Wednesday Forum – Between Wefies and Riya’: Online Piety in Indonesia Today

22 March 2017 @ 13:00 – 14:30 Asia/Jakarta Timezone
Gedung Pascasarjana, 4th Floor, Room 406
Jl. Teknika Utara
Sinduadi, Mlati, Kabupaten Sleman, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55284
Subandri Simbolon


The presenters examine popular forms of online piety in Indonesia. They are particularly concerned how Indonesian Muslims try to cope with the ambivalences that their social media practices inevitably generate. These practices range from taking wefies (selfies of a group of people) at religious events that are posted on social media platforms, participating in online Quran reading groups, various form of online da’wah (proselytization) to documenting one’s pilgrimages and meetings with Islamic figures online. Given the importance of visibility that these social media practices entail, the presentation has a special focus on the concept of riya’ (showing off one’s piety) that in Islamic theological thought reminds Muslims to avoid that behavior. Arguing that discussions about riya’ have experienced a kind of revival in today’s social media age, the presenters attempt to point out that online piety is inherently ambiguous eliciting a dynamic of discourses and practices that considerably informs the current field of Islam in Indonesia today.


Fatimah Husein teaches at the State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta. Her latest article entitled “The Revival of Riya’: Displaying Muslim Piety Online in Indonesia” has been submitted for a virtual issue of American Ethnologist.

Martin Slama is a researcher at the Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences. He currently directs the research project “Islamic (Inter)Faces of the Internet: Emerging Socialities and Forms of Piety in Indonesia” funded by the Austrian Science Fund.

Look at the full poster here.

Leave a Reply