Scholar Spotlight on Moch Fakhruroji: Digitalizing Islamic Lectures

The internet plays an increasing role in our everyday lives. Not only does it affect how we send and receive messages, but also can influence one’s religion.

Dr. Moch Fakhruroji, lecturer in Da’wa and Communication Studies at Universitas Islam Negeri (State Islamic University) Sunan Gunung Djati, Bandung, Indonesia, discussed religious practices in the digital era in the journal article, “Digitalizing Islamic lectures: Islamic apps and a religious engagement in contemporary Indonesia.” His interest in exploring this phenomenon began when he was completing his doctoral degree which revealed the theme of mediatization in SMS-based religious services initiated by Abdullah Gymnastiar, a popular Indonesian preacher.

This article explores the growing number of Indonesian internet users and “how Indonesian (millennial) Muslims are increasingly aware that the internet and religion have reciprocal relationships.” In this study, Fakhruroji identifies the role that the internet plays in their religious life in relation to digital culture. Fakhruroji states that the relationship between the internet and religion is a positive one. One of the findings is that the practice of Islamic lectures on the internet shouldn’t be just “transferring religious authority into a digital context, but rather an extension of religious authority.”

The “Aa Gym” apps have aided in this extension of religious authority. They have shown how religious authority interacts in the online context in contemporary Indonesia and the fact that “the emergence of new forms of religious engagement is not a form of media technology domination over religion, but instead illustrates the reciprocal relations of the internet and religion.” There is no longer an offline-online context. The “Aa Gym” apps carry out religious engagement symbolically through technological interfaces.

In addition, Fakhruroji highlights the relationship between the preacher and the audience, which also exemplifies the producer-consumer relationship. Essentially, religious engagement in the context of digital religion can be connected to other cultural contexts.

For the link to the article, click here: