Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alif Lam Mim: Reconciling Islam, modernity, and tradition in an Indonesian Kampung

Alif Lam Mim: Reconciling Islam, modernity, and tradition in an Indonesian Kampung
by Ryan, Bartholomew John, Ph.D., Harvard University, 1999 , 306 pages; AAT 9949723

Abstract (Summary)

Throughout Indonesia (which has the largest Muslim population in the world) local notions of religion and tradition are being re-examined. This work explores this process of re-evaluation in Demen, an urban community ( kampung ) located in Ampenan, a port-town in West Lombok, Indonesia. Demen's population is predominately Sasak, Lombok's indigenous ethnic group.

The principal focus of this investigation centers on Islam, and more specifically on the Al Jibril and Al Aziz mosques which are headed by the Nahdlatul Wathan (NW) and Muhammadiyah Muslim organizations, respectively. This work explores the ways in which these mosques have tried to reconcile long-standing Sasak traditions with their notions of what "proper" Islam is and is not. At the same time these mosques are, in their different ways, trying to mediate the forces of "modernity" that the Demen community is experiencing.

That these two mosques proffer different religious ideologies reveals the multivalent nature of Islam, even at the local level of kampungs. In general, the Muhammadiyah-run Al Aziz is interested in reform and is less tolerant of many traditional Sasak practices than the Nahdlatul Wathan-run Al Jibril. Nevertheless, the ideologies espoused by these two mosques are, in many respects, converging. This comes as a result of the fact that they are trying to impart their religious messages in a complex social environment where there is an increasing sense of individual autonomy.

Although the mosques are the most respected institutions in Demen, the Indonesian national government and increased contact with the West have also contributed significantly to shaping local notions of how to reconcile Islam, modernity and tradition. In order to assay the complex relationship of these three "themes" in Demen I have focused my analysis on weddings and the ways in which Demen's two mosques and the Indonesian government have tried to control the ritual articulations of marriages in the community.

Indexing (document details)

Advisor:Watson, James L.
School:Harvard University
School Location:United States -- Massachusetts
Keyword(s):Islam, Modernity, Tradition, Indonesian, Kampung
Source:DAI-A 60/11, p. 4074, May 2000
Source type:Dissertation
Subjects:Cultural anthropology, Religion
Publication Number: AAT 9949723
Document URL:http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=730223141&sid=1&Fmt=2&clientId=48051&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID:730223141

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