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"From Suffering to Peace of Mind" : Emotional Expressions of the Indonesian Hakka in the Process of Becoming Muslim

Fen-fang TSAI (Central University, Taiwan)
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Intermarriage is the main reason for Indonesian Hakka people to become Muslim. The common view that the conversion happened at a specific point of time-getting married to a Muslim, however, can be problematic. Becoming a Muslim is a long-term process. The non-Muslim Chinese often consider those who convert to Islam lacking agency and even see the conversion as a result of being enchanted. In conducting her research, the author has noticed that those Indonesian Hakka who converted to Islam have undergone changes emotionally. This article takes their emotion as the point of departure to explore their experiences in embracing Islam, showing their acting agency. The author sees those people as " meaning-makers " who have their " personal models " in conversion. This article aims to uncover the suffering and peace of mind embedded in the converts' lives when they were on the road to embracing Islam. In this process, those who become Muslims are aware that their current selves are different from the past. They reconstruct the meaning system of their existence, and their self-recognition is thus changed.

Journal of History and Anthropology