Features of the Divine Bureaucracy

  • Maznah MohamadEmail author
Part of the Contestations in Contemporary Southeast Asia book series (CCSA)


This chapter details the contemporary features of an augmented bureaucracy over Islam by identifying three distinctive domains of bureaucratic power. They sometimes act in tandem, but most times act autonomously from one another. I identify the bureaucracies based on their divisible features of being subnational, federal or corporate in nature. The first domain is occupied by a negeri or State-based Islamic bureaucracy that has its roots in a British colonial administrative structure and has persisted in form till today. The federal Islamic bureaucracy is the second domain within which the central or national government would exert its greatest authority. The third domain is occupied by a corporate Islamic bureaucracy, largely created by the growth of an Islamic banking and financial sector. Within these three domains, the features of Islam are constructed through the practice of civil administration, syariah judiciary and corporate enterprise. Islamic administration through key agencies within government is shown to have a wide-ranging and palpable impact on Muslim social life, from the everyday disciplining of morals to syariah lawmaking to religious taxation through zakat to the organisation of halal production and consumption.


Centralisation of Islam Syariah lawmaking Syariah courts system Corporatisation of zakat and wakaf Halal industry 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Malay Studies and Department of Southeast Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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