The spread of Islam in the Nusantara is the spread of Islam in the Nusantara(now Indonesia). Islam was brought to the Nusantara by merchants from Gujarat, India during the 11th century, although Muslims have come to the Nusantara earlier. In the late 16th century, Islam has surpassed the number of adherents of Hinduism and Buddhism as the dominant religion of the nation of Java and Sumatra. Bali retained a Hindu majority, while the eastern islands remained largely animist adheres to the 17th and 18th centuries when Christianity became dominant in the area.
The spread of Islam in the Indonesia was originally driven by increasing trade links outside the Nusantara. Merchants and nobles of the kingdom of the Nusantara usually is the first to adopt Islam. The dominant empire, including the Sultanate of Mataram (in Central Java now), and the Sultanate of Ternate and Tidore in the Moluccas Islands in the east. At the end of the 13th century, Islam has been established in North Sumatra, the 14th century in the northeast Malaya, Brunei, southern Philippines, among some of the servants of the kingdom in East Java, the 15th century in Malacca and other areas of the Malay Peninsula ( now Malaysia). Although it is known that the spread of Islam began in the western side of the Nusantara, the pieces of evidence found does not indicate a gradual conversion wave in just about every area of the Nusantara, but rather that the conversion process is cumbersome and slow.
Historical evidence spread of Islam in the Nusantara in pieces and generally uninformative so understanding about the coming of Islam to Indonesia are limited. There is debate among researchers about what conclusions can be drawn about the conversion of the Nusantara. The main evidence, at least from the early stages of this conversion process, is the tombstone and the testimony of some of the pilgrims, but this can only indicate that the indigenous Muslims there are in a certain place at a certain time. Neither the government nor the Dutch colony of Indonesia prefers Hindu and Buddhist heritage sites in Java in the allocation of their resources to the excavation and preservation of ancient, less attentive to the study of the early history of Islam in Indonesia. Research funding, both public and private, was spent on the construction of new mosques, rather than exploring the old.
Before Islam have a place among the Nusantara, Muslim traders had been present for several centuries. Historian Merle Ricklefs (1991) identified two processes overlap where the Islamization of the Nusantara occur: between the Nusantara got in contact with Islam and converted to Muslim and / or Asian Muslim foreign (Indian, Chinese, Arabic, etc.) settled in the Nusantara and mingled with the community local. Islam is estimated to have been present in Southeast Asia since the beginning of the Islamic era. From the time of the third Caliph of Islam, ‘Uthman (644-656) and Muslim traders envoy arrived in China and must pass through the sea route Nusantara, through the Nusantara of the Islamic world. Through this the Arab messenger contacts between 904 and mid 12th century is estimated to have been involved in maritime trading nation Srivijaya in Sumatra. In 1405, Zheng He a representative of the Emperor Ming in China visited the Sultanate of Malacca, Parameswara Sultan himself is known to have converted to Islam and took the name of Iskandar Shah.
Initial testimony on the Nusantara traced from the Abbasid Caliphate, according to the initial testimony, the Nusantara is famous among Muslim sailors especially because of the abundance of commodities trading precious spices like nutmeg, cloves, galangal and many others.
The presence of foreign Muslim Nusantara however, did not indicate the level of indigenous conversion to Islam Nusantara large or indigenous Islamic state formation in the Nusantara. The most reliable evidence about the early spread of Islam in the Nusantara comes from Epitaph and the testimonies of pilgrims. The earliest legible tombstone is written in 475 AH (1082 AD), although owned by a foreign Muslim, there are doubts whether the headstone was not transported to Java in the aftermath of that year. The first evidence of native Muslims Nusantara from North Sumatra, Marco Polo on the way home from China in 1292, reported at least one Muslim city, and the first evidence of Muslim dynasties is gravestone dated the year 696 AH (1297 AD), of Sultan Malik al-Saleh , the first Muslim ruler of the Sultanate of Samudera Pasai, with tombstones further demonstrates the continuation of the Islamic government. The presence of the Shafi’i school of thought, which then dominates the Nusantara was reported by Ibn Battuta, a pilgrim from Morocco, in 1346. In the records of his travels, Ibn Battuta wrote that Pasai Ocean ruler is a Muslim, who perform their religious obligations mightily. Schools of Imam Shafi’i used was the same habits he saw in India.