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The relation between Indonesia and centers of Islam development

History - Trade activities had developed among the nations in West Asia and the surroundings in the period of Umayyah Dynasty, Abbasiyah Dynasty, and other dynasties. Tradesmen made trade contacts by land and sea. They used the land route to go to Baghdad, Basra, Isfahan, and on to China, and they took the sea route to explore the Red Sea, Aden-Cambay, Bengal, Patani, Malacca, Nusantara and China.

To trade goods, Arabic traders were already able to sail to the west coast of Sumatera in order to by commodities such as spices, pepper, and camphor. For that purpose, the Arabic traders had to stay in Nusantara for some time to wait for favourable wind, some of them even built villages.

In the 9th century, some Arabic merchants who were accused of being involved in a farmers rebellion in South China ran away to Sumatra. Then thay built a Muslim village in Palembang. Besides Muslim merchants from Arabia, there were also Muslim merchants from Persia who came to Nusantara, for instance the family of Jawani who settled in Pasai in 913 AD.

The Pasay Muslim family who adopted Syiah sect built the Ciak village in East Sumatra. As for Muslim merchants from Gujarat, they were estimated to arrive in Nusantara in approximately the 13th century.

The trade and navigation relarions with Arabic and Gujarat tradesmen had contributed to the growth and development of Islam in Nusantara. The Muslim tradesmen who came to Nusantara were not only good at trading but also had expertise in farming, health matters, government, and war strategy.

The knowledge and skills of the Arabic, Persian and Gujarati people were then transferred to the local people. As a result, the local people were sympathetic to the foreigners and this had eased the way to spread Islam among Nusantara people.

Next article : The role of tradesmen and ulamas in the early process of Islam development in Indonesia
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