Muhammad's Nation is Called: The Potential for Endogenous Relocalisation in Muslim Communities in Indonesia
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Given that there has been no single view of the causes of global environmental degradation in the face of Third World developmentalism and widespread poverty, this thesis explores the potentials of Muslim groups to advance relocalisation, or returning to smaller scale, more self-reliant communities with simpler ways of living and with self-local governance. In particular, the research investigates the role of an Islamic symbolic universe in the adherents' decisions to act, including how this affects interactions with the nation-state and modern sciences within the Indonesian context. In advancing this argument, I rely on social constructivism as it was developed by Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, in conjunction with a Symbolic Interactionism premise, to develop a theoretical framework appropriate to Muslim communities and their voluntaristic actions. With a qualitative research method, the research focuses on four Indonesian Muslim groups: Muhammadiyah, Nahdlatul Ulama, Hidayatullah, An-Nadzir and the learning communities they established. Data sources include interviews with leaders, observations, participatory observations, documents, and texts. The outcome shows that capitalising on an Islamic symbolic universe to transition Muslim communities by endogenous relocalisation is possible and doable. Of the four Muslim organisations studied, all had potential for support of relocalisation in different ways, with Hidayatullah and An- Nadzir providing the closest example of green intentional communities which can be transformed into models of endogenous relocalisation by Muslim groups. The transformed models can be duplicated and their culture can be propagated, to convert Muslim society at large to live up to the Islamic ecological values for survival and sustainability. The thesis puts forward knowledge transmission by Murabbi as a way to make sustainability education relevant to Muslim societies, based on the understanding that one needs more than intellectual ability to comprehend knowledge, but rather time is needed to personalize it by living it. The thesis highlights epistemological pluralism as posing a serious challenge to the 'whole-earth-one-world- family' vision of the environmentalists. With that challenge in the background, it aims to offer a more realistic vision where at least one sector of humanity can possibly advance environmental movement on a global scale under its own 'sacred canopy', that is, a 'global network of relocalisation by local Muslim communities'. Thereby, the thesis advocates decentralism as opposed to centralism, and Dar al-Islam Environmental governance for the Ummah within 'night-watchman states'.