Islam in Southeast Asia

Islam In Southeast Asia

Islam in Southeast Asia

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Islam is the most widely practiced religion in Southeast Asia, numbering approximately 240 million adherents which translate to about 40% of the entire population, with majorities in Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. Significant minorities are located in the other Southeast Asian states. Most Muslims in Southeast Asia belong to the Sunni sect and within it, the Shafi`i school of fiqh, or religious law. It is the official religion in Malaysia and Brunei while it is one of the six official faiths in Indonesia.


According to Islamic Council of Victoria historians argue "that by the beginning of the ninth century Arab merchants and sailors, (and other Muslims) had begun to dominate Nanhai (Guangzhou) or Southeast Asian Trade." It appears a colony of foreign Muslims on the west coast of Sumatra by 674 CE, other Muslim settlements began to appear after 878 CE when Islam increasingly took firm root amongst the people. The religion did not spread to significant parts of the population until the 12th century.

Islamization of Southeast Asia

In the 12th century, a turbulent period occurred in the history of Maritime Southeast Asia, the Indian Chola navy crossed the ocean and attacked the Srivijaya kingdom of Sangrama Vijayatungavarman in Kadaram (Kedah), the capital of the powerful maritime kingdom was sacked and the king was taken captive. Along with Kadaram, Pannai in present day Sumatra and Malaiyur and the Malayan peninsula were attacked too. Soon after that, the...
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