Islam in Java: normative piety and mysticism in the Sultanate of Yogyakarta

Mark Woodward

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

239 Scopus citations


Essentially a critique of Geertz's Religion of Java, which claimed that Islam has never really taken hold in Java except among a small community of merchants. Argues that Islam is the predominant force in the religious beliefs and rites of central Javanese, and that it shapes the character of social interaction and daily life in all segments of Javanese society. This penetration was achieved so quickly and completely because Islam was embraced by the royal courts as the basis for a theocractic state. Sufism forms the core of the state cult and the theory of kingship, with religious discord based on the age-old Islamic question of how to balance the legalistic and mystical dimensions of the tradition. The chapters examine: texts and ethnography, Java and the Islamic tradition, Sufism, royal and village religion, the Yogyakarta kraton, and Hindu elements in Javanese Islam. -M.Amos

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIslam in Java
Subtitle of host publicationnormative piety and mysticism in the Sultanate of Yogyakarta
PublisherUniversity of Arizona Press, Tucson; Association for Asian Studies Monograph, 45
ISBN (Print)0816511039, 9780816511037
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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