As'adiyah traditions : the construction and reproduction of religious authority in contemporary South Sulawesi





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As'adiyah is the largest and most significant religious institution in South Sulawesi from the second part of the twentieth century, and Anregurutta Muhammad As'ad al-Bugis (1907-1952), the founder of this institution, has been a significant figure in the formation, transformation and reproduction of Islamic authority in the region. The literature on Islamic education and Islamic authority in Indonesia has tended to focus on Java and to a lesser extent on Sumatra. In addition, most of these studies still pay little attention on the complex relation between religious educational institutions and the formation and reproduction of religious authority, a topic of great significance to understand. This study contributes to our understanding of the significant role of religious education and institutions in Indonesia and their crucial influence on the construction and reproduction of religious authority, through a study of a major non-Java based religious network. This anthropological study explores the multiple dimensions of influence of As'adiyah as a religious and educational institution in especially local community. It contributes to our understanding of the development of Islam in South Sulawesi and beyond, particularly in the Bugis diaspora. In the unique context of the hierarchical Bugis society, As'adiyah has provided an avenue for an upwards social mobility for all people, regardless of their social status. Through its educational and religious programs, in particular, this institution has enabled many young Muslims to obtain religious knowledge and to accumulate social and cultural capital which are essential for their claim for religious authority and for their becoming elite members of society. As'adiyah was first merely madrasah (Islamic school) and pesantren (Islamic boarding school) which later developed into a socio-religious institution whose programs encompassed religious, social, cultural and economic aspects of the local Muslim community. In the field of Islamic education, As'adiyah operates various formal and non-formal Islamic education programs, the branches of which can be found in many parts of South Sulawesi province and elsewhere. This study looks at how religious authority disseminated, exercised and maintained by As'adiyah within the Muslim society in Wajo and examines the role of this institution as the transmitter, interpreter and mediator of global, textual Islam to the local context of Muslim society. Finally, this study investigates the process though which As'adiyah has come to provide a sub-religious Islamic identity as well as sustaining cultural (Bugis) identity among its students, graduates, members and affiliates.






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