When President Suharto's authoritarian regime was ousted and replaced with a secular democratic government in 1998, conservative Islamists turned to accounting to inculcate piety. Performances of religious rituals were recorded daily in a piety notebook and audited weekly. The piety notebook is a global assemblage that combines the calculative logic internal to Islam with secular liberal ideals of transparency, objectivity, and individual autonomy. It aims to safeguard against inauthentic displays of piety associated with the military dictatorship—anti-Islamic for most of its rule, only to suddenly turn pious as opposition to it surmounted. Contrary to dominant assumptions about Islamist rigidity and anti-west attitudes, the piety notebook reveals Islamists' ability to improvise, adapt, and borrow from the democratic context in which they live. Through an analysis of the piety notebook and the people who use it, this article shows that to be Muslim in the contemporary geopolitical context means having to contend with the hegemony of secular liberalism, even though the adoption of liberal methods do not necessarily transform Muslims into liberal subjects.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 1001-1028
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.