Imagining the Land of the Two Holy Mosques: The Social and Doctrinal Importance of Saudi Arabia in Indonesian Salafi Discourse
Keywords:Indonesia, Religious Renewal, Salafism, Saudi Arabia, Social Imaginaries
The emergence of Salafi Islam within Indonesia has shifted the imaginary boundaries of Islamic identity. Although relatively small in numbers, Salafis propagate a religious discourse linked to scholars in Saudi Arabia. While it cannot be regarded as merely a type of ‘Saudization’, the kingdom is frequently exemplified as a model for a pious society as well as pragmatic solutions on how to deal with contemporary issues ranging from justice to terrorism. Indeed, Saudi Arabia plays a pivotal part in the Salafi imaginary, balancing a historical Islamic past with a modernist religious present and future. Based on fieldwork conducted from 2011 to 2012 in Yogyakarta, this paper builds upon this premise, offering both a description and an analysis of the importance of the kingdom as a source of educational sponsorship but also, more interestingly, as a source of religious authority and social ideals, articulated within contemporary religious literature and the movement’s study sessions (kajian). More pointedly, I argue that actors use Saudi Arabia to construct an imaginary ideal through which social and religious issues are contemplated and compared to apparent Indonesian ‘social corruption’.
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