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Posted by Administrator - May 4, 2011 - Islamic Faith - 1 Comment

Annihilation of Arabian roles, especially the sayid Alawiyin ethnic group, in the spread of Islam in Indonesia, is one of the main agenda of Dutch-Indies colonial government. By any means, they tried to eliminate the roles of sayid Alawiyin in planting Islam and Islamic values in this Archipelago. The weird thing is some of the Indonesian historians are influenced by the issue. This can be proven with their writings in history books which distributed in public as well as students. They stated that Islam in Indonesian Archipelago was firstly brought by the Gujarat merchant, not from ArabianLand or Middle East. The righteous value of that statement needs to be questioned since there are two theories of spread of Islam in Indonesia. First theory stated that Islam was brought by the merchants from Arab/Middle East. This theory known as Arabian Theory and it is hold by Crawfurd, Niemann, de Holander.[1]Second Theory is the Gujarat theory. This theory stated that Islam in Indonesiacame from Gujarat, India. The founder of this mazhab (group) is Pijnapel and being researched furthermore by Snouck Hurgronje.


According to Snouck Hurgronje, as soon as Islam has been settled in several harbor cities in India, then the Muslim India brought it to Indonesiaas the first Islam spreader. To strengthen this theory, some historians also mentioned about a habit in importing grave-stone from Gujarat, and so they said that Islam also came from Gujarat.


Since 1958, the Gujarat theory received corrections and critics from Hamka that born a new theory, the Mekkah Theory[2]. Those corrections were then strengthened by his argument in Seminar: The History of Islam in Indonesia in Medan on 1963. In the Seminar, Hamka rejected opinions and theories that stated the entering of Islam in the Indonesian Archipelago in the 13th centuries was came from Gujarat.


Muhammad Dhiya’ Syahab and Abdullah bin Nuh said that there are many history books from the west and its followers who thought that Islam entered Indonesia on 13th centuries, but I am sure that the entering of Islam in South East Asiawas far before the century that they were thinking about.[3]


Mufti Johor, Alwi bin Tohir al-Haddad said that the historians’ opinions about the entering of Islam in South East Asia are not correct, especially opinion from European historian who determined that Islam was entering Java on 800-1300 hijriyah, to Sumatera and Malaysia on the 7th centuries of hijriyah. The truth is contradicted with what they said because actually Islam already has kings / leaders in Sumatera on the 6th centuries even 5thcenturies of hijriyah.[4]


Hamka’s point of view about this matter gives more pressure on the roles of Arabian people as the persons who brought Islam to Indonesia. Gujarat is only a temporary staying place and Mekkah as the center, or Egypt as a place to obtain lessons of Islam. That matter also same like Keijzer’s opinion who saw Islam in this Archipelago was came from Egyptbased on consideration of the equal number of Muslim people who are following Madzhab Syafii. The Arabian theory also stated by Niemann and de Holander. Both of them said that Egyptis not the source of Islam in the Archipelago, but Hadramaut.[5]


The first relationship between Arabian and Indonesian people was conducted on the 4thcenturies. Since then, the movement of Arabian Hadramaut to Gujarat in the seaside of Western India was started. There, they built a village in which by the Indiapeople called as “ArabitoVillage”,  and few of them continued their journey to Indonesia and stayed at the beach of Sumateraarea[6]. Relationship between Arab and Indiathrough the sea line has been started since the beginning of year of masehi or just before the collapse of Himyar in Yemen.  This relationship is the first relationship between Arab with Far East in general and with Indonesiain particular, because those Arabian merchants were using India Language as the first terminal in delivering them to Sarandib, and afterward, they continued their journey to Indonesia.


Gustave Le Bon in his book, La Civilisation des Arabs, mentioned about the journey of Arabian people to other regions, he said that the former Arabian people are the famous merchants’ people. They were not fear with the length of the journey that they will go. Furthermore, he said, “We have never seen in a history there are people who have real influence like Arabian people”. Arabian culture was accepted although only in a short period of time by the people who had trade relationship with them before. After the Arabian people were gone from the history, other countries such as Turkey and Mongol (countries that concurred Arab) took over Arabian cultures and replaced it with their influences to the world[7].


The arrival of Hadramaut’s syarif to India and afterward to South East Asia was one of the causes of the misunderstanding of most of the historians especially the European historians. Their mistakes were their assumptions that the da’I who came to South East Asia was came from India. Muhammad bin Abdurrahman Syahab, when he gave note in a book named Hadhir al-Alam al-Islami written by Amir Syakib Arsalan, said that from this point of view, the European historians were mistakenly explained about the da’I who’s in their arms the Javanese people converted into Islam. At one time, they said that the da’I came from Gujarat; while on the other time, they said that the da’I is Parsi people. In this matter, they were only circling around and not releasing themselves from stupidity[8].


The Majelis Musyawarah Ulama decided that Islam in Indonesiawas firstly brought by the Alawiyin’s syarif from Hadramaut whose madzhab is Syafii[9]. This decision was taken on their third meeting on 8 Dzulhijjah 1382 or exactly on 20 April 1962 which is attended by 165 Islamic leaders after they were listening, discussing and looking for evidences about the arriving of Islam in Pasuruan, East Java, Indonesia.


Hadramaut’s historian, Sholah al-Bakri, in his book named Tarikh Hadramaut on 1936, mentioned that it’s cannot be doubted that the move of Hadramaut Arabian people to Java and other islands near it, was the biggest movement in their history. They were entering Far East when the ocean was full of dangers; and afterward, they stopped in the prosperous islands. The results of this biggest movement were the banishment of Budha and the establishment of Islam.


In Samarat Al-Funun newspaper dated on 10 Sya’ban 1315 mentioned that these syarifs is Islamic leaders and they were bringing the people in this are to Muhammad’s noble religion. Meanwhile, this religion was already settled except in some small area in BaliIslandand mountains area such as Sumatera and Borneo.


The conclusion of the seminar, which was attended by large number of Indonesian culture and historians, about the arriving and development of Islam in Indonesiawas decided that Islam was firstly entered Indonesia on the 1stcentury of the movement and directly from Arab. The first area that was entered by Islam was Sumatera’s coastline[10]. According to Chinese historian notes, the Arabian people have been landed in Sumatera’s coastline even before Islam was arrived. It can be identified from the exploration’s stuffs that were done by the Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Indonesia. They founded that there are 3000 writings on stones and steels that were written in Arabic. Some of them were carved by Himyar’s words and rest of them written in Arabic poems such as in grave stones and others. Furthermore, it also mentioned the year of hijrah.


Now, many intensive researches have been done by several Indonesian historians. Result of the research stated that there were Arabian merchants in North Sumatera or Aceh precisely, before the birth of Islam, therefore this research called it as “Arabian Face in Indonesia”. Arabian people have strong influences in Indonesian cultures which also reflect in its language and literature. There are many Arabian words that are now officially accepted in Indonesia. Of course, the Arabian influences, especially in the cultural sector, are getting stronger after the entrance of Islam to all of this archipelago because Arabic language is the language of Al-Qur’an and the tongue of Islam.








[1] Azyumardi Azra, Jaringan Ulama Timur Tengah Dan Kepulauan Nusantara Abad XVII dan XVIII, hal. 27.

[2] Ahmad Mansur Suryanegara, Menemukan Sejarah Wacana Pergerakan Islam di Indonesia, hal. 82.

[3] Muhammad Dhiya’ Syahab & Abdullah Bin Nuh, Al-Imam al-Muhajir Ahmad Bin Isa, hal. 169.

[4] Muhammad Hasan Alaydrus, op cit, hal. 44.

[5] Azyumardi Azra, loc cit, hal. 27.

[6] Adil Muhyiddin Al-Alusi, Arab Islam Di Indonesia Dan India, hal. 11.

[7] Alwi Bin Thahir Al-Haddad, Sejarah Masuknya Islam di Timur Jauh, hal. 31.

[8] Muhammad Hasan Alaydrus, op cit, hal. 35.

[9] Muhammad Hasan Alaydrus, op cit, hal. 55.

[10] Risalah Seminar Sejarah Masuknya Islam ke Indonesia, hal. 265.

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