Raihani Raihani


Banjarese, an ethnic group in South Kalimantan, were estimated to have migrated to Tembilahan
and its surroundings in the 19th century following the defeat of the Banjar Sultanate by
the Dutch colonialists. The religious intellectualism rooted in the Banjarese tradition has until
now resulted in the production of ‘ulema (religious scholars) even in new places to which they
have migrated. Using in-depth interviews with several figures in Tembilahan, this preliminary
study sheds light on how Banjarese ‘ulema in the area have contributed to the transformation
of society. This study is important as there has not been solid research-based information
about this important topic publicly available. It found that Banjarese ‘ulema have played an
important role in educating people through formal and informal ways to be religiously committed
and socio-economically active. They have demonstrated dynamic relations with society, but
some of them were not immune from political and material temptations. It seems that the farther
they stay away from such temptations, the more charisma they develop, and the more the opportunities they may have to contribute to the social transformation of Tembilahan society


Banjarese ‘Ulema; Social Transformation; Indonesian Society

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