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Distributed for Leiden University Press

Being Muslim in Indonesia

Religiosity, Politics and Cultural Diversity in Bima

How people in the world’s largest Muslim country negotiate religious identities.
There are many ways of being Muslim in Indonesia, where more people practice Islam than anywhere else in the world. In Being Muslim in Indonesia, Muhammad Adlin Sila reveals the ways Muslims in one city constitute unique religious identities through ritual, political, and cultural practices. Emerging from diverse contexts, the traditionalist and reformist divide in Indonesian Islam must be understood through the sociopolitical lens of its practitioners—whether royalty, clerics, or laity.

250 pages | 10 halftones, 3 maps | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4

Debates on Islam and Society

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

History: Asian History

Religion: Islam

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“I think the work is a valuable book with a wealth of new and as yet unrecorded information on Islam as practiced in Bima, obtained from fieldwork. One of the interesting things it shows is that the commonly accepted dichotomy between traditionalist Muslims (organized in the Nadlatul Ulama) on the one hand and the reformist Muslims (organized in the Muhammadiyah) is not fully tenable and that the boundaries between these two orientations within Islam are actually blurred, e.g. in the sensitive issue of traditional healing. The part on the Hanta Ua Pua Festival shows in an interesting way how religion is linked to the peculiar traditional dual power structure in Bima. All in all, this is the best book on Islam in everyday life in Bima, which I know of.”

Nico Kaptein, University of Leiden

“This book contains a great deal of material on contemporary expressions of Islam in a part of Indonesia that is famous for its piety. One of the aims of the book is to show how villagers have continued to maintain a large degree of local social cohesion in the performance of a variety of rituals despite the over-arching presence of a global conflict in the Islamic world between traditionalist mysticism and scripturalist rationalism.”

Thomas Gibson, University of Rochester

“This dissertation provides important ethnographic insights and theoretical arguments that shed light on the relationship between local politics and everyday Islam. With deep historical insights about local and transnational connection to Bima, the author observes how, during a moment of decentralization and regional autonomy, a once-forbidden ritual touting the arrival of Islam to Bima experiences a resurgence. Rather than ascribing this shift to ostensibly Islamic practice, the author argues compellingly that religion must be understood within a wider field of patronage and power relations, notably a clever shift in tactics from a Golkar-era party enthusiast to a post-authoritarian embrace of the power of Bima’s sultanate. This research provides a great contribution to a relative dearth of good ethnography of Muslim life in eastern Indonesia. . . The author has filled an important void in our scholarly understanding about the cultural politics of Islam in eastern Indonesia. This dissertation would likely be well received by scholars of religion, anthropology, and political science, and I look forward to reading the published version.”

Mark Woodward, University of Boston

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