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Caged in on the OutsideMoral Subjectivity, Selfhood, and Islam in Minangkabau, Indonesia$
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Gregory M. Simon

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838300

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838300.001.0001

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Being Muslim Subjects

Being Muslim Subjects

Essential Tensions and the Promise of Transcendence

Chapter:
(p.170) 6 Being Muslim Subjects
Source:
Caged in on the Outside
Author(s):

Gregory M. Simon

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824838300.003.0007

The tensions of moral subjectivity in Minangkabau society clash with the totalizing demands and promises of transcendence made by conceptions of Islam and its ethical practices. Shalat, the ritual of the daily prayers, crystallizes the tension between integration and autonomy, promising its transcendence. However, in confronting the enduring tensions of multidimensional selfhood, shalat sometimes leads to distressing experiences of failure. The engagement with shalat thus does not determine moral subjectivity, but reflects attempts to transcend stubbornly enduring tensions of human selfhood that have become the focus of Minangkabau and Islamic discourses. Given the impossibility of transcendence, notions of belief in Islam are employed in West Sumatra as a way of maintaining Islamic selfhood in the face of ambiguously Islamic practices and experiences. By locating Islamic identity within the self, these notions also provide an alternative to a fundamentalist impulse to overcome that impossibility by attempting to transform the world.

Keywords:   subjectivity, Islam, ethics, autonomy, shalat, ritual, self, belief, fundamentalism, Minangkabau

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