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Jakarta Post

‘Kyai’ Twitter: When clerics go online

  • Muhammad As’ad

Jakarta   /   Fri, February 3 2012   /  09:41 am

In the past, especially in pre-modern times, if Muslims needed guidance on religious matters they had to travel (sometimes a long distance) to see clerics to consult on the problems plaguing them.

From a religious point of view, this process resulted in the issuance of a fatwa (edict), which gave a mustafti (questioner) an authoritative legal opinion from a cleric in response to a question.

In the modern era, this process has been replaced by books, where Muslims have access to knowledge directly. The development of mass media has also played a significant role. People may access religious authorities through question-and-answer columns in magazines or newspapers. With this new mechanism, people who need religious guidance do not need to make a big effort. They do not need to travel to see clerics to find solutions to their problems. However, this process often does not s...