Religious Syncretism among the Semelai Orang Asli Muslims in Sungai Lui Village, Malaysia

Authors

  • Ros Aiza Mohd Mokhtar Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
  • Abd Hakim Mohad Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
  • Mohd Azhar Ibrahim Residi Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
  • Khadijah Muda Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
  • Siti Nor Azhani Mohd Tohar Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.21248

Keywords:

Orang Asli, Semelai, syncretism, culture, religion, Malaysia

Abstract

The Semelai are a proto-Malay Orang Asli tribe settled around Negeri Sembilan and Pahang, Malaysia. Their settlements in Negeri Sembilan are in Sungai Lui village and Sungai Sampo village in Jempol. A few of their number also settled in some areas in Bera, Pahang. A majority of this community still adhere to ancestral faiths, although some have converted to Islam since the 1990s. At the same time, practices introduced by a Buddhist shaman took root among the community over the last thirteen years. This article discusses the religious beliefs and practices of this community, especially among Muslim adherents. The study uses a qualitative approach through data collection via interviews with key informants in Sungai Lui village, Jempol. The data were later analysed through a descriptive interpretive method, and the research found that syncretism spread among the belief practices of the Semelai Muslims in Sungai Lui village following the exploits of a Buddhist shaman that succeeded in curing the chronic disease of a villager. At the same time, they still practise inherited customs and wisdoms from animist times, even after their conversion to Islam.

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Author Biographies

Ros Aiza Mohd Mokhtar , Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

Ros Aiza Mohd Mokhtar is a senior lecturer at Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia. She earned her PhD in Religious Studies at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. She is an author of works on belief and culture of ethnicity in Malaysia including Kedayan and Murut ethnicity as well as Semelai Orang Asli. She also has an interest in religious tolerance and social cohesion in Malaysia.

Abd Hakim Mohad, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

Faculty of Leadership and Management, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

Mohd Azhar Ibrahim Residi, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

Fafulty of Leardership and Management, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

Khadijah Muda, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

Faculty of Leadership and Management, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

Siti Nor Azhani Mohd Tohar, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

Faculty of Leadership and Management, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

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Published

2021-12-09

How to Cite

Mohd Mokhtar , R. A. ., Mohad, A. H., Ibrahim Residi, M. A., Muda, K. ., & Mohd Tohar, S. N. A. (2021). Religious Syncretism among the Semelai Orang Asli Muslims in Sungai Lui Village, Malaysia. Fieldwork in Religion, 16(2), 172–192. https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.21248

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