It has been explained earlier that Islam was brought to Indonesia by merchants from Gujarat (India), Arabia, and Persia. However, the exact time when Islam first arrived in Indonesia remains uncertain since historians still have different opinions about it.
Some of them argue that Islam arrived in Indonesia in the 7th century, but some others believe that Islam came to Indonesia in the 13th century.
Below is some historical source that informs that Islam arrived in Indonesia in the 7th century.
- News from China in the period of Tang Dynasty stating that in 674 AD some Arabic people had settled in Conton. Groeneveldt argued that at the same time, groups of Arabic Muslims had built a village on the west coast of Sumatra. The village was called Barus or Fansur.
- When Sriwijaya expanded its territory around the 7th century and 13th century, some Muslim merchants had stopped by in the kingdom, so it was assumed that some people in Sumatra had also professed Islam.
- In 674, the king of Tha-Shih sent some data to Ho-ling (Kalingga) kingdom to prove the fairness, honesty and firmness of Queen Sima. In Association with this event. Hamka assumed that Islam arrived in Java at the same time as it did in Sumatra, that is in the 7th century.
Some of the historical sources which state that Islam arrived in Indonesia in the 13th century are as follows.
- Marcopolo’s travel notes which informed that in 1292 he stopped in north Aceh (Perak) on his way from China to Persia. In this area, he found some people who had professed Islam.
- The discovery of the tombstone of Samudera Pasai king, Sultan Malik Al-Saleh, dated back to 1297 AD.
From Sumatra, Ilam was first spread to Java, to Demak Sultanate. Demak Sultanate then spread Islam to Banten, Cirebon, Greisk and other areas on the north coast of Java. It also spread Islam to South Kalimantan, Makasar, and Maluku.
It turned out that Makasar Sultanate in Sulawesi also played a role in spreading Islam to East Kalimantan, Bali, Lombok, Sumba, Sumbawa, and Timor. For more clarification, please study the map of the routes of Islam spreading in Indonesia above.
Map of areas in Indonesia which were influenced by Islam and those which were not
The incoming of Islam and Islamic culture had affected and changed the social, economic, cultural, and political structures of Indonesian people. In the 16th century, Islam had only influenced several regions on the coasts of Sumatra, Java, part of Sulawesi and Kalimantan, and also Ternate, Tidore, and a little part of South Maluku.
This was because Islam was spread by foreign merchants and some domestic merchants by means of sailboats which could only reach coastal areas.
In the 18th century, Islam’s influence had reached most of Indonesia except Papua and the nearby areas, rural Kalimantan, and part of the south and north Sumatra. In the 20th century, Islam had influenced almost all regions in Indonesia, except Papua and rural Kalimantan where the disciples of Islam were still small in number.
Map of areas influenced by Islam in the 16th century
Map of areas influenced by Islam in the 18th century
Map of areas influenced by Islam in the 20th century
Read also: Migration of peoples to Indonesia