Our country Indonesia, is a diverse country where you can find multiple ethnic, race, religion, and different culture. We can not argue with this since Indonesia is an archipelago and surrounded by ocean as well as different various neighboring countries.
In Indonesia, Islam has been the majority religion where approximately practiced by 87.18% of its people. Even though the majority religion in Indonesia is Islam, but it is not an Islamic state country. That is the uniqueness of Indonesia as one of the largest Muslims country.
Over decades in the 2nd and 4th century, Hindu was the largest religion practiced in Indonesia especially in Sumatera, Java, and Sulawesi. The trader from India has brought this religion to the most of the region in Indonesia. But during this time Buddhism also brought by trader from India. So during the 5th century, Buddhism and Hindu religion has been spread across Indonesia. As all we can see that the historical monument still can be found in some region in Indonesia such as Borobudur temple, Prambanan, and many other. There were significant history that recorded several kingdom like Kutai, Sriwijaya, Majapahit, and Syaliendra were a kingdom where the majority of the population is Buddhist and Hindu.
But now we could see that Islam has been the biggest religion in Indonesia. This time we will talk about the history of Islam in Indonesia which is as unique as the history of Islam in Syria and history of Islam in Afghanistan. How it can affected people in Indonesia, and how it can grow rapidly here.
The Theory of History of Islam In Indonesia
How Islam first contact with Indonesian people has been debated for a long time. Since there are three different theory about it. Those theory have their own different perspective on how Islam first arrived in Indonesia, where it came from (country), who spread it or who brought Islam to Indonesia.
1. Gujarat’s Theory
From Ahmad Mansur Suryanegara the first theory were Gujarat’s theory. It is believed that Islam first brought by people from Gujarat, India in the 7th and 13th century. Gujarat itself is part of India located in west and near to Arabian ocean. The trader from Gujarat, India who are already embraced Islam were believed to have a trade relationship with Indonesian kingdom. From the trading and economic relationship, it is also followed by cultural exchange and religion knowledge.
The theory was strengthened by Snouk Hurgronje, in his book “Revue de I’Historie des Religious.” There are several reasons of why this theory could be relevant, as mentioned below:
- There was certain evidence that the India’s trade relation with Indonesia has been long established. And it’s highly possible if they also share knowledge in religion, culture, as well as economic.
- There was no strong evidence that Arabs have direct connections of spreading Islam in Indonesia.
According to the theory it is believed that Islam flourished in Indonesia since the 13th century. You may want to read about brief history of Islam in Egypt.
2. Mecca’s Theory
This theory said that Islam are brought by Arabians trader long before Indian trader arrived in Indonesia. It is believed that the relations have been developed since the 7th century. During this century, there were a busy line of trading connecting Tang Dinasy in China (East Asia), Ummayads (West Asia), and Sriwijaya (Southeast Asia) through Malacca’s strait.
From the news of Tang Dinasty, it is also informed that there was residential area of Arab Islamic traders on the West coast of Sumatera. And based on the book of “Indonesia : Trade and Society” by J.C. Van Leur by year 674 AD the residence on the West coast of Sumatra were Arab Islamic settlements estimated had built their trading settlements in Canton in the 4th century AD.
The establishment of Indonesia first Islamic based Kingdom, Samudera Pasai, was not the beginning of Islam entering Indonesia but as the development of Islam in Indonesia.
3. Persian’s Theory
It is according to the finding of Persian words and phrase in Malay, Aceh, and Javanese culture. We also can find some historical buildings influenced by Persian style.
There are no exact explanation of which of the theory could be the first relations between Islam and Indonesia. But if we see it now Indonesia has been the biggest Muslims country in the world. While long time ago, our country’s people are practicing animism and dynamism until Hindu and Buddhism came to Indonesia. You may want to read about brief history of Islam in Pakistan.
There must be a great reason of how Islam could be a majority religion. The reasons below believed to be the answer of those question:
- In the end of 12th century, Sriwijaya as the biggest Kingdom in Indonesia has been declining both political and economic power. Along with that Islamic traders and their preachers begin to be more active on their political role. They also supporting coastal area who wants to break away from the power of Sriwijaya.
- The establishment of Samudera Pasai as Islamic based Kingdom who took a significant role in trading at that time. Malaka as the center of trading and as the center of Islamic spread also begin to be a kingdom named as Malaka’s kingdom.
- The declining of Majapahit at beginning of 15th century resulting many region trying to free themselves from the kingdom of Majapahit. In the year of 1500 Demak established to be the first Islamic kingdom in Java followed by the establishment of other Islamic kingdom like Banten and Cirebon.
- The establishment of various kingdom both in Java and other island in Indonesia (Ternate, Gowa, Banjar) have been made Islam grow even faster in Indonesia.
- The spread of Islam is carried out peacefully so that many people feel interested and in accordance with the customs of Indonesian society at that time.
- The basic of Islamic development in Indonesia has reached a very important segment of Indonesian people. It was including social life (marriage), education (Islamic boarding school), culture (by art and religious music), and economic (trading).
From the explanation above, Islam is in accordance with the culture of Indonesia in the past. How they spread and how they grow in Indonesia was related to our culture. Therefore, Islam has developed very rapidly in Indonesia until now. You may want to read also about importance to appreciate your spouse in Islam.