Universiteit Leiden

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Nico Kaptein

Professor Emeritus Islam in South East Asia

Prof.dr. N.J.G. Kaptein
+31 71 527 2727

Nico Kaptein is Emeritus professor of Islam in South East Asia at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies.

More information about Nico Kaptein

Fields of interest

Relationship between Islam and local culture; Relations between the Middle East and South-East Asia in the religious domain; Islam in the Netherlands East Indies, Islam in Indonesia.


I am willing to supervise (Research) MA and PhD students on projects concerning Islam in Southeast Asia, both in its ritual and doctrinal facets, as well as in its social and political aspects. In particular, I welcome projects on the religious relations between the Middle East and Southeast Asia, in the past and in the present. I am also ready to supervise (Research) MA projects on `ulama’, fatwas, and Qur’an translation and interpretation in the Muslim world at large.

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum vitae (including publications)

Teaching activities

I teach some introductory courses in Islamic Studies, like Introduction to the study of Islam and the course Introduction to Qur’an and Hadith. At the MA level I give a seminar on  fatwas (religious advices) focussing on Indonesia. Moreover, I do a lot of thesis supervision, mainly on the MA and PhD level, related in Islam in Indonesia.

Key publication

Islam, Colonialism and the Modern Age in the Netherlands East Indies: A Biography of Sayyid `Uthman (1822-1914), Leiden: Brill, 2014


- “Southeast Asian Debates and Middle Eastern Inspiration: European Dress in West Sumatra at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century”, in: Eric Tagliacozzo (ed.),  Southeast Asia and the Middle East: Islam, Movement, and the Longue Durée, Singapore: NUS Press/Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009, pp. 176-195 

- “Grateful to the Dutch government: Sayyid `Uthman and the Sarekat Islam in 1913”, in Anthony Reid and Michael Gilsenan (eds.),  Islamic Legitimacy in a Plural Asia, London :Routledge, 2007, pp. 98-116. 

- together with Michael Laffan (eds.),  Fatwâs in Indonesia, theme issue  Islamic Law and Society Vol. 12 no. 1, 2005 (Leiden: Brill). 

- “The voice of the  `ulamâ’: fatwas and religious authority in Indonesia”, in:  Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions, No. 125 (janvier-mars), 2004, pp. 115-130. 

- together with Huub de Jonge (eds.),  Transcending borders: Arabs, politics, trade and Islam in Southeast Asia, Leiden: KITLV Press, 2002. 

- The Muhimmât al-nafâ'is: a bilingual Meccan fatwa collection for Indonesian Muslims from the end of the nineteenth century, introduced and presented by ..., Jakarta 1997 (= INIS Materials 32). 

- "The berdiri mawlid issue among Indonesian Muslims in the period from circa 1875 to 1930", in:  Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 149-1 (1993), pp. 124-153. 

Muhammad's Birthday Festival: Early History in the Central Muslim Lands and Development in the Muslim West until the 10th/16th Century, Leiden: Brill, 1993

Professor Emeritus Islam in South East Asia

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies



  • Brill Publishers Leiden section editor Southeast Asia Encyclopaedia of islam THREE
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