|Biographical detail : ||Indonesian scholar who was instrumental in persuading President Suharto to step down.
In 1998, when Jakarta was rocked by anti-Suharto demonstrations Madjid visited the general at the presidential palace and told him it was time to leave – next day President Suharto announced his resignation.
Soft-spoken but steadfast and known as the conscience of his nation, Madjid believed in Indonesia remaining a secular state – he flirted with running for the presidency in 2004.
In his early writing (1968) he stated his theme in his book ‘Modernisation Is Rationalisation, Not Westernisation’ that Islam could thrive in a modern democratic society. In 1984, he received a doctorate from the University of Chicago on his dissertation, reason and revelation in Islam. In one of his most popular books ‘Doors to God’ he often said the emphasis in the first word of the title was on the plural. He wrote frequently on Islam and on the common threads of the major religions.
Madjid frequently travelled to Europe and the Middle East to speak on the compatibility of democracy and Islam. He was an Eisenhower Fellow in the US in 1990.
Nurcholish Madjid who grew up in the island of Java died of liver and kidney failure in Jakarta. He was a prominent student leader who later tried to work with President Suharto to achieve democratic change.