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Improvisational Islam: Indonesian Youth in a Time of Possibility

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"Ibrahim demonstrates the critical importance of scholarly attention in both anthropology and religious studies to this vibrant country-the world's largest Muslim nation."
- DAROMIR RUDNYCKYJ, University of Victoria

Improvisational Islam is about novel and unexpected ways of being Muslim, where religious dispositions are achieved through techniques that have little or no precedent in classical Islamic texts or concepts. Nur Amali Ibrahim foregrounds two distinct autodidactic university student organizations, each trying to envision alternative ways of being Muslim independent from established religious and political authorities. One group draws from methods originating from the business world, like accounting, auditing, and self-help, to promote a puritanical understanding of the religion and spearhead Indonesia's spiritual rebirth. A second group reads Islamic scriptures alongside the western human sciences. Both groups, he argues, show a great degree of improvisation and creativity in their interpretations of Islam. Read more about the book.

$24.95 | 210 pages | Paperback

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Acknowledgments ix 

Prologue 1 

Introduction 7

1. The Tremblingness of Youths 30

2. Religion Unleashed 52

3. Accounting for the Soul 75

4. Playing with Scriptures 99

5. From Moderate Indonesia to Indonistan 125

Epilogue 149

Notes 155

Bibliography 165

Index 175