Islam, Colonialism and the Modern Age in the Netherlands East Indies
A Biography of Sayyid ʿUthman (1822–1914)
- Nico Kaptein
- 01 July 2014
In this biography Nico Kaptein studies the life and times of Sayyid ʿUthman (1822-1914), the most prominent Muslim scholar of his era in the Netherlands East Indies.
During his long career, Sayyid ʿUthman provided guidance to the Muslim community and from 1889 onwards simultaneously served the colonial government as advisor for Muslim affairs after the famous C. Snouck Hurgronje had engaged him. Based on an analysis of his writings, Kaptein focuses on the question of how Sayyid ʿUthman viewed the place of Islam in the colonial state and the many reactions this provoked, both nationally and internationally, e.g. from the Cairo-based reformist Rashid Rida.
From 1 December 2014 until 23 January 2015, the ‘Oude UB’ or Old University Library at Rapenburg 70, Leiden, highlighted aspects of the life and work of Sayyid ʿUthman in the exhibition Sayyid ʿ Uthman of Batavia (1822-1914): A Life in the Service of Islam and the Colonial Administration.
The exhibition was organised on the occasion of the publication of Sayyid ʿUthman's biography. It was a joint effort of the Art Commission Oude UB, Leiden University Libraries and the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society ( LUCIS). The exhibition displayed a selection of objects from the special collections of the Leiden University Libraries, including the recently incorporated collection ot the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies ( KITLV), and showed how well the Leiden University Libraries and KITLV collections complement and reinforce each other.
The objects have long since been returned to the stacks and vaults of the University Library, but the Sayyid ʿUthman exhibition is now permanently available in English online for the benefit of the academic community in the Netherlands, Indonesia and beyond.