Negotiating Salafism: Women Prayer Groups and their Preachers in Indonesia’s Islamic Digital Mediascapes

Author(s) Fatimah Husein
Contact Fatimah Husein, Universitas Islam Negeri Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. E-mail:
Issue CyberOrient, Vol. 15, Iss. 1, 2021, pp. 119-145
Published June 30, 2021
Type Article
Abstract This article is concerned with Muslim women’s negotiation of Salafism at the intersection of online and offline spaces. It focuses on two groups of Indonesian Muslim women who formed majelis taklim (study groups on Islam), namely Majelis Mutia (lit. Assembly of the Obedient) and Majelis Sahabat Cinta (lit. Assembly of the Friends of Love), to examine how these social media-savvy women, who demand a more contextual interpretation of the Islamic foundational texts, negotiate Salafi teachings in order to bring them in accordance with their everyday lives. This article argues that online and offline encounters at these majelis have brought different negotiations. They have also created incongruencies, especially on the parts of Salafi preachers, as the latter have to adjust to the audience who are not used to pure Salafi discourse. These incongruencies provide opportunities for the members of the majelis taklim to practice a “softer version” of Salafism that, on occasion, seems to contradict those same Salafi teachings. Contrary to the general understanding that Muslim women are easy prey for Salafis, my research shows that the proliferation of preachers in the context of Indonesia’s Islamic digital mediascapes have created a far more pluralized and optative religious forum.
Keywords Muslim women, Indonesia, Salafism, Digital Mediascapes