Continuity and Change in Islamic Religious Authority

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Ismail Fajrie Alatas


This article aims to elaborate on the debate surrounding continuity and change in Islamic religious authority. The discussion begins by establishing a framework for understanding the analytical definition of authority before delving into the dimensions that experience continuity and change. Arendt defines authority as a relationship, signifying a connection to a specific discursive tradition, knowledge, and history. Additionally, it involves a relationship with others who may recognize, accept, or contest this connection. Building upon Arendt’s definition, the article deconstructs the nature of this relationship, emphasizing three constitutive elements: the notion of a past, the connection to the foundational past, and the ability to convey and enhance that model. This includes the augmentation of the foundational past and the ability to elicit obedience without resorting to coercion. What sets authority apart is its unique capacity to foster obedience through a relationship, free from coercion. To identify the constituents of authority, the article explores the question of continuity and change in a more productive manner by focusing on each of its three constitutive elements.


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AlatasIsmail Fajrie. “Continuity and Change in Islamic Religious Authority”. Islamica: Jurnal Studi Keislaman 18, no. 1 (September 1, 2023): 115-133. Accessed March 1, 2024.


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