Shi'ism In South East Asia:

'Alid Piety and Sectarian Constructions

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Chiara Formichi, R. Michael Feener
  • New York, NY: 
    Oxford University Press
    , December
     416 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Sajjad Rizvi forthcoming.


This is the first work available in any language to extensively document and critically discuss traditions of 'Alid piety and their modern contestations in the region. The concept of 'Alid piety allows for a reframing of our views on the widespread reverence for 'Ali, Fatima and their progeny that emphasizes how such sentiments and associated practices are seen as part of broad traditions shared by many Muslims, which might or might not have their origins in a specifically Shi'a identity. In doing so, it facilitates the movement of academic discussions out from under the shadow of polemical sectarian discourses on 'Shi'ism' in Southeast Asia. The chapters include presentations of new material from previously unpublished early manuscript sources from Muslim vernacular literatures in the Malay, Javanese, Sundanese, Acehnese and Bugis languages, as well as rich new ethnography from across the region. These studies engage with cultural, intellectual, and performative traditions, as well as the ways in which 'Alid piety has been transformed in relation to more strictly sectarian identifications since the Iranian revolution in 1979.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Chiara Formichi is Assistant Professor in Southeast Asian Humanities at Cornell University. Her work centres on political Islam and nationalism, secularism as a marker of modernity, and issues of sectarianism, orthodoxy and pluralism. She is the author of Islam and the Making of the Nation: Kartosuwiryo and Political Islam in 20th century Indonesia (2012), and edited Religious Pluralism, State and Society in Asia (2013).

Michael Feener is Research Leader of the Religion and Globalization cluster at the Asia Research Institute, and Associate Professor of History at the National University of Singapore. His books include: Shari'a and Social Engineering: The Implementation of Islamic Law in Aceh, Indonesia (2013), and Muslim Legal Thought in Modern Indonesia (2007).



Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.