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Prosperity Islam: Business Motivation Seminar and Aspirational Piety of Indonesian Muslim Youth

Najib Kailani

Prosperity has recently become a mark of religious resurgence in the contemporary world. Studies conducted in this topic derive their case studies from Neo-Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity. A comparably lower number of studies have documented the phenomenon in other religions. This article discusses an emerging phenomenon of ‘prosperity Islam’ in contemporary Indonesia and highlights its circulation among Indonesian business circle and youth. The prosperity Islam emphasizes the performance of Islamic devotional acts with a strong expectation that such performance will result in material wealth as its reward. It is promoted by the Muslim televangelist, Yusuf Mansur in various ways including popular book publication, televised Islamic sermons and movies. This article demonstrates that Muslim business people adapt and promote this prosperity Islam toward young people through book publications and business motivation seminars. They suggest entrepreneurship, rather than a dependence of public sector employment as a future work preference. The widespread circulation of business motivation seminar is associated with unemployment issues among university-educated Indonesian over the last decade. I argue that the proliferation of entrepreneurial motivation seminars, books and sermons that wed Islam to issues of prosperity have subsequently provided an alternative way for some Muslim youth to find their “certainty” during a period of transition. They develop a desire to start businesses in order to become self-reliant and become eager to learn and practice Islam as a means to prosperity.

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