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Muslims through Discourse : Religion and Ritual in Gayo Society - John R. Bowen

Muslims through Discourse

Religion and Ritual in Gayo Society

Paperback Published: 9th May 1993
ISBN: 9780691028705
Number Of Pages: 376

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In this rich account of a Muslim society in highland Sumatra, Indonesia, John Bowen describes how men and women debate among themselves ideas of what Islam is and should be--as it pertains to all areas of their lives, from work to worship. Whereas many previous anthropological studies have concentrated on the purely local aspects of culture, this book captures and analyzes the tension between the local and universal in everyday life. Current religious differences among the Gayo stem from debates between "traditionalist" and "modernist" scholars that began in the 1930s, and reveal themselves in the ways Gayo discuss and perform worship, sacrifice, healing, and rites of birth and death, all within an Islamic framework.

Bowen considers the power these debates accord to language, especially in arguments over spells, rites of farming, hunting, and healing. Moreover, he traces in these debates a general conception of transacting with spirits that has shaped Gayo practices of sacrifice, worship, and aiding the dead. Bowen concludes by examining the development of competing religious ideas in the highlands, the alternative ritual forms and ideas they have pro-mulgated, and the implications of this phenomenon for the emergence of an Islamic public sphere.

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"Bowen's observations that anthropologists, historians of religion, and other scholars of Islam have neglected the study of Islamic ritual practice, and that Indonesianists have for too long neglected the study of Islamic textual traditions, point to significant problems in all of these fields. It is hoped that Bowen's work will inspire Islamicists to pay greater attention to the varieties of Muslim ritual practice and inspire Indonesianists to consider more seriously the importance of the Islamic textual tradition in what is, after all, the world's most populous Muslim society."--History of Religions

List of Illustrations
Note on Transcription
A Genealogy of Divergent Understandings
Introductionp. 3
Religious Disputes in Takengenp. 18
On Modernists and Traditionalistsp. 21
Social and Moral Contextsp. 30
Islamic Knowledge in the Highlands, 1900-1990p. 39
Languages of Past Piety and Learningp. 40
The Development of Traditionalist Scholarshipp. 47
Muhammadiyah: Social and Religious Innovation in the Highlandsp. 55
Radical Reform through Islamic Educationp. 61
Powerful Speech and Spirit Transactions
Spells, Prayer, and the Power of Wordsp. 77
Distinctions among Doap. 82
The Efficacy of Spellsp. 87
Quranic Knowledge and Powerp. 94
Acquiring Power and Expecting Resultsp. 101
The Source of Human Powers in Historyp. 106
The Creation of the Worldp. 106
The Human Embodiment of Creationp. 115
The Coming of Islam to Acehp. 124
The Healer's Strugglep. 129
Healers and Knowledgep. 131
Finding the Jinp. 135
Restoring the Balancep. 139
Asking a Spirit to Departp. 145
Exorcism and Accountabilityp. 151
Casting Out the Spiritsp. 152
The Social Framework of Exorcismp. 162
Farming, Ancestors, and the Sacred Landscapep. 173
Speaking with the Ancestorp. 174
Protecting the Crops and the Communityp. 185
Ancestors and Other Sacred Beingsp. 194
Adam and Eve's Childrenp. 202
The Origins of Ricep. 202
Cain, Abel, and the Marriage of Twinsp. 209
Hunting, Healing, and Spiritual Siblingshipp. 216
Negotiating Public Rituals
Transacting through Food: The Kenduri and Its Criticsp. 229
Prayers, Food, and Sacrificep. 230
Celebrating the Prophet Muhammad's Birthdayp. 237
The Child's Entry into the Worldp. 240
Speaking for the Deadp. 251
Speaking to the Dead at the Gravep. 252
Negotiating the Passage of the Deadp. 259
Chanting for the Deceasedp. 262
Sacrifice, Merit, and Self-Interestp. 273
Generating Merit in Isakp. 273
"Selfless Sacrifice" in Takengenp. 279
Worship and Public Lifep. 289
Form and Feeling in Worshipp. 290
Worshiping Togetherp. 296
Disputationsp. 300
Mosque Politicsp. 309
The Social Forms of Religious Changep. 315
Creating Private and Public Spheresp. 315
Two Modes of Cultural Rationalizationp. 321
Public Discourse and the Statep. 325
Glossary of Gayo and Arabic Termsp. 331
Bibliographyp. 335
Indexp. 353
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691028705
ISBN-10: 0691028702
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 376
Published: 9th May 1993
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.55 x 15.62  x 2.11
Weight (kg): 0.51