This essay is a revisionist history of the Padri War and the place of Tuanku Imam Bondjol in the intellectual history of the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra, of the Dutch colonial state, and of Indonesian nationalism. The Tuanku Imam is an official “national hero” from the early nineteenth century, a putative Wahhabi, and leader of the Padri War, the first Muslim-against-Muslim jihad in Southeast Asia. The essay examines the Tuanku Imam in contemporary sources and then his construction as a serviceable trope of controlled Islam, Minangkabau patriotism, or Indonesian nationalism by successive states. Using memoirs by the Tuanku Imam and his son, Sutan Caniago, the essay analyzes the Tuanku's renunciation of Wahhabism in the face of matrifocal opposition and the interplay of three connected texts that serve to secularize the story of the Padri War.

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