Becker’s article focuses on similarities between arguments about funerary ritual, in particular the rite of telkin (admonition), among Muslim congregations in Highland Aceh, Indonesia, and in parts of Tanzania. It discusses the Sufi and scholarly networks that most likely explain the presence of this rite in both regions. The intensity of recent arguments about telkin, though, is connected to changing social and political constellations in the colonial and postcolonial period, which have left villagers in both locations unsure of their ability to maintain everyday sociality while also managing their relations with national and transregional power centers. The dispersal of the telkin ritual in two very different locations shows that the traditional rituals attacked by Muslim reformists cannot be construed as “local” additions to “orthodox” Islam; rather, this ritual is evidence of exchanges within Islamic networks that predate the reformist ones. Moreover, the debates show the extent to which even apparently isolated rural locations participate in global exchanges and are in some ways even more vulnerable to them than the cities more often seen as hubs of globalization.
Religious Anxieties in Two Marginal Regions: Reformist Debates on Funerary Ritual among Tanzanian and Acehnese Muslims in the Twentieth Century
Felicitas Becker; Religious Anxieties in Two Marginal Regions: Reformist Debates on Funerary Ritual among Tanzanian and Acehnese Muslims in the Twentieth Century. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 May 2013; 33 (1): 102–116. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-2072748
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