How Have Islam and Indonesian Nationalism Affected Hindu Reform in Indonesia?
A royal tomb at Samudra-Pasai, dating to 1297, is inscribed entirely in Arabic. By the 15th century the beachheads of Islam in Indonesia had multiplied with the emergence of several harbour kingdoms, ruled by local Muslim princes, on the north coast of Java and elsewhere along the main trading route as far east as Ternate and Tidore in the Moluccas. The establishment of the first Muslim centres in Indonesia was probably a result of commercial circumstances. By the 13th century, in the absence of a strong and stable entrepôt in western Indonesia, foreign traders were drawn to harbours on the northern Sumatran shores of the Bay of Bengal, distant from the dangerous pirate lairs that had emerged at the southern end of the Strait of Malacca as Srivijaya lost its influence. Northern Sumatra had a hinterland rich in gold and forest produce, and pepper was being cultivated at the beginning of the 15th century. It was accessible to all archipelago merchants who wanted to meet ships from the Indian Ocean. By the end of the 14th century, Samudra-Pasai had become a wealthy commercial centre, but it gave way in the early 15th century to the better-protected harbour of Malacca on the southwest coast of the Malay Peninsula. Javanese middlemen, converging on Malacca, ensured the harbour’s importance.
Even as Permi proposed a new possible direction for nationalism, the most politically prominent strand of Indonesian nationalism was avowedly secular, with Sukarno keeping his Partai Nasional Indonesia “closed to religion,” and Christian newspapers calling for “setting aside all religions” to achieve the goals of nationalism. Facing this staunch secularism, Islamic activists felt “boycotted, ignored, not accorded their due, their ideas not considered worthy or relevant, not embraced and employed by their fellows.” At the same time, pious Muslims generally rejected the leadership of secular nationalists (Formichi, 1982).
Like Judaism, Islam has powerful constitutional tradition that describes the rules by which believers of the religious community should live. Part of these rules includes dietary restriction against eating pork which is very similar.
Latif, Indonesian Muslim Intelligentsia and Power, 201.
Elson, “Disunity, Distance, Disregard,” 22. On Sukiman, see Abu Hanifah, Tales of a Revolution (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1972), 189.
Formichi, Islam and the Making of the Nation, 57–58; Noer, Partai Islam, 18; oral history with Harsono Tjokroaminoto, interviewed by Wardiningsih Surjohardjo, ANRI SL1 1982 #60, tape 11.