The soul freed of cares? Islamic prayer, subjectivity, and the contradictions of moral selfhood in Minangkabau, Indonesia



In this article, I explore conceptions and individual experiences of Islamic prayer among Minangkabau people in Indonesia, describing their role in the constitution of selfhood and moral subjectivity. I show how prayer serves as an arena in which the contradictions between conflicting visions of moral selfhood may be engaged, ideally promising reconciliation and transcendence but also inviting experiences of failure. I argue that a rich ethnographic account of Islam's role in constituting selves and subjectivities must address not only the logic and coherence of particular discursive traditions and practices but also the experiential tensions that are central to their application and embodiment. [Islam, prayer, subjectivity, self, morality, Indonesia, Minangkabau]