This thesis focuses on the relationship of Indonesian kiai ('ulama: religious leaders) in Jombang to their wider social and political situation. It argues that the charismatic authority exerted through the leadership of the kiai in Java has limitations in terms of its legitimacy. At the very least it has boundaries that determine areas or circumstances for its legitimate expression. It also argues that the kiai's influence in politics is not as strong as in other domains. Despite being a charismatic figure, only a minority of followers feel compelled to follow the kiai's political example. Differences between the kiai and his followers in relation to political behaviour are common, especially after the transformation of the Islamic political party. Nevertheless, the role of the kiai in general remains important in the eyes of Muslim society.
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