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Varieties of Religious Authority

Changes and Challenges in 20th Century Indonesian Islam

Azyumardi Azra, Kees van Dijk and Nico J G Kaptein

Publication Year: 2010

The twentieth century was a fascinating period of profound political, social and economic changes in Indonesia. These changes contributed to the diversification of the religious landscape and as a result, religious authority was redistributed over an increasing number of actors. Although many Muslims in Indonesia continued to regard the ulama, the traditional religious scholars, as the principle source of religious guidance, religious authority has become more diffused and differentiated over time. The present book consists of contributions which all deal with the multi-facetted and multidimensional topic of religious authority and aim to complement each other. Most papers deal with Indonesia, but two dealing with other countries have been included in order to add a comparative dimension. Amongst the topics dealt with are the different and changing roles of the ulama, the rise and role of Muslim organizations, developments within Islamic education, like the madrasa, and the spread of Salafi ideas in contemporary Indonesia.

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

About the Contributors

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pp. vii-x

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pp. xi-xii

The research programme leading to this publication was made possible through financial support from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) in the framework......

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pp. xiii

The twentieth century was a period of profound political, social and religious changes in Indonesia. From a Dutch colony, Indonesia, the country with the largest number of Muslims in the world, was transformed into an independent, semi-secular state, in...

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pp. 1-16

Authority in the abstract sense — as distinguished from shear power, force or violence — can be defined in Weberian terms as the right to impose obedience in the name of common values and rules of conduct, shared by those who exercise this authority and those who are submitted to it (Hardy 1986, pp. 42–43). Religious authority...

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pp. 17-53

The dissemination of Islam in Indonesia in the twentieth century has been a process inextricably bound up with the active engagement of Southeast Asians with their emerging national communities. As Benedict Anderson has argued, such communities...

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3. TRADITIONAL ISLAMAND MODERNITY: Some Notes on the Changing Role of the Ulama in Early Twentieth Indonesia, by Jajat Burhanudin

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pp. 54-72

But, ironically, while print enabled ulama to greatly extend their influence in public affairs, it was also doing serious damage to the roots of their authority. By printing the Islamic classics, and the print run for a major text could be as many as ten...

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4. THE ROLE AND IDENTITY OF RELIGIOUS AUTHORITIES IN THE NATION STATE: Egypt, Indonesia, and South Africa Compared, by Abdulkader Tayob

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pp. 73-92

The transformation of Muslim societies has created new opportunities for Islam’s religious scholars. Ulama have proved more resilient than earlier predictions that they would sooner or later be replaced by new elites. They have shown that the technocrats and bureaucrats of modernization and progress could not...

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5. AUTHORITY CONTESTED: Mathla’ul Anwar in the Last Years of the New Order, by Didin Nurul Rosidin

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pp. 93-114

Mathla’ul Anwar (Matla‘u al-Anwar) along with its madrasah was founded in 1916 by a group of Bantenese religious teachers (kiyai)1 as an immediate response towards both the massive introduction of secular schools by the Dutch colonial government following the issuance of the Ethical Policy and the declining effectiveness of...

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6. STRUGGLE FOR AUTHORITY: Between Formal Religious Institution and Informal-local Leaders, by Machasin

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pp. 115-125

In the history of Indonesian Islam, especially in Java, ulama (kiai, ajengan, tuan guru, tengku, buya) played a hugely significant role in the life of the people because of their position in the “Islamic” community. For centuries they had a dominant position...

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7. THE INDONESIAN MADRASAH: Islamic Reform and Modernization of Indonesian Islam in the Twentieth Century, by Arief Subhan

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pp. 126-138

The madrasah is one of the important Islamic educational institutions in Indonesia. Emerging in the late nineteenth century, in the early period of its development the madrasah tended to compete with the Dutch education offered by the colonial government...

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8. FROM APOLITICAL QUIETISM TO JIHADIST ACTIVISM: “Salafis”, Political Mobilization, and Drama of Jihad in Indonesia, by Noorhaidi Hasan

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pp. 139-156

Jihad is often perceived as an expression of religious fanaticism and is mostly associated with the outrageous acts of irrational, insane individuals inspired by their firm belief in radical religious doctrines. Although there is some plausibility in this perception, it fails to uncover the deeper meaning of jihad. Jihad is also...

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9. FROM HANDLING WATER IN A GLASS TO COPING WITH AN OCEAN: Shifts in Religious Authority in Indonesia, by Andrée Feillard

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pp. 157-176

Two major Muslim organizations, the so-called “traditionalist” Nahdlatul Ulama and “reformist” Muhammadiyah,1 are habitually said to dominate Indonesian Islam, and are thus presented as the religious pillars of the country’s stability. To evaluate...

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pp. 177-202

Many topics have been discussed by staff, researchers and visiting exchange fellows of the “Islam in Indonesia: the Dissemination of Religious Authority in Twentieth Century Indonesia” programme. In accordance with the subdivisions of the programme, their studies were clustered around four main themes: ulama and fatwa...


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pp. 203-211

E-ISBN-13: 9789812309518
Print-ISBN-13: 9789812309402

Page Count: 211
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1