Standardising Faith

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


In this chapter, new challenges to being and becoming ‘Muslim’ are associated with the strengthening of the Divine Bureaucracy. The goal of homogenisation is imperative as it concurs with the bureaucracy’s function to standardise, uniformise and centralise. This chapter explains how the bureaucracy has confronted and dealt with the plurality of identities whether based on gender, sexuality, ethnicity or competing Islamic religiosity within its midst. As the ubiquity of the Divine Bureaucracy increases, various groups of Muslims have found themselves designated as being incorrect, improper, impure and in contravention of formalised syariah’s rules and regulations. Religious expression and identity have been codified, defined and sanctioned in accordance with an acceptable official Islam of the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah. The chapter discusses the development and history of the adoption of Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah and examines cases involving the denouncement of Syiah Islam, intellectuals of the Jemaah Al-Quran Malaysia, Sisters in Islam as well as an entity of ‘enemies’ in the form of liberals, pluralists and feminists. It also discusses the discipline of body and dress as a significant component of standardising faith.


Sunni Islam Syiah Islam Liberals Pluralists Feminists Fatwa institutions Standardisation Homogenisation 


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Copyright information

© 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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