chapter  8
Islamic Post-Traditionalism in Indonesia: Revisiting Tradition and the Future of Islam
Pages 22

Over the last decade, coinciding with a drastic reform of Indonesia’s political system in the wake of the collapse of General Suharto’s military-dominated Orde Baru (New Order) Regime (1965-1998), the most populous Muslim nation state in the world has witnessed the emergence of a new strand of religious, philosophical, and political thinking among young Muslim intellectuals. It is called Islamic PostTraditionalism, or Postra for short, and refers to an alternative Islamic discourse that seeks to engage critically with the various ways Islam is practised, experienced, and reflected upon in Indonesia. It is distinct from indigenous traditional forms of rural Indonesian Islam, the transnational revivalist trends in both its moderate and radical manifestations, as well as what the Pakistani-American scholar of Islam Fazlur Rahman referred to as classical Islamic modernism. It even has reservations about attempts to synthesize classical modernism with traditionalism as attempted in Indonesia in the 1970s and 1980s. This last initiative had been set in motion by the former Muslim student leader Nurcholish Madjid and Abdurrahman Wahid, one time chairman of the largest traditionalist Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), who later served as the first democratically elected president of Indonesia.