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Jakarta Post

Indonesian Muslims: Believers in Islam or cultural Muslims?

Indonesian Muslims: Believers in Islam or cultural Muslims? In the Quran, Muslims can find guidance to successfully overcome all kinds of challenges — personal, social, economic, religious and so on. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)
Patrik K. Meyer
Yogyakarta   ●   Fri, December 13, 2019

Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population in the world and its society is tightly shaped by Islamic values. Despite numerous shortcomings, most Indonesian Muslims consider themselves believers in Islam.

Nevertheless, there is also significant evidence that indicates that most Indonesian Muslims are “cultural Muslims” rather than believers in Islam. The term “cultural Muslim” refers to a person who adopts a number of Islamic traditions in his life but lacks iman (faith), Islam’s fundamental value. While no one can assess the degree of faith held in another person’s heart, one can, however, compare the person’s actions to what is expected of him in Islam.

I will use two cases to explore the distinction between a Muslim believer and a cultural Muslim: the lack of sufficient Arabic language knowledge and the d...

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.