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The Notion of “Dakwah” and Its Perceptions in Malaysia's Islamic Literature of the 1970s and '80s

  • Ungku Maimunah Mohd. Tahir

Abstract

Consistent with the call of the times to “return” to Islam, Malaysia's Sastera Islam of the 1970s and '80s upholds literature as a legitimate tool for “dakwah”. Within this framework, production of Islamic literature demonstrates involvement of the “religious” sector and formalistic demands for Islamic moral underpinnings, the latter manifested largely in narrative concerns with individual morality and salvation.

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This is a revised version of my paper “The Notion Of Dakwah And Its Perceptions In Malaysia's Islamic Literature Of The 1970s And '80s” read at the Asian Studies Association of Australia, The Centre for Advanced Studies of the National Universityof Singapore and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies Conference, Singapore, 31st January–3rd February 1989.

1 For further information on the national literature, see my “Ethnicity And The National Literature In Malaysia” (publication forthcoming).

2 For further information, see my “‘Sastera Islam’: Malaysia's Literary Phenomenon Of The 1970s And '80s”. (Publication in The Muslim World scheduled for 1989.) Materials on Sastera Islam presented here are largely drawn from this paper which details the phenomenon in terms of its formative context, discourse and conventions. The present paper focuses on production of Islamic literature under the specific conditions of competitions sponsored by the Prime Minister's Department.

3 Shahnon has since left Darul Arqam.

4 Ahmad, Shahnon, Kesusasteraan dan Etika Islam (Kuala Lumpur: Fajar Bakti, 1983), p. 3.

5 Tantangan (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1978), pp. xii–xiii.

6 Tantangan, p. xiv.

7 Runtunan (Kuala Lumpur: Jabatan Perdana Menteri, 1983), p. xvi.

8 Although Shahnon may not be considered a religious scholar in that he has no formal religious credentials, the fact that he is the pioneer of Sastera Islam and that he also has a dakwah image help to reinforce the point of the importance of the “religious” element. Similarly, whilst Shafie Abu Bakar is a respected poet in his own right, he is nevertheless a religious scholar, a fact borne out by the title “ustaz” by which he is known.

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The Notion of “Dakwah” and Its Perceptions in Malaysia's Islamic Literature of the 1970s and '80s

  • Ungku Maimunah Mohd. Tahir

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