Muslim Customs in Indonesia – History, Laws, and Population

Islam is one of the formal religions in Indonesia. Beside Islam, there are some other religions that people have in the country of Indonesia, the country which known for its toleratnion. And good things to see here are the activities that people do together, even tough they have different physicial and spiritual aspects in their life.

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Talking about Islam, there are some unique informations that we want to tell you, from the history, and then go to the heritage items that still exist in Indonesia. All those informations are included in the topic of muslim customs in Indonesia. See complete of them below :


Before actually digging into the inner core about customs of Islam in Indonesia, it’s should be better if we talk about the history of Islam first. Many wonders, from where the Islam culture came from? Is it because of the traders, or there is another aspects that supporting it? Well, to answer all those questions, better we check the time line first.

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There are several speculations about the year Islam religion reached the country of Indonesia. Some say that Islam came in the 7th century, and there are other century like 11th  century or 13th . At the year of early spread of Islam in Indonesia, specifically in the year of 700, there were the merchants from Saudi Arabia who came to Indonesia to trade stuffth spices, the high quality and precious spices. And because of the social interactions between the merchants and local people, some times later some people start to have Islam as religion, but not so many of them because then, there are many kingdoms with Hinduism and Buddha religion still.

The process of spreading Islam religion is quite long actually. It needed to take for about 5 century  Islam to grow in Indonesia. During the 12th  century, one of the greatest kingdom in Indonesia, Sriwijaya, finally fell, and using that opportunity, the moslem merchants and mubaligh started to br up the Islam religion more freely.  The year of 1285, the one great Islam kingdom in Indonesia establised. Another part of Indonesia, Malaka, also started to grow its own Kesultanan called Kesultanan Malaka.

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And then, in the 15th  century, after the fall of Majapahit Kingdom, there was standing the first Islam kingdom in Java island, Demak. The Demak Kingdom also supported by other allies like Kesultanan Cirebon and Kesultanan Banten. Beside the Java island, there were numbers of Islam kingdom that finally rising. For examples, there are some kingdoms in the east side of Indonesia like Kesultanan Ternate, Gowa, and Banjar. And thanks to them all, the Islam religion grow eventually adn spread all around the country.

There are some ways to spread the Islam religion in those days. First, by the trading ,because the mubaligh can get more mass during the trading. And then throguh the way of marriage. The third one is by doing speech or Dakwah to the people, and then spreading Islam with the education, arts, culture, and a process called Tasawuf. (See also: Indonesian Angklung Facts)


The Law in Islam is basically based on the two sources, Al Qur’an and Al Hadist.  But there are actually many sources of Islam law. The Qur’an and Hadist are included in the Asliyah source. The others are Tabaiyah, Naqly, and Aqly. In Indonesia, the Islam law are more flexible now, remembering there are not only Islam people in here, but other people with different religion.But, if you want to look at how is the development of Islam law in Indonesia, better we go to the years before the Colonial Era.

In the 14th century, the Islam law is more spread, the proof of that is the Sultan Malikul Zahir from the great kingdom of Samudra Pasai, who was the Islam law exper. Many important persons from the other Islam kingdom coming to Samudra Pasai, wanting to have a meet with Sultan Malikul Zahir to discuss about the troubles in the Islam kingdoms.

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Islam law is Indonesia is very essential to the moslem, because once the accept this religion, they must do always follow the rules in Islam, where the law is included in there. The law even must be implemented in everyday’s life. Because it’s an important thing. But, the law is always anticipate the flow of age. A little different from the Western Law, the Islam law is a law that has the essential meaning and always having a soul for the new law as the human legislation and changes based on space and time spirit.(See also: Misunderstanding of Culture in Indonesia)

Locations with high populatin of moslem

Based on the Badan Pusat Statistik ( Central Corporation of Statistic), there are approximately 207 million moslems in Indonesia. And the highest province that has the highest number of moslem is West Java, having 41 million moslems. From the 33 provinces in Indonesia, there are 15 provinces that have the moslem percentage above 90% of total population. The highest percentage comes from Aceh, with its 98%.

And for the locations that have less than 50%, there are about 5 provinces, and the least one is East Nusa Tenggara with 9,05%. Aside from the Nusa Tenggara islands, the statistic also shows that the number of moslem in the big island of Papua are not too many, and even considered as low.

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The Islam heritage in Indonesia

There are several of items that resembling the Islam culture in Indonesia. And all of them still can be found today. If we list all the items as the heritage of Islam religion in Indonesia, we can show you the six items of them all in the list below :

  1. Mosques, as the praying places for the moslem. Even though the mosques that built in hundred years before, some of them are still accessable.
  2. Caligraphy, the beautiful writings with the Arabic letter
  3. The Kesulatanan, Keraton, or Palaces. There are some notable palaces in Indonesia, especially Java island
  4. Literature
  5. Pesantren, or school for Koranic studies for children and young people
  6. And of course traditions.

So those are the informations about the muslim customs in Indonesia. Beside the things we already described above, Islam religion also tells the moslem to give much respect to each other. That’s why, some moslem really give mch tolerations, especially for the people who have different religion.

And even though there’s speculations about Islam being a religion for terorists, those informations are hundred percent ain’t true. You can judge the people, but not their ideology or religion. Because there’s no single of them that have a teaching of hurting, killing, or destorying another person. The bad things like those terosists, are the reflection of themself, of being misunderstood about their own religion. Islam even stritcly forbids its people for taking suicide.

It’s time to move on to another era where we can actually have peace with other different people. We should remove the bad habits of judging people ridicilously by looking at their skin, their nationality, or even religion. Doesn’t it feel good for finally being alive in harmony?