The globalization is a phenomenon much talked about the modern universe, and while there has been a strong focal point on how the globalization procedure has stimulated the ‘Westernisation ‘ of states and civilizations, there has been less attending given to the ‘Arabization ‘ of others. This paper seeks to research the consequence ‘Arabization ‘ of Islam is holding on Southeast Asiatic civilizations and faiths by analyzing the alterations in Islamic practises.
This paper is non trying to sort spiritual beliefs into set classs in footings of civilization or practise, though farther definitions are given in the footers to avoid any confusion by the reader. The footings ‘Arab Islam or Arabization ‘ , ‘Neo-Fundamental ‘ and ‘Wahhabism ‘ are non used in an interchangeable mode in this paper, but are depicting different elements of a common social/religious phenomenon ; likewise with the footings ‘Sufism ‘ , ‘Islamism ‘ , ‘Moderate Islam. ‘ However, the footings Middle East and the Arab people and their civilizations are used in an exchangeable manner. Furthermore the footings mentioned above are utilised in this paper in a board mode.
This paper does non seek to put any moral opinions on the issues covered in the issues or constructs discussed.
What we are seeing in Southeast Asia is non a ‘renewal of Islam ‘ as many bookmans have noted, in fact the mention to a resurgence of Islam in Southeast Asia is misdirecting. We are non seeing a resurgence or a ‘deepening ‘ in Islamic beliefs but a new strain of Islam coming from the Arab civilization or the Arab apprehension of Islam into the Southeast Asiatic part. This new Arab Islamic influence is changing the traditions of Islam in Southeast Asia, and holding a dramatic consequence on local civilizations and the relationship between the faiths in Southeast Asia. This signifier of Arab Islam or ‘Arabization ‘ of Islam has been translocated to Southeast Asia through increased communicating, foreign support, travel and information sharing between Asia and the Middle-East. In this regard, the new signifier of Islam has entered Southeast Asia much like a societal motion carried through the agencies and procedures of globalization.
Islamic religionism by and large distinguishes two signifiers of Muslim belief ; One normative and formal, and the other more accommodating and informal. The latter signifier is known for its ability to intermix other spiritual and cultural traditions into its spiritual patterns. This signifier is frequently communicated and taught orally. The former is basically concerned with homogenizing Islamic traditions and predominately transmitted through readings or declaiming. The latter better describes the autochthonal Islamic traditions in Southeast Asia, while the former describes Islamic practises in the Middle East, or Arab states. This inclusive and adaptative signifier of Islam traditionally found in Southeast Asia has led some to mention to the traditional signifiers of Southeast Asiatic Islamic faith as moderate/modern.
Islam was brought to Southeast Asia from every bit early as the twelfth Century through the Islamic bargainers from the Middle East. The gradual exposure that Southeast Asia received through the Arab bargainers can assist to explicate the signifier and nature of autochthonal Islam in the part. Local groups would hold been increasingly educated in the Islamic faith, leting clip for the local people to slowly intermix the Islam into their manner of life. The gradual exposure experienced from the early twelfth Century is non what is go oning with Wahhabism or Arab Islam in modern Southeast Asia today.
Due to the increased of easiness and rate of travel, communicating and the transmittal of thoughts in modern times, ( normally referred to the procedure of Globalisation ) this new strain of new Islam ( Arab Islam/neo-fundamentalism ) in Southeast Asia has been spread with unprecedented velocity. The term Arabization refers to more than merely a displacement in spiritual piety, but instead to the increased function of the Arab reading of Islam in codifying societal behavior in all domains of life, and this behavior ( such as frock, linguistic communication, ceremonials etc. ) is visually and culturally similar to Arab Islamic civilizations.
Southeast Asia ‘s traditional Islam ‘s high degree of syncretism allowed it to blend different beliefs or practises into the Islamic faith. This includes narratives, beliefs and cultural practises of non-Muslim faiths such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Animism. This signifier of Islam is frequently referred to as Sufism or Mystic Islam. Southeast Asiatic Muslims were able to integrate Islam into their ain distinct cultural, cultural and national individuality, and hence identified themselves foremost by their ethnicity or civilization and so by their faith. Though it must besides be noted that there are documented incidents of the Sufi Movement moving to removed autochthonal and ‘folk ‘ traditions.
However in Southeast Asia since 1960 ‘s and 70 ‘s there has been a move to the Wahhabi signifier of Islam ( Wahhabism ) , more normally found in the Middle East. The ‘Wahhabi ‘ credo of Islam is characterised by a greater accent on ritual and codification of behavior. Since the Islamic faith was founded in the Arab universe, and the original Muslims largely Arab, everything associated with them, such as the cultural norms, names, household construction, have been associated with the Islamic Religion. This signifier of individuality is premised in an apprehension and a belief that to be a ‘true Muslim ‘ 1 has to integrate Arab Islamic traditions into every facet of life. This is debatable in Southeast Asia, as the huge bulk of Moslems are non of Arab descent, and the Arab civilization is non autochthonal to the Southeast Asiatic landscape.
The current Wahhabism/neo-fundamental motion in Southeast Asia can be explained through the pervasion of thoughts through increased connexion and transference through cultural medium such as Television, films, intelligence, etc. , though more concrete illustrations of the non-southeast Asiatic Islamic provinces actively seeking to advance Wahhabi Islam can be found. It was common practise in the 1960 ‘s for sermonizers from Pakistan to get in Malaysia and Indonesia to change over and ‘revive ‘ Islam in the part. The most common modern signifier of the exportation of Arab Islam or Wahhabism in Southeast Asia is the support of Wahhabi-dominated spiritual schools in the part – peculiarly in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and the Southern states of Thailand.
The development of Arabization in Southeast Asia coincides with the universe broad revivals of the Islamic motion. It is of import to do the differentiation between two strands of the renascent motion ; one, Islamism and the other Neo-Fundamentalism. Islamism can be defined as the societal and spiritual motion aimed at edifice of an Islamic province ( s ) . The Islamism motion can be seen in Southeast Asiatic states such as local motions coercing the political nature in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Mindanao. It does non needfully seek to alter cultural or spiritual patterns. Neo-fundamentalism is non merely a societal motion, but besides an political orientation. It has the aim of beef uping the worldwide Muslim Ummah on a spiritual footing. It is concerned with transforming human behavior in line with the codifications and forms of ingestion and communicating delinked from any specific civilization. The Neo-fundamentalism motion is characterised by multinational groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah.
Although these two signifiers of Islamic revival may be linked, and in some instances blurred, neo-fundamentalism has serious branchings in footings of the autochthonal civilization of Southeast Asia. Neo-fundamentalism stresses the differences between spiritual belief and civilization, and infers that any cultural practises that are non derived from Islam or the birth topographic point of Islam ( the Middle-East ) are sharply contrary to the Islamic religion. This has led some Muslims in Southeast Asia to change their cultural or geographic related traditions and civilizations. Due to this phenomenon, Professor Ghoshal argues that the spread of Wahhabism or neo-fundamental in Southeast Asia is more than a alteration in ‘tone ‘ of the faith, but it is really superposing a really different civilization into the part.
The rise in neo-fundamentalism ( and in relation to this, the rise of Wahhabism ) can besides be viewed as a lending factor in some spiritual struggles in Southeast Asia. In countries where neo-fundamentalism has gained a bridgehead, there may be an addition in spiritual intolerances for any non-Muslim traditional practises, such as Hindu, Buddhist or Christian. Though, it is incorrect and extremely inaccurate to assume that all Islamic struggle in Southeast Asia is due to the rise of Islamic neo-fundamentalism. Most violent struggle that involve Muslims in Southeast Asia, such as the Free Aceh Movement or the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are besides based on visions of patriotism or independency, or have been sparked over issues of in-migration or resource allotment, instead than entirely spiritual differences.
Another illustration that is really likely linked to the rise in Islamic neo-fundamental practises ( or Wahhabism ) in Southeast Asia can be in seen in the forbiddance of the Wayang in Kelantan. Wayang was banned in Kelantan because the narratives were based in Hindu heroic poems and were hence thought to be un-Islamic. For centuries Wayang had been portion of the Kelantese civilization, and ne’er presented an ideological challenge or clang to Islamic beliefs. This separation of indigenous/cultural beliefs and patterns from spiritual beliefs is consistent to the philosophy Wahhabism and a mark of neo-fundamentalism.
The acceptance of Middle East architecture of Southeast Asian Mosques could be an illustration of Arab influence into the part – though a more gradual and art based influence. The influence of the Arabization into the architectural practises of Southeast Asia happened every bit early as the 1900 ‘s but it is of import to observe that there are illustrations of pre-Arab influenced Mosques in the part. These Mosques reflected the architectural manners of the part or state. ( Please refer to image 1 )
Masjid Agung Demak is the authoritative illustration of a traditional Javanese mosque. ( Image 1 ) . Unlike mosques in the Middle East, it is built from lumber and has a tiered roof supported by four wooden pillars. The tiered roof shows many similarities with wooden spiritual constructions from the Hindu-Buddhist civilisations of Java and Bali. Masjid Agung Demak shows the traditional blending of cultural beliefs into Islam through the decorousness, peculiarly the carven motive of an carnal caput with an unfastened wide-toothed oral cavity. It is said that image depicts the manifested boom caught by Ki Ageng Selo ( from local Javanese folklore ) .
The differentiation between Masjid Agung Demak and Masjid Raya Baiturrahman ( a late constructed mosque ) , which contains traditional Arabic manners of architecture is striking. ( Please see Image 2 ) . Masjid Raya Baiturrahman Arab manner is exhibited through the authoritative onion shaped domes and the color strategy. Though when mentioning to the acceptance of Arab manners of architecture other considerations must be taken into history ; such as, the designers used in the building of mosques from the 1900 ‘s where frequently foreign, and normally colonial. This could intend that the acceptance of the Arab-style may hold more to make with the European apprehension of Islamic traditions, instead than a local penchant and the procedure of Arabization.
Given the nature of the new Islamic influences in Southeast Asia, autochthonal civilizations and traditional patterns may be under menace. Arab Islam ( or Arabization ) , Neo-fundamentalism and Wahhabism are non the same – but they are progressively prevailing in Southeast Asiatic civilizations, and are distinguishable going to the pre-1960 ‘s Islamic patterns in Southeast Asia. If Arabization maintains or additions impulse, Islamic autochthonal civilization is likely to be transformed into the something that resembles the Islamic and cultural patterns we see in the Middle East. This would greatly jeopardies the profusion of Southeast Asiatic civilization and alienate hereafter Southeast Asiatic coevalss to the traditions and history of their part.
Image 1. Masjid Agung Demak. Traditional fifteenth Century Javanese Mosque, Indonesia.
( beginning: Flickr.com )
Image 2. Masjid Raya Baiturrahman, otherwise known as the Banda Aceh ‘s Grand Mosque, built in the 1881 in Aceh Indonesia.
( Beginning: Flickr.com )