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Book Reviews

MY BOOK: From Islamic Revivalism to Islamic Radicalism in Southeast Asia: A Study of Jama’ah Tabligh in Malaysia and Indonesia

 In 2015, I published my book entitled:  From Islamic Revivalism to Islamic Radicalism in Southeast Asia: A Study of Jama’ah Tabligh in Malaysia and Indonesia 

Published by Cambridge Scholar Publishing. 

This book presents an ethnographic study of the Jama’ah Tabligh in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Banda Aceh, Indonesia. It explores the nature of organized religious practice within this Islamic missionary group and illustrates the faith situation amongst the members, which is colored by Sufist elements.

A central focus of the study is an exploration of the status of faith, or religious awareness, of members of Jama’ah Tabligh by undertaking a detailed examination of the aims and distinctive practices of the organization in individual chapters.

The book develops a pyramid of religious awareness, which enables an understanding of the sacred spiritual experiences of Muslims in terms of three aspects: shari’ah, haqiqah (reality), and ma’rifah (gnosis). The pyramid offers a conceptual model of an internal problematic common to Muslims about their beliefs and the organization and conduct of their daily lives.

The book is particularly significant for the insights it provides into how a desire to reinstate an Islamic caliphate, as part of a return to al-Qur’an and al-Sunnah, may be realized in the contemporary period, through radical yet non-violent means, drawing heavily on the mosque-based form of government implemented by the Prophet Muhammad in Medina.

This study will also be helpful for studies of other non-Islamic, religious groups, where the religious person submits him or herself to God. A further argument is a proposal that the highest level of a human being is insan kamil utilized (the perfect man), one who has utilised his active intelligence.

Also Read  Book Reviews: Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Proverty (2012) Daron Acemogle and James A. Robinson



Kamaruzzaman Bustamam Ahmad

Kamaruzzaman Bustamam-Ahmad (KBA) has followed his curiosity throughout life, which has carried him into the fields of Sociology of Anthropology of Religion in Southeast Asia, Islamic Studies, Sufism, Cosmology, and Security, Geostrategy, Terrorism, and Geopolitics. KBA is the author of over 30 books and 50 academic and professional journal articles and book chapters. His academic training is in social anthropology at La Trobe University, Islamic Political Science at the University of Malaya, and Islamic Legal Studies at UIN Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta. He received many fellowships: Asian Public Intellectual (The Nippon Foundation), IVLP (American Government), Young Muslim Intellectual (Japan Foundation), and Islamic Studies from Within (Rockefeller Foundation). He is based in Banda Aceh and can be reached at ceninnets@yahoo.com.au

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