Three History Theories of The Entry of Islam Into Indonesia


These three theories actually do not discuss the entry of Islam into every island in Indonesia, but only analyze the entry of Islam into Sumatra and Java. - The history of the entry of Islam into Indonesia has three theories, namely the Theory of Gujarat, Theory of Mecca, and Persian Theory. These three theories, mutually expressing the perspective of when the entry of Islam, national origin, spreader or bearer of Islam to Indonesia.

These three theories actually do not discuss the entry of Islam into every island in Indonesia, but only analyze the entry of Islam into Sumatra and Java, because these two regions are samples for other parts of Indonesia.

In other words, the entry of Islam to the island determined the development of Islam to other islands. The following are the three theories:

1. Gujarat Theory

The first theory of the history of the entry of Islam in Indonesia is the Gujarat Theory. This theory says, the process of the arrival of Islam to Indonesia came from Gujarat in the 7th century H or the 13th century AD. Gujarat is located in western India, adjacent to the Arabian Sea.

People who socialize this theory are mostly scholars from the Netherlands. The first scholar to present this theory was J. Pijnapel from Leiden University in the 19th century.

According to him, the Syafei-based Arabs had settled in Gujarat and Malabar since the beginning of the Hijriyya (7th century AD), but Pijnapel said that Islam that spread Islam to Indonesia was not direct Arabs, but Gujarat traders who had embraced Islam and traded to the eastern world, including Indonesia.

In subsequent developments, Pijnapel's theory was agreed upon and spread by a prominent Dutch Orientalist, Snouck Hurgronje. According to him, Islam had already developed in the port cities of the Indian Continent.

The Gujarat people had earlier opened trade relations with Indonesia compared to Arab traders. In Hurgronje's view, the arrival of Arabs occurred in the next period. The Arabs who came were mostly descendants of the Prophet Muhammad who used the title "sayid" or "syarif" in front of his name.

Gujarat's theory was later also developed by J.P. Moquetta (1912) who gave an argument with the tombstone of Sultan Malik Al-Saleh who died on 17 Dzulhijjah 831 H / 1297 M in Pasai, Aceh. According to him, the tombstone in Pasai and the Maulanan Malik Ibrahim tomb, which died in 1419 in Gresik, East Java, has the same form as the tomb found in Kambay, Gujarat.

Moquetta finally concluded that the tombstone was imported from Gujarat, or at least made by Gujarati or Indonesians who had learned Gujarat's calligraphy. Another reason is the similarity of the Shafi'ite school which is followed by Muslim societies in Gujarat and Indonesia.

In its development, Gujarat theory has been denied by many experts. More accurate evidence such as news from Arabia, Persia, Turkey, and Indonesia reinforces the statement that Islam entered Indonesia instead of being brought by Gujarat merchants.

Historian Azyumardi Azra explains that Gujarat and cities in the Indian subcontinent are only a stopover for Arab traders before continuing their journey to Southeast Asia and East Asia. In addition, in the XII-XIII century AD the Gujarat region was still dominated by strong Hindu influences.

From the various arguments of Gujarat theory put forward by some historians, anthropologists, and political scientists, their analysis looks Hindu Sentris, because it assumes that all social, political, economic, cultural and religious changes in Indonesia cannot be separated from Indian influence.

This Gujarat theory certainly has its weaknesses, when compared to the Makkah Theory. To find out more, below will be discussed about the views of the Theory of Mecca.

2. Makkah Theory

The Makkah theory says that the process of entering Islam into Indonesia is directly from Makkah or Arabia. This process took place in the first century Hijriah or the 7th century M. The figure who introduced this theory was Haji Abdul Karim Amrullah or HAMKA, one of the Indonesian scholars and writers.

Hamka expressed his opinion in 1958, during an oration delivered at the anniversary of the State Islamic University (PTIN) in Yogyakarta.

He rejected all the assumptions of Western scholars who argued that Islam came to Indonesia indirectly from Arabia. The arguments used as HAMKA reference material are local Indonesian sources and Arabic sources.

According to him, the initial motivation for the arrival of Arabs was not based on economic values, but was motivated by the motivation of the spirit of the spread of Islam. In Hamka's view, the trade route between Indonesia and Arabia had been going on long before AD.

In this case, the HAMKA theory is a refutation of the Gujarat theory which has many weaknesses. He was even suspicious of the prejudices of Western orientalist writers who tended to discredit Islam in Indonesia.

Western writers, said HAMKA, made a very systematic effort to eliminate the beliefs of Malay countries about intimate spiritual relations between them and Arab land as the main source of Islam in Indonesia in studying religion.

In the view of HAMKA, Muslims in Indonesia get Islam from the first people (Arabs), not just trade.

This HAMKA view is similar to the Sufi Theory expressed by A.H. Johns said that the travelers (nomads) had made early Islamization in Indonesia. Sufis usually wander from one place to another to establish a group or tarekat college.

There are interesting facts in terms of Arabian voyages written by W. Arnold. It was stated that the Arabs since the 2nd century BC had mastered trade in Ceylon.

If it is associated with an explanation of Ancient Arabic literature which mentions Al-Hind means India or the islands to the east to China, and Indonesia is also referred to as the islands of China, most likely in the 2nd century BC the Arabs arrived in Indonesia. Only the mention is of Chinese islands or Al-Hind.

If it is true that there has been a connection between the Arabs and Indonesia since the 2nd century BC, the Arabs were the first foreign nation to come to the archipelago.

3. Persian theory

Persian theory says that the process of coming to Islam from Indonesia originated in Persia or Persia (now Iran). The originator of this theory is Hoesein Djajadiningrat, historian from Banten.

In giving his argument, Hoesein emphasized his analysis of the similarity of culture and tradition that developed between the Persian and Indonesian communities.

This cultural similarity can be seen in the Indonesian Islamic community including:

First, the 10th anniversary of Muharram or Ashura as a Shiite holy day for the death of Hussein bin Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, as developed in the tradition of the Ark in Pariaman in West Sumatra. The term "ark" (keranda) is taken from Arabic which is translated through the Persian language.

Second, other traditions are mystical teachings with many similarities, for example between the teachings of Syekh Siti Jenar from Central Java and Al-Hallaj Sufi teachings from Persia. Not coincidentally, both of them died convicted by the local authorities because their teachings were considered contrary to the unity of Islam (apostasy) and endangered political and social stability.

Third, the use of the Iranian language in the Arabic spelling system, for the sounds of the harakat in the recitation of the early Qur'an. The letter Sin which is not toothed comes from Persia, a toothed Sin comes from Arabia.

Fourth, the tomb on the tomb of Malikus Saleh (1297) and the tomb of Malik Ibrahim (1419) in Gresik were ordered from Gujarat. In this case, Persian Theory has absolute similarities with Gujarat theory.

Fifth, another reason raised by Hoesein is in line with Moquetta's theory, namely that there are similarities in the art of calligraphy chiseled on tombstones used in early Islamic tombs in Indonesia. Another similarity is that Indonesian Muslims adhere to the Syafei school, just like most Muslims in Iran. (CJ.IN/ENG/R-01)
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