Anthropological Tradition in Religious Studies and the Significance of formulating Islamic Anthropology to understand the Message of Islam

Lukmanul Hakim (Universitas Muhammadiyah Jakarta)


Anthropological tradition in religious study becomes important in relations to the understanding of religion as an important part of human being life. It is because; the reality of human beings is actually the empirical reality of the Divinity. The problems the human faces in life are reflections of the problems of divinity. Then, to study the human reality in all of its aspects is to study the empirical reality of human understanding on religion or belief. In this case, anthropological study offers the method of comparison from the various traditions, cultures, socials and religions by looking in depth to the meaning of the
sacred texts based on the schools that have been adhered and understood by society. In conformity with Islam, as a one of the religions in the world, this paper argues that the use of anthropological approach in Islamic studies is therefore very necessary. However, since the concept of Islamic anthropology has not well been formulated, Islamic scholars at the present are challenged to formulate it well.

The approach Islamic anthropology offers not only phenomenological approach which describes the practices of religious teachings of society but more than that offers philosophical and sociological approaches to analyze deeper on how and why one event occurred. Islamic anthropological approach will analyze more deeply on the relations among humankind, universe and God. Islamic anthropology is different from the anthropological approach that has been understood in general. Therefore, this paper argues that the concept of Islamic anthropology should be based on the understanding of both religious texts and empirical reality of human life. As the consequence of this, there must be a dialogue between text and context. It is because Islamic anthropology serves not only to describe and analyze the human understanding toward their religion but more than that is to describe and analyze how human understands the God and the message of God in the sacred text.