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From Kartosuwiryo to Sungkar: the evolution of Indonesia’s Darul Islam movement, 1928-1993

Jacob, Judith P. (2020) From Kartosuwiryo to Sungkar: the evolution of Indonesia’s Darul Islam movement, 1928-1993. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004298


This dissertation examines the ideological evolution of the Darul Islam (DI) movement in Indonesia. It argues the movement was defined by two core ideas: hākimiyya and jihad. While these ideas are not unique to Indonesian militant Islamists, this dissertation aims to examine how each concept was understood, interpreted and transformed by key DI leaders from the Indonesian independence struggle to the final years of the Suharto regime. Beginning with Sekarmadji Maridjan Kartosuwiryo’s bid to establish an Islamic state in opposition to Dutch rule, this dissertation assesses how DI defined and promoted an understanding of hākimiyya and jihad through the works of classical ideologues to form a cohesive doctrine. Following Kartosuwiryo’s death in 1962, this thesis outlines how these ideas were reinterpreted by subsequent leaders, ultimately resulting in a split within the movement and the formation of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) in 1993. This dissertation argues the accelerated globalisation of the 1970s gave Indonesian Islamists unprecedented exposure and access to the teachings and works of hard-line Salafist groups and Wahhabi preachers and organisations in the Middle East. The selective adoption of their interpretations of hākimiyya and jihad, and the introduction of related concepts such as takfīr and al-walā’ wa-l-barā’, reinvigorated DI after Kartosuwiryo’s execution. While the material for this ideological revival largely appeared from foreign sources, the movement’s new intellectual leader, Abdullah Sungkar, with help from his close friend, Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, largely applied these ideas in response to growing state repression and the perceived secularisation of Indonesian society. Finally, this dissertation argues the ideology of DI was shaped through participation in conflict. Periods of struggle against the Dutch in the 1940s, the Republican government in the 1950s and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan between 1985 and 1991 led to significant transformations in the beliefs of DI members. Notably, the Afghan conflict cemented the increasingly takfīri outlook of Sungkar’s faction, narrowing their conceptualisation of jihad. These ideological transformations proved to be sufficiently severe leading to a rupture within DI and the formation of JI.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2020 Judith P Jacob
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
Sets: Departments > International History
Supervisor: Schulze, Kirsten

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