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Islamic Law and the Environment in Indonesia

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Fatwa and Daʿwa

image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Based on research in Indonesia in 2010–2013, this essay explains how Muslims expect norms of Islamic law to mobilize religious response to environmental crisis. It surveys attempts since the 1990s to develop “environmental fiqh (Muslim jurisprudence)” in Indonesia, justified in theory by rationales such as that actions causing environmental harm stem ultimately from human moral failing, and also that human aims and activities, including those protected by Islamic law, require a healthy biosphere. Many Indonesians expect Islamic ecological rulings to fill a critical gap in global persuasion, and to be successful when other (non-religious) environmental messages fail. Considering several key fatwas (non-binding legal opinions given in answer to a question) from the local level to the national in Indonesia, this paper explains how law and “outreach” (Ind. dakwah) come together to cast Islamic law of the environment in terms of foundational causes and ultimate effects. These religious norms coexist with and complement other globalized constructions (such as those of the nation-state and NGOs) that they increasingly incorporate.

Affiliations: 1: University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI, USA amgade@wisc.edu

10.1163/15685357-01902006
/content/journals/10.1163/15685357-01902006
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/content/journals/10.1163/15685357-01902006
2015-01-01
2018-04-24

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