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Australian Journal of Asian Law

Abstract from Volume 4 No 3 (2002)

Public Faces of SyarÓ'ah in Contemporary Indonesia: Towards a National Mazhab?

MB Hooker is Adjunct Professor, Law Faculty, Australian National University, and Senior Associate, Asian Law Centre, The University of Melbourne.
Tim Lindsey is Associate Professor and Director, Asian Law Centre, The University of Melbourne.

Indonesia is a secular state but over 80% of its population are Muslim. Islam is therefore not just a private religion but has institutionalised public faces in the Religious Courts, Islamic political parties, national religious organisations, the Islamic educational system, state-sanctioned religious councils and, most controversially, in state ideology. The tension between state and revelation implicit in Islam has had a profound influence on the development of Islamic law (syarÓ'ah) in Indonesia. The public institutions of Islam have been unable to achieve consensus as to the nature, role or content of Islamic law either between them all or within any one of them. Indeed, for the past century, the only constant for Islamic law in Indonesia has been debate and fragmentation. This article examines the public institutions of Islam in Indonesia, focusing on the Religious Courts, to ask whether Hazairin's call for a national school (maŪhab) of syarÓ'ah in Indonesia has any prospect of success.

(2003) 4(3) Asian Law 259

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