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MAKI NG

MODE R N
MUS L I MS
THE POLITICS OF
ISLAMIC EDUCATION
IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
Edited by Robert W. Hefner
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII PRESS
Honolulu
vii
ix
1


55


106


141


172



205


237
239
Acknowledgments
A Note on Spelling and Transliteration
1 Introduction: The Politics and Cultures
of Islamic Education in Southeast Asia
ROBERT W. HEFNER
2 Islamic Schools, Social Movements,
and Democracy in Indonesia
ROBERT W. HEFNER
3 Reforming Islamic Education in
Malaysia: Doctrine or Dialogue?
RI CHARD G. KRAI NCE
4 Islamic Education in Southern
Thailand: Negotiating Islam, Identity,
and Modernity
JOSEPH CHI NYONG LI OW
5 Muslim Metamorphosis: Islamic
Education and Politics in
Contemporary Cambodia
BJRN ATLE BLENGSLI
6 Islamic Education in the Philippines:
Political Separatism and Religious
Pragmatism
THOMAS M. MCKENNA & ESMAEL A. ABDULA
List of Contributors
Index

CONT E NT S



Since the 9/11 attacks in the United States
and the October 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia, Islamic schools
inSoutheastAsiahavebeenthefocusofinternationalattention.The
young men responsible for the Bali attack, in which more than two
hundredpeopledied,hadbeenstudentsatanIslamicboardingschool
inEastJavaandhadtiestotheal-MukminboardingschoolinCentral
Java.Al-MukministhehomeofAbuBakarBaasyir,aseniorIslamic
scholarwhoisallegedtohavebeenthespiritualleaderoftheJemaah
Islamiyah (JI), an underground organization that has engaged in a
campaignofbombingandterrorsince2000.Inthe1990s,severalJI
militants had also attended an Islamic boarding school in Malaysia
runbyBaasyirandhiscolleague,AbdullahSungkar(nowdeceased),
atatimewhenbothwereinself-imposedexilefromIndonesia.
1

TheJIscampaignwasnottheonlyeventtoraisequestionsabout
thepoliticaltemperamentofSoutheastAsiasfftythousandIslamic
schools.SinceJanuary2004,Thailandhasbeenrockedbyarenewed
I NT R ODUCT I ON
THEPOLITICSANDCULTURES
OFISLAMICEDUCATIONIN
SOUTHEASTASIA

R OB E RT W. HE F NE R
1
2 ROBERT W. HEFNER
cycle of violence between state authorities and the Malay-Muslim
populationconcentratedinthecountryssouth.In2004,studentsand
teachers at two Islamic schools were accused of staging attacks on
Thai government offcials. In May 2005, al-Qaida documents were
foundatanotherschool.InJune2007,radicalseparatistsburneddown
elevenschoolsinYalaprovinceandexecutedtwofemaleThaiteachers
infrontofonehundredchildrenplayinginthelibraryafterlunch.
2
The discussion surrounding Islamic schools in the Philippines
wasnomoreplacid.In2000,theMusliminsurgencythathasraged
onandoffsincethe1970sfaredupagainafterPresidentJosephEs-
tradaorderedthearmedforcestocapturetherebelsmaincampon
the southern island of Mindanao. In addition to creating thousands
ofMuslimrefugees,theassaultprovokedanunprecedentedterrorist
campaign in Manila and other Philippine cities. In 2003, the intel-
ligence chief of the Philippines Armed Forces placed much of the
blame for the terrorism squarely on Islamic madrasas (modern day
schools). [T]heyareteachingthechildren,whilestillyoung,towage
ajihad.Theywillbecomethefuturesuicidebombers.
3

Cambodia,too,hasnotescapedtheMuslim-schoolcontroversy.
Between 2002 and 2004, the JI military chief, Riduan Isamuddin,
aliasHambali,spenttimeinthatBuddhist-majoritycountry,report-
edlyvisitingIslamicschools.HissubsequentcaptureinThailandled
toadditionalarrestsbackinCambodiaatschoolsfundedbyaSaudi
charity. Cambodian authorities alleged that militants had planned
to turn their country into a staging ground for terrorist attacks on
Westerntargets.
InMalaysiainearly2000,fnally,armedmilitantslinkedtoin-
dependent Islamic schools launched armed attacks on the national
police.FollowingarrestsinAugust2001,investigatorsrevealedthat
themilitantshadtrainedinAfghanistanandhadreturnedtoMalaysia
aspartofacampaigntobringthegovernmentdown.
ForaWesternpublicthathadlongregardedMuslimpoliticsin
Southeast Asia as relatively moderate, these reports linking Islamic
schools to terrorism caused anxiety and confusion. Policy analysts
speculatedthatSoutheastAsiawasbeingtransformedintoasecond
frontinanal-QaidainspiredcampaignagainsttheWest.
4
Concerns
likethesewerenotlimited,however,toWesterncircles.IntheMus-
lim-majoritycountriesofMalaysiaandIndonesia,offcialsintimated
3 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
that they too feared that some among their countries Muslim edu-
catorsweremixingviolentjihadism intothecurriculum.InOctober
2005,afewdaysafterBaliwashitbyasecondterroristbombing,the
Indonesianvicepresident,JusufKallaaMuslimclosetoIndonesias
mainstream Islamic organizationsblamed the attack on militants
fromanunnamedIslamicboardingschoolandwarnedthatthegov-
ernment was going to have to take action against schools promot-
ingirresponsibleactions.Weekslater,KallastartledMuslimeduca-
torsagainwhenheannouncedthatthegovernmentwaspreparingto
fngerprint all students in the countrys ten thousandstrong Islamic
boardingschoolnetwork(seeChapter2).
5
Againstthisunsettledbackdrop,thepurposeofthisbookisto
shedlightonthevarietiesandpoliticsofIslamiceducationinmod-
ern Southeast Asia. The contributors aim to provide a sense of just
whereIslamiceducationisgoingbyexaminingwhere,culturallyand
politicallyspeaking,ithascomefrom.Thebookfocusesonschoolsin
fvecountries:theregionstwodominantMuslim-majoritycountries,
Malaysia(60%Muslim)andIndonesia(87.8%),andthreecountries
withespeciallyrestlessMuslimminorities,thePhilippines,Thailand,
andCambodia.
6

ThechaptersarebasedonaresearchprojectthatbeganinDe-
cember 2004 and ended in January 2007. The initial research was
fundedbytheNationalBureauofAsianResearch(NBR)inSeattle,
Washington,anongovernmentalandnonpartisanresearchcenterthat
sponsors academic research on policy-relevant issues in the broader
Asianregion.Duringeachofthetwoyearsoftheproject,NBRpro-
videdthefveresearcherswithfundsforresearchassistantsandfora
three-tofour-weekstayinSoutheastAsia.Alltogether,sometwenty-
fveresearcherswereinvolvedinthefve-countryprojectonwhichthis
bookisbased.AlloftheU.S.researcherswererecognizedSoutheast
Asiaspecialists,andallhadbackgroundsinthestudyofIslamicedu-
cation.NBRssupportalsoallowedmeasprojectdirectortoextenda
researchcollaborationIhadbegunin20022004,withDr.Azyumardi
Azra,thenrector,andDr.Jamhari,directoroftheCenterfortheStudy
ofIslamandSociety(PPIM)atIndonesiasfagshipIslamicuniversity,
the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University. My earlier collabo-
ration with the PPIM, sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, had
sought to map variation in Islamic schooling across eight provinces
4 ROBERT W. HEFNER
in this vast country.
7
The new project included our collaborating on
the conduct of surveys of educators at Indonesias Islamic boarding
schools(pesantren),moderndayschools(madrasas),andcolleges.The
surveyswereconductedinJanuary2006andJanuary2007.
8

NBRs aim in supporting this project was to contribute to in-


formed public discussion of Islamic schooling in Southeast Asia.
Coming from the felds of education, anthropology, and political
science, the contributors shared NBRs interest in bringing public
scholarshiptobearonthetopicofIslamicschooling.Butwealsofelt
thatitwasnecessarytosituatetheresearchinaculturalandhistorical
framework broader than present-day policy alone. In discussions of
theMuslimworldsince9/11,therehasbeenatendencyonthepartof
Westerncommentatorstovieweventsprimarilythroughtheopticof
theirownsecurityconcerns.Inaworldofurgentthreatsandscarcean-
alyticresources,thisbiasisunderstandableenough,andthechapters
in this volume do not shy away from policy issues. Nonetheless, the
contributorsfeltthatifweallowedWesternsecurityconcernstosetthe
entireresearchagendawewouldloseanopportunitytounderstandthe
culturalconcernsthatMuslimsthemselvesbringtotheirschools.We
wouldalsolosesightofthefactthatSoutheastAsianMuslimshave
been debating the proper forms of religious education and politics,
notsince9/11,butsincethelatenineteenthcentury.Inthatcentury,
muchoftheworldenteredwhatTheodoreZeldinhasaptlycalledthe
AgeofEducation.
9
Fewoftheworldspeopleshavemoreseriously
grappledwiththequestionofexactlywhatmoderneducationshould
bethanMuslimleadershereinSoutheastAsia.
Intheremainderofthisintroduction,then,Iwanttodothree
things:provideanoverviewofthechaptersthatfollow;examinethe
varietiesandgenealogiesofIslamicschoolinginSoutheastAsia;and
highlight the relationship between Islamic education in Southeast
AsiaandthatintheMiddleEast.Althoughcomparativeresearchon
IslamiceducationinSoutheastAsiahasbeensparse,examinationof
thetopicoffersfourbenefts.First,itprovidesausefulvantagepoint
fromwhichtosurveythedevelopmentofIslamiccultureandpolitics
acrosstheregionandtotakethepoliticalpulseofboth.Second,itpro-
videsinsightsintothechangingnatureofstatesocietyrelationsfrom
thelatecolonialperiodtotoday,andtheroleofpublicIslaminthat
relationship.Third,educationhighlightstheastonishingdynamismof
5 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
processesofIslamizationinthisregion,whichacceleratedinthelate
nineteenthcenturyandcontinueindiverseformstoday.Bytheendof
thetwentiethcentury,religiousdevelopmentshadtransformedaworld
areaonceknownforitspantheisticsyncretismintoaregionwheredoc-
trinallynormativevariantsofIslamholdsway.
Fourthandfnally,examinationofthevarietiesofIslamicschool-
inginmodernSoutheastAsiaallowsustoappreciatethenatureofthe
struggle for Muslim hearts and minds currently taking place across
the region. The struggle has less to do with al-Qaida terrorisma
movementthatdemandseveryonesattentionatthemoment,yes,but
onethatissooutofstepwithmainstreamMuslimsocietyherethat
itisboundtofailthanwithMuslimseffortstodowhatbelieversin
otherreligioustraditionshavehadtodointhemodernera:determine
justwhatistimelessandrequiredintheirtradition,andwhatmustbe
reformedinaworldwheremuchthatissolidmeltsintoair.
Centering islam
Inanarticlepublishedahalf-centuryago,thecelebratedanthropolo-
gistofIndonesianIslam,CliffordGeertz,underscoredthecentrality
of religious education in Muslim societies and the centrality of the
Islamic boarding school (pesantren; also pondok, Ind. and Malay, lit.
hut,cottage)inMuslimSoutheastAsia.UsingJavaashispointof
reference,Geertzobserved,Therehavebeenpesantren-likeinstitu-
tionsinJavasincetheHindu-Buddhistperiod(i.e.fromthesecond
toaboutthesixteenthcenturies),andmostlikelyevenbefore,forthe
clusterofstudentdisciplescollectedaroundaholymanisapattern
common throughout south and southeast Asia.
10
With the conver-
sionofgrowingnumbersofpeopletoIslam,Geertzadded,whathad
beenHindu-BuddhistnowbecameIslamic,anewwineinaveryold
bottle(ibid.).
AsGeertzsremarkmakesclear,scholarshavelongsuspectedthat
therewerecontinuitiesbetweenIslamicschoolsinSoutheastAsiaand
their pre-Islamic predecessors. However, the wine-bottle metaphor
leaves unanswered the question of just how much Southeast Asias
IslamicschoolsactuallyowetoMiddleEasternprecedents,andhow
muchtheyrefectpre-Islamiclegacies.Welackthedetailedlocalhis-
toriesrequiredtofullyanswerthisquestion,particularlyfortheperiod
fromthefourteenthtoseventeenthcenturies,whenIslamfrstspread
o ROBERT W. HEFNER
across much of the Malayo-Indonesian archipelago. Since Geertz
wrote his article, however, two things have become more apparent:
frst, the historical development of Islamic schooling in Southeast
AsiahasstrongerparallelswiththedevelopmentofIslamiceducation
intheMiddleEastthanGeertzimagined;and,second,Islamicedu-
cationinSoutheastAsiahasforatleasttwocenturiesbeenmarked
by ceaseless change rather than old-bottle stasis. To appreciate the
scale of this change requires that we understand how the advance
of religious education in modern Southeast Asia compares with the
development of Islamic schooling in the Middle East from earliest
timestotoday.

Learnin as Worship
Islam is a religion of the divine word, and religious study has long
beenregardedasanactofworshipinitsownright.Thestudyand
transmission of the revealed word of God and the sayings of His
prophet, and of the system of law to which the revelation pointed,
are the fundamental service God demands of his creatures.
11
For
piousindividuals,religiousstudyusuallybeginswithlearningtoread
andrecitebutnotliterallyunderstandtheQuran.TheQuranis
thewordofGodasrevealedtotheProphetMuhammad(c.570632
C.E.) by way of the Angel Jibriel (Gabriel) between 610 and 632
C.E.
12
Historians of Islam believe that, while the Prophet was still
alive,theQuranwasnotwrittendown,butmemorizedandtransmit-
ted orally. Although scholars disagree as to exactly when the Quran
wasfnallyputintomanuscriptform,themostwidelyheldviewisthat
the recension took place not long after the death of the Prophet in
632C.E.,attheinstructionofthecaliphsUmar(63444)andUth-
man(64456).
13
Itwasaroundthissametimethatalightlyformalized
educationalinstitutionappearedonthescene,dedicatedtoteaching
individualstoreadandrecitetheQuran.
AcrosstheMuslimworld,Quranicrecitationhasremainedthe
model for elementary religious education to this day, including in
modern Southeast Asia. In the Middle East, Quranic reading and
recitationofthissortoftentakeplaceinasmallfree-standingschool
knownasthekuttabormaktab.Althoughinmoderntimesthekuttab
hasoccasionallybeenfreightedwithothereducationalmissions(in-
cluding,inseveralinstances,teachingsecularsubjects),
14
forthemost
7 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
parttheinstitutionhasremainedtruetoitsfoundingmission,serving
asaschoolwhereyouthslearnArabicscriptsoastoreadandrecite
the Quran. In modern Southeast Asia, elementary Quranic study
is carried out in a similar fashion, in activities known as pengajian
Quran (lit.Quranicstudy).
15
Thisinstructionusuallytakesplacein
mosques,prayerhouses(musholla,langgar),orteachershomes,rather
than a special-purpose building. In recent years, too, the religious
classes provided by governments in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the
AutonomousRegionofMuslimMindanao(ARMM)inthesouthern
PhilippineshavealsoincludedelementaryQuranicinstruction.
16

OverthecourseoftheeighthandninthcenturiesC.E.,thebody
ofknowledgeassociatedwiththeIslamictraditionbecamericherand
more variegated than that of earlier generations. During these cen-
turies,thehadith,therecordedandverifedwordsandactionsofthe
Prophet Muhammad, were gathered into standardized collections,
whicheventuallybecamethesecondfoundationonwhichIslamsau-
thoritativetraditions(Sunna) aregrounded.Thebodyofscholarship
associated with Islams legal schools (madhahib) was also composed
duringthisperiod,althoughatfrstthereweremanymorethanthe
fourSunnischoolsthatexisttoday(Shiismhasitsownschool).The
compositionandstandardizationofMuslimjurisprudence(fqh)were
allpartofbroaderprocesseswherebythelawcametobemoreratio-
nalizedandsystematicandscholarsofthelawcametoplayamore
centralroleinreligiouseducationandpublicaffairs.
17
Theexpansionofthereligioussciencesalsomeantthatthetime
required to become a learned scholar became greater.
18
During the
frst part of this two-century period, most study took place in infor-
mallearningcircles(Ar.halaq,sing.halqa)thatmetinhomes,bazaar
stalls,and,aboveall,mosques,underthedirectionofamasterscholar
(shaykh).Bytheendoftheninthcentury,however,mosquesthatpro-
videdadvancedreligiousstudyalsobegantoerecthostelsforresident
students.Evenwiththischange,however,instructionstilltookplace,
notinclassrooms,butininformallearningcirclesundertheguidance
ofanindividualscholar.
In the tenth century, a full three centuries after the Qurans
revelation,somecommunitieswentfurther,establishingthefrstma-
drasas, free-standingschoolsforintermediateandadvancedreligious
learning.Thefrstoftheseinstitutionswasfoundedintenth-century
8 ROBERT W. HEFNER
KhurasanineasternIran,buttheinnovationquicklyspreadwestward
into cities and towns in the Arab heartland. By the twelfth century,
the madrasa had become perhaps the most characteristic religious
institutionofthemedievalNearEasternurbanlandscape.
19
Bythe
thirteenthcentury,theinstitutionhadreachedMuslimSpainandIn-
dia.
20
Inmanyoftheselocales,madrasas educatednotonlyreligious
scholarsbutmuchofthelocalculturalelite,includingmathematicians,
medicaldoctors,andastronomers.
21

Duringthesesamefrstcenturies,themadrasacomplexgradu-
allyassumedamoreorlessstandardform.Mostmadrasascameto
have a mosque, dormitories, and classrooms, as well as a residence
for the shaykh-director and a washing area for ablutions prior to
prayer.Overtime,manymadrasasalsoerectedmausoleumsforthe
foundingshaykh andhisfamily.Ontheassumptionthatindeathas
inlifetheshaykh couldintercedewithGodandserveasachannelfor
divine grace (barakah), many tombs became the object of religious
prilgrimage(ziyarah).Intraditionalistmadrasas intheMiddleEast
or South Asia, and in Southeast Asias pondok pesantren, pilgrim-
agetotheshrinesofgreatreligiousteachersisstillcommontoday.
22

However,wheremodernMuslimreformistsholdswaythepracticeis
condemned and tomb complexes have been demolished or secular-
izedasarchaeologicalmonuments.
23

Not long into the Middle Period in Islamic history (10001500


C.E.),themadrasacurriculumhadalsotakenonamoreorlessfamil-
iar form. The larger schools provided instruction in Quran recitation
(qiraa),hadith,Arabicgrammar(nahw),Quranicinterpretation(tafsir),
jurisprudence(fqh),principlesofreligion(usul ad-din),thesourcesof
thelaw(usul al-fqh),and didactictheology(kalam).
Notwithstandingthisstandardization,formostofhistorymadrasa
curriculacontinuedtovaryfromschooltoschoolandregiontoregion.
Indeed, in general, the madrasa was a less formalized and corporate
entity than its counterpart in the late medieval West, the university.
Madrasaswerefundedbypiousendowments(waqf,pl.awqaf),which
were formally recognized in Islamic law. Its legal standing aside, the
premodernmadrasa neverdevelopedaboardofgovernors,acentrally
regulated curriculum, institution-wide examinations, or a corporate
identitystrongerthanitsmastershaykhs.Atitsheart,religiouslearning
remainedfundamentallyandpersistentlyaninformalaffair.
24
Itwas
nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
informal,notinthesenseofbeingcasual,butinitsbeinganchoredon
thestudentsloveanddevotiontohisteacher,ratherthanenrollment
inacorporateinstitution.Astudentallweremalecouldstudywith
several teachers and at several different madrasas. His standing in
thecommunityofscholarswouldforeverbedefned,however,bythe
reputationofhisteacherorteachers,notbyadegreehereceivedfrom
someformalinstitution.
Some medieval madrasas, particularly those in the Islamic
northeast(TurkeytoIndia),alsoprovidedinstructioninnonreligious
subjects,includingarithmetic,astronomy,medicine,philosophy,and
poetry.Fromtheeleventhtothefourteenthcenturies,mathematics,
astronomy,andmedicineintheArabMiddleEastandnorthernIndia
werethemostsophisticatedintheworld,andsomemadrasas excelled
intheteachingofthese,astheywereknown,foreignsciences.How-
ever, the very use of the phrase foreign sciences to refer to these
disciplines of knowledge was indicative of their precarious standing
inthemadrasa curriculum.BytheendoftheMuslimMiddlePeriod,
most Middle Eastern madrasas provided little if any instruction in
advancedmathematics,astronomy,ormedicine.
25
Instructioninthese
feldshadmigratedoutofmadrasasintohospitals(longastronghold
of the nonreligious sciences) and the private homes of scholars. In
fact,inmanyMuslimterritoriesadvancedinstructioninthesefelds
passedawayentirely.
26

HereinliesoneofthegreatironiesoftheOldWorldscivilizational
history.DuringwhatwasWesternEuropesMiddleAges,librariesand
madrasas in the Middle East had preserved Greek works in philoso-
phyandnaturalscienceslosttoChristianEurope.Inthetwelfthand
thirteenth centuries, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish scholars in Spain
andotherMuslimlandstranslatedmanyoftheseworksintoLatin.The
transfer of the translated classics back to Western Europe sparked a
revivalofinterestinthenaturalsciencesandhumanisticphilosophyso
strongthatthesesubjectsweregivenprideofplaceinthenewlyestab-
lisheduniversitiesoftheWest.
27
Althoughearlierpreservedandstudied
bygenerationsofArab-andIndian-Muslimscholars,thesameGreek
worksweregraduallymarginalizedfrommostmadrasacurricula.In-
deed, by the end of the Muslim Middle Ages their place in Middle
Easterneducationasawholewasgreatlydiminished.
28
Jurisprudence
had become the queen of the advanced religious sciences and the
10 ROBERT W. HEFNER
centerpieceofmadrasa education.Moresignifcantyet,manyofthe
jurists(fuqaha)whointerpretedGodslawhadcometoviewthestudy
ofphilosophyandtheforeignsciencesasuseless...anddisrespectful
ofreligionandlaw.
29
Theresultwasthatthephilosophyandnatural
scienceoncesointegraltoMuslimintellectuallifedisappearedfrom
manyinstitutionsofhigherlearning,nottobereviveduntilthegreat
educationaltransformationsofthemodernera.
Fecenrerin slam
Theevolutionofthemadrasa curriculumduringtheMuslimMiddle
AgeswaspartofabroaderrecenteringofIslamicknowledgeandau-
thorityatthattime.Therecenteringhadtwoprimaryfeatures,each
ofwhichanticipatedchangesintheeconomyofreligiousknowledge
that were to take place in Southeast Asian Islam several centuries
later.First,theriseofmadrasas ledtoarelativestandardizationand
homogenization of the knowledge and texts transmitted in institu-
tionsofhigherreligiouslearning.Thisstandardizationwasfacilitated
bythecollectionandverifcationofhadiths;thecreationofthemain
schoolsofIslamiclaw;andtherepositioningofthelawasthemost
authoritative discipline in advanced institutions of learning. By the
ffteenth century, Richard Bulliets statement about changes in the
hadith tradition could be applied to the other core traditions of Is-
lamic knowledge: The upshot of this process was the development
ofahomogeneouscorpusofauthoritativeIslamictextsthatcontrib-
uted greatly to a growing uniformity of Islamic belief and practice
throughoutthevastareainwhichMuslimslived.
30
Asimilarprocess
of standardization and canonization would take place in Southeast
Asia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with the rise of
newformsofIslamicschooling.
The Middle Ages recentering had momentous implications,
not only for texts and learning, but for religious authority as well.
Thespreadofmadrasasandthecreationofacanonmeantthatones
standingamongulama nowdependedonmasteryofkeytextsunder
arecognizedreligiousmaster.Inotherwords,themadrasaandthe
canon provided clearer criteria for defning just who was and who
was not a religious authority. As in all traditions of knowledge, the
effort to determine who should be included among the leadership
alsoinvolvedclarifyingwhowastobeexcluded.Withtheriseofma-
11 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
drasas,thegroundsforthatexclusionbecameclearer,atleastasfar
asthereligiousestablishmentwasconcerned.Theulama...sought
to restrict the ability of individuals who possessed only a modicum
ofintellectualtraining,orwhomightevenbeilliterate,butwhonone-
thelessclaimedconsiderablereligiousauthorityamongtheuneducated
masses,todefnefortheiraudienceswhatwasproperlyIslamic.
31

It goes without saying that this recentering and homogeniza-


tion
32
ofIslamicknowledgedidnotapplyequallytoallformsoflearn-
ingandtoallspecialistsofreligiousknowledge.Theprocessofsocial
authorization was most effective at the commanding heights of the
Muslimcommunity,amongpeopleresponsivetomadrasa disciplines.
Itishelpfultoremember,however,thatuntilthenineteenthcentury
98to99percentofthepopulationintheMiddleEastwasilliterate,
andmostofitwasrural.
33
Beyondtheranksoftheulama,then,less
standardized streams of religious knowledge continued to fow, and
mostwereconsideredIslamicbytheircustodians.Equallyimportant,
claimantstothesenonstandardformsofesotericknowledge(Ar.ilm)
wereoftenheldinhighregardbythebroaderMuslimpublic.
Thus, for example, even in cities like late-medieval Cairo, well
knownforitsmanymadrasas,therewasnoshortageofunconventional
religious masters. A colorful case in point was the shaykh ummi, an
illiterate religious teacher who claimed to obtain his Islamic knowl-
edge, not from texts and gray-bearded scholars, but from visions of
the Prophet and the depths of his heart. His religious language was
alien to the discourse of the jurists and the more learned Sufs
34

NotfarawayinDamascusoneencounteredsimilarlyunconventional
religious fgures, like the dervishes who fouted social and religious
norms:dressinginragsor(insomecases)notatall...; deliberately
disregardingculticpracticessuchasprayer;publiclyindulginginthe
use of hashish and other intoxicants, and...piercing various bodily
parts, including their genitals.
35
Notwithstanding the differences of
timeandspace,theparallelsbetweentheseunusualreligiousexperts
andthedhukuns, bomohs, andshamansofmodernMuslimSoutheast
Asiaarestriking.
Thepointofthiscomparisonisthat,farmorethanwasoncereal-
izedbymanyWesternscholars,therearestrikingparallelsbetweenthe
recenteringofreligiousauthoritymadepossiblethroughthedevelop-
mentofIslamiceducationinthemedievalMiddleEastandprocesses
12 ROBERT W. HEFNER
takingplaceinnineteenth-andearly-twentieth-centurySoutheastAsia.
For obvious historical reasons, the expansion of religious education
andthecreationofapublicIslamiccultureinSoutheastAsialagged
wellbehindthatoftheMiddleEast.However,inthenineteenthcen-
tury,whenSoutheastAsiawasfnallydrawnintodeeperdialoguewith
global Muslim civilization, the schools that emerged and the cultural
processesthatunfoldedboreastrikingresemblancetothoseseenear-
lierintheMiddleEast.Inparticular,thespreadofnewformsofreli-
giousschoolinginSoutheastAsiaplayedacentralroleinthecreation
ofnetworksanddiscoursesforstipulatinginadisciplinedmannerjust
whowasareligiousauthorityandwhatcountedasIslam.
36

The early phases of the recentering of Islam in Southeast Asia


werenotexactlylikethoseintheMuslimMiddleEast,however,be-
causetheywereconstrainedbyculturalandpoliticalrealitiespeculiar
tomodernSoutheastAsia.TheseincludedthelatearrivalofIslamin
theregion,theroleplayedbytheindigenousstateinIslamization,and
theshockandaweofaEuropeancolonialismevenmoredisruptivein
itsimpacttherethanintheMiddleEast.
IslamIzaTIONaNDEDUCaTIONINsOUTHEasTasIa
AgainstthisMiddleEasternbackdrop,onemightbetemptedtocon-
cludethatmadrasaswerethevehiclethatcarriedIslamtoSoutheast
Asia.Afterall,fromearlyonSoutheastAsianMuslimsappearedto
engageinelementaryQuranicstudysimilartothatprovidedinthe
MiddleEasternkuttab. However,thehistoryofIslaminSoutheast
Asiaarguesagainstsuchaconclusion.Thereasonforcautionisthat,
until the nineteenth century, Southeast Asia had no broad-based
institutions for intermediate or advanced education in the Islamic
sciencescomparabletothosethathadexistedintheMiddleEastfor
almostathousandyears.Toputthematterbluntly,thefrstcentu-
riesofIslamizationinSoutheastAsiawerecharacterizedbyadearth
of centers of advanced Islamic learning, the publics limited famil-
iaritywiththedetailsofIslamiclaw(thesharia)and,afewfervent
periods excepted, a socially circumscribed role for the custodians
of Gods law, the ulama. Notwithstanding the relative poverty of
formaleducationalinstitutions,earlymodernSoutheastAsiadevel-
opedanIslamicpubliccultureofasort.Butthekeyelementsinthat
culturewereproducedandreproducedthroughthemedium,notof
13 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
organizedreligiousschooling,butofreligiousritualsponsoredinits
mostexemplaryformbysultansandkings.
slamizarions Flural Faces
ArabMuslimmerchantshadtraveledthroughSoutheastAsiaontheir
waytosouthernChinaatleastsincetheeighthcentury.Massconver-
sion to Islam took place only several centuries later, however, much
of it during the period the historian Anthony Reid has aptly called
Southeast Asias Age of Commerce, from 1450 to 1680.
37
During
thesecenturies,conversionfollowedthetraderoutesundergirdingthe
commercialboomtakingplaceinthismaritimeregion,withthefrst
large-scaleconversionsoccurringinoraroundmercantileports.Inthis
early period, Southeast Asia was still a panoply of Hindu-Buddhist
states,islandchiefdoms,andtropicalforesttribes.Thecheckeredna-
ture of Southeast Asian society, and the fact that Islam did not ar-
riveontheheelsofhorse-mountedAraborTurkicarmies,guaranteed
thatconversiontoIslamwasapatchworkprocess,occurringswiftlyin
someareasandslowlyornotatallinothers.Untiltheearlynineteenth
century,centersofadvancedreligiouslearningwerefew,andadvanced
studyintheIslamicsciencesplayedonlyamarginalroleintheIslam-
izationofthepopulace.
Islams frst centuries in Southeast Asia displayed two features
that were to infuence the nature of Islam well into the modern era.
First,atthetoweringheightsofpoliticalsociety,Islamizationassumed
araja-centricface,inthesensethatrulerswerecentralbothtotheini-
tialconversionprocessandtotheexemplarypubliccultureconstructed
initswake.TheannalsofIslamsearlyperiodintheregionaboundwith
accountsofhowadream,cure,orotherwisesupernaturaleventleda
local ruler to embrace Islam, typically after encountering a mystical
shaykh.Afterthemiracle,therulercommandedhissubjectstoaccept
thenewfaithaswell.
38
Therulerscentralityinreligiousaffairsisalso
seeninhisinterventioninscholarlydisputes.
39
Aboveallelse,however,
therulerspivotalplaceinIslamiclifewasexpressedingreatpubliccer-
emonies,whichgavevisibleformtohisclaimtobetheaxis,notonlyof
thesecularpolity,butoftheMuslimcommunityaswell.
A raja-centric profession of Islam was not something unique
to Southeast Asia; in fact, it was typical of the Persianized monar-
chies
40
foundacrosstheAsian-MuslimworldfromCentralAsiaand
14 ROBERT W. HEFNER
IndiatotheMalayarchipelago.Inthesesocieties,Farfrombeingin
ideologicalconfictwithIslam,kingshipfoundnewwaystoexpressits
transcendenceinIslamicterms.
41
Oneofthesewayswastolimitthe
socialspherestowhichthesharia wasapplied,ortohighlightthose
aspects of the law that buttressed the authority of the ruler.
42
An-
otherwayinwhichrulersexpressedtheirexemplaryreligiositywasby
sponsoringscholarlylearningcirclesatthecourtorroyalmosque.The
importanceoftheseroyallysponsoredlearningcircleswasheightened
bythefactthatbeyondthepalacetheinfrastructureforadvancedreli-
giouseducationwaswoefullyundeveloped.Insomeplaces,especially
inJava,theresultingimbalanceofpowerbetweenrulerandulamaled
tooccasionalsatirizingofshariah-mindedness.
43
Inafewinstances
theimbalanceevenledtotheviolentpersecutionofulama imprudent
enoughtochallengetherulersreligiousandpoliticalprerogatives.
44

ThefactthattheheightsofIslamicculturetendedtoberaja-centric
isnottosay,asoneusedtohearinSoutheastAsianstudies,thatIslam
wasnomorethanaveneeronanotherwiseHindu-Buddhistsubstra-
tum.Theveneermetaphoroverlooksthesociologicalfactthat,unlike
in India, where much of the non-Islamic infrastructure survived the
Muslim conquests, the temples and monasteries of Hindu-Buddhist
worshipinislandSoutheastAsiaexperiencedanear-totalcollapsein
thecenturiesfollowinglocalrulersconversiontoIslam.(Baliwasthe
greatexception.)JustpriortotheIslamizationofitscourtsinthelate
ffteenthandearlysixteenthcenturies,thekingdomsinJavasheart-
landareestimatedtohavehadsometwohundredcentersofHindu-
Buddhistmonasticismandlearning.Withthenotableexceptionofa
smallHinduJavaneseenclaveinacornerofmountainousEastJava,
45

notoneoftheseinstitutionssurvivedintothemodernera.
Anotherreasontheveneermetaphorismisleadingisthatitover-
looksthefactthat,fromearlyon,someamongSoutheastAsiassmall
communityofIslamicscholarshadtiestoabroaderIslamicecumene
andwerefamiliarwiththestandardsofreligiousobservanceupheldin
otherMuslimlands.Manyinthescholarlycommunitymayhavebeen
membersofSuforders,orwereindependentulama infuencedbySuf
ideas. The more heterodox among these adepts may have had little
interest in the sharia or (more plausibly) understood its meaning in
amysticaloranalogicalmanner.However,asMartinvanBruinessen,
Th.G.Th.Pigeaud,andAnthonyReidhavealldemonstrated,there
15 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
werelegaldigestsofamoreorlessorthodoxSunnismfromearlyonin
SoutheastAsiasMuslimperiod,andintheseventeenthcenturyrulers
inseveralkingdomsattemptedtoenforceaspectsofthelaw.
46

Although there were whirlpools of legal-minded Islam, and the


toweringheightsofpublicculturewereoffciallyIslamic,thebroader
landscapeofknowledgeremainedvariegated,tosaytheleast;popular
religiousknowledge,inparticular,continuedtofowthroughatwisting
variety of cultural streams. In some parts of Muslim Southeast Asia,
pre-Islamictraditionsofexorcism,artisticperformance,andspiritcult-
ismsurvivedwellintothetwentiethcentury.Court-sponsoredritualsof
guardian-andancestral-spiritveneration,liketheMalayandJavanese
rulersannualofferingstospiritsofthesea,showedthateventheexem-
plarybearersofoffcialIslamwereeagertotapthisspiritualistwell.
47

In this rich religious landscape, Malay bomoh and pawang, Javanese


dhukuns,andsouthernSulawesistransgenderedpriests(bissu)allman-
agedtofndaplaceforthemselves.
48
Therewasaculturalpricetobepaid,however,ifthesenon-ulama
traditionsweretosurvive.Itwasthattheybeidentifed,notasHindu
orBuddhistorotherwisenon-Islamic,butasformsofspiritualknowl-
edge(Ar.ilm;Ind.ilmu)thatinsomesensewerecompatiblewithor
evenencompassedbyIslam.Althoughsomeritualspecialistsoccasion-
allytransgressedthisstipulation,overtimethearrangementcreateda
political economy of knowledge quite different from that of Hindus
inIndiaorJewsandChristiansinSyriaaftertheMuslimconquests.
Even after Muslims had captured the commanding political heights,
theadherentsofthesenon-Islamicreligionswerestillabletomaintaina
non-Islamicidentity,consolidatewhatremainedoftheirreligiousinsti-
tutions,andcontinueculturalexchangeswithreligiousfellowsbeyond
theirownterritory.ThecustodiansofnonstandardesotericainMuslim
SoutheastAsia,however,wereobligedtodownplayorevensevertheir
tiestoanybroaderecumene,thusbecomingjustoneamongthemany
specialistsofoccultartsoperatinginacommunitycalledIslamic.
49
As an infrastructure for reformed Islamic education was put in
placeinthenineteenthandtwentiethcenturies,theclaimthatthese
non-ulamatraditionswereactuallyIslamicwastobeputtoanewtest;
growingnumbersofpopularritualspecialistsweretofail.Liketheir
MiddleEasterncounterpartsafewcenturiesearlier,SoutheastAsian
Muslimswereabouttoexperienceaneducation-leveragedrecentering
1o ROBERT W. HEFNER
ofreligiousknowledgeandauthority.Ironically,theprocessinMuslim
SoutheastAsiawashastenedbytheadvanceofWesterncolonialism.
Colonial Era Fecenrerins
Thefactthattherulerwaswastheprimaryobjectofloyalty
50
and
that the landscape was cross-cut by multiple streams of religious
knowledge does not mean that no one in Muslim Southeast Asia
wasfamiliarwiththeIslamicsciencesand,inparticular,Islamiclaw.
AlthoughsomeWesternscholarsoncebelievedthatintheprecolonial
era Muslim kingdoms did not have Islamic courts or judges (qadis),
recentresearchmakesitclearthatIslamicjudgesapplyingaspectsof
the sharia operated for brief periods in early modern Melaka, Aceh,
WestJava,Brunei,Makassar,andSulu.
51
Inacomprehensiveanalysis,
AnthonyReidhasobservedthattheapplicationoftheshariapeaked
intheearlyseventeenthcentury,aperiodthatcoincidedwiththeacme
ofstateabsolutismacrosstheregion.
52
However,asMichaelPeletzhas
recently argued, the fact remains that for the period extending from
the coming of Islam to the rise of Western colonialism, most rulers
appliedthesharia selectivelyifatall,andmostdisputesbeyondelite
circles were handled by local notables drawing on customary regula-
tions(someofwhichhadIslamicelements)ratherthanadistinctbody
ofreligiouslaw.
53
More fundamentally, and again contrary to what specialists of
Southeast Asian Islam once believed, a broad network of schools
providingadvancedlearninginjurisprudenceandtheIslamiccanon
doesnotappeartohavebeensolidlyinplaceuntilwellintothenine-
teenthcentury.WesternscholarsofSoutheastAsianIslamhadonce
thoughtotherwise,inpartbecauseindigenousmanuscriptscomposed
for courtly audiences, like Javas Serat Centhini (written in the early
nineteenthcentury,butbasedonoldermaterials)andSundasSejarah
Banten, makereferencetoinstitutionsofIslamiclearningsaidtodate
back to the seventeenth century. An earlier generation of Western
scholarstookthesereferencesasproofthatinstitutionsforadvanced
Islamic learning similar to todays pondok pesantrens were already
widespreadinseventeenth-centurySoutheastAsia.
54

The weight of evidence today, however, suggests that schools


forintermediate-to-advancedIslamiclearningbegantoappearinsig-
nifcantnumbersonlytowardtheendoftheeighteenthcentury,and
17 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
became widespread only in the fnal decades of the nineteenth. In-
deed,schoolsforspecializedstudyintheIslamicsciencesreachedre-
motecornersofMuslimSoutheastAsialikethesouthernPhilippines,
Cambodia,andSulawesievenlater,inthefrsthalfofthetwentieth
century. Prior to this time, a small number of scholars from these
areasmayhavetraveledoverseasforstudy,tootherpartsofSouth-
east Asia or the Hijaz in Arabia. But their ability to reshape public
religiousculturebackintheirhomelandswaslimited.
55

Developments in the sultanate of Banten in northwestern Java


illustrate how much things changed in the late eighteenth and nine-
teenthcenturieswiththespreadofnewandmoreformallyorganized
religiousschools.AlongwithAceh,Malacca,Patani,Brunei,andcoast-
alcentralJava,Bantenwaslongrenownedasoneofthemorecompre-
hensively Islamic of Southeast Asian territories. If one expected any
areainSoutheastAsiatohavehadanetworkofreligiousschoolsearly
on,then,Bantenwouldbesucharegion.Asearlyas1638,Bantens
ruleracquiredthetitleofSultanfromtheGrandSharifofMecca,and
in the seventeenth century the kingdom imported a qadi-judge from
theholylandaswell.Inathoughtfulandimportantreview,however,
Martin van Bruinessen has shown that even in Banten a network of
boardingschools(pesantrens)foradvancedstudydidnotbegintobe
built until the mid-eighteenth century, and it did not become exten-
sive until a century later. Prior to that time, in-depth religious study
wasofferedonlyincourtandurbansettings,usuallyunderthepatron-
ageoftheruler.Wanderingreligiousscholars,includingitinerantArab
traders,mayhavealsopassedthroughcourtsandtownsandprovided
occasionalinstructioninareligioustext(kitab) ortwo.Forthemost
part,however,inBantenandotherpartsofJava,ruralkiais [shaykhs
who direct boarding schools] and pesantrens are a relatively recent
phenomenon.
56
Historicaldatafromotherself-consciouslyIslamicpartsofSouth-
eastAsia,suchasAceh,WestSumatra,Patani,andSouthSulawesi,
suggestthatintheseregions,too,thespreadofschoolsforadvanced
learningwasamoderndevelopment.Theprocessprobablybeganin
the late eighteenth century in West Sumatra and Patani, and more
thanacenturylaterinSouthSulawesiandKalimantan.Certainlythere
were modes of Islamic learning prior to the late eighteenth century,
not least of all of a Sufstic and folk-ritualistic sort. No doubt, too,
18 ROBERT W. HEFNER
there may have been Middle Eastern or South Asian scholars who
occasionally visited these areas and shared bits of knowledge with
localscholars.However,untilthemodernperiod,thesescholarsim-
pactonpublicIslamicculturewasalsolimited.
57
The spread of schools for advanced Islamic learning was fnally
spurredonbythreedevelopments.First,reformmovementsemphasiz-
ingtheneedtopurifyIslamofirreligiousinnovationshadgainedground
inArabiaandotherpartsoftheMiddleEasttowhichSoutheastAsian
Muslims traveled. Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhabs reformist jihad
ineighteenth-centuryArabiawasthemostinfuentialoftheseMiddle
Eastern movements, but it was not the only one.
58
An efforescence
ofreformistscholarshipinsouthernThailandsPatanidistrict,andthe
Padri War in West Sumatra, showed that the Arabian winds of reli-
giousreformhadbeguntoblowacrossSoutheastAsia.
59

The second development spurring school development was the


greater ease of travel to the Middle East and within Southeast Asia
itself as a result of the expansion of European rule in the late eigh-
teenth and early nineteenth centuries. Already in the 1820s, pilgrim-
age from Singapore and Malaya to Arabia was on the rise; the fow
of pilgrims surged after the opening of the Suez Canal in November
1869.
60
AlthoughasyetfewPhilippineorCambodianMuslimsmade
thejourney,pilgrimsfromSingapore,Malaya,theDutchEastIndies,
andsouthernThailandtraveledinsuchlargenumbersthat,in1885,the
Dutch scholar and government offcer Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje
concludedthatJawa(thenamegiventoSoutheastAsiansintheArab
lands)formedthesinglelargestcommunityintheholycity.
61
In1927,
64,000pilgrimsfromtheDutchIndiesandBritishMalayamadethe
hajj,comprisingafull42percentoftheforeigntotal.
Here, then, was the historical and sociological ground for the
establishmentofanewnetworkofschoolsand,withit,afundamental
recenteringofSoutheastAsianIslam.Whereas,initsfrstcenturies,
processes of Islamization in Southeast Asia had been stimulated by
contact with Muslims from India, Arabia, and southeastern China,
once signifcant numbers of Indonesians had started making the
pilgrimage...it was predominantly returning pilgrims and students
whosteeredtheprocess.
62
Andtheydidsotypicallybyestablishing
religiousschoolsbasedonprototypesencounteredduringtraveland
studyintheMiddleEast.
63
1 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
The effects of heightened travel to the Middle East were seen
notjustineducationandpilgrimagebutinthegrowthofnewprint
media. In 1884, the Ottoman rulers had established a government
press in Mecca that published books in Arabic and in Malay under
thesupervisionofarespectedPatanischolar,Ahmad.B.Muhammad
Zaynal-Patani.
64
Combinedwithnewmodelsofreligiouseducation
towhichpilgrimswerealsoexposedinArabia,thesepublicationshad
apowerfulinfuenceonIslamiceducationbackintheJawi lands.
The third development fueling the spread of Islamic schooling
wasthecrisisofauthoritycausedbythedeepeningpenetrationofco-
lonialruleintoSoutheastAsiansociety.InsouthernThailandsMalay
provinces,theThaigovernmentwasratchetingupitscontrolsoverthe
Muslimpopulation.IntheEastIndies(todaysIndonesia),theDutch
werecompletingtheirconquestofthearchipelago,often,asinAceh,
throughlongandbittermilitarycampaigns.Insomeoftheseterrito-
ries, the foreigners cooptation of native rulers caused a legitimation
crisisofsuchproportionsthatthepopularclassesbegantolooktothe
newlyascendantulama ratherthantoindigenousrulersaschampions
ofnativewelfare.Thus,forexample,thenetworksprovidedbyboarding
schoolsandSufbrotherhoodssuppliedmuchofthesocialorganization
forthepeasantrebellionthatsweptWestJavain1888.
65

In Cambodia and the Philippines, the situation of the Muslim


minoritywasquietbycomparisonwithsomepartsofSoutheastAsia,
buttheseregions,too,wereabouttobeshakenbytwentieth-century
programs of colonialism and nation building. In Malaya, fnally, the
1874PangkorEngagementbetweentheBritishandMalayrulerswas
ostensibly premised on a principle of noninterference in Islamic af-
fairs.Underthetermsoftheagreement,theBritishassumedrespon-
sibility for the colonys political, economic, and foreign affairs while
leaving control of Malay religion and custom to the sultans and
theirregionalchiefs.Ratherthanfreezingthestatusquo,theagree-
mentopenedthewaytoBritish-sponsoredimmigrationbyChinese
andIndians,adevelopmentthateventuallythreatenedtomakethe
MuslimMalaysaminorityintheirownlands.
66

Although the precise course of events varied by country, then,


the half-century from 1870 to the 1920s marked a turning point in
the recentering of Islamic learning and authority in Southeast Asia.
WiththequalifedexceptionofthePhilippines(whichappearsnever
tohavehadapondoktraditionandsawtheestablishmentofmadrasa
dayschoolsonlyaftertheSecondWorldWar),newreligiousschools
werenowbeingestablishedinthecountrysideaswellasintowns.The
schools became one of the nuclei for the pietistic movements that
weretosweepMuslimSoutheastAsianinthetwentiethcentury.The
revitalizationwasalsotoleadtothesuppressionofmanyofthefolk
variantsofIslamforwhichSoutheastAsiahadoncebeenrenowned.
Theorthodoctrinalturndidnotdoaway,however,withdivisions
intheMuslimcommunity.Acrossmuchoftheregiontherewasanew
and bitter rivalry between Old Group (Kaum Tua) traditionalists
associated with Islamic boarding schools and New Group (Kaum
Muda) modernists intent on building madrasas. The contest was to
createapoliticalandeducationallegacythathasenduredtothisday.
tHe aBODe DiViDeD: neW grOUP anD OlD grOUP islam
ThecompetitionbetweenNewGroupandOldGroupMuslimswasa
SoutheastAsianversionofacontestthatragedinbroadexpansesof
theMuslimworldattheendofthenineteenthandthebeginningofthe
twentieth centuries. In Southeast Asia, the division was exacerbated
bythenewpoliticaleconomyofreligiousculture.Thekeyfeaturesof
thatpoliticaleconomywererapidurbangrowth,theappearanceof
new print technologies, and above all else, the intensifed effort to
devise an effective Muslim response to the unrelenting advance of
Westerncolonialism.
slam Derachec lrom Flace
NewGroupreformiststendedtoliveinSoutheastAsiasnewlyde-
veloping urban centers, including Singapore, Penang, Batavia, and
the major towns of West Sumatra and Central Java.
67
By contrast,
liketheboardingschoolstheychampioned,OldGrouptraditionalists
werepredominantlyruralorsuburbanresidentslivinginareasnotyet
drawnintothemultiethnicmacrocosmemergingatthebordersofthe
colonialeconomy.Fromtheirurbanbases,NewGroupMuslimsral-
liedtoamoreuniversalprofessionofIslam,onerelativelydetached
fromanyparticularplace
68
andlesscloselytiedtoethnicallydefned
religiousleaderships.
ModernideasofIslamicreformhadbecomepopularamongSouth-
eastAsiansstudyinginMeccainthe1880sand1890sandinCairoa
20 ROBERT W. HEFNER
21 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
fewyearslater.However,intheMiddleEastatthistime,theJawicom-
munitysdebateoverreformistideashadnotyetassumedthepolarized
formitwastotakeonbackincolonialSoutheastAsiainthe1910s.
69

Whentherivalryfnallyreachedthearchipelago,themajorissuesover
whichthetwosidesarguedfocusedonwhatcountedastruereligious
knowledge,andhowandbywhomitwastobetransmitted.
InfuencedbytheideasofthegreatMiddleEasternreformists
Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (18381897) and his most celebrated dis-
ciple, the Egyptian Muhammad Abduh (18491905), New Group
MuslimsemphasizedtheclarityandperfectionoftheQuranandthe
Sunna,andtheneedtopurgeIslamictraditionsofallunacceptablein-
novations(bida).Amongthepracticesreformistssawasinappropri-
atewereseveraldeartotheheartsofMuslimtraditionalists:faithful
reliance(taqlid)onthestudyofclassicalreligioustexts(kitabs);affli-
ation with an established school of Islamic jurisprudence (madhab);
therecitationofacatechism(thetalqin)tothedeceasedimmediately
afterburial;theutteranceofanexpressionofintentbeforeonesdaily
prayers;andpilgrimage(ziyarah)totheburialsitesofMuslimsaints.
NewGroupreformistsalsodifferedfromOldGrouptraditional-
istsonseverallessdoctrinalbutstillpressingissues.Theformerwere
keenonwomenseducation,althoughthisreformwassoonadopted
bytraditionalistsintheDutchIndiesandBritishMalaya(seeChapter
2, this volume). The modernists also promoted the study of science
andtechnology,bothofwhichtheysaw,notasWesterncreations,but
asproductsofahumanreasonwhoseuseGodhadintendedforall
humanity.NewGroupMuslimsalsomadereadyuseofnewspapers
and journals, organized themselves into educational and welfare as-
sociationsonthemodelofWesterncitizens,andreplacedthetradi-
tionalistscholarlycostumeofsarongandtunicwithtiesandWestern
pants.Onthevitalquestionofwomensdress,thereformiststended
tobemoreconservativethanthealreadymodesttraditionalists.New
Group enthusiasts promoted long-sleeved and more fowing (rather
thantight-ftting)tunics,longskirts,andamoreencompassingveil.
Onmattersoflocalcustom,moderniststendedtobelesstolerant
thantraditionalistswhenthecustominquestionseemedtoveerinto
religious terrains, as with, for example, the long-cherished habit of
presentingfoodofferingstodeceasedancestors.Overtime,however,
OldGrouptraditionalistscametoagreewiththeNewGroupreform-
22 ROBERT W. HEFNER
istsonmattersofthissort,insistingthatfolkritualsinconsistentwith
Islamshouldbesuppressed.
70
Thecumulativeeffectofbothgroups
educationalactivitieswasthecreationofanewideaofwhatreligion
andorthodoxycomprise.Ratherthanamatterofinitiaticdiscipline
andineffablewonder,religionwasbeingredefnedassomethingob-
jective, easily transmitted, clearly separable from local custom, and
basedonexplicitscripturalprecedent.
71

The Tracirionalisr Monopoly Broken


Whatevertheirdifferencesinmattersofdoctrineandcustom,itwas
withregardtoschoolsthatthecompetitionbetweenNewGroupand
OldGroupMuslimsbecamemostheated.TheobservationoftheIn-
donesianhistorianTaufkAbdullahontheNewGroupmovementin
WestSumatraappliesequallytootherpartsofSoutheastAsia:Inthe
longrun,themostimportantaspectoftheIslamicmodernistmove-
mentwasitsschoolreformwhichformedthefoundationforarapid
increaseofitsfollowersandforcontinuityinthemovement.
72
Whereas at the beginning of the twentieth century the tradi-
tionalistsboardingschoolsenjoyedamonopolyonadvancedIslamic
education,themodernistschallengedthattrustbyintroducinganew
type of religious school, which they referred to by the Arabic word
madrasa. Thefrstmadrasaswereestablishedinthe1910sand1920sin
strongholdsofNewGroupreformlikeSingapore,WestSumatra,and
south-central Java. However, by the beginning of the Second World
War,madrasas hadspreadtosouthernThailand,Kalimantan,Sulawesi,
andeven(albeitatfrstunsuccessfully)Cambodia.
AlthoughNewGroupreformersusedthefamiliarArabicterm,the
madrasa inmodernSoutheastAsiadifferedfromtheinstitutionofthe
samenameintheMiddleEast.AlthoughintheArab-speakingMiddle
Easttodaythetermmadrasa canbeappliedtoanytypeofschool(in-
cludingsecularones),inearlierMuslimhistoryitreferredtoaninstitu-
tionofhigherIslamiclearningasopposedtoschoolsprovidingelemen-
taryreligiousinstruction,likethekuttabusedforQuranicrecitation.
Bycontrast,intwentieth-centurySoutheastAsia,thetermmadrasa
cametoreferto,notaninstitutionofadvancedIslamiclearning,but
toIslamicelementary,middle,orhighschoolsthatcombinedgeneral
(secular) education with religious instruction. In addition to these
innovations, madrasas differed from Old Group boarding schools by
23 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
doingawaywithlearningcircles(halaqah)withtheirstudentshuddled
onthefooraroundareligiousmaster.Inplaceoflearningcircles,ma-
drasasusedwell-keptclassrooms,blackboards,age-gradedclasses,and
examinations.WhentheyfrstappearedontheSoutheastAsianscene
intheearly1900s,madrasas werealsoassociatedwithgirlseducation,
scout clubs, student newspapers, and sports of Western provenance.
In Malaya, Indonesia, and southern Thailand, madrasas also led the
wayinintroducingtextbooksprintedinRomanlettersratherthanthe
modifedArabicscriptknownlocallyasjawi.
The most controversial of madrasa innovations was the inclu-
sionofgeneralorseculareducationinthecurriculum.NewGroup
reformists claimed that the Old Groups neglect of science, math-
ematics, and history was one of the causes of the Muslim political
decline in the face of Western colonialism. Modernists insisted that
theneglectrefectedtheOldGroupsemphasisonimitation(taqlid)
of centuries-old masters rather than the application of independent
reasoning(ijtihad).
TheNewGroupcritiqueeventuallytransformedIslamiceduca-
tion across Southeast Asia, even impacting traditionalist institutions.
However, its accusation that Old Group schools were stubbornly re-
sistant to change was a misrepresentation of historical reality. As in
thecaseoftheeducationofyoungwomen,someOldGroupscholars
movedquicklytoadoptNewGroupreforms.Inthe1920sand1930s,a
fewOldGroupschoolstookstepstointroducegeneraleducationinto
theircurricula,creatingahybridboardingschoolthatblendedreligious
studywithgeneraleducation.Morefundamentally,theNewGroups
allegationthattheOldGroupwasresistanttochangeoverlookedthe
factthat,evenpriortotheNewGroupsarrival,thetraditionalistshad
beeninthethroesofeducationalreformsoftheirown.
Makin Tracirionalisrs Mocern
The sacred texts long at the heart of Southeast Asias pondok and
pesantren boarding schools are collectively known as the yellow
books(kitab kuning),becauseofthecolorofthepaperonwhichthey
werewritteninthelatenineteenthcentury.Mostkitabs arecommen-
taries(Ind.syarah;Ar.sharh),inthelocaldialectand/orArabic,onan
ArabictextthatwasitselfacommentaryorglossonsomeolderArabic
text. For many years, scholars of Islamic history had assumed that
24 ROBERT W. HEFNER
the kitab curriculum in late-twentieth-century boarding schools was
identicaltothatusedinthenineteenthcentury.However,twostudies
ofthekitabkuning,thefrstpublishedin1886bytheDutchcolonial
scholar L. W. C. van den Berg, and the second a pathbreaking work
publishedin1989bytheDutchanthropologistMartinvanBruinessen,
revealjusthowmuchthecurriculumoftraditionalistboardingschools
haschanged.
73

VandenBergsstudyshowedthat,althoughcommentariesdraw-
ingontheQuranandhadithwereusedinboardingschools,hadith
collections were not yet studied in their own right. The absence is
surprising,becausehadithstudyhaslongbeenpartofthecorecur-
riculumofinstitutionsofhigherreligiouslearningintheMiddleEast.
Equallysurprising,invandenBergseratherewasonlyonekitabin
the boarding school curriculum dedicated to the exegesis (tafsir) of
the Quran. A century later, based on exhaustive travel to schools
acrossSoutheastAsiaandthecollectionofninehundredtextbooks,
vanBruinessenwasabletodemonstratejusthowmuchtheboarding
schoolcurriculumhadchanged:
[A]signifcantchangehastakenplaceinthepastcentury.
TherearenolessthantendifferentQuraniccommentaries
(inArabic,Malay,Javanese,andIndonesian)inthecollection,
besidesstraightforwardtranslations(alsocalledtafsir)into
JavaneseandSundanese.Thenumberofhadith compilations
isevenmorestriking.Thereisalmostnopesantrennowwhere
hadith isnottaughtasaseparatesubject.Themainemphasis
ininstructionremains,however,onfqh, theIslamicscience
parexcellence.Therehavebeennoremarkablechangesinthe
fqh textsstudied,butthedisciplineofusul al-fqh (thefounda-
tionsorbasesoffqh)hasbeenaddedtothecurriculumof
manypesantren, therebyallowingamorefexibleanddynamic
viewoffqh.
74

Injustonecentury,then,thestudyofkitab inSoutheastAsianboard-
ingschoolshadbeenrealignedsoastogroundthecurriculummore
frmly on three subjects: Quranic interpretation; study of the Tra-
ditions of the Prophet (hadith); and fqh, now expanded to include
the principles of jurisprudence.
75
These changes demonstrate that
25 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
traditionalisteducationwasanythingbutstatic.Thechangesarealso
noteworthy for the way in which they brought Islamic education in
SoutheastAsiaintocloseralignmentwiththeeducationalrecentering
effectedbyMiddleEasternmadrasasseveralcenturiesearlier.
THEBOOkCHapTERs
This,then,isthehistoricalbackgroundtothefvechaptersthatfollow.
Eachchapterpicksuptheschoolstoryintheearlyyearsofthetwen-
tiethcenturyandtracesthedevelopmentofIslamiceducationtothis
day.Alongtheway,eachalsoaddressesahostofissues,includingthe
varietyofIslamicschoolsineachcountry;themessageoftheiredu-
cationalcurriculumregardingcitizenship,gender,andpluralism;and
theimplicationsoftheschoolsystemforpubliccultureandpoliticsin
contemporarySoutheastAsia.
Ecucarional Dynamism in slamic nconesia
ThesituationofIslamiceducationinIndonesiaisarguablythemostdy-
namic in Southeast Asia. The reform of Southeast Asias kitab kuning
curriculumwentfurtherinIndonesiathaninanyotherSoutheastAsian
country.Nowhere,too,wastheexpansionofIslamicboardingschoolsat
theendofthenineteenthandbeginningofthetwentiethcenturiesmore
sociallymomentous.Theunhesitantdynamismshownbytraditionalist
educatorsensuredthatwhentheNewGroupreformistsarrivedonthe
sceneinthe1910sandthe1920s,thetraditionalistsrespondedwithedu-
cationalreformsoftheirown.Althoughsometraditionalistschoolskept
toareligion-onlycurriculum,severalofthemostdistinguished,likethe
famousTebuirengpesantren inEastJava,
76
movedquicklytointegrate
generaleducationintotheirschoolprograms,oftenbybuildingmadrasa
ontheschoolcomplexsgrounds.TraditionalistsrespondedtootherNew
Groupinnovationsinanequallyboldmanner.Theyestablishedthefrst
boardingschoolsforgirlsinthelate1920s,
77
andanationalassociation
ofIslamicscholarsin1926.Inthe1930s,theylenttheirsupporttoIn-
donesiasfedglingnationalistmovement,evensignalingtheirpreference
forSukarnooverhismoreself-consciouslyIslamicrivals.
78

Although,unlikeinotherpartsofSoutheastAsia,traditionalistsin
Indonesiahavecontinuedtoenjoybroaderpopularsupportthantheir
modernist rivals, modernists associated with groups like the Muham-
madiyah(estab.1912)madeevenmoreeffectiveuseofWestern-inspired
2o ROBERT W. HEFNER
stylesofassociation,management,andfund-raising.Inthelate1910s,
theMuhammadiyahbeganthepatientconstructionofaninstitutional
networkthattodaycomprisesthousandofschools,dozensofhospitals,
andsome166facultiesofhighereducation,mostofwhichoffergeneral
professionalaswellasIslamiceducation.
79

Political and economic developments in the 1950s and early


1960sgaveaddedimpetustoMuslimeffortstoexpandandmodern-
ize their school systems. In the early 1950s, the newly independent
republicangovernmentembarkedonitsownschoolbuildingprogram,
and a degree from government schools quickly became a condition
foremploymentinbusinessandgovernment.
80
AsmoreMuslimpar-
entsoptedtoplacetheirchildreninstateschools,theMuslimsectors
share of total enrollments plummeted. However, both traditionalist
and modernist educators responded to the crisis with characteristic
vigor,upgradingtheircommitmenttogeneralaswellasreligiousedu-
cation,andevenaddinghighschoolstotheireducationalprograms.
In 1975, the Islamic sectors growing involvement in secular
educationwasgivenaddedimpetuswiththesigningofaministerial
memorandumstipulatingthatallstudentsinMuslimschoolsshould
receiveageneralelementaryeducationofatleastsixyearsinaddition
totheirreligiousstudies.Moregenerally,thememorandumsoughtto
bringIslamiceducationuptothesamestandardasthatmaintained
bynonreligiousstateschoolsbyallowingstudentsatMuslimschools
toenterstatecollegesiftheyfulflledthegeneral-educationrequire-
ments and passed an entrance examination. To achieve this parity,
madrasashadtoteachanassortmentofrequiredgeneralcoursesand
revisetheircurriculumsothat70percentoftheinstructionaldaywas
devotedtogenerallearningand30percenttoreligious.
In these and other ways, the 1975 agreement accelerated the
trendoflargepesantrens openingmadrasasfortheprovisionofgen-
eral education. The agreement also encouraged madrasas to align
their general curriculum with those of state public schools, and led
themostprestigiousboardingschoolstoaddseniorhighschoolsand
even college programs to their educational complexes. Meanwhile,
sincethelate1970s,enrollmentintheIslamiceducationalsectorhas
soared under the twin infuences of the Islamic resurgence and the
opening of Islamic schools curricula to general studies. As demon-
stratedintheseandotherinitiatives,MuslimeducatorsinIndonesia
27 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
havetakenenormousstridestobreakdownthedualitybetweengen-
eralandIslamiceducation.
Withregardtopoliticsandpublicculture,thesituationinIndo-
nesiaismoremixed.Ononehand,thelargestMuslimassociations
andschoolnetworkshavedemonstratedaproudcommitmenttothe
ideals of Indonesian nationalism, which are multiethnic and multi-
religious in form. During the 1990s, the leaders of Indonesias two
biggestassociations,theNahdlatulUlama(35millionfollowers)and
Muhammadiyah (25 million), became outspoken supporters of the
democracy movement against President Soeharto. Although their
currentleadershipismoreconservative,theseorganizationsremain
pillarsofIndonesiancivilsocietystilltoday.Inlinewiththislegacy,
mostofthecountrys47,000Islamicschoolssteerclearofdirectpo-
liticalinvolvement,bothonprincipledgroundsandforthepractical
reason that the Muslim community itself does not line up behind
anysinglepartyorideology.
AsIexplaininChapter2,however,sincethe1990sasmallnumber
ofIslamicschoolshavedevelopedqualitiessimilartowhatpoliticaltheo-
ristshaverecentlycometodescribeassocialmovements.Socialmove-
mentschoolsaimnotonlytoeducatestudentsbuttousethenetworks
andsocialidealismthatresultfromeducationtobuildmomentumfor
thetransformationofsocietyaswellas,typically,thestate.Theschools
displayanotherkeyfeaturehighlightedintheliteratureonsocialmove-
ments.Theyprovideculturalframesfordiagnosingsocietalproblems,
recommendstrategiesfortheproblemssolution,andtrytorallypeople
totheproposedcourseofremedialaction.
Aswiththeschoolnetworknowblossomingunderthepatron-
age of the moderately Islamist Prosperous Justice Party (PKS),
manyofthesesocialmovementschoolshavebeeninspiredbyajur-
isprudentially conservative but tactically moderate wing of Egypts
Muslim Brotherhood. Social movement schools of this sort, then,
are not politically radical. Most subscribe to the notion that Islam
anddemocracycanbecompatible.Althoughtheypromoteadeeper
Islamizationofpubliclife,theseschoolsaresystem-reformingrather
thansystem-upending.
Atthemarginsofthemovementschoolnetwork,however,area
smallnumberofschoolsopposedtotheexistingformoftheIndonesian
stateanddemandingtheformationofatotallydifferentpoliticalorder.
28 ROBERT W. HEFNER
The ideologies and tactics of these radical schools vary. They range
fromSaudi-fundedSalafyyah schools,whichnownumbersometwo
hundred, to radical modernists like Abu Bakar Baasyirs al-Mukmin
schoolinNgruki,CentralJava.Whattheseschoolshaveincommonis
theconvictionthatIslamiceducatorsandtheMuslimcommunityasa
wholemustnotresignthemselvestothepoliticalstatusquo.Thedis-
coursetheseschoolsenunciateisnotmerelytheoretical.From1999to
2003,radicalIslamistschoolsplayedacentralroleinthecampaignto
dispatchmujahidin fghterstotheMalukuregionofeasternIndonesia,
wheretheirclasheswith(equallyviolent)Christiangangsresultedin
thousandsofdeaths.
OfIndonesias47,000Islamicschools,antisystemicradicalsrep-
resentonlyatinypercentageofthewhole,and,becausetheirschool
enrollments average much less than their mainstream counterparts,
theirshareofthetotalMuslimstudentpopulationisevensmaller.The
pollingdataonathousandeducatorsthatIpresentinChapter2pro-
videsanothergaugeofhowunrepresentativetheradicalsare.Thedata
show that 86 percent of Muslim educators believe that democracy is
thebestformofgovernmentforIndonesia.Equallystriking,theeduca-
torssupportisneitherformalisticnorbasedonacrudelymajoritarian
understandingofdemocracy,butextendstosubtlecivilrights,including
supportfortheequalityofallcitizensbeforethelaw(94.2%support),
freedom to join political organizations (82.5%), and legal protections
forthemediafromarbitrarygovernmentaction(92.8%).
Atthesametime,however,thesesurveydata,supplementedby
sometwohundredin-depthinterviews,indicatethatmosteducators
supporttheimplementationofIslamiclawalthoughpreciselywhat
thismeansisamatterofdisagreement.Notwithstandingtheirstated
commitmenttodemocracy,72.2percentoftheeducatorsbelievethe
state should be based on the Quran and Sunna and guided by reli-
giousexperts;82.8percentthinkthestateshouldworktoimplement
thesharia.Interestingly,however,wheneducatorsgointothepolling
boothonelectionday,themajoritydonotmakeimplementationof
thesharia theirfrstconsiderationinchoosingaparty.
Theseandotherdatasuggestthreethings:frst,thatthereisa
deepreservoirofsupportfordemocraticgovernanceamongIndone-
sias Muslim educators; second, that educators commitment to the
sharia is almost as strong as that to democracy; and, third, there is
2 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
a vast gray space of cultural uncertainty, where Muslim educators
andthepublichaveyettoresolvejusthowtobalancethesetwovalue
commitments.AradicalfringeinIndonesiamayattempttopresstheir
fellowstowardamoreimmediateandtotalizingresolutionofthisten-
sion.Butallevidenceindicatesthatthepublicandeducatorsarewary
ofanythinghintingatextremismandpreferthatthesequestionsbe
resolvedpeacefullyanddemocratically.

Malaysia anc rhe Erarizarion ol slamic Ecucarion


AsdescribedbyRichardKrainceinChapter3,thesituationinMalay-
siashowshowanIslamicschoolsysteminitiallyquitesimilartothat
in Indonesia has over the past century turned into something quite
different. In the early twentieth century, Malaysias Islamic schools
resembled those in Indonesia, in that they were divided between
traditionalist-dominated boarding schools (known in the Malaysian
settingaspondok)andmodernist-operatedmadrasas.Buttheeduca-
tionalsituationwassoontochange.
AlthoughbytheendofthenineteenthcenturytheBritishhad
won control of most of the Malay peninsula, they left intact the re-
gional sultanships that had exercised light-handed authority over
muchoftheMalaypopulation.Althoughday-to-dayreligiousaffairs
hadlongbeenhandledattheregionalandvillagelevelratherthanby
rulersorIslamiccourts,theBritishcompensatedthenativesultansfor
theirlossofsovereigntybyawardingthemresponsibilityforreligious
and customary affairs. The result was that, several decades prior to
independencein1957,Malayrulershadbeguntodevelopanexten-
siveadministrationforreligiousaffairs.
81
Atfrst,theMalayrulersand
their administrators tended to side with Old Group traditionalists,
at one point even forbidding public teaching on Islam without the
sultanswrittenapproval.
82
As Kraince reminds us, opinion in elite Malay circles shifted to-
wardNewGroupmodernistsintheaftermathoftheFirstWorldWar.
83

Bythattime,theMalayelitehadbeguntorealizethatBritisheducation
offeredgreateropportunitiesthandidIslamicschoolsforsocialadvance-
ment.Inaddition,oneaspectofthereligiousbureaucracysexpansion
wasitsappropriationofthelocalreligiousalms(zakat)onwhichIslamic
boardingschoolshadheretoforedepended.Thelossofthezakat funds
deprivedthetraditionalistsoftheireconomicindependenceandmade
30 ROBERT W. HEFNER
them more wary than their Dutch Indies counterparts of engaging in
intellectualandeducationalreform.
After Malaysian independence in 1957, the madrasa wing of
Islamic education held its own, but traditionalist boarding schools
continued to decline. Ironically, the pondoks fate was exacerbated
bythenationalgovernmentspolicyofmandatingreligiouseducation
in state schools. Chinese, Indian, and Christian Malaysians worried
thatthegrowingemphasisonIslamiceducationinotherwisesecu-
larschoolswouldheightenethnoreligioustensions.
84
Conversely,the
insertionofIslamicinstructionintopublicschoolcurriculareassured
MalayMuslimparentsthatpubliceducationwouldnotestrangetheir
childrenfromtheirfaith.Seeingthatpubliceducationwasnotirreli-
gious,andthatstateschoolsprovidedmobilityintothemorelucrative
sectors of Malaysias economy, growing numbers of Malay Muslim
parentsoptedtosendtheirchildrenintothestateschoolsystem.
Inthe1990sand2000s,politicaldivisionswithintheMalayMus-
limcommunityalsoworkedtothedisadvantageofindependentIslamic
schools, now identifed in government parlance as peoples religious
schools (SAR, sekolah agama rakyat). Rivalry between the dominant
partyintherulingcoalition,theUnitedMalaysNationalOrganization
(UMNO),andconservativeIslamistsintheAll-MalaysianIslamicParty
(PAS),impactedtheSARsnegatively,especiallyafterthegovernment
realizedthatmanySARshadtiestoPAS.
85
Inanefforttoundermine
theoppositionandimproveeducationalopportunitiesforMuslimstu-
dents,thefederalgovernmentencouragedstudentsplanningtopursue
Islamicstudiestodosoininstitutionsthatfollowedanationalcurricu-
lumandenjoyedfederalorstatesupport.Aidedbyparentsconfdence
thattheirchildrencouldreceivegoodreligioustraininginstateschools,
andbystudentsdesireforvocationaltraining,thegovernmentsefforts
broughtaboutadrasticdeclineinenrollmentsinMalaysiasindepen-
dentIslamicschools.
The decline does not mean that Islamic instruction as a whole
hasfadedfrompubliclife.Rather,overthepastgeneration,thestate
hasbecomethemainproviderofreligiousandmoraleducation.To-
dayallstudentsinMalaysiaarerequiredtotakefvehoursofclasses
eachweekonIslam(iftheyareMuslim)ormoraleducation(ifnon-
Muslim). Although Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has used state
schools to promote an anticlash-of-civilizations program known as
31 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
Civilizational Islam (Islam Hadhari), the religious curriculum is
vettedbyMuslimscholarswiththeirownideasabouthumanrights,
genderequality,andthesharia. AsKraincenotes,non-Muslimsand
pluralist Muslims in groups like the feminist Sisters in Islam
86
have
complained that, notwithstanding Badawis impressive efforts, the
statesreligiouscurriculumisquiteconservative.Inasmuchasthisis
the case, public religious developments in Malaysia bear a striking
resemblancetothoseinEgypt.Inbothcountries,thegoverningelites
efforts to coopt the Islamist opposition have resulted in the states
makinglargeportionsoftheoppositionsconservativereligiousplat-
formitsown.
87
slamic Ecucarion anc Erhnoreliious Folarizarion
in Sourhern Thailanc
GovernmentpoliciesandIslamicschoolinginsouthernThailandhave
longresembledthoseinMalaysia,but,forpoliticalreasons,theout-
comeoftheirimplementationhasbeenentirelydifferent.
AsVirginiaMathesonandM.B.Hookerhaveshown,inthenine-
teenthandearlytwentiethcentury,theprovinceofPataniinsouthern
ThailandwasarenownedcenterofIslamiclearning,producingsome
ofSoutheastAsiasmostcelebratedtraditionalistscholars.
88
AsJoseph
LiowshowsinChapter3,thetypesofIslamicschoolsfoundinsouth-
ernThailandresembledthoseinthenearbyMalaypeninsula.Decades
later,atthebeginningofthetwentiethcentury,theeducationalscene
insouthernThailandalsoresembledthatinMalaya,inthatitwasbuf-
fetedbytherivalrybetweenOldGrouptraditionalistsandNewGroup
modernists.ThemaindifferencebetweenIslamiceducationinthese
two countries has to do with the fact that in Malaysia Muslims are
politicallydominant,andIslamhasbeenaccordedaprivilegedplace
innationalpoliticsandculture.InThailand,bycontrast,theMuslim
minority confronts a state that is centralizing, Buddhist-dominated,
andintentonforginganationalcultureinwhichIslamisconspicuous
byitsabsence.
From 1898 on, the educational policies pursued by Thai gov-
ernments were openly assimilationist with regard to the countrys
non-Buddhistminorities,includingadherentsoftraditionalreligions
in northern Thailand as well as the Malay Muslims in the south.
UnlikethetribalpeoplesinnorthernThailand,however,theMalay
32 ROBERT W. HEFNER
elite in the south had for several centuries seen itself as part of a
broaderIslamicecumene.Inthenineteenthcentury,thisratherdif-
fusereligioussensibilitywasbroughtintofocusbyhighratesofpil-
grimagefromPatanitoArabiaandthedistinguishedroleofPatani
scholarsintheholyland.When,in1921,Thaiauthoritiesintroduced
compulsory education, the Malay population feared that the state
schoolsintendedtodivertlocalMuslimsfromIslam.Mostparents
boycottedtheschools.
89

In the face of continuing Malay intransigence, in 1961 the


government resolved to work with rather than against the Islamic
boarding schools. The states Pondok Educational Improvement
Program (PEIP) promised fnancial assistance to boarding schools
that registered with the government, provided instruction in Thai,
andadoptedelementsofthegovernmentcurriculum.Althoughfour
hundredschoolsregisteredundertheprogram,anotheronehundred
closed or went underground. Rather than Thai-ifying the boarding
schools,thegovernmenthadunwittinglyturnedtheminto,inLiows
apt phrase, a front line in the contest between Bangkok and the
southernprovinces.
Notwithstanding these tensions, by the 1970s southern Thai-
landsIslamicschoolswerechanginginawaythatseemedtoindicate
they might become a bridge between Muslims and the state rather
thanthefrontlineinaculturewar.Oneconsequenceofstateefforts
tobringpondok andmadrasaeducationintoalignmentwithnational
curriculawasthatMalayenrollmentsinnationalcollegessoared.The
establishmentoftwostate-assistedIslamiccollegesinthesouth,with
plansforathird,wasalsowellreceivedintheMuslimcommunity.The
colleges were designed to provide higher education in Islam as well
ascoursesonIslamfornon-Muslims,includinggovernmentoffcials
postedtothesouth.
Other educational trends, however, showed that education and
politics in the Muslim south were being buffeted by less integrative
winds. Beginning in the 1980s, growing numbers of students opted
tocompletetheirreligiouseducationintheMiddleEast,particularly
in Saudi Arabia. According to reports that Islamic leaders provided
Liow, today some twenty to forty schools in the south promulgate
Wahhabiteachings.ThelifehistoryoftheSaudi-trainedreformistand
YalaCollegerectorIsmailLutfillustratethatnotalloftheSaudi-style
33 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
Salafs(Islamicreformistswhomodeltheireffortsonthepiousances-
tors,i.e.,thefrstthreegenerationsofMuslims)areanti-integrationist.
Although Saudi trained, Lutf is a gifted and warm speaker, and ad-
vocatesagradualistandcontextualistapproachtotheunderstanding
of Islamic law. But recent events have shown that, hardened by the
heavy-handedtacticsoftheThaiauthorities,
90
asmallminoritywithin
the Islamic school system has concluded that compromise with the
stateisnolongeranoption.
Onmattersofgender,LiowpointsoutthatSaudi-inspiredSalafs
donotdiffergreatlyfromtraditionalistscholarsorNewGroupreform-
ists.AlthoughinIndonesiaitisnotatallunusualtomeettraditionalist
thinkersandactivistswhopromotegender-equitableinterpretationsof
Islam(althoughitmustbesaidthateveninIndonesiathisremainsa
minoritytrend,asmanyboardingschoolscontinuetousekitabs with
inegalitariangendermessages),
91
suchgenderliberalismisvirtuallyun-
knowninsouthernThailand.Scholarsofallstripessubscribetocon-
servativeinterpretationsofwomensroles.AsinmanyotherMuslim
countries,offcialgenderconservatismhasnotpreventedfar-reaching
changesinwomensroles,notleastofwhichregardtheirparticipation
ineducation.Indeed,asLiowobserves,inmodernizedIslamicschools
femalestudentstypicallyoutnumbermales.
Another development to which Liow draws our attention is the
rapidgrowthoftheTablighiJemaah.FoundedinIndiaintheearlyde-
cadesofthetwentiethcentury,theTablighiJemaahisapietisticmove-
mentofagentlyconservativesortthat,sincethe1960s,hasturneditself
intooneofthelargesttransnationalIslamicmovementsintheworld.
Itsaimsaresimpleandostensiblynonpolitical.Tablighisaspiretolead
Muslimstoapurerprofessionoftheirfaithbymodelingallaspectsof
theirlivesontheProphetMuhammadandhiscompanions.
92
Ofcourse,
whereotherMuslimsdisagreeonjusthowthismodelingshouldwork,
argumentsoverreligiousauthenticitycanquicklyturnpolitical.Fortac-
tical as well as jurisprudential reasons, however, Tablighis attempt to
keepthisreligiouspoliticsclearofthestate.
TablighisfrstcametoThailandinthe1960sbywayofMalaysia.It
wasonlyinthe1980s,however,thatthemovementbecameamass-
basedorganization.AsinneighboringCambodia(butnottheMalay
peninsula, where the movement is primarily a phenomenon of the
urban middle class), Tablighi preachers travel so frequently to the
34 ROBERT W. HEFNER
countrysidethat,asLiowobserves,theyvisitmost,ifnotall,ofthe
villagesinthesouthernprovincesatleastonceaweek,typicallyap-
proachingeveryhouseholdinthevillage.Themovementworkshard
torecruitlocalleadersandtransportsthebestofthemtoPakistanfor
education.NewleadersalsoreceivetraininginUrdu,thelanguageof
global Tablighism. As in Cambodia, which also has a large Tablighi
community,theTablighiadvancehasraisedtempersinotherMuslim
circles,notleastofallamongSaudi-orientedSalafs.
In comparison with Malaysia or even Indonesia, then, Islamic
educationinsouthernThailandisinadeeplyunsettledstate.Tiedasits
evolutionistopoliticalevents,itsfuturealsoremainsunclear.
93
Fueled
by a sense of political disenfranchisement, Malays in Thailand have
cometoseeIslamicschoolsasbothsymbolsandinstrumentsofresis-
tancetoThaiauthority.Onecannotemphasizetoostrongly,however,
that the schools are not the cause of the political violence afficting
southern Thailand today. Education remains a key instrument in the
Malaypopulationseffortstomaintainadistinctethnoreligiousidentity,
however,andwillbecentraltoanyefforttoresolvetheregionscrisis.
CamLocia: slamic Ecucarion alrer rhe Collapse
The situation described by Bjorn Blengsli in Cambodia is arguably
oneofthemostunusualinMuslimAsia.Historicallyspeaking,Cam-
bodias small Muslim population was divided between two primary
ethnic communities, the Cham (descendants of ffteenth-century
immigrants from coastal Vietnam) and the Chvea (descendants of
Malay immigrants from Sumatra and the Malay peninsula). There
is also a small subgroup of Cham known as the Imam San who see
themselvesaskeepersofancient(andlargelysyncretic)rituals,though
todaytheyblendthisolderheritagewithmorereformedtraditionsof
knowledge. TheImamSanareanexampleofnormativelyheterodox
Muslims,liketheabangan inJavaduringthe1950sortheWetuTelu
ofpre-1970sLombok,
94
whosenumbersinmoderntimeshavedwin-
dledinthefaceofvigorouscampaignsofIslamicreform.
AsinsouthernThailand,aregiontowhichithaslonghadties,
IslamicschoolinginCambodiaunderwentfar-reachingchangesinthe
frst decades of the twentieth century under the infuence of Malay
preachersfromMalayaandsouthernThailand.CambodianMuslims
had long had village-based institutions for Quranic recitation, but
35 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
theylackedschoolsforintermediatetoadvancedstudyintheIslamic
sciences. Islamic boarding schools on the model of Malay pondoks
were only fnally established in the early twentieth century, making
the study of kitab kuning texts broadly available for the frst time.
Tellingly,whenengagedinreligiousstudy,CambodianMuslimsused
Malay,nottheirowndialects.Fromthe1930son,growingnumbers
ofCambodianMuslimsalsowenttosouthernThailandandMalaya
topursuereligiousstudies.By1940,itisestimatedthatfvehundred
CambodianMuslimshadmadethepilgrimagetoMecca.
After World War II, returned pilgrims led the way in establish-
ing schools for more advanced religious study. A reformed variant of
the Malay boarding school was also established, one that combined
intermediate study in the Islamic sciences with fxed curricula and
printedbooks.Afewyearslater,however,thereformedpondoks were
themselveschallengedbyanotherMalay-inspiredinnovation:madrasas
combining general and religious education. Modeling themselves on
NewGroup(KaumTua)reformistsinMalayaandsouthernThailand,
Cambodiasreformistsdecriedtheallegedbackwardnessoftheirtradi-
tionalistrivalsaswellasthelattersirreligiousinnovations.Asalsoin
Malaya,theNewGroupOldGrouprivalrysunderedfamiliesandcom-
munities.Stilltoday,CambodianMuslimstalkaboutothervarietiesof
Islam through the prism of this early-twentieth-century schism, even
where, as with the Tablighis and Saudi-infuenced Salafs, the move-
mentsinquestiondonotactuallyfteasilyintoeithercamp.
TheselatterreformmovementsarrivedontheCambodianscene
intheaftermathofthecatastrophicdestructionofIslamicinstitutions
wroughtbyPolPotsDemocraticKampuchea(DK,19751979).Some
1.7millionCambodiansdiedduringtheDKperiod,butCambodias
smallMuslimminoritywassingledoutforespeciallybrutaltreatment.
OnlyahandfulofmosquesandafewdozenIslamicscholarssurvived
theerasdevastation.
In the aftermath of the DK horrors, the Malaysian government
was the frst to provide assistance to the traumatized Muslim com-
munity, rebuilding schools and mosques, and offering scholarships to
promisingyoungstudents.In1989,theTablighiJemaaharrivedaswell,
launchinganambitious,village-basedprogramforthere-Islamization
of Cambodian Muslim society. Yet another example of the growing
infuence of globalized Muslim movements in Southeast Asia, today
3o ROBERT W. HEFNER
thegroupsannualmeetingsattractthousandsofCambodianMuslims
aswellashundredsofTablighisfromSouthAsiaandnearbypartsof
SoutheastAsia.
In the mid-1990s, a Kuwait-based Salafyyah organization also
arrivedontheCambodianscene,theRevivalofIslamicHeritageSoci-
ety(RIHS).ComprisedofconservativeSalafsactivearoundtheMus-
lim world, the RIHS used development assistance, mosque building,
orphanages, and school programs to promote scripturalist piety. The
RIHS vision of Islam is strikingly un-local, premised on, as Blengsli
putsit,aversionofIslamwhichissupposedtobeun-contaminated
bylocalculture.
Inthelate1990s,aSaudi-basedSalafyyahorganizationalsoar-
rived in Cambodia, and it too emphasized a scripturalist approach
toIslam.ThegroupwastheUmmal-QuraCharitableOrganization,
theorganizationshutdownbygovernmentauthoritiesin2003after
allegationsthatithadlentsupporttoterrorists.
Ofalltheseneworganizations,theRIHS hashadthegreatestin-
fuenceintheeducationalsphere.Ithasalsobeentheleasthesitantto
condemnindigenousMuslimcustoms,whichitseesasun-Islamic.The
RIHSdenunciationseventuallypromptedCambodiasnativeMuslim
leadershiptoappealtothegovernmenttotakeactionagainstit.Faced
withtheprospectofgovernmentcensure,theRIHS hastoneddownits
criticismsandencourageditsmemberstojointhegovernment-linked
Cambodian Peoples Party. These accommodations have done little,
however,todefusethesimmeringtensionsintheMuslimcommunity.
AlthoughforthemomenttheSalafsfndthemselvesatsomething
ofapoliticaldisadvantage,educationallytheyhavetheupperhand.In
apatternwithoutparallelelsewhereinMuslimSoutheastAsia,Salaf
schoolstodayeducatesome50percentofCambodianMuslimyouth.
Byappealingtothegovernmentforprotection,theindigenousSunni
establishmenthasforthemomentslowedSalafprogress.Butthefu-
tureisnotlikelytodiminishtheSalafsdetermination,orreversethe
disastrousdeclineoftraditionalistIslaminCambodia.
nsurency anc Framarism in rhe Fhilippines
At frst blush, the Philippines is the Southeast Asian country where
onewouldmostexpectIslamiceducationtobepoliticizedandradi-
cal.Afterall,theMuslimsouthofthiscountryhashadanon-again,
37 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
off-againinsurgencyformorethanthirtyyears.Thereareanestimated
ffteenthousandMuslimregularsdoingbattlewithgovernmentforces,
andanotherhundredthousandtrainedmilitiamemberswillingtopro-
vide backup to the regulars.
95
However, as Thomas McKenna and
EsmaelA.AbdulaexplaininChapter6,allevidenceindicatesthat
theconfictinthesouthhasnotledtoanyseriousradicalizationof
Islamic education. On matters of religious schooling, parents and
educatorsalikeshowalevel-headedpragmatism.Nolesssurprising,
and again notwithstanding the thirty-year insurgency, no political
partyorumbrellaorganizationhasbeenabletoseizecontrolofthe
decentralizedreligiousschoolsystem.Untiltherecentestablishment
oftheAutonomousRegionofMuslimMindanao(ARMM),Islamic
schoolingwasmanagedatthelocallevel,andschooldirectorswere
justlyfamousfortheirindependent-mindedness.
Untiltheearlytwentiethcentury,thePhilippineshadnoeduca-
tionalinstitutionforintermediateoradvancedIslamiclearningcom-
parabletotheJavanesepesantren ortheMalaypondok.Whatlittle
formal Islamic education there was took place in loosely organized
panditaschools.InPhilippineMuslimlanguages,panditareferstoa
ritualspecialistwhopossessessometypeofesotericreligiousknowl-
edge(ilmu;Ar.ilm).Notschoolsintheformalsenseoftheterm,the
pandita schoolswerePhilippinevariationsonthelearningcirclesused
forelementaryQuranicrecitationacrossSoutheastAsia.
96
Although
afewscholarsmayhavemadethetrektoMalayaortheMiddleEast
for religious study, their infuence after returning was limited, and
the southern Philippines remained one of Muslim Southeast Asias
educationalbackwaters.
AfterpacifyingtheMuslimsouthintheearly1900satacostof
thousands of native lives,
97
the Americans established a cooperative
relationshipwithlocalMuslimbig-men(datus).TheAmericanadmin-
istrationreliedonthedatus tointroduceacentralizedgovernmentad-
ministrationinthesouth,somethingthePhilippinesformerSpanish
rulershadnevermanagedtodo.Fearingunrest,theAmericanadmin-
istration opted to block the establishment of large capitalist planta-
tions in the south. However, the Americans did encourage a move-
mentofChristianFilipinosettlersfromtheimpoverishednorthinto
thesouthslightlypopulatedforestlands.DuringtheAmericancolo-
nial period, the programs impact on the souths Muslims remained
38 ROBERT W. HEFNER
modest.However,underthePhilippineCommonwealth(1935)and
the postwar Republic (1945) the program altered the demographic
balance in Mindanao, the largest of the southern islands, making
Muslimsaminorityintheirhomeland.TheinfuxofChristiansettlers
and bosses was to be one of the catalysts for the Muslim separatist
movementthatfaredupinthe1960sand1970s.TheAmericansalso
introducedpubliceducationforthePhilippineMuslimelite.Contrary
to the Dutch policy in the Indies, which sought to reinforce ethnic
divisions,theAmericanshopedthateducationwouldpromoteasense
ofunityamongthesouthsfssiparousethnicgroupsandpropelthem
forwardtocivilization.
98
Beginning in the commonwealth period, the Christian-led
government resolved to use public education in an even more in-
terventionist manner, promoting a unitary national culture at the
expense of the souths Muslim identities.In1935,PresidentMan-
uel Quezon declared that the so-called Moro Problem is a thing of
the past and announced the establishment of educational programs
designed to assimilate Muslims into Filipino culture.
99
Scholarship
programs brought elite Muslims to Manila for college, while in the
southlargenumbersofcommonerMuslimsenrolledinpublicschools.
OwingtotheirpositiveexperiencewithAmerican-sponsoredschools,
PhilippineMuslimsshowedlittleofthehesitationtheircounterparts
in southern Thailand displayed toward general education. However,
politicaleventsinthe1960sand1970sweretoreversethisprogressto-
wardMuslim-Christianaccommodation,culminatingintheoutbreak
ofseparatisthostilitiesin1972.
In1976,thegovernmentofFerdinandMarcosreachedatenta-
tiveagreementwiththeMuslimrebels.TheaccordgaveMuslimsthe
righttosetupschoolsconsistentwithMuslimvaluesintheirownter-
ritories;thepolicywasreaffrmedintheconstitutionalrevisionsof1986
and with the offcial establishment of the ARMM. For most of this
period,however,theviolenceinthesouthmadeimplementationofthe
educational provisions of the accord impossible. Nonetheless, when
the confict began to subside, the ARMM took steps to reinvigorate
Islamiceducationby,amongotherthings,introducinganintegrated
curriculumthatcombinedreligiouswithgeneraleducation.
100
AsMcKennaandAbdulashow,theMuslimpublicsinterestin
reformedIslamiceducationwasapostwardevelopmentdrivenbytwo
3 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
bigchanges.Thefrstwasaneconomicboominthesouth,oneresult
ofwhichwasatendencyonthepartofeliteMuslimstoinvestsomeof
theirwealthinIslamicactivities.GrowingnumbersofMuslimsmade
thepilgrimagetoMecca.Uponreturningtothesouth,manyadded
totheirreligiouslusterbybuildingmosquesandmadrasas.Thenew
madrasasdifferedfromtraditionalpandita schoolsinemphasizingthe
understandingofArabicratherthansimplerecitationoftheQuran.
Thenewschoolsalsostressedtheneedforamoredoctrinallyobjecti-
fed understanding of Islam. Meanwhile, the Muslim elites interest
inpromotingIslamalsogrewasaresultofstate-sponsoredChristian
migration to the Muslim south. As the fow of migrants from the
Christian north placed them at a demographic and political disad-
vantage,Muslimsrespondedwithaboundary-maintainingassertion
oftheirreligiousidentity.
ThesecondmajorinfuenceonthepostwarsurgeinIslamicedu-
cationwasthestrengtheningoftiesbetweenthesouthernPhilippines
andtheMiddleEast.In1950,thegovernmentofEgyptbegantosend
missionariestrainedatal-AzharUniversitytothePhilippinestoteach
inmadrasasfundedbylocalnotables.In1955,theEgyptiangovern-
mentlaunchedascholarshipprogramtoallowlocalMuslimstostudy
at Cairos famed al-Azhar; by 1978, two hundred local young men
had taken advantage of the program. Most of the programs gradu-
atesreturnedtothePhilippinestoteachinmadrasas.Afterthe1976
ceasefreagreement,additionalaidfowedintothesouthfromSaudi
ArabiaandLibya.Thisnewfunding,McKennaandAbdulaobserve,
allowedtheMiddleEastgraduates...toopenmadrasaswithoutrely-
ing on the patronage of traditional leaders. Althoughtheseparatist
struggleofthe1970sslowedthepaceofmadrasadevelopment,eventu-
allyhundredsofschoolswerebuilt.Bythemid-1980s,anewclassof
well-educatedreformistshademergedandwaschallenginglocalunder-
standingsofIslam.
Today, Islamic education in the Muslim south comes in many
forms,includingweekendsupplementsforstudentsinpublicschools,
full-timemadrasas,andnewacademiesthatblendgeneralandreligious
education.Moststudentsattendcommunitymadrasasofthetwo-day-
a-weeksort,whileattendingregularpublicschoolstherestoftheweek.
Evenforstudentswhoattendfull-timeIslamicschools,Englishtracks
remainthemorepopulareducationaloption.AsinotherpartsofMus-
40 ROBERT W. HEFNER
limSoutheastAsia,anotherstrikingdevelopmentinrecentyearshas
beentheexpansionofIslamichighereducation.Onemoresignofthe
times, 7090 percent of the students in these programs are women.
Most hope to use their educational training to serve as teachers of
Arabicinthegovernment-sponsoredIslamicschoolsystem.
Inalltheseregards,IslamiceducationinthePhilippinesoffers
a striking example of the fexibility and practicality characteristic of
MuslimeducationinmostofSoutheastAsia.ParentsappreciateIs-
lamic education for its ability to instill piety and a religious identity
in an unstable world in which neither can be taken for granted. At
the same time, parents want their offspring to acquire marketable
skills.Islamicschoolsaimtostrikeabalancebetweenthesetwoval-
ued ends. Meanwhile, McKenna and Abdula note, despite vague
claimsbythePhilippinegovernmentandmilitary...nodirectlinkhas
beenestablishedbetweenPhilippinemadrasasandIslamistextremist
groups.TheypointtothebittersweetironythatAbdulrajakJanjalani,
thefounderofAbuSayyaf(thePhilippinesmostnotoriousterrorist
group)wasaproductofaJesuithighschool,notamadrasa.
Inaneducationalsystemnotableforitspragmatism,thereisstill
one worrying note. It is that both state schools and Muslim schools
in the southern Philippines are mostly silent on matters of religious
diversity and interreligious dialogue. As another analyst of Philippine
Islamicschoolshasobserved,TheIslamizationofeducationinMuslim
MindanaocouldreinforceFilipinoMuslimbiasagainsttheirChristian
fellowcitizens,whilethelackofamulticulturaleducationthatpromotes
positive awareness of Islam in the rest of the country fails to address
Filipino Christian biases against their Muslim fellow citizens.
101
The
challengeofstrikingabalancebetweenself-affrmationandtolerance
of the other is one with which Muslims and non-Muslims in other
partsofSoutheastAsiacontinuetograppleaswell.
CONClUsION
Thestudiesinthisvolumepointtoseveralconclusions.First,andmost
generally,Islamiceducationinthesecountriesisneitherunchanging
nor backward-looking. On the contrary, it has been in the throes of
far-reachingchangeformorethanacentury.Unliketheircounterparts
intheMuslimMiddleEast,however,atthedawnofthemodernera
SoutheastAsianMuslimsdidnotyethaveanetworkofmadrasas in
41 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
placeforintermediateandadvancedreligiousstudy.Inearliertimes,
royal courts may have sponsored study circles for some specialized
learning, and a few scholars made the trek to Arabia for study. The
presenceofmoreorlessorthodoxlegaldigestsinwesternportionsof
the archipelago also indicates that a few scholars had been familiar
withportionsofthelawsinceatleasttheseventeenthcentury.
102
Un-
tilthenineteenthcentury(andevenlaterinsomeregions),however,
popularIslamiccultureshowedtheimprintofraja-centricceremony
andapantheisticfolkIslammorethanitdidsustainedengagement
withtheIslamicsciences.InthisportionoftheMuslimworld,then,
advancedIslamiceducationandtheschool-leveragedrecenteringof
Islam have both been recent developments, products of a sustained
engagementwithadistinctlyMuslimmodernity.
PublicIslamicculturebegantochangeinthefrstdecadesof
the nineteenth century, as growing numbers of pilgrims from self-
consciouslyIslamicportionsofthearchipelagolikeAceh,WestSu-
matra,Banten,andSingaporebegantomakethejourneytotheholy
land.Inthefnaldecadesofthenineteenthcentury,thetrickleturned
intoafood,assteamshipsspeededthepassagetotheMiddleEast
andcommercialtradeandcashcropsprovidedgrowingnumbersof
Muslimswithdisposableincome.ThenewcultureofprintIslamap-
pearedonthesceneduringtheseyears,too,asMalay-languagepress-
esinMecca,Cairo,andIstanbulmadereligioustractslessexpensive
and more available. By the end of the nineteenth century, printing
presseswerebroadcastingtheirculturalwaresfromthearchipelagos
boomingurbancenters.Thenewmediumonlyfurtheredtheprogress
ofadelocalizedprofessionofIslam.
It was here, too, at the interstices of a pluralizing Southeast
Asia,thatthefrstgenerationofmodernreformists,theNewGroup
(Kaum Muda) Muslims, arose. The New Group decried tradition-
alist Islam as corrupt, inauthentic, and out of step with the age.
NewGroupistscalledforareturntoIslamssources,theQuranand
Sunna, and a new spirit of independent reasoning (ijtihad) rather
thanimitation(taqlid).Thereformersalsocalledforwomenseduca-
tionaswellasstrictercontrolsonwomensdress;adeeperMuslim
engagement with modern science; new forms of civic association;
andaclearerandmoreobjectifedsenseofwhatisandwhatisnot
Islam.IntheabsenceofanIslamicstate,andfacedwithnon-Mus-
42 ROBERT W. HEFNER
limrulers,theinstitutionthatwastoempowerMuslimlearningand
societywasthemadrasa,amodernschoolcombininggeneraleduca-
tionwiththereligious.
Notwithstanding their blanket denunciations of traditionalist
learning,theNewGroupMuslimswerenottheonlyagentsofreligious
andeducationalreform.Inthefnaldecadesofthenineteenthcentury,
OldGrouptraditionalistsincentralandwesternareasofthearchipelago
initiatedtheirowneducationalinnovations.Theydistancedthemselves
from pantheistic variants of Sufsm, adopting a more sharia-minded
mysticism.
103
With colonialisms advance, they shifted their boarding
schoolsfromurbancourtstothecountryside,andtooktheirmessage
of piety and moral community to rural populations heretofore only
vaguely familiar with translocal Islam. By the end of the nineteenth
century,IslamicboardingschoolshadspreadacrossmostofMuslim
SoutheastAsia,withthenotableexceptionofthePhilippines,where
advancedreligiouseducationbecamewidelyavailableonlyafterthe
SecondWorldWar.ThenewIslamicschoolslaidthefoundationfor
thetwentiethcenturysgreatIslamicrevival.Bytheendofthatcen-
tury,thesyncretismandpantheisticSufsmforwhichthisregionhad
oncebeenrenownedhadgreatlydeclined.
Thesecondconclusionthatstandsoutfromthesestudiesisthat,
inadditiontoshowingtheeffectsofpietisticreform,Islamiceduca-
tion in the twentieth century showed the imprint of three uniquely
moderninfuences:thedevelopmentaliststate(inbothitscolonialand
postcolonial forms); the capitalist marketplace; and mass education.
Intheearlytwentiethcentury,thestatethatMuslimeducatorsfaced
was colonial and non-Muslim. Unlike their counterparts in the Ot-
toman lands and Iran, but like Muslims in India,
104
then, Southeast
AsianMuslimscouldnotlooktonativerulersforguidanceastohow
theyshouldbuildtheirschools.TheyturnedinsteadtoMiddleEastern
countriesandtothepublicandChristianschoolsintroducedbyWest-
erncolonizers.InThailandandCambodia,Muslimeducatorslearned
fromschoolsimposedbynon-Muslimrulers.
In the postcolonial period, the threat of conversion or colonial
exploitationdiminished,butthechallengeofthestatetoIslamicedu-
cationdidnot.Thepostcolonialstatewasanation-state,premisedon
thealluringbuteminentlycontestableideathatcitizensshouldsharea
commonculture.Tothisend,asinotherpartsofthemodernworld,
105

43 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia


the new nation-states used mass education in an effort to create ap-
propriatelysocializedcitizens.ThiseffortchallengedIslamiceducation
to its core. The historic mission of Islamic schools had been, not to
buttressadevelopmentaliststate,buttocreatepiousandknowledge-
ableMuslims,withasenseofallegiancetothecommunityofbelievers
(umma),howeveritbedefned.
ThenationalschoolsystemsintroducedbySoutheastAsiaspost-
colonialstatesadoptedvariedapproachestotheexistingnetworkof
Islamicschools.Tellingly,however,noneatfrstmadeaseriouseffort
to draw privately owned Islamic schools into the project of citizen
making.EveninMuslim-majorityIndonesiaandMalaysia,thepost-
colonialstateattemptedanendrunaroundIslamicschools,building
astateschoolsysteminwhichthetermsofthenewnationalculture
couldbeimpartedwithoutcompromise.InThailandandthePhilip-
pines,Muslimsfaced,notjustanindifferentstate,butoneintenton
usingpubliceducationtoreplanttheMuslimpublicssolidaritieselse-
wherethanintheumma.
State-based education caused a crisis of Islamic education as
greatasanyexperiencedinthecolonialera.Althoughmadrasas sur-
vived,boardingschoolsinMalaysiafellintosteepdecline.EveninIn-
donesia,whichhadtheregionsmostresilientboardingschoolsystem,
enrollmentsatfrstdeclined,asparentsoptedtosendtheirchildren
to public schools. In southern Thailand, the Philippines, and Cam-
bodia,thethreattotheMuslimminorityledmanyparentstorallyto
thedefenseofIslamicschools.Nonetheless,acrossSoutheastAsiain
the 1950s and early 1960s, policy analysts and government offcials
predictedthatitwasonlyamatteroftimebeforeIslamiceducation
woulddeclineinthefaceofasecularistjuggernaut.
InmostofMuslimSoutheastAsia,however,thepredictedcollapse
didnottakeplace.Inthe1970sand1980s,therewasaresurgenceof
piety and religious education across the region. The institutional ex-
pressionofthechangevariedbycountry.InMalaysia,privateIslamic
educationdeclinedwhileIslamiclessonsinpublicschoolsboomed,to
the consternation of the countrys non-Muslim minorities. In south-
ern Thailand, Islamic schools reached a tentative agreement with the
Thai state, integrating general education into their curriculum. But
theachievementwaseventuallycompromisedbythesouthscontinu-
ingpoverty,thegovernmentsheavy-handedrepression,andsputtering
44 ROBERT W. HEFNER
violencefromaninsurgentfringe.Incontrast,andnotwithstandinga
thirty-yearinsurgency,MuslimparentsandeducatorsinthePhilippines
showedaremarkablepragmatism.Mostparentsputtheirchildrenin
Islamic schools during weekends, leaving the remainder of the week
to public education. The growing number of Middle Easterntrained
teachersdidleadtoalessaccommodatingpracticeofIslam,butone
stillnotpronetoabsolutistexclusivity.
In Cambodia, the havoc wrought by Revolutionary Kampuchea
(19751979) delayed the Islamic resurgence; indeed, it almost de-
stroyedtheumma. ThedevastationopenedthedoortoMuslimforeign
aidaftertheRKcollapse,someofwhichencouragedadrifttoSaudi-
infuencedSalafstexclusivity.
In Indonesia, fnally, the resurgence created an Islamic educa-
tionalrenaissance,markedbyaneagerembraceofgeneraleducation,
greaterintellectualopenness,andMuslimengagementswiththeideals
ofdemocracyandpluralism.However,theperiodalsowitnessedthe
riseofsocial-movementrejectionistsaswell.Thoughtheycomprised
onlyasmallproportionofthewhole,theirinfuencegrewtotheextent
thatpost-SoehartopoliticsprovedincapableofaddressingIndonesias
lingeringchallengesofpoverty,corruption,andsocialpluralism.Now
adecadeintothepost-Soehartotransition,IndonesiasIslamiceduca-
tionalsystemisshowingsignsoncemoreofrenewedconfdence.
TheseexamplesshowthatIslamicschoolsacrossSoutheastAsia
are varied but, with the qualifed exception of Malaysia, share the
characteristicofhavingweatheredthepostcolonialstorm.Oftenover-
looked in discussions of Islamic education, one development more
thananyotherfacilitatedthissuccess.ItwasnotradicalIslamismor
anunstintingstruggletoimplementsharia.Itwassomethingsimpler
yet,fromanepistemologicalpointofview,moremomentous:aconf-
denceonthepartofMuslimeducatorsandthepublicthatthereisno
oppositionbetweengeneralandIslamiclearning.Herewasatransfor-
mationthatopenedIslamiceducationtoacriticalengagementwith
thepluralandunstableintellectualhorizonsofthemodernworld.
Todaytheconsensusonthewisdomofthisopeningremainsse-
curely in place with regard to primary and secondary education, as
evidenced in the enthusiasm of Muslim parents for general as well
as religious education. In some segments of Islamic higher educa-
tion,however,asmallbutvocalminorityinsiststhat,intheircurrent
45 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
incarnations,modernscienceandthehumanitiesaresointrinsically
secularastobeincompatiblewithIslam.
106
Althoughthisisaminority
view,itisavigorouslyarguedone.Itsproponentsarealsoabletodraw
ontheresourcesofwell-fundeddonorsintheMiddleEasttopromote
theirpointofview.TheissueoftheIslamizationoftheacademywill
remainatopicofdebateforsometimetocome,anditmaybecome
moreheatedbeforeitcoolsdown.
AthirdandfnalconclusionconcernsIslamicschoolsandpoli-
tics.ThedynamismthatMuslimeducatorshaveshownshoulddispel
onceandforalltheillusionthattheeducationalmainstreaminthis
regionisnarrow-mindedorabsolutist.InSoutheastAsiaasinmostof
theMuslimworld,Islamiceducationbearstheimprintofanengage-
mentwith,notjustthesourcesofIslamictradition,butthedemands
andopportunitiesofthemodernage.Initsseriousnessandversatility,
the most apt comparison for Islamic education in Southeast Asia is
notmedievalscholasticismbutRomanCatholiceducatorseffortsin
thetwentieth-centuryUnitedStatestorespondtoaworldnotentirely
oftheirchoosingbutinwhichtheyweredeterminedtoprevail.
107
Butonedifference,arelativeratherthanabsoluteone,remains.
It is that, since the late nineteenth century, many among Southeast
Asias Islamic schools have not shied away from but encouraged in-
volvement in politics and public affairs. The tendency should not be
exaggerated;nor,leastofall,shoulditbeunderstoodasimplyingan
interest in radical politics. There was no lock-step uniformity to this
disposition;norwilltherebeintheforeseeablefuture.Nonetheless,by
comparisonwiththeirChristiancounterpartsinthelate-modernWest-
ernworld,IslamicschoolsinSoutheastAsiahaveshownlesshesitation
aboutenjoiningparticipationinpoliticsandpubliclife.Wehearinthis
aperhapsnotdistantechoofthefrstprincipleofIslamicethics,asaf-
frmedinjurisprudence:thatitisthedutyofallbelieverstocommand
rightandforbidwrong(Ar.al-amr bil-marf wa-nahy an al munkr).
As the historian Michael Cook has explained, this principle is
deeplyrootedinQuranictradition.Itspoliticalsociologyisinteresting
aswell.ToquoteCook,theprincipleimpliesthatanexecutivepower
ofthelawofGodisvestedineachandeveryMuslim.Asaresult,the
individualbelieverassuchhasnotonlytheright,butalsotheduty,to
issueorderspursuanttoGodslaw,andtodowhathecantoseethat
theyareobeyed.
108
Althoughitsinterpretationvaries,noprincipleof
4o ROBERT W. HEFNER
Islamicpublicethicsisaswidelycitedasthisone.Nonealsobetter
illustratesjustwhyeffortstosellMuslimeducatorsthesecularliberal
notionsofreligionandethicswiththeirassumptionthatethicsare
aboveallaprivatemattertypicallymeetwithunease.
Again, however, Muslim educators conviction that religious
education should be relevant to public affairs is not unique to their
tradition;
109
norhasitledtoaseamlessconsensusastowhatMuslim
politicsshouldbe.Thougheasytoinvoke,theprincipleofcommand-
ingrightandforbiddingwrongisnoteasytoapply.Itisnotthissearch
forpublicrelevances,then,thatshouldbeamatterofconcernwhen
refectingonthefutureofMuslimeducationandpoliticsinSoutheast
Asia.Rather,itisthetendencyofasmallfringetointerpretMuslim
ethicsandknowledgeinanexclusiveandabsolutistway.
Overthelongterm,thebestantidotetothislatterchallengewill
betheonepreferredbythegreatmajorityofMuslimeducatorsincon-
temporarySoutheastAsia:notrepression,buteffortstomakeexisting
educationalandpoliticalinstitutionsoperatemoreopenlyandvigor-
ously.Fortheindefnitefuture,Muslimsinthispartoftheworldwill
continuetodebatetheproperformspublicethicsandpoliticsshould
take.Muslimschoolswillbeoneofthemainsitesofargument.The
paradigmaticinstitutionofourage,however,theschoolalsoholdsthe
bestpromiseforapeacefulandpluralistresolutionofthedebate.
NOTEs
1.OntheJemaahIslamiyah,seeAl-QaedainSoutheastAsia:TheCaseofthe
NgrukiNetworkinIndonesia(Jakarta/Brussels:ICGIndonesiaBriefng,August8,
2002);IndonesiaBackgrounder:HowtheJemaah Islamiyah TerroristNetworkOper-
ates(Jakarta/Brussels:AsiaReportNo.43,December11,2002);andJemaahIslami-
yahinSoutheastAsia:DamagedButStillDangerous(Jakarta/Brussels:AsiaReport,
No.63,August26,2003).OnthefnancingofJIoperations,see,ZacharyAbuza,Fund-
ing Terrorism in Southeast Asia: The Financial Network of Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah
(Seattle:NationalBureauofAsianResearch,2003).
2.Thailand:EducationintheSouthEngulfedinFear:TeachersTargetedinSpiral
of Reprisal Killings and Violence (New York: Internet E-mail Flyer, Human Rights
WatchAsia,June14,2007).
3.SeeMcKenna,Chapter6inthisvolume.ThequoteisfromDefense,Deped
toLookintoMadrasahsAllegedRoleinBreedingTerrorists,MindaNews,vol.2,no.
40,June16,2003.
47 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
4.SeeZacharyAbuza,Militant Islam in Southeast Asia: Crucible of Terror(Boulder,
CO:LynneRienner,2003).
5.SeeSidikJariKallaMenggoyangPondok[KallasFingerprintsShaketheIs-
lamicBoardingSchools],Tempo,December18,2005,pp.3839.
6.ThesmallkingdomofBruneiontheislandofBorneoisalsoaMuslim-majority
state,andSingaporeandBurmahavesmallMuslimminorities;Vietnamsisevensmaller.
BecauseoflimitedfundsandtheintensityofthediscussionsurroundingMuslimschools
inthefocuscountries,theprojectwaslimitedtothefvecasesdiscussedinthisbook.
7. See Azyumardi Azara, Dina Afrianty, and Robert W. Hefner, Pesantren and
Madrasa:MuslimSchoolsandNationalIdealsinIndonesia,inRobertW.Hefnerand
Muhammad Qasim Zaman, eds., Schooling Islam: The Culture and Politics of Modern
Muslim Education(Princeton,NJ:PrincetonUniversityPress,2007),pp.17298;and
JajatBurhanudinandDinaAfrianty,eds.,Mencetak Muslim Modern: Peta Pendidikan Is-
lam Indonesia[ProducingModernMuslims:MappingIslamicEducationinIndonesia]
(Jakarta:RajawaliPers,2006).
8.AlthoughItouchontheresultsfromthe2006surveyinChapter2ofthisbook,
Iwillprovideafullerdiscussionofthesurveyinalaterbook.
9.SeeTheodoreZeldin,France 18481945,vol.2:Intellect, Taste, and Anxiety(Ox-
ford:ClarendonPress,1977).
10.CliffordGeertz,TheJavaneseKijaji:TheChangingRoleofaCulturalBro-
ker,Comparative Studies in Society and History2,no.2(January1960):22849(quota-
tionisfromp.231).
11.JonathanP.Berkey,The Transmission of Knowledge in Medieval Cairo: A Social
History of Islamic Education(Princeton,NJ:PrincetonUniversityPress,1992),p.5.
12.ForthoughtfulintroductionstothehistoryandinterpretationoftheQuran,
see Bruce Lawrence, The Quran: A Biography (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press,
2006),andAbdullahSaeed,Interpreting the Qurn: Towards a Contemporary Approach
(LondonandNewYork:Routledge,2006).
13. See Richard W. Bulliet, Islam: The View from the Edge (New York: Columbia
UniversityPress,1994),p.29;andClaudeGuillot,CreationofaFixedText,inJane
DammenMcAuliffe,ed.,The Cambridge Companion to the Quran(Cambridge:Cam-
bridgeUniversityPress,2006),pp.4157.Foraslightlydifferentchronology,seeJona-
than Berkey, The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, 6001800
(Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPress,2003),p.59.
14.Thiswasthecase,forexample,inlate-nineteenth-centuryEgypt.SeeGregory
Starrett,Putting Islam to Work: Education, Politics, and Religious Transformation in Egypt
(BerkeleyandLondon:UniversityofCaliforniaPress,1998),p.29.
15. Pengajian Quran may also refer to less elementary forms of Quranic study,
whereformalmethodsforinterpretingthetextarealsostudied.
16.Ontheroleofthekuttab intheMiddleEast,seeStarrett,Putting Islam to Work,
pp.27,3638,48;andDaleF.Eickelman,Knowledge and Power in Morocco: The Educa-
tion of a Twentieth-Century Notable(Princeton,NJ:PrincetonUniversityPress,1985),p.
50.OnQuranicrecitationinIndonesia,seeAnnaM.Gade,Perfection Makes Practice:
Learning, Emotion, and the Recited Qurn in Indonesia(Hololulu:UniversityofHawaii
Press,2004).
17.Onthisprocess,seeNormanCalder,Studies in Early Islamic Jurisprudence (Ox-
ford:ClarendonPress,1993),pp.164,andWaelB.Hallaq,A History of Islamic Legal
Theories: An Introduction to Sunn usl al-fqh(Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPress,
1997),pp.735.
48 ROBERT W. HEFNER
18.Berkey,Transmission of Knowledge, p.7;andMarcGaborieau,Introduction,
inNicoleGrandinandMarcGaborieau,eds.,Madrasa: La transmission du savoir dans le
monde musulman (Paris:ditionsArguments,1997),pp.110.
19.Berkey,Formation of Islam, p.187.
20.SeeBulliet,Islam, pp.14849.
21.Theinclusionofmedicineandastronomyintheearlymadrasacurriculumap-
pearstohavebeenmorecommonintheIslamicnortheast(TurkeytonorthernIndia)
thanintheArabMiddleEast.SeeRoyMottahedeh,TheTransmissionofLearning:The
RoleoftheIslamicNortheast,inNicoleGrandinandMarcGaborieau,eds.,Madrasa:
La transmission du savoir dans le monde musulman (Paris:ditionsArguments,1997),p.
61;andSaidAmirArjomand,TheLaw,Agency,andPolicyinMedievalIslamicSociety:
DevelopmentoftheInstitutionsofLearningfromtheTenthtotheFifteenthCentury,
inComparative Studies in Society and History41,no.2(April1999):26393.
22.Forcomparativestudiesonsaintshrinesandpilgrimage,seeHenriChambert-
LoirandClaudeGuillot,eds.,Le culte des saints dans le monde musulman(Paris:cole
franaisedExtrme-Orient,1995).
23. On early madrasas and the ziyarah complex, see R. Hillenbrand, Madrasa
Architecture,inEncyclopedia of Islam, vol.5,2nded.(Leiden:E.J.Brill,1986),pp.
113654.Onshayks,pilgrimage, andbarakah,seeChristopherS.Taylor,In the Vicin-
ity of the Righteous: Ziyra and the Veneration of Muslim Saints in Late Medieval Egypt
(Leiden:Brill,1999),pp.12767.Ontheconfictofinterpretationssurroundingsaint
shrinesinSoutheastAsia,seeJohnR.Bowen,Muslims through Discourse: Religion and
Ritual in Gayo Society (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), pp. 3031,
andRonaldLukens-Bull,A Peaceful Jihad: Negotiating Identity and Modernity in Muslim
Java (NewYork:PalgraveMacMillan,2005),pp.2833.
24.JonathanBerkey,Transmission of Knowledge, p.17.Thepersonalizedandcharis-
maticbasesoftraditionaleducationarevividlycapturedintwoanthropologicalstudies:
DaleEickelmansportraitofaMoroccanreligiousnotableinKnowledge and Power,pp.
9198,and,forJava,Lukens-BullsA Peaceful Jihad,pp.25.
25.ThesituationinIndo-Turko-Persianmadrasas couldbedifferent,asillustrated
inFrancisRobinsonsThe Ulama of Farangi Mahall and Islamic Culture in South Asia
(Delhi:PermanentBlack,2001),chap.1.
26.Ontheplaceoftheforeignsciencesinthepremodernmadrasas,seeA.I.Sa-
bra,TheAppropriationandSubsequentNaturalizationofGreekScienceinMedieval
Islam,History of Science 25(1987):22343.
27.SeeDavidC.Lindberg,The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scien-
tifc Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 B.C. to A.D. 1450
(Chicago:UniversityofChicagoPress,1992),esp.pp.161213.
28.Thedeclinewasrelativebutnotabsolute.Atsomemadrasasandatsomeof
the libraries for which the medieval Muslim Middle East was famous, works in the
natural sciences and philosophy were still available, and some lawyers, philosophers,
and, especially, doctors continued to consult them. See George Madkisi, The Rise of
Colleges: Institutions of Learning in Islam and the West (Edinburgh:EdinburghUniversity
Press,1981),p.79;andTobyHuff,The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China, and
The West, 2nded.(Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPress,2003),pp.53,63,70.
29.Huff,Rise of Early Modern Science, p.70.
30.Bulliet,Islam: The View,p.21.
31.Berkey,The Formation of Islam,p.229.
32.ThephraseisBerkeys,Formation of Islam,p.189.
4 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
33. On literacy and formal education in the premodern Middle East, see Carter
VaughnFindley,KnowledgeandEducationintheModernMiddleEast:AComparative
View,inGeorgesSabagh,The Modern Economic and Social History of the Middle East in
Its World Context(Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPress,1989),pp.13054.
34.SeeBerkey,Transmission of Knowledge, p.244.
35.SeeBerkey,Formation of Islam,p.245.
36.TheconceptofsocialdiscipliningtowhichIreferherehasaffnitieswiththe
discussionsofrationalizationinMaxWeberandreligion-as-disciplineinTalalAsad.See
Talal Asad, Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and
Islam (BaltimoreandLondon:JohnsHopkinsPress,1993);onrationalizationinWeber,
seemyWorldBuildingandtheRationalityofConversion,inRobertW.Hefner,ed.,
Conversion to Christianity: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives on a Great Transfor-
mation (BerkeleyandLondon:UniversityofCaliforniaPress,1993),pp.344.
37.SeeAnthonyReid,Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, 14501680,vol.2:
Expansion and Crisis(NewHavenandLondon:YaleUniversityPress,1993),p.132.
38. See Anthony Milner, The Invention of Politics in Colonial Malaya: Contesting
Nationalism and the Expansion of the Public Sphere(Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity
Press,1994),p.186;MarkWoodward,Islam in Java: Normative Piety and Mysticism in
the Sultanate of Yogyakarta(Tucson:UniversityofArizonaPress,1989),pp.3234;Reid,
Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, 2:17072;andHasanMadmarn,The Pondok and
Madrasah in Patani(Bangi,Malaysia:KebangsaanUniversityPress,1999),p.14.
39. A striking example of a rulers mediation in religious disputes occurred dur-
ingthedebatebetweenNural-Dinal-Raniri(anativeofGujaratwhocametolivein
Aceh)andfollowersofthegreatmonistSuf,Shamsal-Dinal-Sumatrani,atthecourt
ofSultanIskandarThaniofAceh,sometimeafter1637.SeePeterRiddell,Islam and
the Malay-Indonesian World (London: Hurst and Company, 2001), p. 123, and S. M.
Naguibal-Attas,A Commentary on the Hujjat al-Siddiq of Nur al-Din al-Raniri (Kuala
Lumpur:MinistryofCulture,1986).
40.Milner,Invention of Politics,p.146.SeealsohisIslamandtheMuslimState,
inM.B.Hooker,ed.,Islam in South-East Asia(Leiden:E.J.Brill,1983),pp.2349;and
Woodward,Islam in Java,p.57:[T]heIndo-PersiansystemsofnorthernIndiaprovided
themodelsfortheJavaneseimperialformulationofIslam.
41.Reid,Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, 2:171.
42.MilnerobserveswrylythatinpeninsularMalayassultanates,thelegaldigests
beginwith,notGodslaw,butdiscussionsofthesumptuarylawsthatdistinguishamong
kings,commoners,andslaves.SeeMilner,Invention of Politics,p.148.
43.Ibid.,p.150.
44.Foraninfamousexampleofroyalrepressionofulama,seeWoodward,Islam in
Java,p.60,andB.Vlekke,Nusantara(TheHague:MartinusNijhoff,1959),p.175.
45.SeeRobertW.Hefner,Hindu Javanese: Tengger Tradition and Islam(Princeton,
NJ:PrincetonUniversityPress,1985).
46.SeeMartinvanBruinessen,GlobalandLocalinIndonesianIslam,Southeast
Asian Studies (Kyoto)37:2(1999):4663;Th.G.Th.Pigeaud,Literature of Java,vol.1:
Synopsis of Javanese Literature 9001900 A.D. (TheHague:MartinusNijhoff,1967),pp.
78,95;Reid,Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, 2:18183.
47.Oncourt-sponsoredritualsofastronglysyncreticcast,seeStephenC.Head-
ley, Durgas Mosque: Cosmology, Conversion and Community in Central Javanese Islam
(Singapore:ISEAS,2004),esp.pp.282320;andWoodward,Islam in Java, p.168.On
thetrialsandtribulationsofMalayritualspecialistsinmoderntimes,seeCarolLader-
50 ROBERT W. HEFNER
man,Taming the Wind of Desire: Psychology, Medicine, and Aesthetics in Malay Shamanistic
Performance (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991); and Michael G. Peletz,
OrdinaryMuslimsandMuslimResurgentsinContemporaryMalaysia:Notesonan
AmbivalentRelationship,inRobertW.HefnerandPatriciaHorvatich,eds.,Islam in an
Era of Nation-States:Politics and Religious Renewal in Muslim Southeast Asia,pp.23173
(Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1997), pp. 23173. For a discussion in a Ja-
vanesecontext,seeRobertW.Hefner,IslamizingJava?ReligionandPoliticsinRural
EastJava,Journal of Asian Studies46,no.3(August1987):53354.
48.Onthebissu (atransgenderedritualpriestinSouthSulawesi),seeSharynGra-
hamDavies,Challenging Gender Norms: Five Genders among Bugis of Indonesia (SanJos:
WadsworthPublishing,2006);andGilbertHamonic,Le langage des dieux: Cultes et pouvoirs
pr-islamique en Pays Bugis, Clbes-Sud, Indonsie(Paris:ditionsCNRS,1987).
49.Forcontemporaryethnographicstudiesofthefateofnonstandardtraditions
ofIslamicknowledgeinthefaceofIslamicreformsee,inaMalaysetting,Laderman,
Taming the Wind of Desire;inaJavanesesetting,RobertW.Hefner,ThePoliticalEcon-
omy of Islamic Conversion in Modern East Java, in William R. Roff, Islam and the
Political Economy of Meaning: Comparative Studies of Muslim Discourse (London:Croom
Helm,1987),pp.5378;and,amongtheSasakofLombokinIndonesia,SvenCeder-
roth,The Spell of the Ancestors and the Power of Mekkah: A Sasak Community on Lombok
(Gteborg:ActaUniversitatisGothoburgensis,1981).
50.ThephraseisfromMilner,IslamandtheMuslimState,p.31.
51.Forahistoricalreviewofqadis andtheapplicationofIslamiclawinprecolo-
nial Southeast Asia, see Anthony Reid, Southeast Asia, 2:14247, and, for family law,
pp.14757.OnkingshipandIslamiclaw,seeMilner,IslamandtheMuslimState,
pp.2349,esp.2629.
52.Reid,Southeast Asia, 2:181.
53. See Michael G. Peletzs historical overview of local and qadi justice in the
MalaypeninsulaandSumatrainIslamic Modern: Religious Courts and Cultural Politics
in Malaysia (Princeton,NJ:PrincetonUniversityPress,2002),pp.2638.
54. For a dating of pesantrens back to the seventeenth century, see G. W. J.
Drewes,The Admonitions of Seh Bari(TheHague:MartinusNijhoff,1969),p.11.Fora
critiqueofDrewes,seeMartinvanBruinessen,Sharia court,tarekatandpesantren:Re-
ligiousInstitutionsintheBantenSultanate,inArchipel (Paris)50(1995):165200.
55. A detailed history of Islamic education, Azyumardi Azras study of Islamic
schoolsinWestSumatra(knownlocallyassurau)concludesthatthefrstschoolswere
establishedinthelateseventeenthcentury.However,Azraunderscoresthatitisnot
clear that these schools provided intermediate or advanced study. The great wave of
schoolconstruction,headds,occurredlater,intheaftermathofWestSumatrasWah-
habi-infuenced Padri war (180337). See Azyumardi Azra, Surau: Pendidikan Islam
Traditional dalam Transisi dan Modernisasi [Surau: Traditional Islamic Education in
TransitionandModernization](Jakarta:Logos,2003),p.9.
56.VanBruinessen,Sharia court,tarekatandpesantren,p.174.S.Soebardis1971
studyarguesthattheestablishmentofpesantrens dedicatedtothestudyofclassicalre-
ligiouscommentaries(kitabs)goesbacktothesixteenthcentury.Thereislittleevidence
tosuggest,however,thatadvancedreligiouslearningwascommonatthistime.SeeS.
Soebardi,SantriReligiousElementsasRefectedintheSerateTjentini,Bijdragen tot de
Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde127,no.3(1971):33149.
57. A recent study by M. C. Ricklefs provides an excellent overview in a nine-
teenth-centuryJavanesesettingofthetensionscreatedbythespreadofinstitutionsof
51 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
formalIslamiclearningandaMuslimpopulacewithalesssharia-mindedunderstanding
oftheirfaith.SeehisPolarising Javanese Society: Islamic and Other Visions (c. 18301930)
(Singapore:NUSPress,2007),esp.pp.4983.
58.Forasympatheticportraitofal-Wahhabslifeandthought,seeNatanaJ.De-
long-Bas,Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad(NewYork:Oxford
UniversityPress,2004).
59.OnthePadrimovement,seeChristineDobbin,Islamic Revivalism in a Chang-
ing Economy: Central Sumatra, 17841847(LondonandMalm:ScandinavianInstitute
ofAsianStudiesMonographNo.49,CurzonPress,1983),pp.16192.OnthePatani
reformists,seeVirginiaMathesonandM.B.Hooker,JawiLiteratureinPatani:The
Maintenance of an Islamic Tradition, inJournal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal
Asiatic Society 61,no.1(1988):186.
60.Inthe1820s,eighthundredpilgrimsleftforArabiafromSingaporealone.This
was a source of consternation for Christian missionaries, who lamented the growing
infuenceofhajis amongMalays.SeeMilner,Invention of Politics,p.159.
61. See C. Snouck Hurgonje, Mekka in the Latter Part of the Nineteenth Century
(Leiden:E.J.Brill,1931),p.215.
62.VanBruinessen,GlobalandLocal,p.49.
63. This is not to say that the prototypes encountered in the Middle East were
exclusivelyMiddleEastern.MartinvanBruinessenhasdiscoveredevidenceindicating
thatanotherinfuenceonSoutheastAsianeducatorsinthelatenineteenthcenturywas
the Indian-established Sawlatiyya madrasa in Mecca. Endowed by an Indian woman
anddirectedbyarenownedanticolonialscholar,RahmatAllahbinKhalilal-Uthman,
theSawlatiyyawasestablishedin1874asareformedmadrasarelatedtothecelebrated
DarulUlumschoolinDeoband,India.Attheturnofthecentury,manyIndonesians
studiedattheschool.SeevanBruinessen,PesantrenandKitab Kuning:Maintenance
and Continuation of a Tradition of Religious Learning, in Wolfgang Marschall, ed.,
Texts from the Islands: Oral and Written Traditions of Indonesia and the Malaya World
(Bern:UniversityofBernPress,1994),pp.12145.
64. See Martin van Bruinessen, Kitab Kuning: Books in Arabic Script Used in
thePesantrenMilieu,inBijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde 146,no6,23
(1989):225269,esp.230;andMadmarn,Pondok and Madrasah,pp.5254.
65. See Sartono Kartodirdjo, Agrarian Radicalism in Java: Its Setting and De-
velopment,inClaireHolt,ed.,Culture and Politics in Indonesia(Ithaca,NY:Cornell
University Press, 1972), pp. 71125; and The Peasants Revolt of Banten in 1888: Its
Conditions, Course and Sequel (TheHague:MartinusNijhoff,1966).
66. Michael G. Peletz, Islamic Modern: Religious Courts and Cultural Politics in
Malaysia(PrincetonandOxford:PrincetonUniversityPress,2002),p.30.
67.Foraportraitofonesuchcenter,seeWilliamR.Roff,TheMalayo-Muslim
WorldofSingaporeattheCloseoftheNineteenthCentury,Journal of Asian Studies
24,no.1(1964):7590.
68.IowethisphrasetoJohnBowen;seeMuslims through Discourse,p.33.
69.Inthe1890s,AhmadKhatibal-Minankabawi,thegrandsonofanHijaziim-
migranttoWestSumatra,wasaleadingfgureintheJawi communityinMecca.Dur-
inghislongyearsofresidence,Khatibwasavociferouscriticofbothcolonialismand
Minangkabaucustomarylaw.Khatibinfuencedagenerationofstudentswho,ontheir
returntoSoutheastAsia,assumedseatsonoppositesidesoftheNew-GroupandOld-
Groupdebate.AsMichaelLaffanhasshown,inthe1890stheMeccanJawicommunity
wasnotyetpolarizedalongtheselines.CompareMichaelLaffan,Islamic Nationhood
52 ROBERT W. HEFNER
and Colonial Indonesia: The Umma below the Winds (LondonandNewYork:Routledge-
Curzon,2003),pp.10613,withWilliamR.Roff,IndonesianandMalayStudentsin
Cairointhe1920s,Indonesia 9(April1970):7387.
70.ThereformistviewpointonancestralofferingsissummarizedinBowen,Mus-
lims through Discourse,p.31;andPeletz,Islamic Modern,p.54.
71. On the Kaum Muda vs. Kaum Tua controversy in late colonial Malaya, see
WilliamR.Roff,The Origins of Malay Nationalism,2nded.(KualaLumpur:OxfordUni-
versityPress,1994),pp.5690;ontheconfictinNegeriSembilan,Malaya,seePeletz,
Islamic Modern,pp.5355;andintheGayohighlandsofSumatra,seeBowen,Muslims
through Discourse,pp.1116,2235.ForareassessmentoftheoppositioninIndonesian
today,seeLukens-Bull,A Peaceful Jihad, pp.78,1416.
72.TaufkAbdullah,Schools and Politics: The Kaum Muda Movement in West Suma-
tra (19271933)(Ithaca,NY:MonographSeries,ModernIndonesiaProject,Southeast
AsiaProgram,CornellUniversity,1971),p.55.
73.SeeL.W.C.vandenBerg,HetMohammedaanschegodsdienstonderwijs
op Java en Madoera en de daarbij gebruikt Arabische Boeken, Tijdschrift voor In-
dische Taal-, Land-, En Volkenkunde31(1886):51955;andMartinvanBruinessen,
KitabKuning.
74.VanBruinessen,KitabKuning,p.229.
75.Onkitabkuning incontemporaryJava,seealsoLukens-Bull,A Peaceful Jihad,
pp.5758.
76.OnTebuireng,seeLukens-Bull,A Peaceful Jihad, pp.2545;andZamakhsyari
Dhofer, The Pesantren Tradition: The Role of the Kyai in the Maintenance of Traditional
Islam in Java(Tempe:MonographSeries,ProgramforSoutheastAsianStudies,Arizona
StateUniversity,1999),pp.77115.
77.Theexactdatefortheestablishmentofaboardingschoolforyoungwomen
inIndonesiaisamatterofdisagreement.Inthelate1920s,severalschoolsestablished
classesforfemales,apparentlywithoutyetsettingupafreestandingboardingschool.
Attheverylatest,then,in1930thePesantrenDenanyarinJombangestablishedafully
separate boarding school for girls. For an overview of this history and of pesantren
curricularlessonsonproperwomensbehavior,seeEkaSrimulyani,MuslimWomen
andEducationinIndonesia:ThePondok Pesantren Experience,inAsia Pacifc Journal of
Education 27,no.1(March2007):8599.
78. On the traditionalists early enthusiasm for nationalism, see Andr Feillard,
Islam et arme dans lIndonsie contemporaine(Paris:LHarmattan,1995),p.35.
79.SeeMuhammadFuad,Islam,Modernity,andMuhammadiyahsEducational
Program,inInter-Asia Cultural Studies 5,no.3(2004),pp.400414.
80.SeeDhofer,Pesantren Tradition, p.22.
81.SeeRoff,Origins of Malay Nationalism, pp.6770.
82.Ibid.,p.80.
83. For a historical study that resonates with Chapter 3 (Kraince), see Rosnani
Hasim, Educational Dualism in Malaysia: Implications for Theory and Practice (Kuala
Lumpur:OxfordUniversityPress,1996).
84.SeeSusanAckermanandRaymondL.M.Lee,Heaven in Transition: Non-Mus-
lim Religious Innovation and Ethnic Identity in Malaysia(Honolulu:UniversityofHawaii
Press,1988).
85. See Farish A. Noors superlative Islam Embedded: The Historical Development
of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party PAS (19512003),vol.1(KualaLumpur:Malaysian
SociologicalResearchInstitute,2004),pp.2896.
53 nrrocucrion: slamic Ecucarion in Sourheasr Asia
86.Peletz,Islamic Modern, pp.124,188,andZainahAnwar,WhatIslam,Whose
Islam?SistersinIslamandtheStruggleforWomensRights,inRobertW.Hefner,ed.,
The Politics of Multiculturalism: Pluralism and Citizenship in Malaysia, Singapore, and
Indonesia(Honolulu:UniversityofHawaiiPress,2001),pp.22752.
87.OnEgypt,seeCarrieWickhamRosefksy,Mobilizing Islam: Religion, Activism,
and Political Change in Egypt (NewYork:ColumbiaUniversityPress,2002).
88.SeeMathesonandHooker,JawiLiterature;andHasanMadmarn,The Pon-
dok and Madrasah in Patani,pp.1740.
89.Onthishistory,seealsoRaymondScupin,MuslimAccommodationinThai
Society,Journal of Islamic Studies 9,no.2(1998):22958.
90.Foranoverviewoftheescalatingviolenceinthe2000s,seeDuncanMcCargo,
ed.,Rethinking Thailandss Southern Violence (Singapore:NUSPress,2007).
91.Inparticular,manypesantrensstilluseatextwrittenbyImamNawawial-Ban-
tani (18181897), a famous West Javanese scholar who taught in Meccas al-Haram
mosque in the late nineteenth century, that details the (many) circumstances under
whichhusbandsmaybeattheirwives.SeeSrimulyani,MuslimWomenandEducation
in Indonesia, p. 94. On Nawawis place in Indonesian Islamic scholarship, see Abd.
Rachman,Nawawial-Bantani:AnIntellectualMasterofthePesantrenTradition,Stu-
dia Islamika: Indonesian Journal for Islamic Studies 3,no.3(1996):81114.Forabroader
and compelling overview of womens roles in Islamic education and organizations in
Indonesia,seePieternellavanDoorn-Harder,Women Shaping Islam: Reading the Quran
in Indonesia(Urbana:UniversityofIllinoisPress,2006).
92. On Tablighis in Thailand, see also Alexander Horstmann, The Inculturation
ofaTransnationalIslamicMissionaryMovement:TablighiJamaatal-DawaandMuslim
SocietyinSouthernThailand,Sojourn 22,no.1(2007):10730.Forcomparativestudies
ofthemovement,seeMuhammadKhalidMasud,ed.,Travellers in Faith: Studies of the Ta-
blighi Jamaat as a Transnational Islamic Movement for Faith Renewal (Leiden:Brill,2000).
93.SeeMcCargo,Rethinking Thailands Southern Violence.
94.OntheWetuTelu,seeSvenCederroth,The Spell of the Ancestors and the Power
of Mekkah: A Sasak Community on Lombok(Gothenburg:ActaUniversitatisGothobur-
gensis,1981).
95.SeeInternationalCrisisGroup,SouthernPhilippinesBackgrounder:Terror-
ismandthePeaceProcess,ICGAsiaReportNo.80(SingaporeandBrussels:ICG,
13July2004).
96. On the pandita schools, see McKenna and Abdula (Chap. 6, this vol.), and
Jeffrey Ayala Milligan, Reclaiming an Ideal: The Islamization of Education in the
SouthernPhilippines,Comparative Education Review 50,no.9(2006):430.OnSpanish
andAmericanpoliciestowardMuslimsinthesouth,seeThomasM.McKenna,Mus-
lim Rulers and Rebels: Everyday Politics and Armed Separatism in the Southern Philippines
(BerkeleyandLondon:UniversityofCaliforniaPress,1998).
97.SeeMcKenna,Muslim Rulers, p.89,andPeterGordonGowing,Mandate in
Moroland: the American Government of Muslim Filipinos, 18991920(QuezonCity:New
DayPublishers,1983),p.164.
98.SeeMcKenna,Muslim Rulers, pp.1048.
99.SeeMilligan,ReclaiminganIdeal,p.414.
100.Ibid.,p.415.
101.Ibid.,p.429.
102.ForananalysisofthejurisprudentialtextsusedinSoutheastAsia,seeMar-
tinvanBruinessen,PesantrenandKitab Kuning:MaintenanceandContinuationofa
54 ROBERT W. HEFNER
TraditionofReligiousLearning,inWolfgangMarschall,ed.,Texts from the Islands: Oral
and Written Traditions of Indonesia and the Malaya World (Bern:UniversityofBernPress,
1994),pp.12145.
103.Onthereformistnatureofnineteenth-centurySufordersinIndonesia,see
Martin van Bruinessen, The Origins and Development of Suf Orders (tarekat) in
SoutheastAsia,Studia IslamikaIndonesian Journal for Islamic Studies 1,no.1(1994):
123.
104. On the role of Islamic schools in facilitating independent Muslim action
without the support of the state, see Barbara Daly Metcalf, Islamic Revival in British
India: Deoband, 18601900(Princeton,NJ:PrincetonUniversityPress,1982),p.9.
105. On mass education for nation making, see, Byron K. Marshall,Learning to
Be Modern: Japanese Political Discourse on Education (Boulder, CO: Westview Press,
1994),andEugenWeber,Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France,
18701914(Stanford,CA:StanfordUniversityPress,1976),pp.30338.
106. For one such critique, see Adian Husaini, Hegemoni Kristen-Barat Dalam
Studi Islam di Perguruan Tinggi [Western-ChristianHegemonyintheStudyofIslamin
Higher Education] (Jakarta: Gema Insani, 2006). On the Islamization-of-knowledge
movement, see Mona Abaza, Debates on Islam and Knowledge in Malaysia and Egypt:
Shifting Worlds (London:RoutledgeCurzon,2002),pp.7787.
107.OntheCatholicengagement,seePhilipGleason,Contending with Modernity:
Catholic Higher Education in the Twentieth Century (NewYork:OxfordUniversityPress,
1995).
108. Michael Cook, Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought
(Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPress,2000),p.9.
109. A point highlighted in Jos Casanova, Public Religions in the Modern World
(Chicago:UniversityofChicagoPress,1994),andNancyL.Rosenblum,ed.,Questions
of Citizenship and Demands of Faith: Religious Accommodation in Pluralist Democracies
(Princeton,NJ:PrincetonUniversityPress,2000).