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The Phenomenon of Slawatan: Contemporary Islamic Ritual Perform by Habib Syekh and Four Organizations [2012-2015]


This work focuses on the role of Neo-Sufism practice and the ritual phenomenon of Slawatan in promoting religious tolerance, through the teaching of peace and social solidarity by four religious organizations and their leaders. Slawatan is a common practice in Sufism and NeoSufism. Evidence shows that early Sufism promoted interreligious tolerance and harmony, and co-existed with other religions, such as Hinduism, in Indonesia. The study adopts ritual theory and participants’ observation as a methodological framework. This paper argues that, the use of Neo-Sufism practice and the ritual phenomenon of Slawatan promote social solidarity which embodies the significance of religious tolerance in Central Java, Indonesia. The data also indicate that Slawatan and Neo-Sufism also have the potential to assist in the de-radicalisation and rehabilitation of religious extremists, as is evident in the work conducted by Pesantren Nur Hormain. The discussion confirms that Ahbabul Musthofa’s, Al Khidmah’s, Pesantren Nurul Haromain’s and Al Ukhuwwah’s peaceful approach to spiritual practice have promoted: social, political and educational activities among diverse communities, both in Central Java and outside Indonesia.

Key Words: Slawatan ritual, Indonesian Islamic phenomenon, religious tolerance, Sufism, NeoSufism.