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Ritualism and Sharia-pietism in Contemporary Indonesian Islam

Jajang Jahroni

Indonesian Muslims have evidently become more compliant in performing Islamic rituals. More Muslims claims to keep performing praying and fasting, others performing hajj and umrah. Indonesia has so far the world’s largest contingent during the hajj season in Mecca and this makes the period of waiting for new applicants longer. Meanwhile umrah has provided a great business for travel agencies. I call this model of expression as ritualism, a form of religiosity which stresses on the importance of rituals. Furthermore, the Salafi dakwah, which only legitimizes rituals supported by religious texts, creates a similarly religious fashion. I call this model as Sharia-piety model. This model is made possible by intensifying rituals, either obligatory or complementary, based on the injunction of the literal interpration of religious texts, from which a sense of piety is attained. Throughout this article, I argue that ritualism and Sharia-piety fashions have become alternatives for the urban middle-class Muslims who have recently been exposed to Islam. They are unsatisfied with the models offered either by the modernists or traditionalist Muslims.

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