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Title: The Muslim Religious Elite in Contemporary Malaysia: A Study of Dominant Ideas and Orientation of Prominent Religious Personalities and their Impact
Keywords: Religious Elite, Malaysia, Ideas and Orientation, Islam
Issue Date: 16-Aug-2010
Citation: NORSHAHRIL BIN SAAT (2010-08-16). The Muslim Religious Elite in Contemporary Malaysia: A Study of Dominant Ideas and Orientation of Prominent Religious Personalities and their Impact. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This study seeks to examine the dominant religious orientation of the prominent religious personalities in contemporary Malaysia. It seeks to analyze the salient features of their religious orientation and their implications on the Malaysian society at large. By orientation we mean a style of thought that influence not just the selection of religious ideas and issues but also how they are conceived and understood. Some of the religious issues explicated by these religious elite that will be explored include the role of women in society, the concept of Islamic state, the problematization of adat or Malay culture, and the attitude towards the ?Other?. My central argument is that the religious elite?s understanding of these issues or the sense of them is a function of an orientation which reveals the salient traits of traditionalism. Though the profile of the religious elite is heterogeneous, in that they emerge from different strata in society, age groups, political affiliations, deploy various methods whilst preaching, and even articulate opposing viewpoints; the style of thought reveals the common and distinct traits of traditionalism. This is not to deny the existence of other thought styles or orientations in as much as it is maintained that traditionalism features pronouncedly in the selection and appropriation of major issues raised by the religious elite. The study is confined to the more prominent religious elite, particularly the `trend setters? in religious debates. They include members of political parties, civil-society organizations, state bureaucracies, as well as the pendakwah bebas or independent preachers. Among the personalities discussed include Nik Aziz, Hadi Awang, Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, Dr Haron Din, Harussani Zakaria, Dr Zahazan Mohamed, Yusri Mohamad, members of JAKIM, IKIM, PUM, and ABIM. Apart from portraying the characteristics of their religious orientation, this study also highlights the possible factors that condition the prevalence of their religious orientation and the implications they bear not only on the Muslim community, but also on the larger multi-ethnic and multi-religious Malaysian society, within the context of change, development and modernization.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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