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Explanation of 4 Theories of the Entry of Islam in Indonesia

Explanation of 4 Theories of the Entry of Islam in Indonesia
November 16, 2023 laskarui
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Explanation of 4 Theories of the Entry of Islam in Indonesia

There are a number of opinions that explain the theory of the arrival of Islam. The major theories that explain the process of Islam’s entry into Indonesia with their respective supporting sources are Gujarat theory, Mecca theory, Persian theory and Chinese theory. To make it clearer, let’s look at the discussion below.

4 Theories of the Entry of Islam to Indonesia

1. Gujarat Theory

Opinions regarding the theory of the entry of Islam into Indonesia first came from the Gujarat theory. In this theory, it is said that Islam entered the archipelago in the 13th century AD from Muslim Indian traders. This theory developed from Pijnappel from Leiden University who said the origins of Islam were from Gujarat and Malabar. Then, Arabs of the Shafi’i school of thought migrated to India and Indians brought them to Indonesia.

This opinion was also confirmed by Snouck Hurgronje in the book ‘L’Arabie et Les Indes Neelandaises or Reveu de I’Histoire des Religious that trade relations between Indonesia and India have been established for a long time, then the oldest inscription regarding Islam is in Sumatra, providing an overview of the relationship between Sumatra and Gujarat .

2. Persian theory

The next theory of Islam’s entry into Indonesia was Persia, which was put forward by Hoesein Djajadiningrat. It is explained that Islam entered Indonesia from Persia and stopped in Gujarat in the 13th century. This is evident from Indonesian culture which has similarities with Persia.

This was emphasized by Morgan (1963:139-140) that Indonesian Islamic society is the same as Persia. Evidently, the 10th of Muharram is a day of remembrance for the Shiites for the martyrdom of Husein. This warning takes the form of making Shura porridge.

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Apart from that, in Minangkabau the month of Muharram is known as the month of Husein. Then in Central Sumatra it was commemorated by parading Husein’s coffin to be thrown into the river. Then, this theory is also supported by the similarities between the teachings of Sheikh Slti Jenar and the teachings of the Iranian Sufi al-Hallaj. Third, the use of Iranian language terms in the Arabic letter spelling system to mark the sound of harakat in the initial level of Al-Quran recitation.

3. Makkah theory

The route of Islam’s entry into Indonesia through Arabic theory is the antithesis to the previous theory, namely the Gujarat theory. This theory, which was later referred to as the Mecca theory, argued that Islam which entered the archipelago came directly from Saudi Arabia.

The Mecca theory was originally put forward by Western historians such as van Leur, Keyzer, TW Arnold, Niemann, Crawfurd, and de Hollander. Meanwhile, the Indonesian ulama and writer who is actively promoting the Mecca theory is Haji Abdul Malik Karim Amrullah or who is often called Buya Hamka.

Since first introducing the Makkah theory at the 8th Anniversary of the State Islamic University (PTIN) in Yogyakarta, Hamka stated that the process had been going on since the first Hijirah century or the 7th AD.

Meanwhile, this theory says that Saudi Arabia had a big role in the introduction of Islam to Indonesia. Because according to him, it was the Arabs who first brought Islam to the archipelago, then followed by Persia and Gujarat, wrote Adi Sudirman in the Complete Encyclopedia of Indonesian History from the Classical to the Contemporary Era.

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According to Hamka, the initial arrival of Arabs to Indonesia was also based on support for the spread of Islam. Not otherwise for the sake of economic values.

He is of the opinion that the majority of Indonesian people embrace the Shafi’i school of Islam, as is widely adhered to by the Egyptian population. Apart from that, the title used by kings during the Samudra Pasai period was the title of Egyptian kings, namely, al Malik.

4. Chinese theory

Islam was brought by immigrants from China according to this theory. The basis of his argument is the fact that Chinese people have existed in the archipelago since the first century Hijriah.

This theory was developed by expert Kong Yuanzhi, and also supported by Hamka. Both took from books popular among Western and Eastern historians, namely those written by Ma Huan and Fei Hsin. The book includes the journey of Cheng Ho, a Chinese Muslim, to various regions of Asia, including Indonesia.

Apart from that, Sumanto Al-Qurtuby stated that in the records of the Tang Dynasty (618-960 AD), in the Canton, Quanzhou, Zhangzhao, coastal areas of southern China there were already settled Muslims.

When did Islam enter Indonesia?

Quoted from the same book source, there are three theories that are being debated regarding when Islam first entered Indonesia, these theories include:

7th century

History has recorded that Islam first entered Indonesia in the 7th century AD. Maritime trade was the main route for the spread of this religion. Muslim traders from various regions, such as India, Gujarat and the Middle East, came to Indonesian ports along with the teachings of Islam.

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11th century

There is no concrete evidence regarding this theory, but scientists have evidence to support this theory, namely the discovery of Fatimah bint Maimun’s tombstone which was written in 1082. They also found an amulet with the words “By Allah, Muhammad” which is thought to be from the 10th century. 19th or 11th.

13th century

In the 13th century AD, Islamic influence deepened in the northern coastal areas of Sumatra and Java. Islamic kingdoms such as Samudra Pasai in Aceh and the Kingdom of Demak in Java emerged as centers for the spread of Islamic religion and culture. At this time, cultural interactions and trade increasingly opened the door for Islam to grow.

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