Submitting to God: Women and Islam in Urban Malaysia

Paperback | August 28, 2009

bySylva Frisk

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In recent decades, Malaysia has been profoundly changed both by forces of globalization, modernization, and industrialization and by a strong Islamization process. Some would argue that the situation of Malay women has worsened, but such a conclusion is challenged by this study of the everyday religious practice of pious women within Kuala Lumpur's affluent Malay middle class. Here, women play an active part in the Islamization process, not only by heightened personal religiosity but also by organizing and participating in public programs of religious education.

By organizing new forms of collective ritual and assuming new public roles as religious teachers, these religiously educated women are transforming the traditionally male-dominated gendered space of the mosque and breaking men's monopoly over positions of religious authority. Exploring this situation, Submitting to God challenges preconceptions of the nature of Islamization as well as current theories of female agency and power.

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In recent decades, Malaysia has been profoundly changed both by forces of globalization, modernization, and industrialization and by a strong Islamization process. Some would argue that the situation of Malay women has worsened, but such a conclusion is challenged by this study of the everyday religious practice of pious women within K...

Sylva Frisk is a lecturer in the School of Global Studies at Gothenburg University, Sweden.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:252 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:August 28, 2009Publisher:UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295989254

ISBN - 13:9780295989259

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Table of Contents

Preface and AcknowledgmentsGlossaryAbbreviations

1. Introduction2. Islamization in Malaysia3. Submission to God requires knowledge4. Religious duties and acts of worship5. Transforming rituals: Claiming public religious space6. Becoming mukmin7. Conclusion: Feminism, anthropology and agency

BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

In recent decades, Malaysia has been profoundly changed both by forces of globalization, modernization, and industrialization and by a strong Islamization process. Some would argue that the situation of Malay women has worsened, but such a conclusion is challenged by this study of the everyday religious practice of pious women within Kuala Lumpur's affluent Malay middle class. Here, women play an active part in the Islamization process, not only by heightened personal religiosity but also by organizing and participating in public programs of religious education.By organizing new forms of collective ritual and assuming new public roles as religious teachers, these religiously educated women are transforming the traditionally male-dominated gendered space of the mosque and breaking men's monopoly over positions of religious authority. Exploring this situation, Submitting to God challenges preconceptions of the nature of Islamization as well as current theories of female agency and power.One of the distinctive features of this wonderfully researched ethnography is its insightful analysis of the religiosity and spiritual development of urban Malay women who had participated in the Islamization process in Malaysian society. Submitting to God will undoubtedly add to the debates on the anthropology of difference, gender and religion, and gender and Islam. - Sharifah Zaleha Syed Hassan, Institute of Ethnic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia