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Fatwas and the Dissemination of Religious Authority in Indonesia in the 20th Century


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Islamic Studies, the MA Arabic, Persian and Turkish languages and Cultures, the Research Master Area Studies: Asia and the Middle East or the MA Islamic Theology is required. Students who want to follow this seminar are kindly requested to contact Dr N.J.G Kaptein before the first meeting.


This seminar will start with a number issues which form provides the necessary background to this seminar, namely: motives for the study of Islam in Indonesia in the past and in the present; Colonial and post-colonial representations of Islam in Indonesia; the relationship between Islam and the Indonesian state; and the concept of fatwa.

After these introductory meetings the remainder of the meetings of the seminar will be devoted to the study of fatwas in 20th century Indonesia in order to understand how fatwas interact with social, political and other notions, and how they contribute to the dissemination of religious authority.

A detailed programme with additional reading will be available at the first meeting of the seminar.

Course objectives

To understand the interconnections of religious norms with social and political notions.


This course in (provisionally) scheduled on Wednesdays, 11-13 hs. Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Presentations and tutorials

Assessment method

The 10 EC for this seminar will be obtained after having fulfilled the following requirements: 1. Attendance of the meetings;
2. Preparation of meetings, which includes the thorough reading of the literature for each meeting and the preparation of three written questions related to this literature. These three questions should be submitted ultimately one day prior to the day on which the seminar takes place, not later than 9.30 hs;
3. Oral introduction/presentation linked to one of the meetings;
4. Written paper on one particular fatwa (chosen in consultation with the teacher) not exceeding 5000 words.



Reading list

  • M.B. Hooker, Indonesian Islam: Social change through contemporary fatâwâ, Honolulu: University of Hawai’I Press, 2003

  • Nico J.G. Kaptein and Michael Laffan (eds), Fatwâs in Indonesia (theme issue Islamic Law and Society Vol. 12 no. 1, (2005).

  • articles which will be made available


Registration for this course is compulsory: uSis.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

Dr. N.J.G. Kaptein


Students who specialize in Islam in Indonesia are advised to follow this seminar.