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The Contested State of Sufism in Islamic Modernism: The Case of the Muhammadiyah Movement in Twentieth-Century Indonesia

In: Journal of Sufi Studies
Author: Herman L. Beck1
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  • 1 Tilburg UniversityThe Netherlands
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The Muhammadiyah in Indonesia is commonly known not to be very sympathetic towards mysticism in terms of its manifestations in mystical religious fraternities and pantheistic identity mysticism. Although its stance versus these religious phenomena seems to be very clear, many of its members are struggling to determine their attitude towards the issue. The continuing uncertainty about its legitimacy is evident from the questions Muhammadiyah members send to the Suara Muhammadiyah regarding this topic. In this article i focus on the Muhammadiyah’s ‘official’ vision through its first hundred years of existence. My thesis is that its rigidness in rejecting ‘mystical and spiritual’ manifestations is not only caused by its fear of unbelief and heresy, but also closely related to the political and social circumstances in which it is confronted with these ‘mystical and spiritual’ manifestations in the first place.

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