Contemporary Islam

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 237–258 | Cite as

Resisting Salafism and the Arabization of Indonesian Islam: a contemporary Indonesian didactic tale by Komaruddin Hidayat

  • Mark WoodwardEmail author


Adopting Arabic clothing styles and in other ways mimicking Saudi Arabian cultural practice is one of the defining characteristics of the Indonesian tarbiyah (Islamic education) movement and the more general influence of Saudi Arabian Wahhabism and other forms of Middle Eastern style Salafism that has emerged in Indonesia since the early 1980s. This paper includes a translation of and extended commentary on a short story by Professor Komaruddin Hidayat of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta that is highly critical of this trend. This is a counter narrative that references two Indonesian national heroes: Kyai Hasyim Asy’ari (1875–1947) one of the founders of Nhadlatul Ulama, the country’s largest Muslim organization and Mohammad Hatta (1902–1980), the first Vice-president. Professor Hidayat uses a short story to make the point that Islamic authenticity need not be based on the emulation of Saudi Arabian cultural practices and that Islam, Indonesian cultures, and nationalism are entirely compatible.


Indonesia Salafism Traditionalism Narrative 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for the Study of Religion and ConflictArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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