Islam, Colonialism and the Modern Age in the Netherlands East Indies

A Biography of Sayyid ʿUthman (1822 – 1914)


In this biography Nico J.G. Kaptein studies the life and times of Sayyid ʿUthman (1822-1914), the most prominent Muslim scholar of his era in the Netherlands East Indies. During his long career, he provided guidance to the Muslim community and from 1889 onwards simultaneously served the colonial government as advisor for Muslim affairs after the famous C. Snouck Hurgronje had engaged him. Based on an analysis of his writings, Kaptein focuses on the question of how Sayyid ʿUthman viewed the place of Islam in the colonial state and the many reactions this provoked, both nationally and internationally, e.g. from the Cairo-based reformist Rashid Rida.

For an online exhibition on "Sayyid ʿUthman of Batavia (1822-1914): A Life in the Service of Islam and Colonial Rule" see:


EUR €130.00USD $160.00

Biographical Note

Nico J.G. Kaptein Ph.D. (1989) teaches Islamic Studies at Leiden University.

Review Quotes

'This nicely conceived and clearly written account of Sayyid ‘Uthman’s life and times makes for a smooth and very informative read.'
Niels Mulder, 2016. Posted to New Asia Books on 15 Jan 2016,


Indonesianists/(Southeast) Asianists, scholars of Islam, scholars of the Middle East, historians.


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