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A History of Islam in Indonesia$
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Carool Kersten

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780748681839

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748681839.001.0001

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The arrival of Islam

The arrival of Islam

(p.7) Chapter 1 The arrival of Islam
A History of Islam in Indonesia

Carool Kersten

Edinburgh University Press

The arrival of Islam in Indonesia is bound up with developments in the wider geographical area of Southeast Asia. This chapter presents a broader angle than the current political boundaries of the Republic of Indonesia. The chapter addresses the question of the relatively late local acceptance of Islam, even though Southeast Asia’s contacts with the Middle East and South Asia go back to pre-Islamic times. Based on a critical assessment of the historiography of Southeast Asian Islam, the chapter will identify four key issues that are relevant for a balanced account of the Islamization process: Time frame (13th century); Provenance (theories propose various origins: South Asia, Middle East, and China; Agency (Merchants, religious professionals (missionaries, Sufis), local involvement); Motivations (political, commercial, colonial, religious factors). The emerging picture consists of a variety of starting points, numerous modalities for the diffusion of Islam, positioning the Indian Ocean basin as a vital contact zone. The associated ‘single ocean concept’ turned it into a ‘neutral water’ links the history of the Islamization of Southeast Asia to the newly emerging scholarly field of Indian Ocean studies

Keywords:   Islam, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Indian Ocean, Middle East, Conversion, Religion

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