West Papua Diary

Tracing The Religious History of Muslim in West Papua

Tracing The Religious History of Muslim in West Papua

Muslims are the second largest religious people in West Papua Province after Protestantism. According to the Directorate of Civil Registration, around 38,15% of Muslims are in the area. It makes people wonder about tracing the religious history of Muslims in West Papua.

Then, from where and how did Islam enter West Papua? Many people are curious about that. So, here is the history of Islam in West Papua that you need to know!

First Contiguity of West Papuan and Islam

According to history, the first contiguity of Indonesian people and Islam was in the 6th or 7th century BC. However, the land of Papua only made contiguity with Islam for the first time in the 14th century BC. This is because the spread of Islam began in the western part of Indonesia, in Selat Malaka.

The first Muslim preacher that comes to Papua is Abdul Ghaffar. He came from Aceh to Fakfak in 1360 to preach about Islam around the Rumbati Village until he died in 1374. You can find his grave in the Rumbati Village Mosque Complex.

It was probably the first contiguity that the West Papuan made with Islam. However, the history of Islam in West Papua in the 14th century BC is not very massive. Until then, there were very few Muslims in West Papua.

The Spread of Islam in West Papua in The 15th to 16th Century BC

After Ulama Abdul Gafar died, Fakfak made contiguity with Islam again through the traders. Just like any other area in Indonesia, the spread of Islam started from the trade. Because Fakfak is one of the trade routes, it was the first area to make contiguity with Islam.

Apart from traders from Arabia, Selat Malaka, and other regions, one of the biggest influences in the spread of Islam in West Papua is Maluku. It was started by the Kingdom of Tidore, which embraced Islam in the 16th century BC.

Moreover, when the first Muslim King of Tidore, Sultan Ciliaci, started to expand their power and business to West Papua. However, at that time, Islam’s spread in West Papua was still not massive.

Islam Amongst West Papuans Started to Develop

The trace of Islam in West Papua began to appear in the early 17th century BC. At this time, Islam not only spread through trade. Islam began to develop in West Papua in various ways. It spread from politics, cultures, the appearance of nonformal education, and marriages.

There are many marriages between Maluku and the people of West Papua that make the followers of Islam in West Papua keep growing. There is also nonformal education that teaches children about Islam. It also makes the development of Islam in West Papua even more massive.

Aside from Fakfak, Islam started to spread in Sorong, Raja Ampat, and Onin Peninsula.

The Emergence of the Islamic Kingdom in West Papua

After the massive spread of Islam in the 17th century BC, many native tribes in West Papua began to embrace Islam. Then, there were many Islamic kingdoms in West Papua. It started when the Bacan Kingdom in Maluku began its expansion into the Onin Peninsula.

From there, the many native tribes on Onin Peninsula and Fakfak began to embrace Islam. In the end, seven Islamic kingdoms emerged in West Papua. People call it the Kingdom of Pertuanan. The kingdom was formed from several native tribes in Fakfak.

Until now, you can find the biggest Muslim community in Fakfak, Sorong, and other areas around that.

Final Words

So, it was tracing the religious history of Muslims in West Papua that you need to know. The first contiguity of the West Papuan people with Islam occurred in the 14th century BC. However, the massive development of Islamization in West Papua began to be seen in the 17th century BC.

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