HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies (Dec 2021)

The Qur’anic mantras recited by Shamanic Santri in Java, Indonesia

  • Hasyim Muhammad,
  • Ilyas Supena,
  • Akhmad A. Junaidi,
  • Muhammad Faiq

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 77, no. 4
pp. e1 – e9


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To overcome various problems, the practice of shamanism has gained popularity in Javanese society. The belief of the society in this practice is increasing, mainly because of the involvement of the kyai (an honorific title of the Muslim clergy), who serves as a shaman. The kyai, in this regard, uses Qur’anic verses in his mantra. This study aims to reveal how the use of the Qur’anic verses is interpreted and legitimised in the practice of shamanism amongst the Javanese community. This article concluded that what people understand about the heresy practice of shamanism as it is considered contrary to religious law or shirk (idolatry) is not proven. The practice of shamanism carried out by santri or kyai has normative arguments and theological legitimacy from the Qur’an and books of salaf scholars. Contribution: It is prevailing that the practice of shamanism is often considered heresy and un-Islamic. This article however, will give a new insight that the practice of shamanism is not always against Islamic teaching as conducted by kyai because he always refers to the Qur’an as a mantra.