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Reformist Muslims in a Yogyakarta Village

Reformist Muslims in a Yogyakarta Village: The Islamic Transformation of Contemporary Socio-Religious Life

Hyung-Jun Kim
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: ANU Press
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    Reformist Muslims in a Yogyakarta Village
    Book Description:

    This study examines the religious life of reformist Muslims in a Yogyakarta village. The foci of this discussion are on Muslim villagers' construction, with the help of the reformist paradigm, of the image of the 'good Muslim' and 'Muslim-ness', on their efforts to incorporate an (reformist) Islamic framework to question taken-for-granted practices and ideas, on the position of traditional practices and ideas and their relation to reformist Islam, and on the interplay of villagers who show a strong commitment to reformist Islam with those who do not. Another topic investigated in this study is the interactions between Muslim and Christian villagers and the impacts of Christian presence on the process by which Muslims define themselves, their neighbours, their religion and their religious community.

    eISBN: 978-1-920942-35-9
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    James J. Fox

    This study by Hyung-Jun Kim of a village in Yogyakarta presents a remarkable case-study of the processes of reform and renewal that are occurring widely throughout Indonesia today. Rarely have these profoundly important processes been examined at the local level in such detail. As a case study, this work offers significant insights that carry well beyond a single village. Such insights provide the basis for a critical understanding of contemporary socio-religious change.

    Hyung-Jun Kimʹs stated objective in this work is to consider how Islam is ʺunderstood, interpreted and practicedʺ. In many villages, perhaps most villages in Java today, this is...

  4. Abstract
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. Chapter 1: Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    One of the surprises that Kolojonggo (a pseudonym for the hamlet in which I did my field research) gave me came a few days after I had settled there. Walking aimlessly along a hamlet path, I found a house, or more precisely a building, that looked different from other houses in the hamlet. It was taller than the other houses and had a loud-speaker on top of the roof. Getting closer, I recognised that it was a masjid (mosque). I could see the place for ablution, decorations taking the shape of the dome and a large hall inside the building....

  7. Chapter 2: Recent Socio-Economic Developments in Kolojonggo
    (pp. 15-50)

    The Special Region of Yogyakarta (Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta) lies in the southern central part of Java, one of the most densely populated islands in the world. Its special treatment, as the term 'istimewa' (special) implies, stems from the Indonesian government's recognition of its historical importance as the heir of the Javanese kingdom, Mataram, and as the centre of the war of independence against the Dutch.

    The Islamic kingdom, Mataram, which had replaced Hindu Majapahit in the 16th century, was partitioned into two self-governing Principalities in the mid-18th century when the Dutch established themselves as the dominant foreign power and involved...

  8. Chapter 3: From Bamboo Langgar to Brick Masjid: Islamic Development in Kolojonggo
    (pp. 51-82)

    Since the 1970s, studies of Islam in Indonesia have portrayed a dualistic process of Islamic development: its waning influence over political life and its waxing influence over non-political life. Passive reaction to and submissive acceptance of a series of government measures which can be interpreted as attempts to decrease the political power of Islamic groups¹ have been interpreted by outside observers as examples of the political retreat of Islam. On the other hand, several developments in non-political domains have shown the increasing commitment of Indonesians to Islam: participation in daily prayers, Friday prayers (Jumatan) and the fast in the fasting...

  9. Chapter 4: The Islamisation of Everyday Life
    (pp. 83-110)

    In reformist Islam, everyday life is the locus where ceaseless opportunities are given to human beings to carry out commands from Allah. As the Quran teaches that the purpose of Creation was none other than to let human beings worship Allah (li:56)¹ , not only ritual prayers but all human behaviours should be directed at realising His will. In everyday life, human beings are also given innumerable opportunities to confirm the fact that everything in this world is the creation of Allah. If human beings are attentive enough to 'read' their surroundings, as the first order that Allah gave to...

  10. Chapter 5: The Islamisation of Village Tradition
    (pp. 111-142)

    In Kolojonggo, the customs and rituals reported by C. Geertz, R. Jay and Koentjaraningrat in the 1950s are still practised: it is not unusual to see a lamp lit in front of a new-born baby's house; marriages are most frequently held in the Javanese month of Besar; flowers and coins are thrown away while the funeral procession parades to the cemetery; incense is burned and offerings are made at tombs; and kendhuri are held at each point of passage in an individual's life.

    The persistence of these customs and rituals comes as a surprise, considering that Islamic development in Kolojonggo...

  11. Chapter 6: Reformist Islam and Supernatural Beings
    (pp. 143-176)

    To the reformist villagers in Kolojonggo, attempts to confine Islamic teaching to religious life are not acceptable, since the division between the religious and non-religious is meaningless in Islam. Every facet of life should be directed at actualising what is commanded to human beings by Allah. In order to appreciate how this idea has been put into practice in Kolojonggo, the preceding chapters have examined the effort of the reformist villagers to Islamise every aspect of their life. In Chapter IV, their struggle to adopt Islamic teachings as working principles in everyday social and private life was discussed. In Chapter...

  12. Chapter 7: Muslim and Christian Relations in Kolojonggo
    (pp. 177-202)

    In Kolojonggo, Wednesday evenings symbolise the co-existence of two religious communities. Both Muslim and Protestant villagers hold their weekly learning courses, the former in the masjid, and the latter in the house of a Protestant family. The evenings when Christians have a meeting in a house near the masjid give villagers an additional chance to appreciate their religious difference. A group of villagers from the same neighbourhood, walking and chatting together, arrives at the masjid and then separates, each group heading for a different place. On these occasions, it often happens that Muslims sitting inside the masjid and listening to...

  13. Chapter 8: War of Words: The Muslim Villagers' View of Christians, Christianity and Christianisation
    (pp. 203-228)

    The Preamble in the 1945 Constitution of independent Indonesia contains an ideological tenet called Pancasila, which is composed of five principles: Belief in One God, Humanity that is just and civilised, Unity of Indonesia, Democracy guided by the wisdom of representative deliberation, Social justice for all Indonesians. Since its installation as a state ideology, Pancasila has been the most commonly used rhetoric in political discourse and the governing principle of social life. In spite of this significance, Pancasila has remained an abstract doctrine which should be supplemented by concrete ideas, depending on the socio-economic and political considerations of each period....

  14. Chapter 9: Concluding Remarks
    (pp. 229-238)

    For the last few decades, Western scholarship has noticed that Islamic countries have been undergoing a fundamental change. Scholars of Islam employ such terms as Islamic resurgence, Islamic revivalism, Islamic reassertion, Islamic renaissance, and the re-flowering of Islam to grasp this change (e.g. Dekmejian,1985; Esposito,1983; Hunter,1988; Keddie,1994; Muzaffar,1986; Nagata,1984). These terms, though various, convey a common message, namely, Muslims' assertion of the centrality of Islam in their everyday life. The ways in which this assertion is manifested depend on the socio-economic, political and historical background of each region. In areas where Muslims' life is threatened by war, oppression from autocratic...

  15. Appendix A: Socio-Economic Developments in Kolojonggo before 1965
    (pp. 239-260)
  16. Appendix B: The War of Words: Voices of the Christians
    (pp. 261-276)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 277-296)