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The Struggle of the Shi‘is in Indonesia

The Struggle of the Shi‘is in Indonesia

Zulkifli
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: ANU Press
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hgz34
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    The Struggle of the Shi‘is in Indonesia
    Book Description:

    The Struggle of the Shi‘is in Indonesia is a pioneering work. It is the first comprehensive scholarly examination in English of the development of Shiism in Indonesia. It focuses primarily on the important period between 1979 and 2004 – a period of nearly a quarter of a century that saw the notable dissemination of Shi’i ideas and a considerable expansion of the number of Shi’i adherents in Indonesia. Since Islam in Indonesia is overwhelmingly Sunni, this development of Shiism in a predominantly Sunni context is a remarkable phenomenon that calls for careful, critical investigation. There is also an important examination of the principal ideas underlying the Madhab Ahl al-Bayt, the Imamate and Imam Madhi, Ja‘fari jurisprudence and ritual piety. Appropriately, in his discussion, Zulkifli provides a succinct outline of contrasts with Sunni ideas and practice. He also examines the publishing efforts that underpinned the dissemination of Shi’i ideas and the founding of IJABI (Ikatan Jamaah Ahlul Bait Indonesia) in July 2000 for the propagation of Ahl al-Bayt teachings. Given the Indonesian context, Zulkifli is also concerned with Sunni reactions to these Shi’i developments – a story that continues to unfold to the present. This book as a work of great value and significance for the continuing understanding of the richness and complexity of Indonesian Islam.

    eISBN: 978-1-925021-30-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Curriculum Vitae
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Foreword to The Struggle of the Shi’is in Indonesia
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    James J. Fox

    Zulkifli’sThe Struggle of the Shi‘is in Indonesiais a pioneering work. It is the first comprehensive scholarly examination in English of the development of Shiism in Indonesia. It focuses primarily on the important period between 1979 and 2004 – a period of nearly a quarter of a century that saw the notable dissemination of Shi’i ideas and a considerable expansion of the number of Shi’i adherents in Indonesia. Since Islam in Indonesia is overwhelmingly Sunni, this development of Shiism in a predominantly Sunni context is a remarkable phenomenon that calls for careful, critical investigation. Zulkifli has provided precisely this much...

  6. A Note on Transliteration
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Glossary
    (pp. xvii-xxiv)
  8. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    This study is concerned with the Shi‘is¹ of Indonesia, their position as a minority Muslim group within a population of an overwhelming Sunni majority and the ways in which they act to gain recognition in the country. For the purposes of this study, Shi‘ism is confined to theIthna‘Ashariyya(also known as Twelver orJa‘fari) form of Shi‘ism. This is amadhhab,or school of Islamic jurisprudence which venerates the twelve Imams who succeeded the Prophet Muhammad and has adopted a specific set of practices as a consequence of its belief system. Shi‘ism is a minority denomination of Islam and...

  9. 1. The Formation of the Shi‘i Community
    (pp. 15-48)

    The precise number of adherents to Shi‘ism in Indonesia is not known. Many notable Shi‘is have tried to estimate their numbers, even though there are no reliable sources to call upon. Several years ago the Lebanese scholar Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya (d. 1979) mentioned the figure of one million.¹ The same number was cited in 2003 by Andi Muhammad Assegaf, head of the Fatimah Foundation in Jakarta.² In 1995 Ahmad Baragbah, who leadsPesantren Al-Hadiin Pekalongan, Central Java estimated there to be 20,000 Shi‘is in Indonesia,³ while in 2000 Dimitri Mahayana, former chairman of the national Shi‘i organisation, IJABI (Ikatan...

  10. 2. The Leaders
    (pp. 49-78)

    Currently, there is no single person who is recognised as leader by all of the Shi‘i groups in Indonesia. This lack of a central figure originates, in part, in the divided formation and development of the community as described in Chapter One. The leaders can however be classified into two types: theustadhsand the intellectuals, corresponding to the divide between ‘ulamaand intellectuals in the Muslim world in general. The ‘ulama,who are also known by various popular terms such askyaiin Central and East Java,ajenganin West Java,tengkuin Aceh andtuan guruin parts...

  11. 3. The Madhhab
    (pp. 79-112)

    As a distinctmadhhab,or denomination within Islam, Shi‘ism has a complex set of beliefs and practices that set it apart from Sunnism. This chapter deals with the Shi‘i teachings as they are understood and practiced by Shi‘is in Indonesia and which constitute the religious aspect of their identity. The chapter opens with an explanation of key concepts such asahl al baytandShi‘a(syi‘ah, Indonesian). There follows a description of the principal concepts of belief in the imamate and theMahdi. A further section deals withJa‘farijurisprudence and specific aspects upheld by Indonesian Shi‘is. This is then...

  12. 4. Da’Wa
    (pp. 113-140)

    As a proselytising religion, Islam obliges its followers, without exception, to undertake missionary activities. These activities are subsumed under the Arabic term‘da‘ wa’, which literally means ‘a call’ or ‘an invitation’. In Indonesia, however, as in many other countries,da‘wahas become a complex term, directed more internally to the Muslim community than to non-Muslims and encompassing both the specific idea oftabligh,or preaching as well as the broader idea of “the propagation of Islam not only by preaching and publications, but also by deeds and activities in all areas of social life … [or] a comprehensive Islamization...

  13. 5. Education
    (pp. 141-162)

    At a very fundamental level, the growth of Shi‘ism in Indonesia can be attributed to the key role of Shi‘i religious scholars, teachers and intellectuals who have establishedyayasan,or foundations and other bodies active in the fields ofda‘wa, education and socio-cultural programmes. While the previous chapter described the nature and characteristics of most of the Shi‘ida‘wainstitutions, this chapter focuses on a relatively small number of entities established specifically to serve Shi‘i educational aims. Education is generally understood to be the transfer of knowledge and values from one generation to another. In Indonesia, education can be divided...

  14. 6. Publishing
    (pp. 163-196)

    Publishing has been another important means for Indonesian Shi‘is to spread their teachings, and has gone hand in hand with the development of themadhhabin Indonesia. The publication of books and periodicals can, to a certain extent, be considered to be a form ofda‘wa,but it is also a contribution to the intellectual and cultural life of the country. The discussion in this chapter is divided into five parts: first, I give a brief description of the general characteristics of Shi‘i publishers in Indonesia. The second and third parts deal with translations of Shi‘i books and books written...

  15. 7. The Mass Organisation Ijabi
    (pp. 197-228)

    Over the course of time, the number of followers of Shi‘ism in Indonesia and the number of Shi‘i institutions ofda‘wa, education and publishing has continued to increase. Up to the end of Suharto’s New Order, the Shi‘is in Indonesia were a minority religious group, scattered throughout Indonesia but on the whole confined to urban areas. More importantly, they were not unified under a single socio-religious body. Then efforts emerged to establish a mass national organisation that would bring together all the geographically diverse Shi‘i communities. This chapter aims to describe this national Shi‘i organisation and reactions to it. We...

  16. 8. Sunni Responses to Shi‘ism
    (pp. 229-270)

    As we have seen so far, there are influential individuals and institutions within the Shi‘i community in Indonesia which have, despite their small numbers, created opportunities through which to propagate the teachings of theirmadhhab.However, there remain a number of obstacles to the growth and development of the community, the most significant being the reactions to this growth from the Sunni Muslim majority. They are complex and range from the extremely negative to the moderate. This chapter deals with those responses to Shi‘ism and its development in Indonesia during the period after the Iranian revolution of 1979.

    These responses...

  17. 9. Conclusion
    (pp. 271-278)

    This study has shown the multi-faceted realities faced by Shi‘is living amidst an overwhelming Sunni majority in Indonesia. It has described the chief tenets of themadhhabof theahl al-bayt,revealed the different elements within this community, introduced their leaders and the methods they employ and strategies appropriate to the existing social, religious and political context. It is the single great hope of the Shi‘is to gain recognition in their Sunni-dominated country.

    We have considered the three main social groupings that constitute the Shi‘i community in Indonesia, each arising from its own historical context. The first, oldest and most...

  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 279-304)