Introduction / History
The Arabs living in Indonesia are mostly descended from the Hadrami. The prominent people among them with investing in real estate and trading got power financially.
Before Islam came to Indonesia, Arabs had had contact with Indonesia for many years. Arabs may have come to live in Indonesia first of all in the fifth century. Some Arabs came to Indonesia while the country was under Dutch rule. They looked after and increased their finances. Some Arab Indonesians joined the people's council of the Dutch East Indies called Volksraad. Due to difficulties with native Indonesians and the Dutch, organizations for Arab Indonesians began in 1913. An Indonesian national movement called Persatoean Arab Indonesia began in 1934.
The first Arab immigrants to Indonesia are called Totok and are a minority. The majority are called Muwallad and were born in Indonesia.
Many of the Arabs from Hadramaut were Sayyid and Sharif and had favorable positions among the Hadrami people. A non Sayyid could not marry the daughter of a Sayyid but a Sayyid could marry a non Sayyid woman.
Where are they Located?
They are living in Java and South Sumatra mostly. They can also be found in Jakarta, Kalimantan, Maluku and Sulawesi. They speak Arabic and Indonesian.
What are Their Beliefs?
Arabs in Indonesia are nearly all Muslims. They are usually Sunni Muslims and live according to Shafi'i Islamic law. The minority are Shia but they are increasing. Children usually go to Madrasahs (Islamic schools). The Arabs living in Indonesia follow orthodox Islam unlike the local inhabitants who have more localized forms of Islam.
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