Understanding the History of Islamic Culture in Indonesia and Its Legacy!

History of Islamic Culture – In Indonesia, Islam is the majority religion with an estimated number of adherents of more than half of the population. Moreover, coupled with the many historical relics of Islamic culture in the archipelago. This is what then encourages many interested people to finally research and learn much more deeply about the history of Islamic culture in Indonesia.

The formation of Islamic religious traditions originating from the cultures of various countries, ultimately makes Islam in Indonesia have a culture that originates from the acculturation of certain cultures. So, how is the history of Islamic culture in Indonesia? Here’s a further explanation.

Early History of the Entry of Islam to Indonesia

According to Thomas Walker Arnold, it is quite difficult to determine exactly when Islam entered Indonesia. However, since the 2nd century BC, Ceylon people have traded and entered in the 7th century AD. Ceylon people then experienced rapid progress in terms of trade with the Chinese. By the middle of the 8th century, the Arabs had wandered all the way to Canton.

When Islam entered Indonesia, it had been going on since the 7th and 8th centuries AD. However, the development of da’wah only started in the 11th and 12th centuries. So that means, preaching in the archipelago has indeed spanned several centuries in the early days.

Theories About the Entry of Islam to Indonesia

Meanwhile, according to Ahmad Mansur Suryanegara, there are three major theories that explain the entry of Islam into Indonesia. Here’s an explanation.

1. Indian Theory or Gujarat Theory

The Indian theory reveals that Islam in Indonesia came from the Indian region, namely Gujarat. So when is the period when Islam came from India? It is estimated that around the 13th century by Muslim traders originally from India.

Snouck Hurgronje is one of the figures who put forward this Indian theory. What, then, is the evidence for the correctness of the Indian theory?

The proof is the discovery of a tombstone left by Sultan Malik Al-Saleh in 1297. The stone has the same characteristics as the tombstones in the Gujarat area.

In addition, the tomb of one of the Wali Songo named Maulana Malik Ibrahim also has the same tombstone characteristics as the tomb of Sultan Malik Al-Saleh.

In addition to evidence in the form of tomb remains, there is also other evidence from the Indian theory. Other evidence is in the form of travel notes written by Marco Polo, a merchant from Venice who visited the Perlak area, Aceh in 1292.

In Marco Polo’s report, it was stated that there was a Muslim community that had just been established in Perlak by Moorish traders.

If you pay attention further, there are many major events that occurred in the 12th century in various other parts of the world. For example, with the assumption that Islam entered Indonesia in the 13th century, then in the same century, under the leadership of Genghis Khan, the Mongols succeeded and controlled most of Asia.

His empire then stretched from the Pacific Ocean to Europe or to be precise at this time called Hungary. Then, was Indonesia once under the rule of Genghis Khan? If not, why did this happen?

From this Indian theory, an Arab or Meccan theory emerged which denied that Islam entered Indonesia through India. Here’s an explanation.

2. Arab Theory or Mecca Theory

The Arab theory explains that Islam entered the archipelago from the 7th century. Much earlier than the Indian theory. Spreading the teachings of Islam in the archipelago, was caused by the arrival of Arab traders who had the aim of spreading Islamic teachings in Indonesia.

One of the figures who put forward this Arab figure was Buya Hamka. In his book entitled History of Muslims, published in 1997, Buya Hamka argued that the arrival of Islam in Indonesia had evidence that the source was an ancient Chinese manuscript and its contents stated that there was a group of Arabs living on the west coast of Sumatra in 624.

Not only that, in an area called Barus which was then within the territory of the Sriwijaya Kingdom, a tombstone with the name of Sheikh Rukunuddin was found who died in 672 AD. the same period as this Meccan theory.

3. The Persian theory

The third theory of the entry of Islam into Indonesia is the Persian theory. This theory is supported by several figures, one of which is Hoesein Djajadiningrat.

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According to Persian theory, the origins of the presence of Islam in the archipelago came from the Persian region in the 13th century. According to Persian theory, the Islamic religious culture in Indonesia and the Islamic culture in Persia have many similarities.

The visible evidence is the existence of the Tabot event in the Bengkulu area and Tabuik in West Sumatra which are usually held on the 10th of Muharram and have similarities to one of the rituals in Persia.

In addition, the calligraphy on tombstones in Indonesia is also said to have similarities with tombstones in Persia.

Apart from the 3 theories above, there are also those who say that Islamic religious teachings entered Indonesia based on Chinese theory, along with a full explanation.

4. Chinese theory

The final theory about the entry of Islam into Indonesia is the Chinese theory. According to Chinese theory, Islamic religious teachings developed in China during the Tang Dynasty, namely around 618 AD to 905 AD and Islamic religious teachings were brought by a Muslim commander named Saad bin Waqash who came from Medina and was during the caliphate of Uthman bin Affan.

This China theory was coined by Slamet Mulyana and Sumanto Al Qurtuby who considered that Islam in the archipelago came from one of the areas that became the center of the propagation of Islam in China, namely in the Canton region.

It was from this area that the preachers who had existed for a long time spread Islamic teachings to the archipelago, especially in the Palembang area. The number of high-ranking officials from the Demak Sultanate to Wali Songo who came from ethnic Chinese descent, is one proof of this Chinese theory. One of them is Raden Patah who has a Chinese name, namely Jin Bun.

History of Islamic Culture in Indonesia

After knowing how the history or origins of Islam entered Indonesia, which was put forward with four major theories, it’s time to discuss the history of Islamic culture. Islamic culture is a culture that highly upholds human values, morals and of course religion and matters that are closely related to the history of the development of Islam itself.

The history of Islamic culture in Indonesia originates from the first Islamic empire in Indonesia which brought and spread Islamic teachings through trade.

The history of Islam in Indonesia is widely known since several Islamic-style kingdoms began to exist in the archipelago. Examples include the Kingdom of Samudera Pasai, the Kingdom of Demak to the Kingdom of Mataram. Here’s an explanation.

1. Kingdom of Demak

The Kingdom of Demak was the first Islamic kingdom in Java. This kingdom was founded by Raden Patah in 1478. The Demak kingdom grew rapidly and became a trading center as well as a center for the spread of Islamic teachings in Java at that time.

The spread of Islam at that time was greatly influenced by the services of the saints, both on the island of Java and those outside Java such as Maluku to areas in East Kalimantan.

During the reign of Raden Patah, the kingdom of Demak had built a mosque which at that time was assisted by the saints or sunan. Then the culture that developed in the Demak kingdom also received support from the trustees, especially from Sunan Kalijaga.

The life of the people living around the Kingdom of Demak has also been regulated by Islamic religious regulations, but these regulations still do not abandon the old traditions of community property.

During the period of the Islamic kingdoms in Java, there was a political and religious transformation from the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms to the Islamic kingdoms in Java.

2. Pasai Ocean Kingdom

The kingdom of Samudera Pasai is in Aceh and is the first Islamic kingdom in Indonesia. The kingdom of Samudera Pasai was founded by Meurah Silu in 1267 AD. After converting to Islam, Meurah Silu later changed its name to Malik Al Saleh and had the title Sultan Malik Al Saleh.

Sultan Malik Al Saleh ruled in 128501297. During his reign, he was visited by a traveler from Italy in 1292 named Marcopolo.

Through notes written by Marcopolo, it is known that the king of Samudera Pasai has the title of Sultan.

The royal territory became the first area in the archipelago visited by traders and sailors. This is due to Indonesia’s strategic location and being on international trade routes, namely on the northern coast of Sumatra, to be precise, near the city of Lhokseumawe, Aceh.

The Kingdom of Samudera Pasai succeeded in reaching its peak of glory during the reign of Sultan Mahmud Malik Az-Zahir, also known as Sultan Malik al Tahir II.

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During its heyday, Samudera Pasai established relations with Islamic empires in India and Arabia. Apart from that, the Samudera Pasai kingdom also issued gold currency which was later called dirhams and was used officially as royal money.

The Samudera Pasai Kingdom was not only a trading center, but also a center for the development of Islam in the archipelago.

3. Islamic Mataram Kingdom

There were two Mataram Kingdoms in Indonesia. The first is the Ancient Mataram Kingdom which was founded in the 8th century and was a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom. Then there was the Islamic Mataram Kingdom which was founded in 1586.

The Islamic Mataram Kingdom is located in Kota Gede, to be precise, in the southeast of the city of Yogyakarta. This one kingdom stands around the flow of the Opak and Progo Rivers, whose waters empties into the South Sea.

The Palace of the Islamic Mataram Kingdom, believed by its inhabitants to be the center of the world. The people at that time called this kingdom the center of the universe. In Yogyakarta, the historical heritage sites of the Islamic Mataram Kingdom are the Kerto Site, the Pleret Site and Kotagede Site.

The death of Sultan Hadiwijaya or Jaka Tingkir in 1582 made the cities on the coast continue to strengthen themselves. Prince Benowo, the son of Sultan Hadiwijaya, apparently could not handle the movement of the city.

The prince then handed over his power to the Kingdom of Pajang to Sutawijaya. With this surrender, the Pajang Kingdom became the territory of the Mataram Kingdom.

The Islamic Mataram Kingdom reached its peak during the reign of Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo who ruled from 1613 to 1645. He was the third king after Panembahan Sedo Krapyak.

The geographical location of the kingdom which was inland made the Mataram Kingdom an agrarian kingdom. Agriculture has also become the main source of the economy for the community and is growing rapidly because it is supported by fertile soil.

Even though they rely on agriculture as their economic center, not a few people carry out trading activities at sea. These two economic activities eventually developed rapidly and made Mataram have a role in the world of politics.

Due to its heyday, the Mataram Kingdom succeeded in developing the Kejawen Culture in the archipelago and this culture is a form of acculturation of Hindu-Buddhist culture and Islamic religious teachings.

Legacy of Islamic Cultural History in Indonesia

The historical heritage of Islamic culture in Indonesia generally comes from the Islamic kingdoms that once existed and triumphed in the archipelago. This royal period lasted from the 840s with the establishment of the first Islamic empire, namely the Perlak Sultanate, until 1903 with the collapse of the Aceh Sultanate, due to the occupation of the Dutch East Indies colonial government.

Of course, this civilization that has lasted for more than a thousand years has produced many relics that can still be seen, observed or witnessed today.

There are three categories of historical heritage of Islamic culture in Indonesia, namely mosques, palaces and tombs. These three relics indirectly become one of the proofs that the Islamic empire had existed in the past.

This is what makes today’s Indonesian people aware that a thousand years ago, there was an Islamic empire in the archipelago. The following is an explanation of the historical heritage of Islamic culture in the archipelago.

1. Mosque

At that time, the mosque was not only used as a place of worship for Muslims, but was also used to spread Islamic teachings. If you pay attention, the mosque has quite unique characteristics, namely it has a porch, towers, a pool with a terraced roof and has a square-like shape and is located in the city and faces the main square.

One example of a mosque that can still be visited today is the Great Mosque of Demak. The mosque is a legacy of the Demak Sultanate and is the oldest mosque on the island of Java. The mosque was founded by Raden Patah in 1477.

2. Palace

The palace is a symbol and center of power. The palace has the characteristics of a building surrounded by fences, rivers and moats. One example is the Kasepuhan Palace in Cirebon.

3. Tomb

Jirat or gravestone or tomb or tombstone is a characteristic of the Islamic empire at that time. For this reason, the tomb became one of the historical heritages of Islamic culture by Islamic empires in the archipelago. One example of a tomb is the mausoleum of Maulana Malik Ibrahim in Gapura Village, Gresik.

That is an explanation of the history of Islamic culture and its historical evidence or legacy. If Sinaumed’s is interested in knowing more about the history of Islamic culture, then Sinaumed’s can dig deeper by reading books.