The need for discoursing social theology in Muslim Southeast AsiaJournal: Indonesian Journal of Islam and Muslim Societies (Vol.4, No. 1)
Publication Date: 2014-06-01
Authors : Azhar Ibrahim;
Page : 1-23
Keywords : Social theology; Theological traditions; Public sphere; Reforms;
This paper highlights and evaluates the significance of an emerging social theological discourse in contemporary Muslim Southeast Asia. It emerged partly as a response to the traditional Islamic theology inasmuch as the revivalist dakwah activism that became prominent since the 1970s. This emerging discourse is part of the continuity and extension of the reformist voices which have evolved since the late 19 th century. As a theology, it puts discourse about God as its premium but extend its focus on the social dimension of faith in God, of the social message of the religion, and the social responsibility of the man and community of faith in God, and to their fellow human beings. Today there are several books and articles written which can be classified as belonging to this genre of social theology. In Indonesia this discursive theology can be found in rational, humanistic, transformative cultural, and the oppressed theologies. It opens a wider realm of participation and engagement, where theology is no longer the exclusive affairs of experts, but inclusive of the lay intellectuals who are not necessarily from a strictly religious background. It also enables the Muslim public to comprehend critically and to cope creatively with rapid social change, and its attendant problems. Theology is, after all, a human enterprise, albeit it’s strong religious commitment. To harness the potentiality of the social theology, calls for its recognition. Herein lies the need to start studying and engaging them discerningly, or to advance its critical dimensions for the benefits of the larger Muslim public.
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