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Sufism and the ‘Modern’ in Islam

Éditeur : I.B.Tauris Date & Lieu : 2007, London & New York
Préface : Pages : 368
Traduction : ISBN : 978 1 85043 854 0
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 160x240 mm
Code FIKP : Liv. Eng. Bru. Suf. N° 1991Thème : Religion

Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
Sufism and the ‘Modern’ in Islam

Sufism and the ‘Modern’ in Islam

Martin van Bruinessen
Julia Day Howell

I. B. Tauris

Sufism has not only survived into the twenty-first century but has experienced a significant resurgence throughout the Muslim world. Sufism and the ‘Modern’in Islam offers refreshing new perspectives on this phenomenon, demonstrating surprising connections between Sufism and Muslim reformist currents, and the vital presence of Sufi ideas and practices in all spheres of life.
Contrary to earlier theories of the modernization of Muslim societies, Sufi influence on the political, economic and intellectual life of contemporary Muslim societies has been considerable. Although less noticed than the resurgence of radical Islam, Sufi orders and related movements involve considerably larger numbers of followers, even among the modern urban middle classes. The movement demonstrates a vitality and fervour that has massive contemporary appeal to urbanites, particularly in the West.
This innovative study brings together new comparative and interdisciplinary research to show how Sufis have responded to modernization and globalization and how various currents of Islamic reform and Sufism have interacted. Offering fascinating new insights into the pervasive Sufi influence on modern Islamic religiosity and contemporary political and economic life, this book raises important questions about Islam in the age of urbanism and mass communications.

Martin van Bruinessen is Professor of Islamic Studies at Utrecht University and the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM).

Julia Day Howell is Associate Professor in Asian Studies at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.


This book derives from the meeting of two initially separate but kindred projects carried out by the two editors. The projects were brought together by Azyumardi Azra, Rector of the State Institute of Islamic Studies (LAIN), currendy the State Islamic University (UIN) Syarif Hidayatullah in Jakarta, and researchers at this institution’s Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (PPIM), which acted as our institutional counterpart.

Martin van Bruinessen previously taught at an IAIN in Yogyakarta, where he was involved in historical and anthropological research on religious education and various Sufi orders in Kurdistan and Indonesia. That research was part of a larger Dutch—Indonesian research program on Muslim religious authority in Indonesia sponsored by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. Martin ran the project on Sufi orders and similar religious communities (jama 'af) in modern urban environments. The project related to work on the transformation of similar forms of religious association worldwide, pursued at the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) based in Leiden, The Netherlands.

Julia Howell had earlier conducted research on Javanese syncretistic mysticism and New Religious Movements. She noticed the remarkable upsurge of interest in Sufism among Indonesia’s urban middle classes in the 1990s while studying Javanese branches of an Indonesian Sufi order closely connected to Suharto-era political elites. While further investigating the new urban Sufism in Jakarta, she learned of the research on this topic already under way at the Department of Religion’s Agency for Religious Research and Development under the direction of Djohan Effendi, and at PPIM in the State Islamic University. To facilitate scholarly exchange with these bodies, Julia and the PPIM (particularly Jamhari Makruf and Dadi Darmadi) organized a research planning seminar on ‘Urban Sufism’ on 8-9 September 2000, with support from the Australia Indonesia Institute. The seminar stimulated a number of research projects on the topic, including Julia’s subsequent work on new urban Sufi networks in Jakarta.

Although the approaches taken by scholars associated with the Dutch and Australian cooperation programs differed, the considerable overlap in the phenomena we were studying provided ample reason for us to join forces. This was recognized by Azyumardi, who, as our colleague and facilitator of both the Dutch—Indonesian and Australian—Indonesian research cooperation activities, kindly assisted in forging links between these programs. He shared our interest and agreed with us that the resurgence of Sufism in various forms among the best educated and most modern segments of the middle class was an important and regrettably under-studied aspect of the encounter of Islam with modernity. Counter to popular understandings of Sufism as a fading vestige of the rural past, in Indonesia and apparently in some other regions of the world as well, Sufism has become part of ‘modern’ Islam. Yet journalistic as well as scholarly observers of Indonesian Islam have focused their attention almost single-mindedly on radical Islamist trends and inter-religious conflict. In terms of numbers of people involved, however, Sufi orders and Sufism-inspired currents in Islam are probably much more important, not only in Indonesia but throughout the Muslim world.

We were all thus convinced that the new developments in Indonesian Sufism had broader significance as part of little documented global trends, the strategic and theoretical significance of which had not yet fully registered on the sociology of Islam and on popular understandings of the contemporary diversity within Islam. Recent developments in Sufism challenge our understandings of how these expressions of the Islamic heritage may — or may not - be part of the lives of Muslims fully engaged with the modern world. But to properly assess this, we recognized that the Indonesian case and accounts of unexpectedly vigorous and even renascent Sufism elsewhere in the world needed to be canvassed systematically, taking a global, comparative perspective.

Encouraged by Azyumardi’s and other Indonesian colleagues’ interest and shared sense of the importance of the phenomenon, together with PPIM we convened an international conference entitled ‘Sufism and the “Modern” in Islam’, to explore this subject collaboratively. We invited to the conference colleagues currently engaged in relevant research in various parts of Asia, Africa and among Muslims in the West. The early versions of the chapters of this book were presented at the conference, held in the beautiful and quiet setting of Bogor, West Java, on 4-6 September 2003. We are grateful to the staff of PPIM (particularly Director Jamhari Makruf and his successor Fuad Jabali, Din Wahid and Ismatu Ropi) who did an excellent job on logistics and took care of most administrative requirements.

We thank the Ford Foundation, and especially its Representative in Jakarta at the time, Suzanne Siskel, for a substantial contribution to costs of both the conference and the editing of this book and its Indonesian translation and dissemination. Several academic institutions also contributed to conference expenses: the Griffith Asia Institute at Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia), the International Institute of Asian Studies (HAS) and the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM), both in the Netherlands, and the Melbourne Institute of Asian Languages and Societies (MIALS) at the University’ of Melbourne. Julia Howell gratefully acknowledges research grants from the Australian Research Council and Griffith University’ for her projects on Sufism in modern Indonesia, and Martin van Bruinessen acknowledges support from the Royal Netherlands Academy' of Sciences (KNAW) for the program ‘Dissemination of Religious Authority in Modern Indonesia’, of which the Sufism project was part.

We thank all participants in the conference, both those who actually wrote chapters for this volume and those who enriched the discussions with their contributions. Two of the latter should be mentioned by' name: Azyumardi Azra of the UIN, and Merle C. Ricklefs, then of Melbourne University, both of them senior scholars who have written extensively' on many aspects of the history' of Islam in Indonesia and its transnational connections. John O. Voll, who has been writing important studies of Sufism in changing societies since the late 1960s, presented at our request thoughtful reflections on the papers and suggested new theoretical approaches. He performs the same role in the final chapter of this volume.

Finally we wish to thank the publications team at Griffith University. Maureen Todhunter for her fastidious copy-editing and for her wise shepherding of the manuscript for this volume through the many stages of its preparation; and Robyn White, publications officer and formatter extraordinaire, for her expert assistance. We also acknowledge with appreciation the support of the Department of International Business and Asian Studies at Griffith University for the preparation of camera-ready copy.


Sufism and the ‘Modern’ In Islam

Julia Day Howell and Martin van Bruinessen

Islam and Modernity

Sufism, as a devotional and mystical current within the Islamic tradition, has been subject to the strains of modernization experienced across the Muslim world. Rapidly expanding urban populations, the diffusion of non-religious general education and the natural sciences, the erosion of family and village social hierarchies, the supplanting of royal with popular sovereignty, increased mobility and access to information - all have brought to Muslim communities stresses comparable to those experienced by Western societies in the course of their industrialization.

But in much of the Muslim world, where economic modernization has come relatively late and in the face of competition with non-Muslim societies that made their head-start partly at the expense of Muslim colonies, confrontation with modernity has been especially traumatic. The material prosperity of the Western early developers has been attractive to later-developing Muslim societies, but the social transformations associated with technological and economic change have not always been welcomed. Nor have the politics of post-colonial international relations between Western and Muslim-majority societies been reassuring, especially since tire end of the Cold War and the post-September 11 ‘War on Terror’. The sense of heightened threat that many Muslims experienced at the end of the nineteenth century when colonial powers began introducing socially corrosive modem capitalism into their colonies has been reignited (Malik, 2004).

To the extent that religion has guided and become intertwined with local cultural practices of peasant communities and pre-modem states, Muslims (like Jews, Christians, Hindus and others) have had to question to what extent their religious traditions could, and should, accommodate modernity. If they should accommodate modernity, then in what areas and in what ways? Legal …

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