Islamic Universities in Indonesia

A window into the intellectual evolution of Islamic higher education in Indonesia: an interview with the rector of UIN Sunan Kalijaga Prof. Amin Abdullah by Prof. Farish Noor of The Other Malaysia.

…what is happening in places like UIN SUKA: You have pious Muslim students who are practicing Muslims who nonetheless can actually read the Quran and Hadith using the methodology of discourse analysis; who can write papers about inter-textual interpretations of the Quran; who can write deconstructive accounts of Islamic history, politics and ethics. How is this possible? From a Western point of view one might even call UINSUKA a secular modern university, but would you accept such a typology?

AA: ‘No, we dont and we will not. We are not a secular or modern university in the Western sense of the word. UINSUKA is, after all a UIN, an Islamic university.

The misunderstanding arises, in my opinion, in the somewhat narrow definition of ‘secularism’ and ‘modernity’ in the West. It is true that secularism and modernity arose from a specific historical context in the West, but the evolution of Indonesia’s world of ideas is likewise specific to Indonesia: it cannot even be compared or transposed to Malaysia next door.

Read the whole thing.


2 thoughts on “Islamic Universities in Indonesia

  1. An excellent article 🙂 Thank you for posting it. It really sums up the real problem with labels such as “modern,” especially based on “Eurocentric, Orientalist and colonial biases.” We get too much of that in the West, and it really is a disservice to the complexity and diversity of cultures that are part of the wonder of living on earth.

    Ya Haqq!

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