FILMING AYAT-AYAT CINTA: The Making of a Muslim Public Sphere in Indonesia

Ahmad Nuril Huda


This paper examines how the film’s public screening of the novel Ayat-ayat Cinta shapes an Indonesian Muslim public sphere in which the notion of religious authority is re-created. It operates on three levels: first, the audiences’ perception of the film as a da`wah and their reactions toward the film’s contents; second, the rivalry between the novel writer and the film director on particular issues distancing the film from its novel version; and third, the public debates on the issue of polygamy revealed by the film. The paper finds out that the film Ayat-ayat Cinta has arguably invited Muslim people to have their religious teaching in cinema. More importantly, the wide publication of the film on the internet and mass media has enabled all individuals to take part in the debates raised by the film. In these debates, participation is widely open to all, and argumentation is not based on superiority.


Ayat-ayat Cinta; public sphere; fragmented religious authority

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Ayat-ayat Cinta

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DOI: 10.15642/JIIS.2010.4.1.43-61


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