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What Is Religious Authority?: Cultivating Islamic Communities in Indonesia (Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics, 85) Paperback – June 22, 2021
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An anthropologist's groundbreaking account of how Islamic religious authority is assembled through the unceasing labor of community building on the island of Java
This compelling book draws on Ismail Fajrie Alatas's unique insights as an anthropologist to provide a new understanding of Islamic religious authority, showing how religious leaders unite diverse aspects of life and contest differing Muslim perspectives to create distinctly Muslim communities.
Taking readers from the eighteenth century to today, Alatas traces the movements of Muslim saints and scholars from Yemen to Indonesia and looks at how they traversed complex cultural settings while opening new channels for the transmission of Islamic teachings. He describes the rise to prominence of Indonesia's leading Sufi master, Habib Luthfi, and his rivalries with competing religious leaders, revealing why some Muslim voices become authoritative while others don't. Alatas examines how Habib Luthfi has used the infrastructures of the Sufi order and the Indonesian state to build a durable religious community, while deploying genealogy and hagiography to present himself as a successor of the Prophet Muḥammad.
Challenging prevailing conceptions of what it means to be Muslim, What Is Religious Authority? demonstrates how the concrete and sustained labors of translation, mobilization, collaboration, and competition are the very dynamics that give Islam its power and diversity.
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"Successfully argues that what is known as “Islam the universal religion” does not reside in the consistency of its teachings. However, one aspect of Islam that is universal is the work of congregational building."---Hasan Mustapa, International Journal of Asian Studies
"Provides rich insights for readers who wish to gain a better understanding of comparative Islamic authority. The author’s success in blending historical, anthropological and political analyses together makes this book a worthwhile read and a useful source of reference for scholars interested in Islam in Indonesia." ― Contemporary Southeast Asia
"A pleasure to read. Alatas places Java in a web of relations that connects the Islamized Indian Ocean, bringing Java to the forefront while telling a much broader history."―Chiara Formichi, author of Islam and Asia: A History
"This pathbreaking book develops a unique analytical approach to understanding the ongoing processes through which Muslim communities are established by authoritative persons acting within broader political and cultural contexts. What Is Religious Authority? is destined to become a classic."―Magnus Marsden, author of Trading Worlds: Afghan Merchants across Modern Frontiers
- Publisher : Princeton University Press (June 22, 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0691204314
- ISBN-13 : 978-0691204314
- Item Weight : 14.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.25 x 1 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,584,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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