Haram Or Not?
Can the National Social Insurance (JKN) program be non-Sharia compliant and yet not haram? Indonesia’s Council of Ulema (MUI) seems to think so. After first declaring this National Social Insurance program haram in a fatwa, it subsequently backpedalled and now claims that the issue is not so much whether the National Social Insurance program is haram or not, but whether it complies with sharia law.
The Indonesian Council of Ulema took the Social Security Organizing Body (BPJS) – the administrator of the National Social Insurance program - to task, saying that the program is haram because it contains elements of uncertainty (gharar), gambling (maisir) and usury (riba). The MUI fatwa reads: “The implementation of the BPJS, especially provisions that involve cross-party agreements, is not in line with sharia principles because it contains the elements of gharar, maisir and riba”.
The main reason for this fatwa appears to be MUI’s opposition to a 2% administrative fee charged by the Social Security Organizing Body on premiums paid into the National Social Insurance program.
Ma’ruf Amin, head of MUI’s fatwa council explains: “The reason is because the BPJS uses the term ‘bank interest’”.
In rejecting the National Social Insurance program, MUI in turn calls for the government to establish another insurance scheme to provide health coverage for Indonesian Muslims.
Ma’ruf Amin explains: “The government must form a sharia insurance system that is implemented in accordance with Islamic principles”.
Aqil Siraj, chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama (Indonesia’s biggest Islamic organization), reacted this way: “The MUI issues these fatwas too easily. They can issue up to 11 fatwas a year. In Egypt, they only issue three fatwas a year”.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla said: “I haven’t read the fatwa. Yet in Islam, as we know, anything that isn’t halal is haram, and vice versa. However, the question is, what is it exactly that is forbidden in the BPJS system?” Then he answered: “That is open to further discussion”.
Azyumardi Azra, former rector of Jakarta’s Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic Unity said concerning the MUI’s fatwa: “The fatwa is counterproductive and has little effect. There’s a lack of understanding about universal healthcare social insurance in Indonesia. JKN is not an insurance as we commonly understand the word,” the UIN professor added. “It is a social insurance administered by the government, and that’s where the misunderstanding comes from.”
So can the National Social Insurance program survive the MUI fatwa? Azyumardi Azra has the answer, saying: “Most Indonesians are wise enough to discriminate between beneficial government programs and harmful ones. These days, people are more concerned about benefits and entitlements so it’s unlikely we’ll see a significant fallout from the fatwa. Whoever feels the fatwa suits him can follow it. Whoever doesn’t feel that way should not feel bound by it”.
A senior Nahdlatul Ulama person, Salahuddin Wahid aka Gus Solah said: “The fatwa won’t affect the implementation of JKN much. It doesn’t have social or political impact on Jokowi’s program”.
MUI has now backtracked on the fatwa. Jaih Mubarok, deputy chairman of MUI’s Sharia council said: “The context isn’t about whether JKN is haram; there’s a misunderstanding here. The fatwa merely emphasizes that the program is not according to Sharia law”.
So what should Indonesian Muslims do if they had already registered with the National Social Insurance program. Jaih Mubarok said: “Indonesians who have registered with JKN may continue their membership
Think About It
Vice President Jusuf Kalla said: “Yet in Islam, as we know, anything that isn’t halal is haram, and vice versa”. So can MUI’s fatwa, which pronounced the National Social Insurance program haram, be somehow reinterpreted as saying that the National Social Insurance program does not comply with sharia, but it is not haram?