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Fatwā, Purification and Dynamization: A Study of Tarjīh in Muhammadiyah

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I examine here contemporary iftā practices in Muhammadiyah, Indonesia ' s leading organisation for modernist Muslims, with special attention to Majelis Tarjih, the body charged with issuing its fatwās since 1927. After explaining Muhammadiyah's ideology, and the working method of Majelis Tarjih and the authority of its decisions, I examine and discuss several fatwās relating to syncretic practices in Indonesia and one fatwā about whether a woman may serve in a position of authority over men. I argue that the fatwās issued by Majelis Tarjih demonstrate how Muhammadiyah promotes a more dynamic understanding of religion among its members and within Indonesian society at large, an understanding that often differs from traditionalist views espoused in classical fiqh books.


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