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Islam in Indonesia

Islam in Indonesia: Contrasting Images and Interpretations

Jajat Burhanudin
Kees van Dijk
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    Islam in Indonesia
    Book Description:

    While Muslims in Indonesia have begun to turn towards a strict adherence to Islam, the reality of the socio-religious environment is much more complicated than a simple shift towards fundamentalism. In this volume, contributors explore the multifaceted role of Islam in Indonesia from a variety of different perspectives, drawing on carefully compiled case studies. Topics covered include religious education, the increasing number of Muslim feminists in Indonesia, the role of Indonesia in the greater Muslim world, social activism and the middle class, and the interaction between Muslim radio and religious identity.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1625-4
    Subjects: Anthropology, Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Introduction
    (pp. 7-14)

    In recent years, the way Islam manifests itself in Indonesia has changed. As elsewhere in the Muslim world, there is stricter adherence to Islam, and fundamentalism has gained strength. An increasing number of Indonesian Muslims are observing the tenets of their religion more faithfully. More people fulfil thehajj, one of the basic pillars of Islam, and an increasing number of women wear a headscarf, sometimes a very fashionable one. These women include members of a segment of society that used to be considered the embodiment of secularism and syncretism, known in Indonesia as theabangan.

    National surveys confirm this...

  2. 1 Comparing different streams of Islam Wrestling with words and definitions
    (pp. 15-24)
    Kees van Dijk

    Writing or speaking about ‘Indonesian Islam’ or ‘Islam in Indonesia’, we encounter a problem. The phrase is somewhat ambiguous. How are we to understand the combination of these words? At first glance, the meaning of the phrase seems obvious, referring as it does to Islam as it manifests itself in Indonesian society. In the realm of religion – its institutions, theological and intellectual discussions and day-to-day practices – its meaning appears to be straightforward; though there remains a recurrent discussion, which can flare up at almost any moment, about whether some of the practices followed or ideas expressed are Islamic or not....

  3. 2 Defining Indonesian Islam An examination of the construction of the national Islamic identity of traditionalist and modernist Muslims
    (pp. 25-48)
    Ahmad Najib Burhani

    A journalistic report fromNewsweekmagazine in September 1996 about Islam in Indonesia was entitled ‘Islam with a Smiling Face’. The title is indicative of the image of Islam in the archipelago, which differs from Islam elsewhere in the Muslim world. In general, according to this report, Islam in Indonesia is peaceful, moderate and shows a positive attitude towards democracy, modernity, plurality and human rights. This conclusion is echoed by Azyumardi Azra (2010b), who emphasises that Islam in Indonesia is different from that in the Middle East due to its distinctive traits, such as its tolerance and moderate views, and...

  4. 3 Indonesia in the global scheme of Islamic things Sustaining the virtuous circle of education, associations and democracy
    (pp. 49-62)
    Robert W. Hefner

    Is Muslim religious culture in Indonesia different? Do Indonesian solutions to Islamic issues in society have anything to contribute to the development of culture and politics in the Muslim world at large? Two generations ago, the most common answer to these questions would have been quickly affirmative on the first but resoundingly negative on the second. At that time, the conventional wisdom among Western and Muslim Middle Eastern scholars was that the Islam professed by most Indonesians was superficial or syncretic, and that the community of religiously educated and observant Muslims (thesantri) was a minority, and rather culturally unsophisticated at...

  5. 4 Distinguishing Indonesian Islam Some lessons to learn
    (pp. 63-74)
    Azyumardi Azra

    Indonesian Islam has a number of distinctive characteristics vis-à-vis Middle Eastern Islam, and perhaps ‘European Islam’ as well. By and large, Indonesian Islam is a moderate, accommodative kind of Islam and the least Arabicised form of the religion; a feature that it shares with certain segments of European Islam. Indonesian Islam is thus much less rigid than Middle Eastern Islam.

    For this reason,Newsweekmagazine once described Indonesian Islam as ‘Islam with a smiling face’; an Islam that in many ways is compatible with modernity, democracy and plurality. Despite these distinctions, Indonesian Islam is surely no less ‘Islamic’ than Islam...

  6. 5 Islam, state and society in democratising Indonesia A historical reflection
    (pp. 75-90)
    Taufik Abdullah

    Present-day Indonesia can be seen as a highly complicated spectrum of Islamic reactions to dealing with the place of religion in relation to the nation-state and society at large. If the attitude and behaviour of the people can be used as the prism through which this phenomenon is viewed, then a certain continuum in the mode of behaviour of theummah, the Islamic community, emerges. This continuum ranges from extreme impatience with and intolerance to the slightest differences, to an extremely broad-minded stance towards all sorts of religious pluralities in society. While the former, albeit tiny, minority readily expresses itself...

  7. 6 The politics of piety in the Pondok Pesantren Khusus Waria Al-Fattah Senin-Kamis Yogyakarta Negotiating the Islamic religious embodiment
    (pp. 91-108)
    Dian Maya Safitri

    In the contemporary world, despite the increasing predominance of secularism and modernity, the resurgence of religion, particularly in the public sphere, calls for further scrutiny. This serves as a counter-paradigm, one that challenges the Cartesian and Kantian simplifying belief that, in modern society, the mind is the principal factor in the Enlightenment’s awakening; that religion (which is regarded by some ‘modern’ people as irrational and emotional) is seen as something obsolete (see, e.g., Asad 1993; Mahmood 2005). In fact, nowadays ‘religion’ is richer than this logical-illogical determinism suggests, since it involves myriads of experiences and complexities of human life, ranging...

  8. 7 The Indonesian Muslim feminist reinterpretation of inheritance
    (pp. 109-122)
    Nina Nurmila

    Indonesia has a population of about 250 million people, 87 per cent of whom are Muslims. This means that the largest Muslim population in the world lives in Indonesia. In spite of this, the study of Islam has largely focused on the Middle East, seeing Islam in other parts of the world, such as Indonesia, as marginal or peripheral, and ‘syncretistic’ rather than ‘pure’.

    Certainly, Islam in Indonesia is different from that in the Middle East. According to Azra (1994), it is colourful and peaceful, but not necessarily marginal. It is colourful because it has adapted to the various Indonesian...

  9. 8 Managing familial issues Unique features of legal reform in Indonesia
    (pp. 123-138)
    Euis Nurlaelawati

    Indonesian state law on Muslim familial issues, as embodied in Marriage Law No. 1/1974 and Presidential Instruction No. 1/1991 regarding the Compilation of Islamic Law (Kompilasi Hukum Islam), introduced a number of reforms reflecting the inclusion of local customs, state interests and new issues in Islamic discourse in Indonesia, including gender issues. By doing so, it attempted to achieve an amalgamation of the classical legal doctrines of Islam, state interests and local tradition oradat. The accommodation of local tradition and state interests makes the law distinctly different from similar laws issued elsewhere in the Muslim world. The rules on...

  10. 9 A new generation of feminists within traditional Islam An Indonesian exception
    (pp. 139-160)
    Andrée Feillard and Pieternella van Doorn-Harder

    For nearly a century, Indonesian Muslim activists have fought for the protection of women’s rights in Islam. The fall of the authoritarian Suharto regime in 1998, however, unleashed Islamist forces that are challenging these activities. As a result, we can witness intense competition between Muslim activists who reject the national application of Islamic law and those who promote it. Particular to the Indonesian situation, which differs from that which we observe in other parts of the Muslim world, it is not the secular feminists who are confronting those who wish to apply the Shari’a but rather Muslim theologians and activists,...

  11. 10 Religious pluralism and contested religious authority in contemporary Indonesian Islam A. Mustofa Bisri and Emha Ainun Nadjib
    (pp. 161-172)
    Asfa Widiyanto

    The advent of Islam in Indonesia in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries was one factor in the development of a new type of religiosity. Islam, ipso facto, bases its spirituality on models exemplified by Sufi teachings, and the arrival of Islam in Indonesia therefore played a role in the rise and dissemination of Sufism amongst the Indonesian people. Many scholars² have pointed out that the type of Islam that came to Indonesia was Sufistic. Consequently, it can be said that Sufism or Islamic mysticism has gradually become an inextricable part of Indonesian tradition since the beginning of the Islamisation of...

  12. 11 Islam and humanitarian affairs The middle class and new patterns of social activism
    (pp. 173-194)
    Hilman Latief

    The major concern of this chapter is to discern the distinct nature of ‘Indonesian Islam’ by sketching the similarities and differences between Islamic social activism in Indonesia and that in other parts of the Muslim world. In order to do so, we will examine the humanitarian and relief activism organised by Muslim non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which is increasingly characterised as ‘social Islam’ in the Indonesian nation-state. This new development in the social, economic and political spheres, both regionally and internationally, provides us with an opportunity to look further at the dynamic relationships between faith, the state, the market and civil...

  13. 12 Dakwah radio in Surakarta A contest for Islamic identity
    (pp. 195-214)

    Surakarta is home to more than fifteendakwah(Ar.da‘wa, Islamic propagation) radio stations with diverse Islamic orientations.¹ These radio stations reflect the diversity of Islamic trends in the region. The significance of their role in religious life is indicated by the enthusiasm of listeners participating in the interactive programmes they broadcast. My aim is to examine the dakwah radio stations in Surakarta (Solo). The discussion will be limited to four stations: MTA FM, RDS FM, Suara Quran FM, and Suara Al-Hidayah FM. They have been selected partly for a practical reason – the accessibility of sources available on these stations...

  14. 13 Muslim fundamentalism in educational institutions A case study of Rohani Islam in high schools in Cirebon
    (pp. 215-226)
    Didin Nurul Rosidin

    In his article published on the UIN (State Islamic University) Jakarta website, Komarudin Hidayat (2009: 1) mentions the successful infiltration of schools by Muslim fundamentalist Islamic networks, particularly senior high schools (Sekolah Menengah Atas, SMA), both private and public. He refers to the latest research conducted by the Pusat Pengkajian Islam dan Masyarakat (Centre for the Study of Islam and Society, PPIM) at UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta. He then stresses that the main factors behind this relatively easy and fast penetration are students’ impressionability and their lack of understanding of religious doctrines. Both factors have been exploited in the processes...

  15. 14 Majlis Tafsir Al-Qur’an and its struggle for Islamic reformism
    (pp. 227-240)
    Syaifudin Zuhri

    Besides being wellknown as one of two heartlands of Javanese civilisation and a city with conflicts between ethnic groups and religious adherents where Islam has been highly involved in the struggle for authority among views, perspectives and groups, Surakarta is also renowned as a safe haven for disseminating radical ideologies and a breeding ground for terrorist activities.¹ The historical account of Islamisation in Surakarta takes us to the eighteenth century, when the Javanese court,pesantrenand Arab migrant communities played important roles in the Islamisation process (Wildan 2008). The dominant role of the Javanese court gave birth to a mix...

  16. About the editors and contributors
    (pp. 249-252)