Zay Muttaqin

February 25, 2010

The Use and Abuse of “Muslim Society”

Filed under: Islamic Thought — E.Zaenal.Muttaqin @ 6:58 pm

The Use and Abuse of “Muslim Society”

A short resume

The growth of people in the sphere of modernity led to the variety of many societies to develop their own characteristic, such of this, is muslim societies as one of communal entities that makes different from other societies. Muslim society also could be referred to both geographically and particular culture, indeed muslim societies becomes a symbol and constructed society derived from the term of “islam society”. As like the general theories cited from Charles L. Harper that significant alteration of social structure and cultural patterns will lead to the social change,[1] in that way, also muslim societies keep their changing as it is process of what they perceived from cultural behavior. Thereof, here the main point of what should be contested in describing the anthropology of muslim societies is muslim itself and not Islam as the methodological concept. As Islam is delivering concepts such codes and other obligations that deal with the social and deity values. As muslim societies deal with these concepts in a diverse manner including politics, social, law, and many other.

On the term of that, therefore, muslim societies will always distinguish in practicing their ways into islam. Studying this society according to Bayat at least will concern with two main advantages, first: it always associated to western foreign policy. Second: could create such empirically and theoretically rich. In advance, observing muslim societies will be focused on many themes such as politics, law, public sphere, and many other.

The imperative point of the author in a glance is trying to introduce the term of “muslim” as a society with its distinct that describe themselves, since it is never monolithic and not religious by definition, the research on muslim society will be also different from the traditional field of methodology.

What Bayat concerned from this phenomenon must be relied on the study of social and historical concept like presented by Ernest Gellner. We found the core point that really attracts us why islam is so different when it come up into “society”. For instance, as known clearly Gellner’s study crumbled with institutional organization of ulama and many other formations of social structure in a very different pattern like he studied in Iran where political power distribution is decentralized and in the other hand he found a mirror image construction in the late ottoman empire.[2] consequently, in present time can be found accurately many muslim societies encounter the modernity emerged from western societies, such thing likely to be one of many other factors changed muslim societies pattern even internally. In case of what Bayat stated about the study of muslim societies is rather distinct from field of Islamic studies methodology is reasonably accepted based on what explained above


[1] Harper, CL (1993). Exploring social change. Engelwood Cliffs: New Jersey p.4

[2] Zubaida, Sami (1998), ISIM News Letter: The Netherlands P.1

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