Muslims and Matriarchs
Cultural Resilience in Indonesia through Jihad and Colonialism
Publication Year: 2008
Muslims and Matriarchs is a history of an unusual, probably heretical, and ultimately resilient cultural system. The Minangkabau culture of West Sumatra, Indonesia, is well known as the world's largest matrilineal culture; Minangkabau people are also Muslim and famous for their piety. In this book, Jeffrey Hadler examines the changing ideas of home and family in Minangkabau from the late eighteenth century to the 1930s.
Minangkabau has experienced a sustained and sometimes violent debate between Muslim reformists and preservers of indigenous culture. During a protracted and bloody civil war of the early nineteenth century, neo-Wahhabi reformists sought to replace the matriarchate with a society modeled on that of the Prophet Muhammad. In capitulating, the reformists formulated an uneasy truce that sought to find a balance between Islamic law and local custom. With the incorporation of highland West Sumatra into the Dutch empire in the aftermath of this war, the colonial state entered an ongoing conversation. These existing tensions between colonial ideas of progress, Islamic reformism, and local custom ultimately strengthened the matriarchate.
The ferment generated by the trinity of oppositions created social conditions that account for the disproportionately large number of Minangkabau leaders in Indonesian politics across the twentieth century. The endurance of the matriarchate is testimony to the fortitude of local tradition, the unexpected flexibility of reformist Islam, and the ultimate weakness of colonialism. Muslims and Matriarchs is particularly timely in that it describes a society that experienced a neo-Wahhabi jihad and an extended period of Western occupation but remained intellectually and theologically flexible and diverse.
Published by: Cornell University Press
Download PDF (566.5 KB)
Title Page, Copyright
Download PDF (56.5 KB)
Download PDF (53.0 KB)
Download PDF (572.0 KB)
In 1985, I signed up for the American Field Service high school student ex-change program and was placed with a mixed Minangkabau-Mandailing fam-ily in Jakarta. I have been returning to Indonesia and living as part of thisextended family ever since. I did a stretch of long-term fieldwork in WestSumatra in 1994 – 1996 and in Jakarta in 1998 – 2001. I spent a stray month or...
INTRODUCTIONCulture of Paradox
Download PDF (80.2 KB)
...1. Java is often depicted as having merely replaced the repressive and exploitative colonial state.Audrey R. Kahin, Rebellion to Integration: West Sumatra and the Indonesian Polity (Amsterdam: Amster-A student of Indonesia could be forgiven for thinking that the two great cul-tures of the archipelago are the Javanese and the Minangkabau. When we countthe names in the history books or tally the individuals who shaped the national...
Download PDF (2.2 MB)
The epigraph is quoted in E. Francis, “Korte Beschrijving van het Nederlandsch Grondgebied terWestkust Sumatra, 1837,” Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 2, no. 1 (1839): 113 – 14.1. The best study of the war is Christine Dobbin, Islamic Revivalism in a Changing Peasant Economy:Central Sumatra, 1784 – 1847 (London and Malmö: Curzon Press, 1983). On the war as jihad, seeAzyumardi Azra, The Origins of Islamic Reformism in Southeast Asia: Networks of Malay-Indonesian and...
TWOShapes of the House
Download PDF (3.0 MB)
The reformist Padri War did not end because of a Dutch military triumph; Tu-anku Imam Bondjol ceased his attack on the matriarchate from a position ofstrength. An ideological shift in Mecca, the temporary defeat of Wahhabism,and the Tuanku’s ultimate conscientiousness brought an end to the civil war.Following the Tuanku’s exile, the Dutch colonial government wasted no time...
THREEInteriors and Shapes of the Family
Download PDF (1.3 MB)
The stereotypical Minangkabau longhouse developed alongside a new tradi-tion of authority. The concept of the family was changing as well, and theideal form that a household should take became the subject of heated debate.Dutch policy was shifting authority away from nagari councils and the seniorwomen representing matrilocal longhouses. The colonial state encouraged the...
Download PDF (899.0 KB)
In the nineteenth century, villagers in West Sumatra grew up with divergentideas of a house and a family. Parenthood was debated and negotiated by moth-ers and aunts, fathers and uncles. Both reformist Islam and the colonial statefavored patriarchy but mistrusted one another. The matriarchate navigated be-tween these two ideological forces. Whereas reformism and colonialism situated...
Download PDF (123.2 KB)
...1. I am struck by the recurrence of the phrase mau kemana in the West Sumatran newspapers ofthe 1910s and 1920s, and then in the popular novels of the 1930s and 1940s. I have done no com-prehensive survey of the phenomenon; however, as a sort of pre-independence mantra mau kemanafigures prominently in the writings of such divergent figures as Hamka and Tan Malaka. See Hadler,2. “Saya korban Revolusi.” Roestam Anwar then continued, dramatically addressing the younger...
Download PDF (716.8 KB)
The epigraph is from chapter 99 of the Quran, “Earthquake,” translated from “Soerat Az-Zilzal(Gempa, Gojang),” in Mahmoed Joenoes, Tafsir Koerän Indonesia (Padang: Boekh. Mahmoedijah,1938), 516 – 17. Yunus’s was the most popular Quranic exegesis in West Sumatra, and the first twoprintings of this edition sold out in months. In his posthumous autobiography, Yunus mentions thathe had written a tafsir as early as 1921; Yunus, Riwayat Hidup, 22....
SEVENFamilies in Motion
Download PDF (102.1 KB)
...1. Rudolf Mrázek, Sjahrir: Politics and Exile in Indonesia (Ithaca: Cornell SEAP, 1994), 16.In his study of Sutan Sjahrir, Rudolf Mrázek discusses the excitement of fin-de-siècle West Sumatra: “History seemed to accelerate in Minangkabau towardsthe beginning of the twentieth century.”1 In the first two decades of the twen-tieth century, Movement politics infused daily life in West Sumatra. The role...
CONCLUSIONVictorious Buffalo,Resilient Matriarchate
Download PDF (550.4 KB)
Epigraph proverb from Ismet Fanany and Rebecca Fanany, Wisdom of the Malay Proverbs (KualaLumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 2003), 191. Ismet Fanany is from West Sumatra, and despite its1. On Kerala, see Arunima, There Comes Papa; Robin Jeffrey, “Legacies of Matriliny: The Placeof Women and the ‘Kerala Model’,” Pacific Affairs 77, no. 4 (2004). On Negeri Sembilan, see MichaelThe Minangkabau matriarchate is hard to kill. Since the 1820s, the people of...
Download PDF (99.0 KB)
Download PDF (38.6 KB)
Download PDF (98.8 KB)
Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2008