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Spread of Islam?

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    Posted: 25 Jun 2009 at 18:17
How did countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia become so Muslim? Geographically it puzzles me and since i do not know much about SE Asia's history i do not know the prior history behind it.< id="gwProxy" ="">< ="jsCall;" id="jsProxy" ="">
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2009 at 18:58
Easy, trade!
 
trade brought hinduism to that part, the kingdoms were almost all hindu and hindu temples still exist especially in Bali where 90%+ of the population is actually Hindu. merchants settled in those areas since the 10th century and brought their religion with them.
 
By time as Islam spread, through the work of aggressive missionaries, it took on a nationalistic/linguistic identity. Now Islam is clearly spread between the peoples of south asia on ethnic lines. Almost all muslims in SEA wether they be in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia or even the Philippine and Vietnam are ethnic malay. There is numbers of muslims among the other ethnicities like chinese, Thais, Cambodians and Vietnamese compared with Malays which also might explain the spread of Islam.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2009 at 19:40
The Kingdoms and empires from that region were enticed by the great wealth they could gain if they connected themselves with the bustling trade network that spanned several continents which was predominantly controlled by muslim traders. This naturally brought them into contact with Islam. 
 
my reply of course is a simplistic explanation of a phenomena that took several centuries to materialize and take root, and there are probably many more reasons other than trade responsible for the presence of Islam in Southeast Asia such as military alliances or as Al Jassas said the creation of a new identity setting the muslim Southeast Asians apart from their non-muslim neighbours who could be rivals.
 
   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cahaya Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2009 at 03:26
The other ways that helped Islam to be accepted by the locals (focusing in Malaysia):-
- Marriages
- Sultan's influences.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mbek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2009 at 00:37
As sme people stated before mainly because of trade and the influence of the near by muslim countries
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2009 at 03:21
Originally posted by Husaria Husaria wrote:

How did countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia become so Muslim?
With Indonesia, other social factors include:
- A fragmented local religious identity: Hinduism was not firmly established with most of the local  population. Instead, most people practiced a mixture of amnism, hinduism and Buddhism. Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity) are absolute and tend to dominate syncrestic belief systems. 
 
- Lack of Christian competition: Indonesia's remote location from Christian powers gave Islamic missionaries a head start of several centuries. When Christians did arrive, the Dutch were increasingly secular and mass conversion was not a state policy goal. Had the Portuguese or Spanish (conversion was a state policy goal) arrived in force earlier, the current religious split in Indonesia would probably be 50%-50% Muslim to Christian.


Edited by Cryptic - 30 Jun 2009 at 05:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2009 at 09:57
 
I love these posts of yours Cryptic. Why is Christian competition important? There was Hindu competition, are you suggesting that Hinduism is less able to compete than Christianity?
For that matter why do you think that religion is a matter of competition?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2009 at 14:39
I actually agree with Cryptic's analysis. Unlike Islam and Christianity, Hinduism is not really a proselitic religion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2009 at 14:48
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

I actually agree with Cryptic's analysis. Unlike Islam and Christianity, Hinduism is not really a proselitic religion.
But Christians haven't shown any more resistance to conversion to Islam than Hindus have.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2009 at 15:10
Really?  In fact, I don't think you can find a good example for such a comparison.
 
If you mean Middle Eastern Christians, the process of their conversion was very slow and very often caused by external pressure (the desire to pay less taxes and to pursue career in military and government) or sometimes it even was a forcible conversion.
 
By contrast, the spread of Islam in SEA wasn't related to any military conquest, it was a very peaceful conversion. So, yes, in this instance one could say that Hindus showed "less resistance." Though Hinduism in Indonesia and Indochina was not the same with Indian Hinduism. It was rather a syncretic blend of Induism, Buddhism and local beliefs.
 
Kind of interesting that another stong proselitic religion (Buddhism) was able to keep it's positions in the region. Islam proselitism in Burma and Siam wasn't succesful.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jul 2009 at 00:48
The rulers of Southeast Asian civilizations like Java (where the Top - down conversion happened) didn't refer to themselves as Sultans until the 17th century, the Dutch and Portuguese and their missionaries were well known faces by that time so there was no lack of competition for the Islamic States of Java, Malacca and Sumatra during their conquests of non-muslim lands and important trading port cities in the 16th/17th centuries. They are largely responsible for the proliferation of Islam in that region.  
 
Secondly during the reign of massive non-Islamic SeA empires like Majapahit, the muslim traders in their realm were actually influenced by Majapahit culture and eventually absorbed into that society, so Cryptic your theory of modern SeA having a higher percentage of Christians, if European missionairies had started at the same time as their muslim counterparts contains a flaw as there was no Islamization in SeA stimulated and controlled by non-SeA muslims. The early muslims provided the spark yes, but the first real mass conversions to Islam happened centuries after the early muslims had arrived in the region and the process of Islamization was under the supervision of SEA muslim converts, usually rulers.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jul 2009 at 02:00
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

 Why is Christian competition important?
Because a core tenet of both Islam and Christianity is to spread their respective religious messages to the entire world.  Both religions view other faiths, and especially non Abrahamic faiths as potential converts.  Both faiths developed dedicated missionaries who were skilled at presenting their respecitive religions to potential converts. So.... had Christian missionaries been active (competing) in in Indonesia for as long as the Islamic missionaries, Indonesia would not be overwhelmingly Islamic today.  
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

There was Hindu competition, are you suggesting that Hinduism is less able to compete than Christianity?
Yes, I am saying that. Hinduism does not present itself as an absolute religion. As a result, it accepts different beliefs and internalizes them. This gives missionaries an easier time when presenting a new faith.  Christianity and Islam are absolutist (at least most of the time).  This makes them far more resistant to conversion efforts.
Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

The rulers of Southeast Asian civilizations like Java (where the Top - down conversion happened) didn't refer to themselves as Sultans until the 17th century, the Dutch and Portuguese and their missionaries were well known faces by that time so there was no lack of competition...  
And how long was Indonesia in contact with Islam? In some areas like Ambon, the contact was very early (8th century). In the end, Indonesia's contact with Islam started far earlier than Christian contact and Indonesia was geographicaly closer to Islamic powers than to Portugal and the Netherlands.
 
Also.... when the Netherlands became the dominant colonial power in Indonesia, their out look was increasingly secular. Conversions (though welcomed) were no longer a state policy goal.


Edited by Cryptic - 01 Jul 2009 at 03:15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jul 2009 at 02:17
The situation in the middle east totally different. The ratio between muslims and christians grew and fell depending on the times. Our old friend Baylerbyi provided sources (in another thread) and I looked in some that proves that the ration of christians actually increased during the Ottoman empire not decreased because christians were not supposed to fight and were forbidden to migrate to conquered territories and lived in clusters where they were absolute majorities (Armenia and far western Anatolia) and thus when civil wars happened little happened to them.
 
In the middle east the same thing happened. Christians were clustered in three regions. Lebanon, Huran plains and Jordan. Reading the history of the region one can easily see these were the safest places to live in the last 700 years except for Huran which was depopulated and then settled by muslims and some bedouin christians.
 
There was also some successful conversions to christianitiy by the way in the middle east.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jul 2009 at 03:10
Originally posted by Cryptic Cryptic wrote:

And how long was Indonesia in contact with Islam? In some areas like Ambon, the contact was very early (8th century). In the end, Indonesia's contact with Islam started far earlier than Christian contact and Indonesia was geographicaly closer to Islamic powers than to Portugal and the Netherlands.
 
Indonesia consists of a chain of Islands who historically at times were isolated from one another unless a major power - usually originating from Java - held sway over them, so one Island might have had contact with Islam since the 8th century many others didn't and the era when Islam really began to take root there was at the end of the Majapahit empire and the rise of Malacca.
 
Foreign muslims had very little do with Indonesia's current status as the largest muslim country in the world, the old theories of Sufi orders fleeing the Mongol conquests have been discredited and the general consensus is local converts and empires should be credited for Islam's growth in SeA.
 
I'm sceptical of your theory that if the Dutch were fanatics eager to spread Christianity in SeA they would have major successes in that region.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jul 2009 at 03:20
We must remember the important factor in the success of the proselitism. Which is a sanction by the supreme political ruler.
 
Christian proselitism was succesful in the places were Europeans had complete political control like in Phillipines or Goa.
 
As Cryptic mentioned  earlier, Islam appeared in the region much earlier and the most important factor in its success was the conversion of Malay rulers.
 
Portuguese and later Dutch were viewed mainly as commercial competitors and didn't get approval from the local rulers rather they were irritated by their presence.
 
If they used a more cunning strategy without direct confrontation and target the top of Malay society the outcome could be very different.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jul 2009 at 03:56
Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

I'm sceptical of your theory that if the Dutch were fanatics eager to spread Christianity in SeA they would have major successes in that region.  
 When marketed well and supported by either official or semi official state policy and continous contact, Christianity has been very successful in gaining converts from syncrestic systems. I don't see any reason why Indonesia would have been different. Even with a late arrival and a partial effort to a geographicaly remote area, Indonesia is 10% Christian today. 
 
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

If they used a more cunning strategy without direct confrontation and target the top of Malay society the outcome could be very different.
100% percent agreement Clap. I think Indonesia would be  either a Islamic / Christian 60-40% split or a 50-50% split.
 


Edited by Cryptic - 01 Jul 2009 at 05:41
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cahaya Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jul 2009 at 22:35
Originally posted by Cryptic Cryptic wrote:


Originally posted by <strong><em>Sarmat</em></strong><em></em> Sarmat wrote:



If they used a more cunning strategy without direct confrontation and target the top of Malay society the outcome could be very different.

100% percent agreement Clap. I think Indonesia would be  either a Islamic / Christian 60-40% split or a 50-50% split.
 


Probably.. there was a chance it could be happened. As the Sultans played major roles in Malay society that time... more influenced and power over the people.. in fact, the Malays did trust, the royals had capability to harm them spiritualy.. it was a concept called "Tulah".

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jul 2009 at 23:30
Originally posted by Cryptic Cryptic wrote:

Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

I'm sceptical of your theory that if the Dutch were fanatics eager to spread Christianity in SeA they would have major successes in that region.  
 When marketed well and supported by either official or semi official state policy and continous contact, Christianity has been very successful in gaining converts from syncrestic systems. I don't see any reason why Indonesia would have been different. Even with a late arrival and a partial effort to a geographicaly remote area, Indonesia is 10% Christian today.  
 
Greetings Cryptic, I'm not doubting Christianity's appeal, what i'm doubting is wether those powerful local rulers would allow a foreign power to impose a new religion on them and their subjects. The triump of Islam in that region can not be traced to Persian, Arab or Indic muslim orders but was promoted and controlled by Southeast Asians, i can see however local 13th/14th/15th century Southeast Asian Christians - competing with their muslim counterparts - successfully turning Christianity into the dominant religion as this has been the formula of previous dominant religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism and today Islam. 
 
Protestant Netherlands and Catholic Portugal were rivals and the local SeA powers used that rivalry to their advantage, the VOC was not interested in making unneccesary enemies and this continued until the company became obselete in the late 18th century. The period of Dutch rule was not wholly 'secular' especially now VOC was gone, the Dutch government allowed  missionaries to poselystize and the fact that Protestant Christianity today is only between 5-7% compared to Catholism at 4/5%(which was banned centuries earlier) shows you how little effect a government sponsored policy has if the religion is not taken up by the real representatives of that society.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jul 2009 at 02:56
Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

 
Greetings Cryptic, I'm not doubting Christianity's appeal, what i'm doubting is wether those powerful local rulers would allow a foreign power to impose a new religion on them and their subjects. The triump of Islam in that region can not be traced to Persian, Arab or Indic muslim orders but was promoted and controlled by Southeast Asians
 
I can see and accept your point. Even with an earlier arrival and direct state sponsorship, Christianity was going to need influential and genuine local support to grow.  
 
The next question is could Christianity have obtained the needed local support? Indonesia was fragmented into numerous kingdoms so this would help with the presentation to local rulers seeking an edge over rivals, but Christianity still lacked the local, ethnic followers that Islam had.
 
The Ottomans, however, converted 80% of Albanians to Islam without a corps of ethnic followers....
-Ottomans have direct contol of country
-Sincere and disciplined missionaries present a form of Islam tailored to local cultural norms
-Conversion is state sponsored and rewards converts with economic, political and social benefits
-Nominal conversion and nominal religious practice is allowed, no pressure to conform to all aspects of new religion
 
I still think that had the conditions been right, Indonesia could be a 60-40 or 50-50 Islamic to Christian ratio today 
 
 
 
 


Edited by Cryptic - 02 Jul 2009 at 03:06
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jul 2009 at 19:01
It's not wise to equate very different countries situated on very different continents, the Albanians did not convert to Islam a day after the Ottomans arrived, this would take centuries aswell. Half of the Albanian muslim population's conversion to Islam was top-down based. The Albanian leaders played a major role in the Ottoman Empire as Pashas and Beys. The other half joined orders established by Albanian Jannissaries.
 
To answer your question, Southeast Indonesia provides us with a great example of a region in SeA where the presence of Christianity precedes Islam. When the VOC became a defunct institution and the Dutch government allowed missionaries to proselytize in the 19th century, there biggest success was in this region of Indonesia because most of the leaders were allready Christian albeit a different denomination. Therefore if Indonesia had earlier contact with let's say Assyrian christians then Christianity would have been - for lack of a better term- a Southeast Asianized religion by the time the Dutch/Portuguese arrived and the gathering of support for the spread of Christianity would have been a lot easier, though in the end still a SeA project.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Manowar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 03:29
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

I actually agree with Cryptic's analysis. Unlike Islam and Christianity, Hinduism is not really a proselitic religion.
But Christians haven't shown any more resistance to conversion to Islam than Hindus have.
 
Christians in the Balkans for example lived for more than 500 years under islamic control (The Ottoman Empire), with lots of persecution and discrimination due to their religion,  but didn't convert to Islam.
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If there were that much persecution and push for conversion by those demonic Ottomans, then I am sure more would have converted. Look at Eastern Germany as a prime example. The push to East by the Germanic Empire meant a successful push of Christinization with a lot of bloodshed upon Pagans who refused.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 03:41

Yes, there are a lot of misconceptions about Ottoman empire. However, generally speaking, it was a quite tolerant state. Which, paradoxically, but helped Eastern Christianity to survive under the strong pressure of Rome.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 03:44
Originally posted by Manowar Manowar wrote:

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

I actually agree with Cryptic's analysis. Unlike Islam and Christianity, Hinduism is not really a proselitic religion.
But Christians haven't shown any more resistance to conversion to Islam than Hindus have.
 
Christians in the Balkans for example lived for more than 500 years under islamic control (The Ottoman Empire), with lots of persecution and discrimination due to their religion,  but didn't convert to Islam.
Wladyslaw, Polak, and now ManoWar - you and all your alter egoes are banned once again buddy!
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 03:51
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

Yes, there are a lot of misconceptions about Ottoman empire. However, generally speaking, it was a quite tolerant state. Which, paradoxically, but helped Eastern Christianity to survive under the strong pressure of Rome.

Very good point.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cahaya Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 03:56
I was about to ask u es_bih.. cause it's very strange to see u post in here...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jallaludin Akbar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 13:46
Quote Yes, I am saying that. Hinduism does not present itself as an absolute religion. As a result, it accepts different beliefs and internalizes them. This gives missionaries an easier time when presenting a new faith.  Christianity and Islam are absolutist (at least most of the time).  This makes them far more resistant to conversion efforts.

I understand you arguement, Hinduism, being the non-absolute religion that it is, accepted the beliefs of Islam. But I don't see how that would lead the many Hindus to convert to Islam rather than adopting to various outside beliefs (which I have witnessed). I tend to agree more with the idea that Islam was spread to Hinduism more through conquests and centuries of living in an Islamic nation in India rather than the works of missionaries alone. As a result of that, I come to the conclusion that religious conversion is better imposed thorugh fear and long term influence rather than persuasion alone. 
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Originally posted by Jallaludin Akbar Jallaludin Akbar wrote:

I understand you arguement, Hinduism, being the non-absolute religion that it is, accepted the beliefs of Islam. But I don't see how that would lead the many Hindus to convert to Islam
Because Hinduism allowed potential converts to accept Islamic practices, yet remain Hindu for the near future. As the years, or generations passed, it was easier for an Islamically influenced Hindu to gradually convert to fully Islamic.
 
Contrast this with absolute Abrahamic religions. Theologically, one cannot mix Christianity and Islam or vis versa*. Thus, partial acceptance followed by a gradual full conversion is far more difficult.  
 *exceptions do exist, but they are rare.
Originally posted by Jallaludin Akbar Jallaludin Akbar wrote:

As a result of that, I come to the conclusion that religious conversion is better imposed thorugh fear and long term influence rather than persuasion alone. 
The best mixture maybe a combination of social, economic, political pressures mixed with the persuasiveness of sincere, dedicated missionaries (Ottoman Turkey). Charismatic missionaries alone can really impact a society such as Indonessia where mass "top down" conversions were possible (convert ruling family via good presentation and the rest follow).
 
  


Edited by Cryptic - 08 Jul 2009 at 01:52
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