In Islamic tradition, there’s a concept called tashil, which means ‘to make easy’. Tashil manifests in the grand works of old Muslim clerics, or ulama, including in the study of fiqh, tasawuf, tauhid, nahwu, sarf, even in medicines and astronomy. Tashil wasn’t present only in the way the substances of these studies were elucidated, but also through the publications of the knowledge.
To better explain, we’ll take one branch of study: fiqh. Ulama divided them into several books: matan, syarah, and hasyiah. Matan is a short volume that covers fundamental knowledge related to the study, commonly in the form of poetry that serves as a mnemonic device to ease learning. When the ulama realised the terms in Matan were found complex, they concocted Syarah. In Hasyiah, they wrote long pieces regarding contemporary issues.
All of these were written in Arabic. Indonesian ulama understood that it’d take a long time for Indonesian people to comprehend Arabic, and they began to translate those books into Jawi language. Mir’at At-Thullab by Syeikh Abdurrauf As-Singkily from Aceh was written as an abridgement of Fathul Wahab by Syeikh Zakaria Al-Ansari, better known as Syeikh Islam.
The history of the publication of these books was inspired by the concept of tashil. In the beginning of Islam, the books used Arabic scripts without diacritics. The adding of these was a concession to “Western” tradition in order to ease reading. After the invention of the printing machine, important volumes in Islamic sciences followed Hamisy methods, which is to write Matan on the side, then Syarah or its explanation inside. Adapting with the development of the computers, these writings were later printed in paragraphs to further facilitate the readers by helping them with familiar forms of texts.
We translated the concept of tashil in the spirit of the transfer of knowledge and lined them with our theme “Knots”. This came into an interpretation of tashil as a form of solidarity for Muslims across the globe. Through this programme, we expect to reach out to younger generations. We acknowledge the strong screen culture that’s adapted by these generations, and, following the concept of tashil, we aim to further familiarise them with the fundamental knowledge in Islam by assimilating it with the things they see every day.
Madani International Film Festival will show these young minds that Islam is adaptive, it’s open, and it welcomes advancements, including in technology, especially when it has the ability to extend its hands of kindness. We see the cinema as a form of such technology. Through this modern art, we wish to relay our thoughts of “Knots”, our thoughts on solidarity in society. We wish to remind the audience that the Prophet Muhammad SAW saw all Muslims as but one soul.