Popular sites of prayer, transoceanic migration, and cultural diversity: Exploring the significance of keramat in Southeast Asia

Sumit K. Mandal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Keramat is the Malay word for the graves of notable figures which are popular sites of prayer and dot the social and physical landscapes of much of Muslim Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean region as a whole. The term refers to both people as well as their burial sites. Historically, keramat drew people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. While the venerated dead also came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, histories, and faiths, they were usually Muslim and frequently Hadrami (from the Hadramaut region in Yemen). In this paper, I view keramat as a significant site of social and cultural diversity. The study of keramat, and the transoceanic movement of the people and faith to which it is linked, may shed further light on the cultural interaction that has historically characterized the region. At the same time, the permissibility of the veneration of graves constitutes a terrain that has long been contested by Muslim scholars. As a result, the fate of this popular practice may offer insights into the complex process of Islamization in the region which began around 700 years ago. I explore two questions in particular. First, in what ways do keramat embody cultural diversity? Secondly, where do keramat stand in relation to state- and organization-driven Islam?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-372
Number of pages18
JournalModern Asian Studies
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

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cultural diversity
Southeast Asia
migration
Muslim
faith
Islamization
Yemen
Indian Ocean
Islam
funeral
organization
South-East Asia
Prayer
Cultural Diversity
history
interaction
Muslims
Faith

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • History

Cite this

Popular sites of prayer, transoceanic migration, and cultural diversity : Exploring the significance of keramat in Southeast Asia. / Mandal, Sumit K.

In: Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 46, No. 2, 03.2012, p. 355-372.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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