I am delighted to write this introduction to the Indonesian translation of the first (and favourite) book that I authored and am deeply grateful to everyone involved in the process of its translation and publication. Incidentally, this year marks 10 years since its publication and I cannot think of any better way to celebrate but to make the book available to the Indonesian audience.
The book is a slightly modified version of my Ph.D dissertation that I completed in 2010 at the University of Western Australia and that was subsequently published in Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl’s book series published by Palgrave in 2011. I am thankful and feel honored that Professor Abou El Fadl took interest in being one of my Ph.D. examiners, for finding it a valuable contribution to scholarship and for encouraging me to publish my work in his book series. The book was translated into Arabic in 2013 ( available here for free).
In many ways the subject matter of the book is a reflection of the questions I as a Muslim of Bosnian heritage living in Australia was asking myself as I was becoming of age. More specifically, as an undergraduate student I came into contact with Muslims from various ethnic, national and racial backgrounds and was fascinated with the question of differences in understanding and practicing of the Islamic faith that I witnessed. The understanding of the nature of the concept of sunna was of a particular interest to me in this respect. In mid to late 1990s I came across the works of Fazrul Rahman ( d.1988) and the Pakistani Institute Al-Mawrid whose concept of sunna was markedly different from the more mainstream discussions that for hermeneutical purposes conflated the concept of sunna with that of an authentic ( sahih) hadith. I continued to expand my knowledge of the early concept of sunna , especially in the early Maliki and Hanafi madhhab which led to the publication of some of my first academic articles on sunna published in Arab Law quarterly in 2007, 2009 and 2012 respectively . The culmination of my interest in the concept of sunna occurred in my editing of a volume on the concept of sunna in early, classical and modernist periods that was published by Palgrave in 2015 that, as far as I know, is still the most comprehensive scholarly treatment of the meaning of concept of sunna and its evolution in various Islamic sciences.
The differences in understanding of the concept of sunna play an important part in the present study and the study in this respect is informed by my previous publications on the topic mentioned above but its scope is broader and includes discussions pertaining to differences of interpretation in interpretational methodologies ( manahij) and various presuppositions underpinning them in relation to the Qur’an as well. In this respect the study focuses on two contemporary interpretational currents whose genealogies go back to the very inception of the Islamic interpretive tradition and compares and contrasts them with respect to their manhaj based commitments. The study then examines how these fundamental differences at the level of interpretational methodologies result in very different views on what it means to be an ideal Muslim Woman and the relationship between the concept of a muslim and a mu’min. The focus on the question of what it means to be an ideal “Muslim Woman/Wife” ( and my implication that of an ideal Muslim man/husband)and her role and status in Islam and the question of the nature of Muslim -non-Muslim relationship/interaction continue to attract a lot of attention in both scholarly and non-scholarly circles. Answers to these questions have important implications in Muslim contexts not only in Indonesia as the most populous Muslim country in the world but also more broadly in relation to Islam- West relations in particular.
Understanding factors and assumptions at the level of interpretational methodologies which lead to very different understandings and answers to these questions helps us not only to understand the spectrum of different opinions that exist in the Islamic interpretive tradition but also ideally to generate a level of interpretational empathy in relation to those with whom we might passionately disagree precisely as a result of divergences at the level of the manahij but nonetheless understand where they are coming from and why and how they have arrived at these views. This is exactly one of my most important hopes, namely, that with the translation of this book into Bahasa Indonesia that the often polarized and polarizing discussions in Indonesia in relation to the issues this study examines a higher level of interpretational awareness and tolerance can be reached. My other hope is that this book will stimulate further already very rich and intellectually vibrant and scholarly discussions that are already present in Indonesian scholarly circles.
Pre-order detailsAdis Duderija, August 2021.