Acehnese - Sociopolitical Organization



Although under Indonesian control, the Acehnese also have an elected village chief ( keuchi ) who regulates family law and rice growing, as well as an elected religious authority ( teungku ) who adjudicates matters pertaining to Islamic law. These two officers work together with a village council made up of mature men. Between the village and federal administrative levels is a lower-district level ( mukim ) comprised of those villages that are served by a single mosque; it is administered by a priest ( imeum ). There is also an upper-district level comprised of several villages and mukim; it is governed by an uleebalang. Prior to Indonesian control it had a great deal of autonomy, and the uleebalang office was passed down through patrilineal succession.

Acehnese of the nineteenth century were divided into four separate groups based primarily on religious or governmental function, but these have given way to a division based on whether one is an ulama (religious scholar) or not.


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