Although the Islamic revival movement has been struggling since 15th century, it has not resulted in significant changes in the Islamic world. It should be of great attention for Moslem intellectuals to engage in analytical studies on the history of Islam. By doing so they are able to step into and to direct some of the stages of Islamic revival, without losing the path in the course of it, and to predict its continuing course. In this article I would like to apply this analytical study of history to observe the dialectical thinking within the Muhammadiyah concerning its early opposition to Sufi sm and more recently to its acceptance of it. Data has been collected from historical resources as well as from Muhammadiyah followers’ works for validity.
Recently Indonesia is more exposed to materialism so that it requires a new balance in spirituality. This new sociological situation and condition propels the dialectical thinking in Muhammadiyah. At first it ignored spirituality and involve d itself intimately in modernity for long time, but now it pays more attention to spirituality ( Sufism ). Another factor perpetuat ing to the dialectical process is more related to the historical continuity of tradition in Moslem communities as a whole. By doing so recently, Muhammadiyah has been able to spread its missionaries into rural areas, not like before when its normative approach to the Koran was well suited only for Moslem s in the urban areas.
This dialectical approach could have occurred a long time ago if Muhammadiyah had become involved in comparative histor ical studies to other societ ies which had already been exposed intensely to materialism. This dialectical approach was used by Mohamed the Prophet PBUH in preaching the Islamic mission. Ibn Khaldun had explained in hisMuqaddimah that any thing that persists in this world is the changes itself.
Key words:revivalism, Muhammadiyah, history, spirituality, materialism.