Tuesday, September 12, 2006


This is my first Indonesian work, published in Yogyakarta Indonesia (Pustaka Pelajar, 2002). Its title reads Anti-Kesempurnaan: Membaca, Melihat dan Bertutur tentang Islam/Unfinished: Reading, Observing and Telling about Islam.

This book essentially deals with the daily life of Muslims in Indonesia, although a glimpse history of Islam is also presented. What the book mostly concerns is the relation between methodologies, theories, and practices found in the field of Islamic studies and particularly in Indonesia.

For example, the issues on the gap between the living tradition in the contemporary Indonesian Muslims and the text that the Muslims themselves have produced were examined. Does the text represent the practice? Which one came first?

This book, however, uniquely positions the Muslims as creators of their own traditions, cultures, and texts, whereas the students of Islamic studies have so far tried to find certain theories in analyzing the relationship among these three components. Can the latter finds the answer and how far this relationship among the three is formulated, the book tries to exhibit this matter.

Why the title of this work is "Unfinished"?
This is due to the above theory that the Muslims are viewed as the creators of their own tradition, cultures, and text. All of these elements have define what Islam is. Thus, it can perhaps be said that "Islam" with these elements are always created and renewed by the Muslims. This is certainly a unique position of being Muslims who actively make their Islam more perfect and more complete from time to time. This stance also differs from the observers or writers of Islam who position themselves outside the cultures, traditions, and texts of Islam. These scholars, indeed, have contributed in finding theories and methodologies of Islam as field of study, but they do not participate in creating "Islam". Creating Islam therefore belongs exclusively to Muslims. The observers have so far performerd the task of explaining what the Muslims have done with regard to the act of "creation" of Islam.

Given this fact, it can perhaps be said that Islam is always dynamic act of creation by Muslims. Islam as tradition, culture, and text can be regarded as never "finished" or unfinished. It is Muslims who finish and complete the task. Islam in this sense is nothing but creation of Muslims themselves through their prayers (ibadah) and acts (mu'amalah).


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