Indonesia, A Country with Largest Muslim Community in The World
There are more than 1.8 billion Muslim in the world. And, do you know, 1/10th of it live in Indonesia. Indonesia is well-known as the country with the largest Muslim community. It’s even surpassing the number of Muslim in Saudi Arabia, the country where Islam came from. So, how can Indonesia become country with largest Muslim community in the world?
It’s all because of trading. In the past, Indonesia has become the strategic trading route. Many traders came from many different countries, including those Islam countries. And, because of this, Islam was also spreading through many areas in Indonesia. Usually, these traders were marrying locals and from this event, Islam was introduced to locals (local wife converted into Muslim following their husband).
It’s still unclear when Islam entered and started to spread in Indonesia. There are many different evident and history record that explain about this matter. However, there are two proofs that can be trusted that can explain about this matter. First is the record from the ancient monument of Sriwijaya Kingdom. It said that in 700 AD, Muslim trader made a contact with this kingdom. So, we can assume that this is the first time, Islam entered Indonesia. The other proof is the tomb. On it, a name was written. It was Fatimah binti Maimun and she died in 1082 AD. So, from this tomb, historians see that Islam has entered Indonesia at least way before that year.
So, why Islam successfully spread out and accepted by Indonesian? There are two main reasons. First, it’s much easier compared to other religion. Islam doesn’t require sacrifice or something like that, when someone want to convert into it. They just need to say two shahadah or confession of faith and they have become a Muslim. The other reason is the genius way of Islam leader at that time to spread Islam. They were assimilating Islam with local culture, which make it easy to accept by locals. For example, in Java, the place where most of Muslim lives in Indonesia, they use wayang, a traditional puppet show to spread Islam value. Some of Islam leader even created traditional song to spread Islam. This way, Islam can easily entered many substance of Indonesian people life in the past and survive until today.
The assimilation also makes Islam in Indonesia different than other Muslim country. There are many local traditions that were used for commemorating many Islam events. For example, in Maulid or the celebration of Prophet Muhammad birthday, many areas in Indonesia hold parade. And there are even many unique Islam-related traditions, if you search more.
And, that’s not all about indonesia as largest Muslim community. Even though there are so many Muslim live in this country, this country itself isn’t Islam country. Indonesia use democracy and modern government system. But, unlike most of country that separate religion and country matter, Indonesia maybe the only country with democracy system that assimilate religion in its government system. This is what makes this country become one of unique country in the world.