Women Remembering the Prophet’s Birthday: Maulid Celebrations and Reli-gious Emotions Among the Alawiyin Community in Palembang, Indonesia

Claudia Seise


In Palembang in South Sumatra, Indonesia, Maulid celebrations are considered an important religious event in the lives of many Muslims. Over the past twenty years, there has been an expansion of activities, the driving force behind which has been a young generation of Alawiyin in Palembang. Maulid celebrations organized by the Alawiyinin Palembang are separated along gender lines. In this paper, I show how female-onlyMaulid celebrations enable Muslim women, and especially the sharifat, to express their emotions and allow for bodily expressions during the actual Maulid event. I will argue that, in women-only celebrations, women express religious emotions which they wish to show but also which are expected from them as the expression of love for the Prophet Muhammad is part of the Islamic understanding internalized by the Alawiyin.


Alawiyin; Islam; Maulid; Muslim Women; Religious Emotions

Full Text:



Alatas, I. F. (2016). The poetics of pilgrimage: Assembling contemporary Indonesian pilgrimage to Hadramawt, Yemen. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 58(3), 607-635.

Alatas, I. F. (2014). Pilgrimage and network formation in two contemporary Ba‘Alawi Hawl in Central Java. Journal of Islamic Studies, 25(3), 1-27.

Alatas, I. F. (2008). Securing their place: The Ba’Alawi, Prophetic piety and Islamic resurgence in Indonesia. (Master of Arts), National University of Singapore, Singapore. Retrieved from http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/bitstream/handle/10635/16742/thesis.pdf?sequence=1

Ali, M. (2007). Categorizing Muslims in postcolonial Indonesia. Moussons, 11, 33-62.

Azra, A. (2013). Distinguishing Indonesian Islam: Some lessons to learn. In J. Burhanudin & K. van Dijk (Eds.), Islam in Indonesia: Contrasting images and interpretations (pp. 63-74).

Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Azra, A. (2004). The origins of Islamic reformism in Southeast Asia networks of Malay-Indonesian and Middle Eastern ’Ulamā’ in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Asian Stud-ies Association of Australia Publication Series. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.

Barton, G. (2004). Indonesia’s Struggle: Jemaah Islamiyah and the soul of Islam. Sydney: UNSW Press.

Bruinessen, M. van. (2009). Modernism and anti-modernism in Indonesian Muslim responses to globalisation. Paper presented at the workshop “Islam and Development in Southeast Asia: Southeast Asian Muslim Responses to Globalization”, Japan International Cooperation Agency & Research Institute Singapore.

Bruinessen, M. van. (2008). Traditionalist and Islamist pesantren in contemporary Indonesia. In F. A. Noor (Ed.), The madrasa in Asia: Political activism and transnational linkages (pp. 217-246). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Bruinessen, M. van. (1999). Global and local in Indonesian Islam. Southeast Asian Studies (Kyoto), 37(2), 46-63.

Bruinessen, M. van. (1998). Kurdish ‘ulama and their Indonesian disciples. Les Annales de l’Autre Islam, 5, 83-106.

Bruinessen, M. van. (1994). Pesantren and kitab kuning: Maintenance and continuation of a tradi-tion of religious learning. In W. Marschall (Ed.), Texts from the islands. Oral and written traditions of Indonesia and the Malay world (Ethnologica Bernica, vol. 4, pp. 121-145). Berne: University of Berne Press.

Bubalo, A., & Fealy, G. (2005). Joining the caravan? The Middle East, Islamism and Indonesia. Lowy Institute Paper, 5. Double Bay: Lowy Institute for International Policy. Retrieved from https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/58780/2005-03-14.pdf

Burhani, A. N. (2013). Defining Indonesian Islam: An examination of the construction of the national Islamic identity of traditionalist and modernist Muslims. In J. Burhanudin & K.

van Dijk (Eds.), Islam in Indonesia: Contrasting images and interpretations (pp. 25-48). Am-sterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Burhanudin, J., & Dijk, K. van. (Eds.). (2013) Islam in Indonesia: Contrasting images and interpretations. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Eickelman, D. F., & Piscatori, J. (1990). Social theory in the study of Muslim societies. In D. F. Eickelman & J. Piscatori (Eds.), Muslim travelers: Pilgrimage, migration and the religious imagination (pp. 3-28). Berkeley, Los Angeles: The University of California Press.

Freitag, U. (1997). Conclusion: The diaspora since the age of Independence. In U. Freitag & W. G. Clarence-Smith (Eds.), Hadrami traders, scholars, and statesmen in the Indian Ocean 1750-1960s (pp. 314-330). Leiden: Brill.

Freitag, U., & Oppen, A. von. (2010). Introduction: ‘Translocality’: An approach to connection and transfer in Area Studies. In U. Freitag & A. von Oppen (Eds.), Translocality: The study of globalising processes from a Southern perspective (pp. 1-24). Leiden: Brill.

Geertz, C. (1976). The religion of Java. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Original work published 1960)

Gori, A. (2010). Texts in the Mawlid collection in Harar: Some first critical observations. In B. M. Tarsitani (Ed.), Preserving local knowledge in the Horn of Africa: Challenges and prospects for collaborative research in oral literature, music and ritual practices (pp. 51-62). Kyoto: Kyoto University Press.

Hadar, I. A. (1999). Bildung in Indonesien. Krise und Kontinuität. Das Beispiel Pesantren. Frankfurt: IKO-Verlag für Interkulturelle Kommunikation.

Hamdani, D. (2012). Cultural system of Cirebonese people: Tradition of Maulidan in the Kanoman Kraton. Indonesian Journal of Social Sciences, 4(1), 11-22.

Hefner, R. W. (2013). Indonesia in the global scheme of Islamic things: Sustaining the virtuous circle of education, associations and democracy. In J. Burhanudin & K. van Dijk (Eds.), Islam in Indonesia: Contrasting images and interpretations (pp. 49-62). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Holmes Katz, M. (2008). Women’s “Mawlid” performances in Sanaa and the construction of “Popular Islam”. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 40(3), 467-484.

Houben, V. (2015). Islam and the perception of Islam in contemporary Indonesia. Heidelberg Ethnology, (occasional paper) 3, 1-9.

Laffan, M. (2011). The makings of Indonesian Islam: Orientalism and the narration of a sufi past. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Lukens-Bull, R. (2005). A peaceful jihad: Negotiating identity and modernity in Muslim Java. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Madjid, N. (1985). Merumuskan kembali tujuan pendidikan pesantren. In M. D. Rahardjo (Ed.), Pergulatan dunia pesantren: Membangun dari bawah. Jakarta: Perhimpunan Pengembangan Pesantren dan Masyarakat.

Mahmood, S. (2012). Politics of piety: The Islamic revival and the feminist subject. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (Original work published 2005)

Riddell, P. G. (2001). Islam and the Malay-Indonesian world: Transmission and responses. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Riis, O., & Woodhead, L. (2010). A sociology of religious emotions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Seise, C. (2017). Religioscapes in Muslim Indonesia: Personalities, institutions and practices. Berlin: Regiospectra.

Sila, M. A. (2015). Maudu’: A way of union with god. Canberra: ANU Press.

Slama, M. (2012). ‘Coming down to the shop’: Trajectories of Hadhrami women into Indonesian public realms. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 13(4), 313-333.

Slama, M. (2005). Indonesian Hadhramis and the Hadhramaut: An old diaspora and its new connec-tions. Antropologi Indonesia, 29(2), 107-113.

Srimulyani, E. (2012). Women from traditional Islamic educational institutions in Indonesia: Negotiating public space. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Woodward, M. (2011). Java, Indonesia and Islam. Heidelberg: Springer.

Woodward, M. (2001). Indonesia, Islam, and the prospect for democracy. SAIS Review, 21(2), 29-37.

Woodward, M. (1989). Islam in Java: Normative piety and mysticism in the sultanate of Yogyakarta: University Arizona Press.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14764/10.ASEAS-0005


  • There are currently no refbacks.

License URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/