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Religious life in Indonesia

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Religious life in Indonesia

Indonesia is a archipelago situated in South-East Asia and comprises of 13 600 islands which stretch for approximately 5000km. Islam was introduced to Indonesia in the 14th century by Gujerati merchants from India. In 1478 a coalition of Muslim princes attack the remains of the Hinduism Empire expunging Hindu from the Indonesian empire. Islam has now become the dominant religion with 87% of the population adhering to Islam, 7% are Christians while the remainder are Buddhist, Catholic or Taoist. In recent years many conflicts have arisen between Muslims, Christians and Indonesia ethnic Chinese population, because of both religious and political differences. The clashes have been severe and 1000's of people from both religions have been murdered and beaten and 100's of Chinese women have been raped. Indonesia was one of the few countries where Islam did not takeover purely by an invading military force. One feature of Islam that appealed to Indonesian's is that it does not have a caste system such as the system in the Hindu religion. Before Islam was introduced, the king had the power to take a man's wife and land. The people of Indonesia were told that in Allah's eyes all men are made of the same clay. The Islam found in Indonesia is influenced by Buddhist and Hindu practises which were prevalent prior to Islam. This translates to the fact that of the 190 million Muslims living in Indonesia only 5 to 10% adhere to a relatively purist form of Islam as seen in Pakistan. 30% adhere to a Javanised version of Islam, while the remainder consider themselves as only nominal Muslims. Although a Muslim dominated population, its political and governing institutions are secular, and have little to do with Islam. Indonesia's Muslim population does not control the countries wealth. Previous governments have restricted Islam's influence by limiting the number of Muslim political parties by often forcing them to join together. It is now widely believed that the Muslim public have began to feel a new Muslim consciousness and are seeking justice. The Muslims of Indonesia, like all Muslims, believe that Allah is the one and only God and Muhammad is his prophet. Muslims believe in many holy books, but that the Koran is the most important book, recited to Muhammad over a period of 23 years. They believe that there will be a judgement day when all people will rise from their graves and stand trail for their lives. Muslims also believe that Allah has predestined events, meaning that Allah has already chosen who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. Muslims insist that all citizens must have equal rights. No individual should ever be above the law, no matter how powerful, and no one beneath the law, no matter how humble. Allah taught that it was impossible to force people to believe what they do not wont too. Therefore people should be allowed to have free minds and follow any faith they may wish to. To a Muslim, the ideal society is one in which there is justice, peace, love and compassion. Muslims believe that Allah owns the soul and he decides when an individual will die. Therefore suicide and euthanasia is rejected in a Muslim society and abortion is only allowed when the life of the mother is at stake. Birth control is allowed as long as both parties consent. Islam is also completely against people having sexual intercourse before they are married as well as anyone who commits adultery. Islam also prohibits homosexuality believing that it is dirty and unnatural The key values of Islam are faith, justice, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, sincerity, truth, generosity, humility, tolerance, modesty, chastity, patience, responsibility and courage. The behaviours that Islam abhors are hypocrisy, cheating, backbiting, suspicion, lying, pride, envy, anger, divisiveness, excess and extremism. Many of these ideas and values are forgotten by many of Indonesia's population. The Five Pillars of Faith influence a Muslims life in Indonesia; this is because the pillars demonstrate their beliefs in Islam. These pillars include; the recital of the creed, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet", the Salat, or prayer, which must be observed five times a day while facing the holy city of Mecca; The third pillar is known as Zakat, the payment of alms to the poor and needy. Ramadan is a period of fasting held during the ninth month of the year, it is a time when a Muslim will refrain from eating, drinking or sexual intercourse between dawn and dusk; the fifth pillar is the pilgrimage to Mecca, if health and wealth permit a Muslim must trek to Mecca at least once in his or her lifetime. A Muslim's life in Indonesia is affected by what is known as Sharia law. Sharia law is a set of regulations, principles and values from which legislation is developed. It is the detailed code of conduct or the canons comprising ways and modes of worship, standards of morals and life, laws that allow and prescribe and that judge between right and wrong. Sharia can be amended according to changing social needs and this has occurred in Indonesia. Unlike other Muslim dominated countries, Sharia does not control every aspect of the Indonesian legal system. Property disputes are not settled under Sharia, neither are many other legal disputes. Secular courts have been given authority over all religious courts even at a district level. But Sharia does play a more significant role in smaller, more isolated villages. The power of Sharia in Indonesia has been tested. In 1952 a Christian male and a Muslim female petitioned the Jakarta district court to authorise their marriage. The two were not allowed to be married because it was forbid under Sharia. The court allowed them to be married effectively meaning that state law held power over Sharia. Islam's 'rites of passage' also influence an Indonesians life. Rites of passage strongly influence the names that Muslim children are given, commemoration, marriages and funerals. Muslims believe that cremation is not allowed because the body will be required when Allah resurrects people from their graves on the day of judgement. In 1973 the Indonesian government introduced a marriage bill, which placed strong restrictions on polygamy and permitted inter-religious mixed marriages. These laws went against what is stated in the Koran and upset many Muslims and the law regarding ...

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Keywords: religious beliefs in indonesia, expressing islam religious life and politics in indonesia, is indonesia religious, what are the major religions in indonesia, 5 religion in indonesia, what religion is found in indonesia

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