History The entry of Islam into Indonesia, Development, and Spreading

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Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country. Islam in Indonesia is believed by about 199,959,285 people or 85.2% of the total population. Entry and development of Islam in Indonesia to reach the number of adherents so great that it has been through a very long history. History of the entry of Islam into Indonesia through periodization interesting enough for us to know. As to what period of Islamic history in Indonesia, please refer to our discussion below.

History The entry of Islam into Indonesia

In connection with the history of Islam's entry into Indonesia, there are several theories and opinions that state when actually the influence of Islamic culture and religion began to enter the archipelago. These opinions are based not only on the evidence that has been found, but also reinforced by the historical records made by other peoples in the past.

1. The entry of Islam since the 7th century AD

Some historians call if the history of the entry of Islam to Indonesia has started since the 7th century AD. This opinion is based on news obtained from Arab traders. From the news, it is known that the Arab traders apparently had established trade relations with Indonesia during the development of Sriwijaya Kingdom in the 7th century.

In that opinion, it is mentioned that the territory of Indonesia which first received the influence of Islam is a coastal area of North Sumatera or Pasai Ocean region. Samudra Pasai territory is the gateway to other parts of Indonesia. From Samudra Pasai, through the path of Islamic religious trade spread to Malacca and then to the island of Java.

In the 7th century AD, it is also believed that Islam has entered the area of North Beach of Java Island. The entry of Islam to the island of Java in the 7th century AD is based on news from China during the Tang Dynasty. The message states that there were Ta'shih (Arab and Persian) people who had not planned to attack Kaling under the reign of Queen Sima in 674 AD.

2. The entry of Islam since the 11th century AD

Some other historians argue that the history of the entry of Islam to Indonesia began in the 11th century AD. This opinion is based on evidence of a tombstone Fatimah bint Maimun located near Gresik East Java. This tombstone dates to 1082 AD.

3. The entry of Islam since the 13th century AD

In addition to the two opinions above, some other experts just believe if the history of the entry of Islam into Indonesia began in the 13th century AD. This opinion is based on some stronger evidence, some of which are attributed to the fall of the Abassiah Dynasty in Baghdad (1258), news from Marco Polo (1292), the grave of Sultan Malik as Saleh in Samudra Pasai (1297), and news from Ibn Battuta (1345). This opinion is also reinforced by the spread of Sufism in Indonesia.

At the time of the arrival of Islam, the spread of Islam was done by Arab traders assisted by Persian and Indian traders. 7th century AD is the beginning of the coming of Islam. At this time, only a small percentage of the population is willing to embrace it because it is still in the power of Hindu-Buddhist kings.

History of the entry of Islam into Indonesia and the process of spreading took place in a long time that is from the 7th century until the 13th century AD. During that time, traders from Arabia, Gujarat, and Persia intensified to spread Islam in the area they visited, especially in the central trading area. In addition, Indonesian traders who have converted to Islam and Indonesian Mubalighs have also contributed to the spread of Islam in various parts of Indonesia. As a result, the influence of Islam in Indonesia is increasingly widespread among the people, especially in coastal areas.

At the end of the 12th century AD, the political and economic power of the Sriwijaya Kingdom began to decline. Along with the decline of Sriwijaya's influence, Islamic traders and their preachers have become more active in political roles. For example, at supports coastal areas that want to break away from the power of Srivijaya.

Towards the end of the 13th century around the year, 1285 stands a patterned Islamic empire called Samudra Pasai. Malacca, which is an important trade center and also the center of the spread of Islam, developed into a new kingdom under the name of the Malacca Sultanate.

At the beginning of the 15th century, the kingdom of Majapahitsuffered a decline, even in 1478 collapsed. Many areas are trying to escape from the kingdom of Majapahit. In 1500, Demak stood as the first Islamic empire in Java. The development of Demak kingdom as an Islamic kingdom is then followed by the establishment of the Sultanate of Banten and the Sultanate of Cirebon. Outside Java also developed many Islamic-themed kingdoms such as Ternate Sultanate, Gowa Sultanate, and Banjar sultanate.

Through Islamic-style kingdom that is, Islam is growing rapidly and spread in various parts of Indonesia. Islam is not only embraced by coastal populations but has spread to rural areas.

Channels of Dissemination of Islam in Indonesia

The process of entry and development of Islam in Indonesia takes place in stages and is carried out peacefully through the following channels:

  1. Trade channels, the process of spreading Islam is done by Muslim traders who settled in the port cities to form a Muslim village, for example, Pekojan. This channel is the channel chosen from the beginning of the history of the entry of Islam into Indonesia.
  2. The marriage channel, the process of spreading Islam is done by the way someone who has embraced Islam married to a person who has not embraced Islam so that eventually the adherents follow Islam.
  3. Da'wah channels, the process of spreading Islam is done by giving information about the religion of Islam as performed Wali Songo and other scholars.
  4. Education channel, this process is done by establishing pesantren to deepen the teachings of Islam which then spread it.
  5. Cultural arts channels, the process of spreading Islam using media art and culture such as performances of wayang kulit made by Sunan Kalijaga, sekaten ceremony, and literary arts.
  6. The process of Sufism, the spread of Islam is done by adjusting the mindset of people who are still oriented to the teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism.

The Reason of Islam Is Easy to Accept Indonesian Society

The process of spreading Islam in Indonesia runs fast because it is supported by the following factors:

  1. The entry requirement of Islam is very easy because someone is considered to have converted to Islam if he has uttered the shahada.
  2. Implementation of worship is simple and the cost is cheap.
  3. Islam does not recognize the division of caste so that many groups of people who enter Islam because they want to get the same degree.
  4. The rules of Islam are flexible and not pushy.
  5. The religion of Islam entering from Gujarat, India gets Hindu and tasawuf influence so easily understood.
  6. The spread of Islam in Indonesia is done peacefully without violence and adapted to existing socio-cultural conditions.
  7. The collapse of the Majapahit kingdom at the end of the 15th century facilitated the spread of Islam without any restriction from the authority of the Hindu-Buddhist kingdom.


Well, that is the history of the entry of Islam into Indonesia and its spreading until the 13th century. Check out also how the history of Islamic development in Indonesia and the path of an entry in the next article.

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