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South-East Asia, Islam in

Subject Religion » Islam

Place Asia » South-Eastern Asia

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xix ] I slam is numerically strong in the peninsula and archipelago parts of this region: in Indonesia, Muslims comprise an estimated 90% of the population (1990 estimate 164 million) and in Malaysia 65% (1993 estimate, 12.3 million), with sizeable minorities in Burma, Thailand and the Philippines (10% or slightly more of the population in each country). The faith was carried to the region by Muslim merchants and traders en route for China ( see C hina, islam in ), and by the 15th century there were Muslim principalities in Malacca, Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi (Celebes), the Moluccas and the Philippines. In certain areas, the work of S ufi orders has been significant, with Java in particular evolving its own variety of mysticism. Official Islam in Indonesia has been strongly orthodox in tone, with, for example, great stress on the pilgrimage (H ajj ). Against tendencies towards S yncretism with the old pagan or Hindu-Buddhist strains, whose modern representatives are the esoteric kebatinan groups, it was above all opposed to the religious and social pressures of Dutch colonial rule and Christianity. Hence Islam was the uniting force behind indigenous organizations with political and economic aims, like the Sarakat Islam (1911), the more traditionalist and academic Nahdat-ul-Islam (1926), etc., which became spearheads of nationalist feeling against the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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