Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

5 - Islamic Reform and Religious Bureaucratization in Malaysia: Mufti as an Agent of Change

Thursday, March 22
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Park Tower 8222, Lobby Level

From the perspective of the state, the bureaucratization is seen as a necessary tool to micro-manage Islamic affairs. In countries like Malaysia, the state has claimed that its structured administration of Islam, a legacy inherited from the British, concentrates authority vested in religious bureaucrats who are tasked with interpreting Islam. Scholars have argued that bureaucratization of Islam perpetuated monopoly of rights and authority to define and implement religious orthodoxy. Furthermore, the religious bureaucrats have been accused of marginalizing interpretations of Islam that are seen as outside of the approved orthodoxy. On the contrary, I argue that it is precisely bureaucratization of Islam that has created greater latitude for Muslims scholars and bureaucrats to embark on a different interpretation of Islam. The bureaucratization of Islam in Perlis, a small northern state in the Peninsular Malaysia, can be an example of how the support from the Sultan, the highest religious authority of State, and the trust given to religious scholars and officials have allowed reformist scholars an opportunity to reinterpret Islamic teachings. The paper studies fatawa, pronouncements and social activities of the office of the Perlis Mufti to highlight new and innovative interpretations of Islam under the umbrella of state-sponsored institutions.

Norbani Binti Ismail

Independent Scholar, Virginia

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Norbani Ismail


Assets

5 - Islamic Reform and Religious Bureaucratization in Malaysia: Mufti as an Agent of Change



Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for Islamic Reform and Religious Bureaucratization in Malaysia: Mufti as an Agent of Change