Closed Defense (Imran)

24 January 2024

Closed Defense (Imran)

Conversion Within Islam: Becoming Shia in Majority Sunni in Indonesia


Since the Iranian Islamic revolution led by Imam Khomeini, Shia and its community have received a lot of attention as a research subject. In Indonesia, the theme of Shia studies is still mostly researched within the framework of a grand narrative, namely Shia as an institution, Shia as a political, Shia as a religious group and so on. Studies on Shia still view Shia as 'institutional Shia' while studies on how Shia is expressed in daily life or ' everyday/lived shia' have not received much attention.

This paper aims to examine how the phenomenon of conversion from Sunni-Shia in Indonesia. What underlies the choice to convert even with the consequence that conversion to Shia has the potential to cause psychological, economic, social and political tensions. This research was conducted in four cities in Indonesia, namely Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta and Makassar. These cities are used to represent Indonesia. these cities were also chosen because of the large Shia population in the urban area.

This study uses the theory of phenomenology and the concept of Bakhtin's dialogism as an analytical tool. The research use autoethnography as a research design. The method used in this approach is an in-depth interview and field observation. The results of the study show that there are at least four 'gates' which are the main arguments in their decision to convert from Sunni to Shia. These gates are 'philosophy', 'history', 'Irfan/Sufism', and 'fiqh gates'. The typology of encounters through the four doors is a strong typology that I encountered in my research. most people who convert from Sunni to Shia usually pass through one or several gates that become milestones for their acceptance of Shia.

Key words: Religious Conversion, Sunni, Shia, Islam, Indonesia.