Shari'a & Constitutional Reform in Indonesia

Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
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This book focuses on constitutional reform in Indonesia (1999-2002) from the perspective of shari'a. Since the end of Soeharto's New Order government in 1998, Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, has amended the 1945 Constitution four times. Soeharto's departure also opened the way for several Muslim groups and political parties to propose the introduction of shari'a into the Constitution. This book poses the crucial question implicit in the amendments to the 1945 Constitution: can shari'a and democratic constitutionalism be fused without compromising on human rights, the rule of law, and religious liberty? The contributions of Islamic political parties in Indonesia to the process and the outcome of the amendments, by adopting a substantive shari'a approach, reflect the ability to deal with a modern Constitution without abandoning the principles and the objectives of shari'a. The study reveals one possible picture of how Islam and constitutionalism can co-exist in the same vision, not without risk of tension, but with the possibility of success.
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About the author

Nadirsyah Hosen is Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Wollongong, Wollongong.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
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Published on
Dec 31, 2007
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Pages
271
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ISBN
9789812304025
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Religion, Politics & State
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Challenging the Secular State examines Muslim efforts to incorporate shari a (religious law) into modern Indonesia s legal system from the time of independence in 1945 to the present. The author argues that attempts to formally implement shari a in Indonesia, the world s most populous Muslim state, have always been marked by tensions between the political aspirations of proponents and opponents of shari a and by resistance from the national government. As a result, although pro-shari a movements have made significant progress in recent years, shari a remains tightly confined within Indonesia s secular legal system.

The author first places developments in Indonesia within a broad historical and geographic context, offering a provocative analysis of the Ottoman empire s millet system and thoughtful comparisons of different approaches to pro-shari a movements in other Muslim countries (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan). He then describes early aspirations for the formal implementation of shari a in Indonesia in the context of modern understandings of religious law as conflicting with the idea of the nation-state.

Later chapters explore the efforts of Islamic parties in Indonesia to include shari a in national law. Salim offers a detailed analysis of debates over the constitution and possible amendments to it concerning the obligation of Indonesian Muslims to follow Islamic law. A study of the Zakat Law illustrates the complicated relationship between the religious duties of Muslim citizens and the nonreligious character of the modern nation-state. Chapters look at how Islamization has deepened with the enactment of the Zakat Law and demonstrate the incongruities that have emerged from its implementation. The efforts of local Muslims to apply shari a in particular regions are also discussed. Attempts at the Islamization of laws in Aceh are especially significant because it is the only province in Indonesia that has been allowed to move toward a shari a-based system. The book concludes with a review of the profound conflicts and tensions found in the motivations behind Islamization.

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