunei Darussalam the end of 2005 (Ibrahim and Songawathana 2009).

There are approximately 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide. Muslims are

connected by their common Islamic faith, heritage and belief in: one God;

angels; God’s revealed books; prophets through whom God’s revelations were

brought to mankind; a day of judgment; individual accountability for actions;

God’s complete authority over human destiny; and, life after death (Rassool

2000). Muslims view the Qur’an as a record of the exact words, revealed by God

through the Angel Gabriel, to the Prophet Muhammad and on to the people

(Ibrahim and Songwathana 2009). Thus, the Qur’an serves as the prime source

of every Muslim’s faith and life practices. Islam is a religion that incorporated

ritual practices and guidelines for a complete way of life, and is reflected in

Muslim cultural beliefs and practices. The five pillars of Islam include: faith

(Sahadah), prayes (Shalat), concerns for the needy (Zakat), self-purification (fasting), and pilgrimage, by those who are able, to Makkah (Ibrahim and

Songwathana 2009). In a Muslim’s world, Islam defines culture, and culture

gives meaning to every aspect of an individual’s life, including his/her behaviors,

perceptions, emotions, language, family structure, diet, dress, body image,

concepts of space and time, and attitudes towards health and illnesses (Ibrahim

and Songwathana 2009). Islam views marriage as sacred and family as the

foundation of society, which provides stability and security to individuals and

families. Men are seen as the protectors of women and play an important role in

decision making (Ibrahim and Songwathana 2009).

Homosexuality is condemned, and considered sinful and punishable by

Allah. Muslims couples are encouraged to have children, sex outside of marriage

is discouraged and contraception and family planning are allowed (Ibrahim and

Songwathana 2009). Abortion is not permitted, except if the pregnancy threatens

the life of the mother, since children are perceived as a gift from Allah. The

practices include: adhaan (the call to prayers) in the right ear, iqaamah (the

announcement of the initiation of prayers) in the left ear, tahnic (placing a few

drops of sweet liquid or honey on the tongue) and aqiqah (shaving the baby’s

head, naming the baby, and sacrificing sheep). Boys are circumcised, generally

between the ages of seven and twelfe, to enable them to maintain cleanliness

thtough washing (wudhu) and to prevent urine from collecting in the foreskin

(Ibrahim and Songwathana 2009). Muslims prefer to be cared for by a member

of the same gender. In addition, the Islamic faith emphasizes cleanliness, which

includes: washing the genital area with running water prior to any type of

worship; eating with the right hand; and, consuming only permissible (halal)

food. Forbidden, or non-permissable (haram), foods and items, include pork,

non-halal meat, alcoholic beverages, gelatin products and illegl drugs (Ibrahim

and Songwathana 2009).

Muslim believe in live after death and the Day of Judgement. When one is

dying, privacy of the individual is encouraged durig the declaration of faith and recitation of the Quran. Upon death, the person’s eyes and mouth are to be

closed; the limbs of the body are to straightened; a complete ritual body washing

is to be done by a family member or person of the same gender; the body is to

be covered with a plein sheet; and, prayets are to be said. Some Muslims may

request that non-Muslims not touch the body and that the body be buried as soon

as possible after death (Ibrahim and Songwathana 2009).

All Islamic scriptures are written in the Qur’an, “For ye practice your lusts

on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people trangressing beyound

bounds. And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone)” was mentioned

in Qur’an (7:80-84). Muslim scholars through the centuries have interpreted the

“rain of stones” on the town as meaning that homosexuals should be stoned,

since no other reason is given for the people’s destruction. Qur’an (7:81) added,

a verse which is a part of the previous text establishes that homosexuality as

different from (and much worse than) adultery or other sin, “Will ye commit

abomination such as no creature ever did before you?”. According to the Arabic

grammar, homosexuality is considered as the worst sin, while references

elsewhere describe forms of non-marital sex as being “among great sins”.

Furhermore, it is written in Qur’an (26:165-166) that, “Of all the creatures in

the world, will ye approach males, and leave those whom Allah has created for

your to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing” (Carreon et al. 2017).

In Southeast Asia region LGBT people and other gender and sexual minorities

experience criminalization, systemic violence, discrimination in employment

and healt care, lack of legal recognition concerning their families and partnerships,

and restricted freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly

(Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights 2012).

Same-sex sexual acts are criminalized under the law in Malaysia, Singapore,

and Brunei Darussalam, as well as in South Sumatra and the Aceh province in

Indonesia (Carroll 2016). There is only one country in the region that protects

its citizens from workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation through a national law: Thailand, as of 2015 (Manalastas et

al. 2017). Despite the often remarked cultural valuation of kinship, family ties,

and marriage, nowhere in Southeast Asia are same-sex partnerships legally

recognized, and joint adoption by lesbian and gay couples remains a legal

impossibility (Sanders 2013, 2015). And although gender reassignment surgery

is available in countries like Thailand, transgender citizens cannot change their

legal markets in official documents and remain vulnerable to violence, harassment,

and discrimination (UNDP and AUSAID 2014). One component of the social

ecology faced by sexual and gender minorities is public opinion toward them

and their sexualities (Herek 2004, 2007; Herek and McLemore 2013). These

social attitudes may range from affirmation and acceptance (homopositivity) to

disapproval, denial, and denigration (homonegativity) (Manalastas et al. 2017).

Discussing homonegativity, nationally representatives survey data from Indonesia,

Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam point to widespread

moderate to high levels of homogenativity among people in Southeast Asian

region, where on averagen four of 10 Southeast Asians reject neighbors who are

lesbian or gay. The most homonegativity attitudes were found in Indonesia and

Malaysia, compared to relatively less rejecting nations like Thailand, Singapore,

Vietnam, and the Philippines (Manalastas et al. 2017). The findings appear to

provide some evidence for the popular notion that the Philippines and Thailand

are indeed some of the most “gay-friendly’ countries in Southeast Asia, while

Indonesia and Malaysia much less so (Manalastas et al. 2017).

Looking at the facts, Thailand, Burma/Myanmar and Cambodia are the

three countries with the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in Southeast Asia, and

in Thailand AIDS has even become the leading cause of death among young

people. However, both Thailand and Cambodia have been successful in their

fight against HIV/AIDS, much because of strong political commitment,

involvement of civil society and a wide range of preventive activities. At the

same time Burma/Myanmar stands on the brink of what may be one of the most

serious epidemics in Asia with continously rising HIV infection rates (Jönsson

2006). The HIV prevalence rates in Vietnam and Laos have remained relatively

low. However, with high rates in the neighbouring countries together with

increasing trade-related and tourism-related population mobility both within

and across borders, the vulnerability of Vietnam and Laos is obvious. Also,

Thailand’s recent war against drugs has forced HIV/AIDS infected underground,

and migrant workers from Cambodia and Burma/Myanmar working in non-

registered That brothels will hardly be interested in preventive measures, if they

y will deported when they get in contact with publuc health workers

(Ainworth et al. 2003). Indonesia with the largest Muslim population is also

included in the rank.

V. The Role of Islam in Viewing HIV/AIDS in Indonesia

HIV/AIDS is a new phenomenon particularly in Indonesia. As we know

that this disease is caused by the HIV virus, but the origin of how the virus

infecting humans, science itself it still yet to find certainty. Because of its

mysterious origins, the disease has resulted in the “outbreak narratives” that

shape the stigmatization of the infected and the “vulnerable” people. And this

stigmatization attributes the morality and defines such social groups as vulnerable

to the disease. Because the new phenomenon in Indonesia, HIV/AIDS initially

considered as follows: first, HIV/AIDS is an important disease that does not

come from Indonesia. Second, it involves the morality to see it disease, arguably

HIV/AIDS is caused by deviation of behaviour that incompatible with the norms

of religion and society (Rahman and Faddad 2012).

In Indonesia, in 1983 Dr. Djuhain Djoerban first tried to take blood samples

from 30 Transvestites. From his research he concluded from the 30 people

examined, there are two people who may be suspected of having the HIV virus.

The question is why he checked the Transvestites. This is because the outbreak

was first found in homosexual partner. While the couple “homosexual” in

Indonesia in culturally that time can hardly be detected, even far from the image

most people about its existence. So, it is not surprising that HIV/AIDS was

intially considered a homosexual imported disease are deemed not reflect the

values and behavior of the people of Indonesia (Rahman and Faddad 2012). But

HIV/AIDS was officialy found in Indonesia in 1987, when a Dutch tourist died

at Sanglah Hospital. The death of the man recognized by the Ministry of Health

was result of HIV/AIDS. Since then Indonesia as was registered in the WHO list

of the 13 countries in Asia have reported cause AIDS (Rahman and Faddad

2012). The results of government surveys in the year of 2007 showed the

average of HIV/AIDS people are 10.4% women sex workers, 4.6% undirectly sex workers, 24.4% transvestites, 0.8% sex workers costumers, 5.2% gay and

transvestites, and 54.3% drug users (Rahman and Faddad 2012).

Since the first identified in 1983 by Dr. Djuhain Djoerban and in 1987 by

the dead of Dutch tourist, the government attentions to the spread of HIV/AIDS

took place seriously just in 1994. In 1994 the government of Indonesia direcly

formed the National AIDS Commission, which specifically deals with prevention

and mitigation of the spread of the virus (Rahman and Faddad 2012). On the

other hand, in 1995, Ministy of Religious Affaird, together with UNICEF and

the Indonesian Council of Ulama (Majelis Ulama Indonesia or MUI), which vas

the headed by KH Hasan Basri, issued a fatwa related to HIV/AIDS prevention

in Indonesia, including the establishment of a forum “Mudzakarah Nasional Ulama” concerning about controlling the transmission of HIV/AIDS. The

response was then followed by the Nahdhatul Ulama (NU) via “Bathsul Masail”

in 1997 and then followed by concrete response of Muhammadiyah in 2005

through the launching of the book “Friday Sermon” about HIV/AIDS (Rahman

and Faddad 2012). From the MUI fatwa, it clearly shows that the MUI has a

very bad perception towards people with HIV/AIDS. The indications can be seen

from the last recommendation of the fatwa which states that people with

HIV/AIDS will be guided to repent and stop their sins and nad deeds, and

hopefully their repentance accepted by God. It clearly shows that the MUI did

not try to eliminate the stigma of HIV/AIDS patients even it actually produces

the stigma of HIV/AIDS as a punishment from God (Rahman and Faddad 2012).

Related to LGBT which recently became a polemic in Indonesian society,

MUI has established law for this matter through Fatwa Number 57, year 2014

about Lesbian, Gay, Sodomy and Obscenity. This fatwa is based on the people’s

desire to have a clear legal stipulation about LGBT that is happening in society.

As an institution authorized to establish Islamic law, the MUI has reviewed and

formulated a fatwa on LGBT law according to Islam (Usman 2018). In the fatwa,

the MUI established eleven points of law related to LGBT, that is (MUI 2014):

1. Sexual intercourse is only allowed for couple who have a husband and

wife relationship, the couple men and women based on legitimate

marriage in syar’i

2. Sexual orientation to the same sex is a disorder that must be cured and

irregularities that must be straightened out

3. Homosexual, both lesbian and gay are banned (haram), and is a form of

crime (jarimah)

4. Homosexual perpetrators, both lesbian and gay, including bisexual are

subject to hudud and/or ta’zir punishment by the authorities

5. Sodomy of the law is prohibited and is a vile act that brings great sin


6. Sodomy perpretators are subject to punishment of ta’zir whose maximum

sentence is death penalty

7. Homosexual activity other than by sodomy (liwath) law is prohibited and

the perpretator is subject to ta’zir punishment

8. Sexual assault activities such as groping, squeezing, and other activities

without legitimate marriage bonds, performed by a person, whether

committed to other types or same-sex, to adults and children of the law

are prohibited

9. The perpretator of obscenity as referred to in number 8 shall be subjected

to ta’zir punishment

10. In the case of the victim of homosexual crime (finger), sodomy, and

immorality are children, the prepretator is subjected to as penalty of

punishment to the death penalty

11. Legalize same-sex sexual activity and other deviant sexual orientations

is prohibited

Based on the fatwa, it can be understood that the MUI views LGBT

behaviour as a form of sexual deviation that is unlawful and should be shunned

by Muslims (Usman 2018).

In determining those fatwa, the MUI has several reasons and arguments

that become the backdrop. Among others that LGBT behaviour has deviated

from the human nature created in pairs (male and female). Among the propositions

that explain about human nature is surah Al-Nisa (4) verse 1: All men, fear your

land, who created you from one soul, and from him God created his wife; and

of them God has multiplied many men and women, and fear Allah who by His name you ask one another, and (nurture) the relationship of silaturrahim. Allah

always guards and keeps watch over your (Usman 2018). These verse indicated

that humans fear Allah who has created man from the one body of Prophet

Adam. Then from the left rib of Prophet Adam also created his wife Siti Hawa

(of the other sex) as a spouse or wife (Usman 2018). About the prohibition of

same-sex sexual intercourse, MUI understand it from the content of QS. Al-

Shu’arra (26) verses 165-166: Why do you have sex with men among men? And

ye leave the wives of thy Lord made unto thee, ye are indeed transgressors. This

verse tells the story of the Prophet Luths people as the same-sex, when there are

women who they can marry, but they do not want and prefer the same sex (Usman

2018). The prophet is cursed the perpretators of homosexuality, in his hadith he

repeatedly cursed who worked on the deed. From Ibn ‘Abbas, narrated by An-

Nasai and Ahmad the Prophet Muhammad said: Allah cursed the people who do

the actions of the people of the Prophet Luth, Allah cursed people who do the

actions of the people of Prophet Luth, Allah cursed people who do the actions

of the people of the Prophet Luth (Usman 2018).

In reference to the Qur’an and Hadith, the MUI imposes a law prohibited

on LGBT behaviour. The institution of legal consideration considers LGBT’s

behaviour to have deviated from the human nature that God predestined in pairs

and sexual intercourse with the opposite sex, not same sex, so that human

existence is maintained. Through relationships with the opposite sex, humans

can multiply and carry on their offspring. Therefore, the MUI prohibits LGBT

as a preventive measure of the development of this behaviour in a wider sociey

(Usman 2018). In connection with those matters, the Indonesia society (through

the MUI) are fear if they will be infected with HIV/AIDS. This has happened

from previous years.

During 2009, an estimated 220,000 (190,000-260,000) people were newly

infected with HIV and 230,000 (200,000-270,000) died due to AIDS in Indonesia.

Papua has a generalized epidemics (2.4% HIV prevalence among the general population). HIV prevalence among People With Inject Drug (PWID) continues

to be high, while in Surabaya, HIV prevalence has been rising consistently, from

48% in 2000 to 55% in 2007 (World Health Organization 2012). Data from the

2007 Integrated Biological and Behavioural Surveillance (IBBS) suggests that

the HIV epidemid among PWID may be closely linked to the rise in heterosexual

transmission rates, through high numbers of unprotected sexual encounters. It

was estimated that PWID had 380.000 unprotected sex encounters with Female

Sex Workers (FSW) in the previous year (World Health Organization 2012).

HIV prevalence among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) rose sharply from

0.87% in 2002 to 5.3% in 2007, ranging from 8.1% in Jakarta to 2% in Bandung

(World Health Organization 2012).

The use of condoms as a way to prevent HIV/AIDS is still controversial.

Some people consider this way promote the unmarriage couple and adultery.

One of the important points of the MUI fatwa is that the institution imposes

using condoms only for married couples who are infected with HIV/AIDS. This

suggestion is in opposition with government recommendations that aggresively

promote the use if condoms as a preventive tool through condom program.

Islamic mass organizations such as Indonesian Mujahidin Council (Majelis

Mujahidin Indonesia or MMI), and MUI also refused to campaign the use of

condom as it is considered not solve the problem. The motto “save sex is

condoms use” should be changed to be “safe sex is no sex” and mutually faithful

monogamy (Rahman and Faddad 2012).

Although the government had revised his opinion against HIV/AIDS, but

HIV/AIDS prevention strategies by the government tent to be targeted as

specific groups and specific people’s behavior. Key populations or vulnerable

people to HIV/AIDS illness Indonesians from government’s version are the drug

users, sex workers, and transvestites (Rahman and Faddad 2012). Until 1996,

according to Ann Kroeger, HIV/AIDS was a “new disorder” social phenomenon

in Indonesia. What was intended as a new disorder of social phenomenon, that the HIV/AIDS issue was not considered a problem only as a disease affecting

the health, but also as a new social problem that brought panic within the

community not surprisingly, when the number of HIV/AIDS has already noted,

HIV/AIDS brought panic thus invited the response of all elements of society,

not least religious groups (Rahman and Faddad 2012).

Construction of Islamic groups againts HIV/AIDS is unlikely change.

HIV/AIDS is still understood as a disease caused by the disobedience of religious

values. It forms HIV/AIDS as a matter of moral consideration. The construction

HIV/AIDS, with a moral consideration, in Indonesia is very influential on the

practices to treat this disease. In fact, the phenomenon of HIV/AIDS likes an

iceberg, the hidden was larger quantity larger than the appeared. More extremely

it can be said that HIV/AIDS is not looking at anyone to be transmitted.

VI. Accepting the Reality (Pasrah), Efforts (Ikhtiar), Supplications

(Doa), Gaining the Blessing of God, and Building Brotherhood

In the methodology section, I mentioned that I only interviewed six persons

with HIV/AIDS. I interviewed them with the informal way, sometimes they

cried and do not want to continue the interview thus I am waiting for tommorow

or the day that they are confortable to speak. The respondents was all my best

friends and they are not shy to talk. For this paper, I do not use their real names.

I only use the alphabetical order and their ages in order to cover that they are

infected HIV/AIDS. With those six respondents, I found the patterns that they

are feeling during they infected HIV/AIDS.

Pattern 1: “Pasrah”, accepting the reality of being HIV/AIDS-inffected person

while submitting self to Allah “Pasrah” or accepting the reality can cause a condition that we call as a loneliness. Loneliness is a mental and emotional condition characterize by feelings of alienation and lack of meaningful relationships with others (Bruno

2000). When feeling lonely, the individuals will feel desperation, impatient

boredom, self-deprecation, and depression. To overcome this situation, Fessman

and Lester (Bruno 2000) explained that social supports is the predictor of the

emergence of loneliness. The point here is that individuals who received limited

social supports are more likely to have a loneliness. Meanwhile, individuals who

received better social supports, they do not feel lonely. According to Sarafino et

al.(2006), social supports refer to the comfort, attention, appreciation, or assistance

that other people or other groups provide to individuals. Social supports can be

obtained from five aspects, namely instrumental, informational support, appreciation,

emotions, and social integration (Orford 1992).

My two respondents explained that they have a feeling of “pasrah” and

“ikhtiar” when they are infected with HIV/AIDS:

Now, I couldn’t do anything much, except of accepting the reality

(cried in front of me). This is my destiny. I don’t know how much

longer my age. I have only one thing, I care for my self by means of

‘pasrah’ or submitting self to Allah and I hope everything will be better

in the future. (Deni, 35 years old)

As a human being, sometimes my emotion is not good or it can be said

that it is labile. So...just let everything go naturally. This is my way

of life set by Allah. It has to be like this, you know. I accept this reality

of being an HIV/AIDS infected. This is a meaning of caring to me.

(Akhyar, 40 years old)

The two respondents understood that the current situation of being an

HIV/AIDS infected person is a part of they life. They knew that they could not

escape or run away from reality. Accepting as it is and submitting self to Allah

while hoping for a better life, would help them to cope with prolong suffering

from HIV/AIDS illness. However, all of them perceived that being an HIV/AIDS infected person presently was their destiny of Allah. Every single individual

would have his/her own destiny.

Pattern 2: Striving to maintain health by performing “ikhtiar” (efforts) and “doa”

(supplications) “Ikhtiar” (efforts) and “doa” (supplication) are a call from an interior to the

superior, only addressed to he whose power surpasses that of the supplicant.

With the Almighty, person supplicate Him because nothing in the entire universe

is beyond His Power (Ash-Sha’rawy n.d.).1

Supplication is always for a thing

you believe is prosperous for you (Ash-Sha’rawy n.d.). Supplication is an an

avowal of one’s helplessness. Therefore, we may find that some men wielding

authority, who can do whatever they will with their power and influence, or with

their money, do not supplicate (Ash-Sha’rawy n.d.). Remembering Allah at

every blessing is a must, and thanking Him when benefiting from it is also a

must. Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, loves to hear the voices of His

believing servants begging Him. He loves to hear them saying, ‘O Lord’. He

may delay the response, for them to continue supplicating and for Him to hear

the sound of their supplication (Ash-Sha’rawy n.d.).

One respondent expressed his insight about caring for self as performing

optimum efforts to maintain health. Regret, frustation, despair, and hopeless

following the HIV/AIDS dignosis should not be present continuously, as that

would in itself even lead to life termination. The respondent believed that God has

already set a plan for every single creation. Health, according to the respondent,

was an essential capital to keep life going forward meaningfully. As he said:

Although living with this illness is so terrible, I believe that Allah has

the best plan for me. I must continue striving for life by maintaining good health. Caring means performing “ikhtiar” (effort) to keep myself

healthy. I would do whatever ways to be healthy as long as it is

relevant to my beliefs. (Samuel, 38 years old)

Pattern 3: Gaining the blessing of God by doing good deed

One respondent acknowledged that previous behaviors as a mistake that

brought them to get HIV/AIDS infection but he believed that by doing good

actions, Allah would forgive his mistakes and purify his sins. Doing good actions

were also perceived as a form of his reponsability to worship Allah. He said that:

Thank Allah for allowing me to remain alive though I have done many

mistakes in the past. So, to me, caring means I have to do good things

to compensate my previous mistakes. Now, I am trying to normalize

my life. I believe that God is merciful, so I intent to gain His blessing.

(Kanto, 42 years old)

Pattern 4: Building brotherhood and networking to share, support, and help

each other

I am very thankful to a friend who advised me to attend the PLWH

self-head group. This has opened my eyes that there are other persons

as well who suffering from this illness, not only me. In the group, we

learn, share, and support each other. We feel close and alike brother

due to the feeling of “senasib sepenanggungan” (sense of having

similar fate). (Fredy, 45 years old)

We are infected by the HIV/AIDS. We deal with fear of exposing our

HIV/AIDS status to our family and peoples...That way I established

the group to develop brotherhood and network among us because if

we don’t care for ourselves, no one would care for us automatically.

(Alam, 43 years old)

The commonality of problems faced by PLWH allowed them to share their

feelings and cultivate brotherhood among HIV/AIDS survivors. With the

assistances if the NGOs working for HIV/AIDS, some PLWH organized self-

help groups which facilitated them to gather and empower themselves by sharing

knowledge and experience in dealing with particular issues related to living with

HIV/AIDS infection. By joining the group, the respondents might take advantage

by learning from other members who have the same experiences. They develop

cohesiveness and brotherhood among them as a manisfestation of caring which

was in line with their religious beliefs.


HIV/AIDS has spread worldwide. The predominantly Muslim countries are

no exception, since some Muslims engage in behaviors that place them at risk

of contracting HIV/AIDS. Islamic beliefs and traditions shape the culture and

way of life of Muslim peoples, and directly influence their health care practices.

However, misperceptions and lack of knowledge about HIV/AIDS continue to

exist among many Muslims, and lead to stigmatization, discrimination and

neglect of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Although the governments of predominantly Muslim countries in Asia are

aware of the increasing number of people living with HIV/AIDS within their

respective country, the effetiveness of implementing programs related to HIV/AIDS

preventions and treatment continue to need development and implementation.

Understanding the cultural beliefs of a particular population is crucial to the

development of culturally appropriate caring. Since there is limited knowledge

of HIV/AIDS in predominantly Muslim countries, including Indonesia, research

need to be conducted to explore this phenomenon.


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