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Old April 26th, 2011, 07:29 AM   #1

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Question How did Islam spread to Indonesia ?


I'm somewhat intrigued by the fact that the most populous country isn't in the Middle East , rather thousand of kilometers away in Indonesia. Being very far from the Middle East and the Islamic Empire, I would like to know how Islam had spread through this region?
Was it by trade?
Was it by some sort of war ?

I would appreciate the replies
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Old April 26th, 2011, 07:34 AM   #2
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Sea going merchants from Bangladesh who offered discounts to those who would convert.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 08:27 AM   #3

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FINALLY! another thread about Indonesia that wasn't made by me .

ok, first thing is, there are several method used.

1. Trade
well, SEA(Southeast asia), located between China and India. every ship from east Asia have to pass SEA to reach India and Middle east. see this map.
Click the image to open in full size.
its show the spice trade route. some of the important city like Temasik(Singapore), Kalapa(Jakarta), Palembang(still called Palembang), Melaka(Malacca) etc. were a melt pot city. its filled by various people accros the world. The Muslim merchants from Arab, Persia, Gujarat, China often settle in these city. they came for trade while introducing their new faith. apparently, they were welcomed by the locals, because the locals already believing in one God. mind that Hinduism in India is different with Hinduism in Indonesia. and Islam in Indonesia is also different with Islam in the rest of the world. sometimes, these merchant convert the locals via marriage.

2. Diplomacy and Politics
this is one example
Ottoman_expedition_to_Aceh Ottoman_expedition_to_Aceh
another example is this.

Quote:
“Dari Raja di Raja yang adalah keturunan seribu raja, yang isterinya juga cucu seribu raja, yang di dalam kandang binatangnya terdapat seribu gajah, yang di wilayahnya terdapat dua sungai yang mengairi pohon gaharu, bumbu-bumbu wewangian, pala dan kapur barus yang semerbak wanginya hingga menjangkau jarak 12 mil, kepada Raja Arab yang tidak menyekutukan tuhan-tuhan lain dengan Allah. Saya telah mengirimkan kepada anda hadiah, yang sebenarnya merupakan hadiah yang tak begitu banyak, tetapi sekedar tanda persahabatan. Saya ingin Anda mengirimkan kepada saya seseorang yang dapat mengajarkan Islam kepada saya dan menjelaskan kepada saya tentang hukum-hukumnya.”
translation:
Quote:
“From the King of King whose descendant of thousands Kings, whose his wife also granddaughter of thousands Kings, That inside the animal cage have thousands elephants, That in his territory have two rivers that watering Aquilaria malaccensis tree, fragrance, nutmeg and camphor which its pleasant fragrance reaching 12 mile, to king of Arabs who did not worship other Gods that Allah. I've send you a gift, which not really many, but just for a sign of friendship. I wish you could send me someonewho can teach me about Islam and its law.”
that was a letter from King of Jambi, Srindrawarman to Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz of Umayyad caliphate. The Umayyad sent a ulama and teach the King about Islam. the King converted and the Kingdom too. that makes Dharmasraya the first Islamic Kingdom in Indonesia.

there is also a story about Majapahit King who married a princess from Islamic Champa called Darawati, IIRC. eventually the princess convert the Majapahit King. I forgot the details, I'll explain this later.

3. War
well, the Muslim also use hard way to spread the words. one example is a war between Pajajaran VS Demak, Cirebon and Banten coalition. well actually based on Sunda-portuguese truce, Portuguese is ally of Pajajaran in this war, but they literally do nothing so I don't include them . another one is Demak conquest of Majapahit, the Banjar rebellion, the Palembang rebellion etc. just like today, most Muslim Sultanate usually started from a separatist movement.

well, that is the general story about Islam in Indonesia. ask me for the detail.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 08:32 AM   #4

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It's weird that most of them belong to Shafi school of Islam, which Muslim Kurds follow generally.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 08:37 AM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Afrasiyab View Post
It's weird that most of them belong to Shafi school of Islam, which Muslim Kurds follow generally.
most of the famous ulama here came from Bagdhad. where Imam Shafi'i lived.

compare my map with this one. that should explain something

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 08:44 AM   #6

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So it was a whole mix of trade,war and diplomacy. I wonder why the Indonesians had readily accepted(most people don't accept things just like that), but as you've stated the similarities between them worshipping one God and etc.. should convince them then..
And how do you mean Islam in Indonesia is different than the rest of the World?

Also, why didn't Indonesia become Christian-ish if there had been more European and Christian traders during the Age of Discovery and the sort.. ?

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Old April 26th, 2011, 08:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mohammed the Persian View Post
So it was a whole mix of trade,war and diplomacy. I wonder why the Indonesians had readily accepted(most people don't accept things just like that), but as you've stated the similarities between them worshipping one God and etc.. should convince them then..
:S trade, war and diplomacy seems to make people accept ideas and change just like that, frequently

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mohammed the Persian View Post

Also, why didn't Indonesia become Christian-ish if there had been more European and Christian traders during the Age of Discovery and the sort.. ?

From a brief search, it seems that Islam was already established in Indonesia when the European traders arrived. To my own knowledge there are many Catholics in Indonesia (more so than any other Chritian denominations) so the European traders did have an impact on the religions of Indonesia, just not to the same extent as the established religions on the various islands.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 08:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plutoboyz View Post
Click the image to open in full size.
This map is facinating, thanks for posting
I had know idea about the various differnt Islamic branches and the locations of such.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 08:57 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mohammed the Persian View Post
So it was a whole mix of trade,war and diplomacy. I wonder why the Indonesians had readily accepted(most people don't accept things just like that), but as you've stated the similarities between them worshipping one God and etc.. should convince them then..
And how do you mean Islam in Indonesia is different than the rest of the World?

Also, why didn't Indonesia become Christian-ish if there had been more European and Christian traders during the Age of Discovery and the sort.. ?

In Indonesia, You'll find some element from Hinduism, Buddhism and Animism inside Islam. Indonesian like to mix something. first, They have a religion they already believe in one god. then Hinduism and Buddhism came, They follow it and integrated their old belief to Hinduism and Buddhism. still monotheist. then Islam came, they follow it and integrate their Hindu-Buddhist-Animist belief to Islam. its kinda complicated to explain... but well...

well, christianity never as lucky as Hindu, Buddhism and Islam. When Hindu and Buddhism came, Indonesia is lack of powerful kingdom, so they managed to convert the local easily. when Islam came, Hindu-and Buddhist Kingdom are dying from constant war and internal strife. that is why Islam easily gain influence. when Christianity came, a LOT of powerful sultanate existed in Indonesia. well... bad timing...
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Old May 21st, 2011, 11:07 PM   #10
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Ah, a perfect thread for me to start with!

I’ll add a couple of points to the above.

As mentioned above Islam did most likely reach Indonesia through Indian Ocean trade. However, what no one has yet mentioned is the likelihood that a significant role was played by Chinese Muslims. Given that there was a long-established and very strong trade and immigration link between China and the key Indonesian ports that likely formed the first “seedbeds” of Islam in the archipelago, it seems highly likely that Chinese Muslims reached Indonesia at a very early stage. Cheng Ho (Zheng He), the great Chinese admiral, visited the north coast of Java before the island had become Islamised; he was a Muslim.
In any case, Indonesians of Chinese descent in the ports would certainly have been amongst the earliest converts (in its earliest stages Islam likely remained confined to the foreign and creole communities of the trading ports. It seems to have taken quite a long time to have gone beyond this).
This probable role of China in the Islamisation of Indonesia is a slightly contentious one in Indonesia itself, given the sensitive status of the ethnic Chinese there. Islam in much of the country is seen as contiguous with “pribumi” (“son of the soil”, i.e. non-Chinese, bone fide “native”) status, while the Chinese, even if they have been in the country for many, many generations, are in some way “other”. Nationalist historians and proud pribumis often struggle with the idea of Chinese Muslims having a role, and suggestions to that effect may well be slapped down.

On Islam and Christianity – although the first Muslims probably did reach Indonesia well before the first Christians, the Portuguese certainly arrived at a point before the pace of Islamisation had reached its peak (Java was still largely Hindu at the time), and they did launch that cracked halo of Catholicism in the eastern archipelago. However, a look at which bits of Indonesia are Christian, and which Muslim, suggests that the two faiths had varying success on different regions, depending on their societies. The Christian parts of Indonesia today tend to be those where “kingship”, if it existed at all, was on a much smaller scale, where social organisation was more “tribal”, geography more fragmentary, and lifestyles could possibly be considered more “primitive”.
Christianity does not appear to have been successful where there were more established and elaborate social structures, and where there were more significant and powerful rajas. These are the places that turned quite early to Islam.
It’s worth noticing that, heading east from Java, the last island to be totally Islamised was the last with local royal houses on a significant and stable scale – Sumbawa; things were much more politically fragmented further east in Sumba and Flores (subsequently Christianised).
This all highlights the flaw in the line still sometimes proffered , even by serious historians, that would have it that the success of Islam in Indonesia was something to do with its “egalitarian appeal”, that it appealed because it overturned the caste structures of Hinduism. Clearly this is wishful thinking – the adoption of Islam was obviously top-down; the echoes of caste (never anywhere like as strong in Indonesia as in India anyway) endured, and the further you went downwards from “the top” the more syncretism and the less awareness of what it actually meant to be a Muslim you would have encountered…

(An alternative kind of syncretism endured in the royal courts too, especially those in Java – this maintained ideas of royal divinity and pedigree and all sorts of other stuff. The legend of the marriage by the Cham princess and the last king of Majapahit mentioned above is something that seems largely to have been cooked up in Demak, the first significant Muslim state in Java, as a way to give itself a royal pedigree, to allow themselves a classic Javanese lineage – they claimed their first ruler was the son of the earlier Hindu King and the Muslim Princess – but also to explain how they happened to be Muslim. This top-level syncretism was by no means ignorant of the core tenets of Islam; it simply subsumed them into an awful lot of other stuff. At a village level however, many people would have had virtually no knowledge whatsoever of the religion to which they themselves claimed to belong. As late as the 1960s anthropologists report significant numbers of rural Javanese Muslims who didn’t know how to recite the Kalimah – many men, on the birth of their children, had to go and find someone else to whisper the declaration of faith in the baby’s ear!).

I think I’ve probably gone on long enough for the moment! I’ll leave it there for now!

Plutoboyz – the verse in your tagline, is that Bahasa Sunda? What does it mean?
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