Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, ASIAN HISTORY ( (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2020. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 10 July 2020

Islam in Southeast Asia to c. 1800

Summary and Keywords

Southeast Asia has been a historical crossroads of major world civilizations for nearly two millennia. Muslim traders were sojourning along the shores of the Indonesian archipelago from at least the 8th century, and by the turn of the 14th century local Muslim communities had taken root, and the region’s first sultanate was established in northern Sumatra. Since then, Muslim communities had been established across many other parts of Southeast Asia, where in the 21st century they comprise demographic majorities in the nation-states of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei and significant minority populations in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Singapore.

The Islamization of these societies, and their inclusion into an expanding constellation of Muslim societies in the medieval and early modern periods, was facilitated by intensifications of activity along the maritime trading routes linking Southeast Asia to ports on the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and Swahili Coasts with those of India and China over the medieval and early modern periods. Over the course of this history, the expansion of Islam in the region was not dominantly directed from any single source but rather the result of diverse, interlaced strands of commercial and cultural circulations that connected the region to multiple points in an expanding Muslim world—adopting local traditions to produce diverse and dynamic vernacular forms of Islamic cultural expression.

Keywords: Islam, Southeast Asia, Arabic, Malay, Javanese, history, religion, literature, art

Early Connections and Intensifying Circulations

Early Arabic geographers were writing about Southeast Asia since at least the 9th century, although early texts often depict the region as an exoticized realm of treasure, monsters, and other exotic enticements.1 By the 10th century, however, another source base begins to provide us with more sober notices of the presence of Muslims having settled—or at least having spent longer sojourns—in Southeast Asia. This is found in the form of references to merchants and diplomatic envoys bearing identifiably Muslim names in Chinese texts recording their appearances at the Celestial Court representing tribute-trade missions from Sumatra, Brunei, Java, and Champa.

The increasing prominence of Muslim involvement in these networks between East and Southeast Asia coincided with a period of expanding trade in the Indian Ocean.2 In the east, this is evident in the maritime networks of the Chola Empire, stretching from their home coasts in south India to the Maldives, Lanka, and the Indonesian Archipelago and up the coast of southern China.3 Along the western shores of the Indian Ocean trade flows were stimulated by the renewed engagement with Red Sea maritime trade under the Fatimid and Ayyubid dynasties in Egypt.4 A significant factor here was the flourishing of the kārim between the 12th to 15th centuries, facilitating commercial connections between Egypt, southern Arabia, and India. Though known to us at present primarily through Arabic (and Judeo-Arabic) sources, the name for this Indian Ocean trading system appears to have been derived from the Tamil word kāryam (“business”)—pointing to the dynamic interaction between interconnected patterns of maritime circulations during this period.5

With this intensification of trade across the Indian Ocean, the first major progress of Islamization in the islands dotting the maritime routes becomes evident, most notably with the conversion of the king of the Maldives and the establishment of a sultanate there in 1153.6 At this point, however, the picture we have of the Indonesian archipelago still seems to be one of highly mobile Muslim individuals gaining positions of prestige in a few well-connected Southeast Asian port polities, rather than of the establishment of self-identifying Islamic polities and the conversion of demographically significant portions of local communities in Indonesian archipelago.7

Gradually, however, the island world of Southeast Asia came to be increasingly recognizable as a rolling frontier of an expanding world of Islam. In Arabic language sources, a shift in perspective can be traced through the appearance and expansion in the use of the word “Jāwa.” This came to be used as a broad designation for this region, and adjectival forms based upon it served to identify some of the region’s exotic export products.8 The earliest onomastic usage of “Jāwī”—in the name of Abū ʿAbd Allāh Masʿūd b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Jāwī—is found in a text describing a renowned teacher of Sufism in Arabia in the 13th century.9 Over the centuries that followed, use of the term Jāwa in Arabic came to mark a distinct geography within an interconnected constellation of societies across the maritime worlds of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea: these societies both self-identified, and were recognized by co-religionists elsewhere, as Muslim.

The transition to new dynamics of Islamization that eventually resulted in the identification of local communities in the region as Muslim begins in the late 13th and 14th centuries—fueled by accelerating and intensifying patterns of commercial and cultural circulation. It is important to note here that these historical processes of “Islamization” were, moreover, not solely or even predominantly about religious “conversion” as the term has come to be understood in the modern period (i.e., as individual action reflective of an inner transformation that determines new patterns of outward behavior and reflects an abrupt break with the past). Rather, in the sources available to us, it appears to have been more a matter of broader, collective changes of peoples and polities. These processes were often gradual and may even be viewed on the scale of centuries of history in the formation of new Muslim societies that maintained considerable continuities with their pre-Islamic predecessors.10 This has led some scholars to use the term “adhesion” (rather than “conversion”) to describe the processes by which communities in pre-modern Southeast Asia came to identify as Muslim.11 Reid, however, has called attention to the significant signs of breaks with aspects of earlier traditions involved in Southeast Asian Islamization—citing examples such as circumcision and dietary change (particularly in abstaining from pork) that dramatically mark the assumption of an Islamic identity in the region.12 Introducing a landmark new volume on analogous transformations across a much broader geographic scope, Andrew Peacock has reemphasized the term “Islamisation” (earlier proposed by Ricklefs for historians of Southeast Asia) as a more encompassing rubric “to refer to the broad processes by which societies were transformed from being non-Muslim to Muslim.”13

The complexly interrelated economic, political, and cultural transformations comprising the early “Islamization” of island Southeast Asia involved diverse dynamics. One aspect of the story of Islamization that has received a predominance of attention in modern scholarship has been the role of “Sufism.” Under this broad and often vaguely defined rubric, the literature has actually developed along several lines that may at times intersect with one another but that do not necessarily cohere into any kind of unified body of interpretation. For some, “Sufism” has been taken to imply some sort of “softer” expression of Islam—one that both tempers essentialist conceptions of “orthodox” rigidity while at the same time providing mechanisms for the assimilation of local, pre-Islamic belief and practice into “syncretic” forms. We find this, for example, in many discussions of the wali songo—the collective designation for “nine saints” traditionally associated with the Islamization of Java.14

Other discussions have approached Sufism from a more institutional perspective, looking to the role that Sufi orders (ṭarīqa/pl. ṭuruq) may have played in facilitating the expansion of networks of mystics to incorporate new territories on the broadening frontiers of Islam in the region.15 Still others have explored the Sufism in the region in relation to the production and circulation of texts in Arabic and regional vernaculars as mechanisms for the “transmission” of particular forms of Islam to Southeast Asia.16 The efforts of scholars working in these two areas in particular has done much over the past two decades to enrich our understandings of the formation, consolidation, and historical evolution of Islamic traditions in the region. This has not, however, generally contributed substantially to discussions of Islamization as the empirical data available on the earliest period does not provide a firm foundation for the kinds of arguments about the role of “Sufism” that have long dominated the field. Anthony Johns, who in his early career was a prominent advocate of a theory of Islamization highlighting the role of Sufis, later changed his position on this issue.17 The development of analogous discussions of the role of Shiʿism in the history of Islam in Southeast Asia has also recently been critically revisited by a number of scholars in a 2015 edited volume.18

Alongside Sufism other (more this-worldly) theories have also been advanced to explain the Islamization of Southeast Asia. In particular a focus on the expansion of trade along maritime networks has been (over)extended into an aspect of causal explanations of the spread of Islam. In such arguments, it is not uncommonly posited that Islamization was stimulated by the attractions of the prosperity and cultural styles of well-traveled Muslim merchants who could at time become influential on local traders and the rulers of the ports they frequented. At the same time, intermarriage between high-status male sojourners and local women may also have been a significant factor—producing offspring who both followed the faith of their fathers and emerged as new Muslim merchant elites with local roots, cultural knowledge, and connections. Parallel to these arguments, some have also invoked notions of “trust” between co-religionists as an aspect of the trans-regional trade networks of the medieval and early modern periods. While each of these theories of Islamization builds upon a foundation in the broader economic history of the region, the specific human dynamics involved in shifts in religious identification here also remain largely speculative due to constraints of available source bases.

It does appear, nonetheless, that new visions of ascendant Islamic prestige and power across the region inspired imaginations in places such as Sumatra, where the first-known ruler of a Southeast Asian port-polity announced his conversion to Islam and the assumption of the title “Sultan” of Pasai at the end of the 13th century. Pasai’s early sultans adopted their regnal names from those of contemporary Ayyubid rulers. They also bolstered their claims to Islamic political legitimacy by welcoming ʿAbbāsid émigrés escaping eastward overseas in the wake of the Mongol conquest of Baghdad.19 When Ibn Baṭṭūṭa visited this Sumatran port-polity in the mid-14th century, he described its Sultan, Al-Malik al-Ẓāhir, as an adherent of the Shāfiʿī school of jurisprudence, a patron of religious scholars, and the leader of campaigns to bring the unbelievers under his rule and to exact from them the jizya (military exemption levy) as the price of protection under an Islamic ruler.20


The flourishing of Pasai in the 14th century coincided with a significant period of transition in the history of Islam in Southeast Asia. During this period, we can begin to detect significant shifts in the profile of Muslims in the region from small port enclaves of “foreign” Muslims in the merchant milieu of prospering port polities to the beginnings of a broader Islamization of local communities. This is evidence, for example, in the proliferation of inscribed Muslim gravestones and other monuments across the region: in Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, and the Sulu Archipelago, as well as on Java.

By the early 15th century, the most prominent Muslim port polity of the region was Melaka, whose ascendancy was linked to both its place within expanding Muslim trade networks and its special relationship to China. Melaka became a regular stop for the Chinese Muslim admiral Zheng He, who led a series of voyages by Ming imperial fleets across Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean between 1405 and 1433. Geoff Wade has characterized these naval expeditions as having had “the added unintentional effect of linking together the major Muslim communities in southern China, and those throughout Southeast Asia and India, with the societies of the great Islamic centers of western Asia.”21

In Melaka itself, diverse expressions and understandings of Islam came together and contributed to the formation of a new Malay Muslim vernacular language and culture that defined models of literary productions, court ceremonial, and state legitimacy that came to be adopted and adapted by a number of other sultanates in the region over the following centuries. While Melaka flourished, new Muslim communities were also proliferating across the Indonesian archipelago at Patani, Brunei, and the “Spice Islands” of Maluku over the later 15th and early 16th centuries. At the same time the north coast of Java was, like Melaka, Islamized to a considerable extent within contexts of increasing engagement with Chinese Muslim and other maritime connections in the early 15th century.22

At the turn of the 16th century, the Portuguese launched a crusade to wrest control of these expanding maritime Muslim networks that culminated in the conquest of Melaka in 1511. The fall of this preeminent entrepôt, however, did not deliver them their desired monopoly on regional trade. Rather, it stimulated further diasporas and the emergence of new Muslim communities across the region. The Portuguese conquest of Melaka also served to galvanize a new sense of Islamic identity molded in opposition to Iberian expansion in the region. These dynamics appear to have impelled and expansion and acceleration of Islamization (as well as conversion to Christianity) across island Southeast Asia that have shaped the cultures of both confessional communities to this day.23

Over the course of the 16th century, Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra emerged as a bulwark of Islam in the region.24 This reputation was buttressed not only by its oppositional stance to the Portuguese but also by its appeals to solidarity with other Muslim communities across the Indian Ocean world, as well as by its patronage of Islamic scholarship and literary production. By the 17th century, Aceh had become well established as a center for the production of Islamic religious texts in both Arabic and Malay—as well as a model for the redefinition of Muslim courtly culture in the region under a succession of both male and female rulers. Aceh was foremost among a number of Southeast Asian sultanates that capitalized on the booming trade of the period and used that prosperity to develop new forms of Islamic culture as they grew to ascending levels of power and prestige in the 17th century.

Two of Aceh’s most important contemporaries in the Indonesian Archipelago were Banten in west Java, and Makassar in South Sulawesi (whose king had converted in 1605). From these large regional sultanates, moreover, distinct cultural styles developed that came to be influential in the formation the local traditions of a number of smaller port polities that flourished across the region. Javanese, for example, played important roles in the formation of court cultures in South Sumatra, Banjarmasin, and Lombok. The influence of styles of vernacular Muslim expression developed in south Sulawesi in the early 17th century can likewise be traced through the culture histories of petty sultanates in the eastern regions of the Indonesian Archipelago. At the sultanate of Bima on the island of Sumbawa, for example, styles of funerary architecture based on models from Makassar marked royal graves, even while the literary culture sponsored by the court modeled itself in part on Malay styles that were the legacy of Melaka.


The 17th and 18th centuries can be productively considered as the great age of Muslim vernaculars in Southeast Asia and beyond.25 During that period, forms of Southeast Asian Islamic literature flourished in an expanding number of languages. Genres of markedly Muslim textual production in Malay and Javanese existed even before this, and indeed these two literary languages were adopted by courts that were sometimes rather far afield from the geographical homelands of these languages. Over the 17th and 18th centuries, however, other idioms of Islamic literary expression developed in regional languages including Makassarese, Bugis, Wolio, Tausug, Sundanese, Madurese, Sasak, Minang, and Acehnese (among others). These local literatures sometimes developed bodies of texts that were adaptations of works produced in the broader regional languages of Javanese and Malay, while also developing their own distinctive stylistic forms, genre conventions, and canons of content.26 Textual production in these languages spanned (to different extents) a range of poetry and prose genres, including romances, epics, court chronicles, love stories, Sufi verse, hagiographies, and devotional works, as well as texts transmitting and interpreting elements of Islamic jurisprudence and theology. In many (but not all) cases, these works were written in forms of local languages employing a modified form of Arabic script—often designated by particular terms such as pegon for Javanese, sérang for Bugis and Makassarese, and jawi for Malay.

The adoption of this Arabic term for the last of these reflects the increasing integration of Southeast Asian authors into a broader world of Islamic textual circulations. Ronit Ricci’s work presents a window onto some of these dynamics with regard to the development of a constellation of interconnected Islamic literary traditions in Malay, Javanese, and Tamil. She describes this in terms of an “Arabic cosmopolis” of literatized Asian vernaculars of the eastern Indian Ocean region.27 At the same time, however, we should not lose sight of the fact that the Arabic language itself continued to play diverse and important roles the history of Islam in Southeast Asia. This extended well beyond the ritual language of the Qurʾan, defining an authoritative body of texts for the study of the Islamic religious sciences and its active use as a language of texts actively produced by Southeast Asian scholars themselves.

We find scholars bearing the al-Jāwī nisba as teachers, as well as students, in Arabia from the late 13th to the 19th centuries. Others identified with this same element in their names worked primarily in Southeast Asia. While earlier scholarship on these scholarly networks tended to cast the participation of Southeast Asian scholars in these networks as individual nodes in the linear “transmission” of specific forms of Islamic knowledge, it is increasingly clear that a number of them were actually engaged with the ongoing production of texts that served to substantively define aspects of evolving traditions of learning. Their work contributed to the ongoing development of Arabic-based Sufi mystic and Shāfiʿī jurisprudential traditions across the vast seascape of the Indian Ocean littoral through the 19th century.28 Alongside this were further significant expansions in the library of Malay-language texts in the Islamic religious sciences.29 Francis Bradley has traced the later development of this textual traditions and the Islamic educational institutions in which they were taught through networks that grew out of Patani (in what is 21st-century southern Thailand) to Mecca and circulating back around the Indian Ocean littoral to many parts of island Southeast Asia.30

In addition to such mechanisms for the consolidation of Islamic textual traditions and educational institutions in the region, other processes of deepening Islamization also advanced along different lines. While most of the Muslim states in Southeast Asia during this period were predominantly maritime sultanates, in Java another kind of Islamic political formation developed in the agrarian state of Mataram. The Muslim port polities that had been established on Java’s north coast since the early 15th century fell under the sway of this inland kingdom over the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Under Sultan Agung (r. 1613–1646), the court culture of Mataram integrated elements of Javanese culture and religious cosmology with a pronounced commitment to Islamic identity. Agung himself combined claims to supernatural power rooted in his mystical “marriage” to Ratu Kidul (the Javanese “Goddess of the Southern Ocean”) with the adoption of the title of “sultan” for which he sent an embassy to Mekka, thus setting a precedent of combined foundations of supernatural legitimation for Javano-Islamic kingship that held for nearly two centuries. He cast himself in the role of a heroic “Sufi warrior” on the frontier of an expanding Dār al-Islām, while back at his refined court he commissioned the production of a new corpus of Javano-Islamic literature. Sultan Agung’s remarkable career as “reconciler” of Javanese traditions and Islam served to establish the foundations of what M. C. Ricklefs has referred to as a “mystic synthesis” that framed Javanese Muslim identity and experience for two centuries.31

The adoption of Islam as the religion of the Javanese population as a whole under Mataram presents one of the region’s most dramatic manifestations of a transition between the maritime circulations of elite Muslim individuals and mass local conversions to Islam. However, while sometimes dazzling in its aesthetic forms, Java’s “mystic synthesis” is far from the only example of the ways in which the court cultures of the region supported the development of new forms of vernacular culture that were simultaneously both deeply engaged with pre-Islamic forms and self-consciously redefined in relation to a new sense of Islamic identity. Manifestations of such Muslim cultural fluorescence can be traced across a variety of fields, including architecture, literature, and the performing arts.

Discussion of the Literature

Formations of vernacular Muslim expression in Southeast Asia have tended to be interpreted by modern scholars as signs of the limits of Islamization in Southeast Asian societies. The inability of many outside observers to recognize “Islam” in the region—in what could appear at times in an aesthetic markedly different from those of the somewhat more familiar forms of Islamic art and architecture from the Middle East, North Africa, or northern India—has contributed dominant tropes to the literature that have tended to cast the Muslim societies of the region as “exceptional” in their localization and, consequently, peripheral to the academic study of Islam. With this relative isolation from the broader field of Islamic studies, the study of Muslim societies in the region was largely left to anthropologists and historians of Southeast Asia who—unfamiliar with some of the broader dynamics of Islamic civilization—tended to highlight the particular while often regarding “Islam” as a “foreign” and even “superficial” element of local cultures and societies.

William Roff has critiqued the “Obscuring of Islam” in historical and ethnographic scholarship on Southeast Asia that advanced views in which Islam was seen as (to quote here from van Leur) “a thin, flaking glaze” on the ancient Indic legacies and indigenous foundations of Southeast Asian societies and that constructed overdrawn divisions between “Islam” and “custom” to argue for the limited progress of Islamization in the region.32 Such trends within modern scholarship have, moreover, resonated with an influential strand of Muslim discourse in which projects for “reform” seeking to define the tradition in a more focused way upon literalist readings of scripture and appeals to the precedents set by the Prophet and his first followers in 7th-century Arabia. These confessional projects for the purification of Islamic belief and practice thus both echo aspects of, and mutually reinforce, analogous visions of an imagined “pure” Islam of Arabia that became lushly overgrown with tropical creepers as it made its way toward the eastern frontier of the umma that had been common in some Western understandings of the Islam in the region. In this, modern religious reform discourses and social scientific scholarship generated outside the faith shared some fundamental suppositions about what Islam “really” is, which in turn served as a touchstone in evaluations of local Muslim understandings and experiences as “syncretic” or “deviant.”

Approaches to Islamization as complex and extended historical processes stand in contrast to a formative pre-occupation of work on Islam in Southeast Asia that focused on discussions of origins. Academic debates over “the source” for the introduction of Islam to Southeast Asia have tended to be addressed by way of arguments that treated the issue of “origin” in the singular—with various authors advancing theses in the form of “Islam came to Southeast Asia from . . . X.” The variable at the end of the sentence could be variously defined, and as time went on several different theories were advanced in polemical exchanges with each other. By the turn of the 20th century, most European scholarship on the issue argued for an “Indian” origin of Islam in Southeast Asia—sometimes refined in terms of specific regions, with various cases being made in particular for Gujarat, Bengal, and Tamil Nadu.33 Reacting to such theories as a perceived slight against the “purity” and hence the “authenticity” of Islam in the region, a number of Southeast Asian authors argued instead for models of “Arab” origins with earlier dates—often also in rather vague terms.

Over the past two decades, however, increasing attention was drawn in particular toward the diaspora of sayyids from the Hadramawt across the Indian Ocean littoral.34 Hadramis have indeed been present in many of the region’s port cities and royal courts since at least the 17th century—and, in some cases, they clearly did exercise significant influence, sometimes even to the point of seizing power for themselves in established Muslim regional sultanates.35 However in such contexts they were most often merely one element of the diverse foreign Muslim communities to be found in the port polities of the region in the precolonial period. It was only in the latter half of the 19th century that, equipped with British passports after the annexation of their homeland in southern Arabia, they made use of emerging communications and transportation technologies to rise to prominence across a number of Muslim majority societies around the Indian Ocean world. While diasporic Hadrami sayyids have played important historical roles in the Southeast Asia, ascribing to them the role of preeminent pioneers of Islamization thus reflects a rather anachronistic view of their position in the region.

Other modern scholars have advanced equally politicized positions that point to China as the origin of Southeast Asia’s Muslim communities. This has proven to be one of the most controversial theses in these debates, shaped in particular by modern conceptions of Chinese ethnicity in the region constructed in opposition to the identity of “local” Muslim populations. Nevertheless, it is now increasingly recognized by historians of the period that Chinese Muslim diasporas did play a role in early dynamics of Islamization, particularly in Java and Brunei, even if at present the precise nature and extent of this role remains rather imperfectly understood.

Looking back at the thousands of pages, and the depth of the passions stirred by debates over the “origins of Islam” in Southeast Asia, it needs to be understood that the larger issue is not how “wrong” any particular theory was but rather coming to terms with the fact that a good many of them are—to certain degrees—“right.” The respective points of these various factions in academic debates on the Islamization of Southeast Asia are not, however, correct to the exclusion of the others. The matter is not that “Islam came from X,” rather than Y, first, once, and for all. Rather the story of the Islamization of Southeast Asia is one of diverse, interlaced strands connecting the region to multiple points in an expanding Muslim world and weaving together with local traditions to produce diverse and dynamic local forms of Islam. Some aspects of these processes can be traced through the histories of Southeast Asian Muslim societies enmeshed within overlapping and multidirectional economic, material, and cultural exchange between the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia that stretch back to the pre-Islamic period and accelerated over the course of the 2nd millennium ce.

Conceptualizing these historical processes in terms of “circulations” rather than of the “transmission” of Islam in the Indian Ocean world can thus contribute to more nuanced understandings of the complex, multi-vectored processes by which Southern Asia came to be home to some of the world’s largest Muslim populations and how this region became an integral part of the world of Islam over the medieval and early modern periods. More generally, envisioning cultural interactions between Muslim societies in such a way along multiple vectors can also facilitate more nuanced appreciations of Islam as a global civilization that moves us beyond models of a Middle Eastern “center” with Asian and African peripheries.

The turn toward circulations as opposed to linear transmissions of Islam has been gaining ground over the past decade.36 The empirical foundations upon which such new understandings of the history of Islam in the region have been based, in part, on work by a new generation of scholars directing attention toward the study of texts in Arabic as well as in Southeast Asian languages. Complemented by broader turns in the field involving new attention to Islam by anthropologists and other social scientists working on Southeast Asia (particularly from Robert Hefner and John Bowen), studies of the history of the region have taken increasingly sophisticated approaches to Islamic textual traditions of the region. Over the latter decades of the 20th century, important philological work on Islam in Southeast Asia had been conducted by G.W.J. Drewes, A. H. Johns, Lode Brakel, Edwin Wieringa, and others. At the turn of the 21st century a broader new generation of scholars began publishing work engaging with texts in Arabic and/or regional vernaculars for both historical and ethnographic studies, including Michael Laffan, R. Michael Feener, Julian Millie, Oman Fathurahman, Francis Bradley, Ismail Alatas. The profile of such work has continued to expand since then, with work emerging from multiple institutional and national contexts that now includes Japan, Australia, Europe, and North America, as well as a burgeoning body of work produced in the region itself. This has led to important advances in scholarship on law, Sufism, literature, the performing arts, ritual practice, and the occult sciences in their historical contexts.37

Arabic epigraphers have also brought their own specialized skill set for dealing with pre-modern texts to the field, publishing important new sources and new readings of this material record of early Muslim culture in the region. The most important work to date in this field has been that produced by Claude Guillot and Ludvik Kalus. At the same time, work on art and architectural history has also contributed by both expanding upon the epigrapher’s focus on the textual contents of inscriptions and exploring broader fields of visual and material cultures of the region in relation to Islam. This includes a growing body of work on the aesthetic forms developed at the courts of Southeast Asian sultanates, as well as distinctive regional and local features of manuscript illumination, mosque architecture, court compounds, and funerary monuments by scholars including Annabel Teh Gallop, John Miksic, Denys Lombard, Elizabeth Lambourn, Ahmed Wahby, and Hélène Njoto, as well as forthcoming work from Jessica Rahardjo.

Related to this work in art history, there has also been substantial progress in developing the historical archaeology of Southeast Asia with studies that have richly contributed to our understandings of the early history of Islam in the region.38 In particular, we now have the benefit of rich archaeological reports on the important sites of Barus, Banten, Patani, and the funerary monuments of peninsular Malaysia published by the École Fançaise d’Extrême-Orient under the direction of Claude Guillot, Daniel Perret, and Heddy Surachman. Offshore, maritime archaeology has also made important new contributions particularly through work on a number of early shipwrecks revealing the nature of the commercial networks that facilitated circulations of Muslim mariners and merchants around the Indian Ocean and South China Sea.39

The dramatic impact of natural disasters on the southeast has also recently redirected scholarly attention to the potential historical implications of such events in this volcanically active and seismically unstable region. Anthony Reid has done recent work in this area that has inspired a number of other scholars to begin exploring textual traditions of the region with an eye to both identifying major disasters in the documentary record and to try and understand the ways in which these events shaped historical developments and cultural production.40 Others have also begun to engage more directly with the geological record in a collaborative research project that brings together the work of natural scientists with that of archaeologists, epigraphers, and historians to develop even broader and more complex interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the complexity of factors that have been involved with the history of Islam in the region.41 Such work goes beyond simply identifying religious interpretations of natural disaster to instead look more critically at the complex ways in which environmental factors have shaped both the geography of Islamic expansion and the everyday experiences of Muslim communities across the region.

Primary source bases for the pre-modern history of Islam in Southeast Asia range across a diverse array of languages and genres. As archeological materials have already been touched upon earlier in this article, this section will focus on textual sources for the study of Islam in the region. By way of a brief overview, this section points to some of the available guides to these sources in the form of manuscript catalogues, published translations, and studies treating documentary sources in specific languages, as well as major archives where such material can be found. Where relevant, hyperlinks to online resources providing access to catalogues, digitized collections of texts, and other material for further study are included in this section as well.

The last two decades have seen an increase in activity in the cataloguing and digitization of Islamic manuscript collections from many parts of Southeast Asia. An impressive amount of this recent cataloguing activity has been done by a circle of scholars in Japan, producing a series of important publications.42 Outstanding among the digitization projects to date have been the Indonesian collections documented by the Endangered Archives Project, which includes local collections from Aceh, West Sumatra, Kerinci, Riau, East Java, Makassar, Buton, and Ambon. Published guides to this material can be found that cover collections of texts in multiple Indonesian languages across many different libraries.43 And there are others that focus on particular national collections.44 A number of manuscript catalogues and shorter handlists also specialize in texts in a particular language or related constellations of literary languages such as Malay and Minangkabau or Javanese, Balinese, and Sasak.45 There are also a more limited number of guides and manuscript catalogues for material from local traditions such as Acehnese.46 There are also catalogues focused on local manuscript collections in the region.47 Modern scholarship on manuscripts from the region has also produced a body of critical editions of selected texts—many of which appear in series of editions with English translation, Romanized transcriptions, and/or facsimile reproductions. The Bibliotheca Indonesica series includes Romanized editions with English translations of Malay, Javanese, Sundanese, Acehnese, and Balinese texts published over the past half century by a succession of publishers in the Netherlands.48 A similar range of texts has been produced in real-size format with facsimiles of the originals in the Manuscripta Indonesica series The Karya Agung series focuses on facsimile reproductions and transcriptions of works in Malay. Important resources for scholars working on such material include the Malay Concordance Project, as well as a recently published sourcebook on jawi paleography and orthography. For studies of texts in the Islamic religious sciences written and/or studied in the region, there is also a catalogue available of the extensive collection of Southeast Asian Kitabs at Sophia University in Tokyo, as well as the Concise Handlist of Jawi Authors and Their Works compiled by Nicholas Heer.

Crucial source bases for the study of the history of Islam in Indonesia are also found in texts from languages originating outside the region. Arabic in particular presents a range of different kinds of texts that are relevant for the study of Islam in Southeast Asia, including geographies and travel accounts, biographical dictionaries, and works in the Islamic religious sciences written by or commented on by scholars from the region.49 Even Qurʾan manuscripts can be potentially valuable sources if read attentively with attention to colophons, commentary, annotations, stylistic development of calligraphic styles and ornamentation—as well as other aspects of the texts state of preservation and the conditions of its acquisition.50

Another valuable and still under-explored primary source base for the history of the region can be found in Chinese-language texts.51 These sources provide some of the earliest documentary records we have of Muslims active in Southeast Asia, but the guides to this literature in common use by non-Sinologists are in need of substantial updating.52 The most extensive online resource for such material in English translation is Geoff Wade’s work on the Ming Shi-Lu.

Persian mariners were sailing to and through Southeast Asia even before the rise of Islam, but Persian sources for the early history of Islam in the region are still under explored.53 A handful of Persian inscriptions have been found on 15th-century Muslim grave markers from Sumatra, and over the 16th and 17th centuries Persians seem to have risen to prominence in other parts of Southeast Asia, and particularly at the Siamese court of Ayutthaya.54 While several scholars of Malay literature have written of perceived “influences” from Persian in the texts they study, the number of actual Persian texts at work here that have been identified still remains small.55 The only full translation of a major Persian source for the history of Southeast Asia to date is the Ship of Sulaiman, but the Persian text of al-Nīshābūrī’s Jāmʿa al-bar waʾl-baḥr is currently being edited with an English translation of its sections on Southeast Asia by Rogieh Ebrahimi.56 Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam have produced recent studies of Persian-language travel writings that describe and comment on Southeast Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries.57

Sources in Ottoman Turkish relevant to the study of Islamic history in Southeast Asia have been surveyed in English by Ismail Hakkı Göksoy and Ismail Hakkı Kadı.58 Explorations of potential material in Urdu relevant to the history of Islam in Southeast Asia is still in its infancy.59 Tantalizing mentions of the region also appear in studies of Islamic literature produced in Arabic-script Tamil (arwi).60 Interactions between Tamil and Malay were highlighted almost a century ago by van Ronkel.61 But these have only recently begun to receive more extensive treatment in the work of Torsten Tschacher and Ronit Ricci. The major European-language sources for the history of Islam in Southeast Asia are in Dutch, English, and Portuguese and can be found in their respective colonial archives. Relevant archival material can also be found in French and Spanish, as well as occasional texts to be found from travelers to the region writing in German, Danish, Czech, Russian, and other languages. Limitations of word count here, however, make it impossible in this article to present even a basic listing of major archives—let alone specific titles.

The range of materials to be dealt with here poses considerable challenges to the ability of any one scholar, making conversations and collaborations across specialist field boundaries an imperative to further work in the field. At the same time, much more also remains to be done in the way of focused studies of both individual manuscripts and related constellations of texts in specific languages. The point here is not, however, a simple need to “fill in gaps.” In a complex field such as this, which spans such a broad geographic and chronological range there is simply no chance of covering all the lacunae we face in understanding the history of Islam in the region. Rather, what is needed are new models for integrating the careful reading of individual texts into engagement with relevant source material from other linguistic and historiographical traditions, as well as with the broader developments now taking place in the fields of archaeology, art, and environmental history.

Further Reading

Andaya, Leonard Y. Leaves of the Same Tree: Trade and Ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka. Singapore: NUS Press, 2010.Find this resource:

Azra, Azyumardi. The Origins of Islamic Reformism in Southeast Asia: Networks of Malay-Indonesian and Middle Eastern ‘Ulamā in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Bennett, James, ed. Crescent Moon: Islamic Art & Civilisation in Southeast Asia. Adelaide: Art Gallery of South Australia, 2005.Find this resource:

Bradley, Francis R. Forging Islamic Power and Place: The Legacy of Shaykh Dāʾūd bin ʿAbd Allāh al-Faṭānī in Mecca and Southeast Asia. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2016.Find this resource:

Braginsky, Vladimir. The Heritage of Traditional Malay Literature: A Historical Survey of Genres, Writings, and Literary Views. Leiden, The Netherlands: KITLV Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Brinkgreve, F., and R. Sulistianingsih, eds. Sumatra: Crossroads of Cultures. Leiden, The Netherlands: KITLV Press, 2009.Find this resource:

Feener, R. Michael, Patrick Daly, and Anthony Reid, eds. Mapping the Acehnese Past. Leiden, The Netherlands: KITLV Press, 2011.Find this resource:

Feener, R. Michael, and Terenjit Sevea. eds. Islamic Connections: Muslim Societies in South and Southeast Asia. Singapore: ISEAS Press, 2009.Find this resource:

Formichi, Chiara, and R. Michael Feener. eds. Shiʿism in South East Asia: ʿAlid Piety and Sectarian Constructions. London, U.K.: Hurst & Company, 2015.Find this resource:

Feener, R. Michael, and Anne M. Blackburn, eds. Buddhist and Islamic Orders in Southern Asia: Comparative Perspectives. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2019.Find this resource:

Gibson, Thomas. Islamic Narrative and Authority in Southeast Asia: From the 16th to the 21st Century. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.Find this resource:

de Guise, Lucien, ed. The Message & the Monsoon: Islamic Art of Southeast Asia. Kuala Lumpur: IAMM, 2005.Find this resource:

Jones, Russell. “Ten Conversion Myths From Indonesia.” In Conversion to Islam, Edited by Nehemia Levtzion, 129–158. New York, NY: Holmes & Meier, 1979.Find this resource:

Kumar, Ann, and John H. McGlynn, eds. Illuminations: The Writing Traditions of Indonesia. Jakarta: The Lontar Foundation, 1996.Find this resource:

Laffan, Michael. The Makings of Indonesian Islam: Orientalism and the Narration of a Sufi Past. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011.Find this resource:

Reid, Anthony. Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, 1450–1680. 2 vols. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993.Find this resource:

Ricci, Ronit. Islam Translated: Literature, Conversion, and the Arabic Cosmopolis of South and Southeast Asia. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2011.Find this resource:

Ricklefs, M. C. Seen and Unseen Worlds in Java: History, Literature, and Islam in the Court of Pakubuwana II, 1726–1749. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1998.Find this resource:

Ricklefs, M. C. Mystic Synthesis in Java: A History of Islamization from the Fourteenth to the Early Nineteenth Centuries. Norwalk, CT: East Bridge, 2006.Find this resource:

Riddell, P. Islam and The Malay-Indonesian World: Transmissions and Responses. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2001.Find this resource:


(1.) Although the discussion in this essay will draw widely on several bodies of specialized scholarship, citations will be kept to a minimum of references available in English (where possible). Also due to constraints of word limits, when referring to an individual scholar’s larger body of work, the name will be hyperlinked to an online resource where a bibliography and/or electronic copies of selected works by that author may be available.

(2.) Janet Abu Lughod, Before European Hegemony: The World System, A.D.1250–1350 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1989).

(3.) Hermann Kulke, K. Kesavapany, and Vijay Sakhuja, eds., Nagapattinam to Suvarnadwipa: Reflections on the Chola Naval Expeditions to Southeast Asia (Singapore: ISEAS, 2009).

(4.) Kirti Narayan Chaudhuri, Trade and Civilisation in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1985).

(5.) Goitein, S. D. “The Beginnings of the Kārim Merchants and the Nature of their Organization,” in Studies in Islamic History and Institutions, ed. S. D. Goitein (Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1966), 351–360.

(6.) Harry Charles Purvis Bell, The Maldive Islands: Monograph on the History, Archaeology, and Epigraphy (Malé, Maldives: Novelty Printers, 2002). The Maldives had significant interactions with Muslim port polities of Southeast Asia—and Aceh in particular—starting from at least the 16th century. For resources on this history in relation to broader Indian Ocean circulations of Islam, see: Maldives Heritage Survey.

(8.) Michael Laffan, “Finding Java: Muslim Nomenclature of Insular Southeast Asia from Srivijaya to Snouck Hurgronje,” in Southeast Asia and the Middle East: Islam, Movement, and the Longue Durée, ed. Eric Tagliacozzo (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009).

(9.) R. Michael Feener and Michael F. Laffan, “Sufi Scents Across the Indian Ocean: Yemeni Hagiography and the Earliest History of Southeast Asian Islam,” Archipel 70 (2005): 185–208.

(10.) Merle Calvin Ricklefs, “Six Centuries of Islamization in Java,” in Conversion to Islam, ed. Nehemia Levtzion (New York, NY: Holmes & Meier, 1979), 100–128.

(11.) As introduced to the conversation on Islam in Southeast Asia by Nehemia Levtzion, “Toward a Comparative Study of Islamization,” in Conversion to Islam, ed. Levtzion, 19.

(13.) A. C. S. Peacock “Introduction: Comparative Perspectives on Islamisation,” in Islamisation: Comparative Perspectives from History, ed. A. C. S. Peacock (Edinburgh, U.K.: Edinburgh University Press, 2016), 4. In earlier studies of Southeast Asia, “Islamisation” had already emerged as an important framework in the seminal essay by M. C. Ricklefs, “Six Centuries of Islamization in Java,” in Conversion to Islam, ed. Levtzion, 100–128.

(14.) On the wali songo in history and local literary traditions, see Theodore Pigeaud, Islamic States in Java 1500–1700 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1976); D. A. Rinkes, Nine Saints of Java (Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Sociological Research Institute, 1996); M. C. Ricklefs, Mystic Synthesis in Java: A History of Islamization from the Fourteenth to the Early Nineteenth Centuries (Norwalk, CT: East Bridge, 2006); and Jaques, R. Kevin, “Sajarah Leluhur: Hindu Cosmology and the Construction of Javanese Muslim Genealogical Authority,” Journal of Islamic Studies 17, no. 2 (2006): 129–157.

(15.) For studies of the later history of Sufi orders in the region, see Martin van Bruinessen, “The Tariqa Khalwatiyya in South Celebes,” Excursies in Celebes (Leiden, The Netherlands: KITLV Uitgeverij, 1991), 251–270; Martin van Bruinessen, Tarekat Naqsyabandiyah di Indonesia (Bandung, Indonesia: Mizan, 1992); and Oman Fathurahman, Tarekat Syattariyah di Minangkabau (Jakarta, Indonesia: Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient, 2008); and Fakhriati, Menulusuri Tarekat Syattariyah di Aceh Lewat Naskah (Jakarta, Indonesia: Departemen Agama, 2008).

(16.) Important examples of this include Tudjimah, Asrār al-insān fīʾl-maʿrifat al-rūḥ waʾl-raḥmān, (Jakarta, Indonesia: Penerbitan Universitas, 1961); A. H. Johns, ed., The Gift Addressed to the Spirit of the Prophet, (Canberra, Australia: Australian National University, 1965); G. W. J. Drewes, Directions for Travellers on the Mystic Path: Zakariyyā al-Anṣārī’s Kitāb fatḥ al-raḥmān and Its Indonesian Adaptations (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1977); Syed Muhammad Naguib al-Attas, ed., A Commentary on the Hujjat al-Siddiq of Nur al-Din al-Raniri (Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Culture Malaysia, 1986); N. Lubis, ed., Syekh Yusuf Al-Taj Al-Makasari: Menyingkap Intisari Segala Rahasia (Bandung, Indonesia: Penerbit Mizan, 1996); and Oman Fathurahman, ed., Tanbīh Al-Māsyī: Menyoal Wahdatul Wujud—Kasus Abdurrauf Singkel Di Aceh Abad 17 (Jakarta, Indonesia: Mizan, 1999).

(17.) Anthony Johns, “Islamization in Southeast Asia: Reflections and Reconsiderations with Special Reference to the Role of Sufism,” Southeast Asian Studies 31, no. 1 (1993): 43–61.

(19.) C. Guillot and L. Kalus, Les Monuments Funéraires et L’histoire Du Sultanat de Pasai à Sumatra (XIIe-XVIe Siècles) (Paris, France: Maison Des Sciences De L’homme, 2008).

(20.) H. A. R. Gibb and C. F. Beckingham. The Travels of Ibn Battuta, AD 1325–1354, vol. 4 (Abington, U.K.: Ashgate, 2015): 876–877.

(21.) Wade, “Early Muslim Expansion in South-East Asia.”

(22.) Graaf, H. J. de and Theodore Pigeaud, Chinese Muslims in Java in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries: The Malay Annals of Semarang and Cerbon (Melbourne, Australia: Monash University Publishing, 1984); S. O. Robson, “Java at the Crossroads,” (Bijdragen to de Taal-, Land-En Volkenkunde 137, 1981); and Alexander Wain, “China and the Rise of Islam on Java,” in Islamisation: Comparative Perspectives from History, ed. A. C. S. Peacock (Edinburgh, U.K.: Edinburgh University Press, 2017).

(23.) B. Schrieke, Indonesian Sociological Studies, vol. 2 (The Hague: W. van Hoeve Ltd., 1957), 309; Anthony Reid, “Islamization and Christianization in Southeast Asia: The Critical Phase, 1550–1650,” in Southeast Asia in the Early Modern Era: Trade, Power, and Belief (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993), 151–179.

(24.) For an overview of the history of Islam in Aceh and discussions of various source bases for the study of this Sumatran sultanate, see R. Michael Feener, Patrick Daly, and Anthony Reid, eds., Mapping the Acehnese Past (Leiden, The Netherlands: KITLV Press, 2011).

(25.) R. Michael Feener, “Southeast Asian Localisations of Islam and Participation within a Global Umma, c. 1500–1800,” in The New Cambridge History of Islam, ed. Anthony Reid, David Morgan, and R. Michael, vol. 3 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 470–503.

(26.) For a monumental collection of studies on the literatures of translation that flourished in a range of Southeast Asian languages, see Henri Chambert-Loir, ed., Sadur: Sejarah Terjemahan di Indonesia dan Malaysia (Jakarta, Indonesia: École Francaise d’Extrême-Orient, 2009).

(28.) Kooria, Mahmood. “Cosmopolis of Law: Islamic Legal Ideas and Texts across the Indian Ocean and Eastern Mediterranean Worlds” (PhD diss., Leiden University, 2016).

(29.) M. van Bruinessen, Kitab Kuning: Pesantren Dan Tarekat (Bandung, Indonesia: Penerbit Mizan, 1995).

(31.) Ricklefs, Mystic Synthesis in Java, 33–54.

(32.) William R. Roff, “Islam Obscured? Some Reflections on Studies of Islam and Society in Southeast Asia,” in Studies on Islam and Society in Southeast Asia, ed. W. R. Roff (Singapore: NUS Press, 2009), 3–32; and J. C. Van Leur, Indonesian Trade and Society: Essays in Asian Social and Economic History (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Foris, 1983), 95.

(33.) G. W. J. Drewes, “New Light on the Coming of Islam to Indonesia,” Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 124, no. 4 (1968): 433–459.

(34.) Major works produced during this boom of scholarship on the Hadrami diaspora include: Ulrike Freitag and William G. Clarence-Smith, eds., Hadhrami Traders, Scholars and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean, 1750s–1960s (Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1997); Huub de Jonge and Nico Kaptein, eds., Transcending Borders: Arabs, Politics, Trade, and Islam in Southeast Asia (Leiden, The Netherlands: KITLV Press, 2002); Engseng Ho, The Graves of Tarim: Genealogy and Mobility Across the Indian Ocean (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006); and Nico Kaptein, Islam, Colonialism and the Modern Age in the Netherlands East Indies: A Biography of Sayyid ʿUthman (1822–1914) (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2014).

(35.) Engseng Ho, “Before Parochialization: Diasporic Arabs Cast in Creole Waters,” Transcending Borders: Arabs, Politics, Trade, and Islam in Southeast Asia, ed. Huub de Jonge and Nico Kaptein (Leiden, The Netherlands: KITLV Press, 2002), 11–36; and A. C. S. Peacock, “Sufi Cosmopolitanism in the Seventeenth-Century Indian Ocean: Shariʿa, Lineage and Royal Power in Southeast Asia and the Maldives,” in Challenging Cosmopolitanism: Coercion, Mobility, and Displacement in Islamic Asia, ed. Joshua Gedacht and R. Michael Feener (Edinburgh, U.K.: Edinburgh University Press, 2018), 53–80.

(37.) Kooria, “Cosmopolis of Law”; Oman Fathurahman, ed., Itḥaf Al-Dhakī: Tafsir Wahdatul Wujud Bagi Muslim Nusantara (Jakarta, Indonesia: Mizan, 2012); Ricci, Islam Translated; Julian Millie, Splashed by the Saint: Ritual Reading and Islamic Sanctity in West Java (Leiden, The Netherlands: KITLV Press, 2009); and Farouk Yahya, Magic and Divination in Malay Illustrated Manuscripts (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2006).

(38.) Within Indonesia, work in this direction has been pursued by Hasan M. Ambary and Uka Tjandrasasmita. See H. Ambary, “Rapport préliminaire sur les manuscripts anciens et les vestiges épigaphiques de Ternate et Tidore,” Archipel 23 (1982): 135–145; H. Ambary, “L’Art funeraire Musulman en Indonesie des origines aux XIX siècle” ([École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales dissertation, 1984); Hasan Mua’rif Ambary, “Epigraphical Data from 17th–19th Century Muslim Graves in East Java,” in Cultural Contact and Textual Interpretation: Papers from the Fourth European Colloquium on Malay and Indonesian Studies, Held in Leiden in 1983, ed. C. D. Grijns and S. O. Robson (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Foris, 1986); and Uka Tjandrasasmita, Arkeologi Islam Nusantara (Jakarta, The Netherlands: KPG, 2009).

(39.) See, for example, Michael Flecker, The Archaeological Excavation of the 10th Century Intan Shipwreck (Oxford, U.K.: British Archaeological Reports Oxford, 2002); Michael Flecker. “The Thirteenth-Century Java Sea Wreck: A Chinese Cargo in an Indonesian Ship,” The Mariner’s Mirror 89, no. 4 (2003): 388–404; Horst Liebner, “The Siren of Cirebon: A 10th Century Trading Vessel Lost in the Java Sea” (PhD diss., University of Leeds, 2014); and A. Chong and S. A. Murphy, eds., The Tang Shipwreck: Art and Exchange in the 9th Century (Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum, 2017).

(40.) Muhammad Saleh, Krakatau: The Tale of Lampung Submerged (John H. McGlynn, Trans.). (Singapore, NUS Press, 2014); A. Reid, “Population History in a Dangerous Environment: How Important May Natural Disasters Have Been?” (Masyarakat, Indonesia: Majalah Ilmu-Ilmu Sosial Indonesia, 2014), 505–526; A. Reid, “History and Seismology in the Ring of Fire: Punctuating the Indonesian Past,” in Environment, Trade and Society in Southeast Asia, ed. David Henley and Henk Schulte Nordholt(Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2015), 62–77; and A. Reid, “Two Hitherto Unknown Indonesian Tsunamis of the Seventeenth Century: Probabilities and Context,” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 47, no. 1 (2016): 88–108.

(41.) K. Sieh, et al., “Penultimate predecessors of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Aceh, Sumatra: Stratigraphic, Archaeological, and Historical Evidence,” Journal of Geophysical Research 120 (2015): 1–18. A series of articles by members of this same team on centers of maritime trade and the early history of Muslim settlement on the Aceh coast is currently in preparation.

(42.) Including O. Fathurahman and Munawar Holil, eds., Katalog Naskah Ali Hasjmy Aceh (Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 2007); S. W. R. Mulyadi and H. S. Maryam R. Salahuddin, eds., Katalogus Naskah Melayu Bima (Bima, Indonesia: Yayasan Museum Kebudayaan Samparaja Bima, 1990–1992); and M. Yusuf, ed., Katalogus Manuskrip Dan Skriptorium Minangkabau (Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 2004).

(43.) Henri Chambert-Loir and Oman Fathurahman, World Guide to Indonesian Manuscript Collections (Paris, France: Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient, 1999).

(44.) Jan Just Witkam, Inventory of Oriental Manuscripts in the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam. (Leiden, The Netherlands: Ter Ligt Press, 2006–2007); T. E. Behrend and T. Pudjiastuti, eds., Katalog Induk Naskah-Naskah Nusantara (Jakarta: Perpustakaan Nasional Republik Indonesia, 1997–1998); and M. C. Ricklefs, P. Voorhoeve, and A. T. Gallop, Indonesian Manuscripts in Great Britain: A Catalogue of Manuscripts in Indonesian Languages in British Public Collections (Jakarta, Indonesia: Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient, 2014).

(45.) Teuku Iskandar, Catalogue of Malay, Minangkabau, and South Sumatran Manuscripts in the Netherlands, vol. 1 (Leiden, The Netherlands: Universiteit Leiden, 1999); Edwin Wieringa, Catalogue of Malay and Minangkabau Manuscripts in the Leiden University Library and Other Collections in the Netherlands, 2 vols. (Leiden, The Netherlands: Leiden University Library, 2008); Nancy K. Florida, Javanese Literature in Surakarta Manuscripts, 3 vols. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 1993–2012); Timothy E. Behrend, “Small Collections of Javanese Manuscripts in Indonesia,” Archipel 35 (1988): 23–42; and Geoffrey Marrison, Sasak and Javanese Literature of Lombok (Leiden, The Netherlands: KITLV Press, 1999).

(46.) P. Voorhoeve, Catalogue of Acehnese Manuscripts (Leiden, The Netherlands: Leiden University Library, 1994).

(47.) O. Fathurahman, Katalog Naskah Dayah Tanoh Abee, Aceh Besar (Jakarta, Indonesia: Komunitas Bambu, 2010); and Ikram Achadiati et al., eds., Katalog Naskah Buton: Koleksi Abdul Mulku Zahari (Jakarta: Yayasan Obor Indonesia, 2001).

(48.) These have been, in succession: Nijhoff (The Hague), Foris (Dordrecht), KITLV, and Brill (Leiden).

(49.) For decades, the standard guides to this literature for historians of Southeast Asia have been the works of Gabriel Ferrand, Relations de voyages et textes géographiques arabes, persans et turks relatifs à l’Extreme-Orient du 8e au 18e siècles; traduits, revus et annotés (Paris, France: Leroux, 1914); G. R. Tibbetts: Arab Navigation in the Indian Ocean before the Coming of the Portuguese (London, U.K.: The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1971); Study of the Arabic Texts Containing Material on South-East Asia (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1979). One important new Arabic edition and English translation of a very early text (Akhbār al-ṣīn wa-hind) has recently been published by Tim Mackintosh-Smith in Philip F. Kennedy and Shawkat M. Toorawa, eds., Two Arabic Books (New York: New York University Press, 2014); Historical studies of Southeast Asia that have drawn on this material include Azra, Origins of Islamic Reformism; Feener and Laffan, “Sufi Scents across the Indian Ocean”; R. Michael and Feener, “ʿAbd al-Samad in Arabia: The Yemeni Years of a Shaykh from Sumatra,” Southeast Asian Studies 4, no. 2 (2015): 259–277; Leiden University houses perhaps the largest collection of Arabic manuscripts from Indonesia, listed among the holdings in P. Voorhoeve, Handlist of Arabic Manuscripts in the Library of the University of Leiden and Other Collections in the Netherlands (The Hague: Leiden University Press, 1980); and J. J. Witkam’s Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts in the Library of the University of Leiden and Other Collections in the Netherlands. However, Arabic texts of Southeast Asian provenance can also be found in sometimes unexpected places in other European collections. Other important collections of Arabic texts relevant to the history of the region can be found in the Hadramawt, in collections including the al-Ahqaf Manuscript Library (Maktabat al-Aḥqāf) in Tarim.

(50.) For example, the Danish Royal Library holds a Qurʾan manuscript pierced through the center with a bullet hole from a battle in the Dutch war in Aceh and a note on the collection of this text by a Danish physician that accompanied the campaign. Perho Irmeli, Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts: Codices Arabici & Codices Arabici Additamenta, 3 vols. (Copenhagen: NIAS, 2007), Cod. Arab. Add. 47. For more on the Qurʾan in Southeast Asian history, see: Kawashima Midori, The Qurʾan and Islamic Manuscripts of Mindanao (Tokyo, Japan: Institute of Asia Cultures, Sophia University, 2012); Annabel Teh Gallop, “The Art of the Qurʾan in Southeast Asia,” in Word of God, Art of Man: The Qurʾan and Creative Expression (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 191–204; and Ali Akbar, “The Influence of Ottoman Qurʾans in Southeast Asia through the Ages,” in From Anatolia to Aceh: Ottomans, Turks and Southeast Asia, ed. A. C. S. Peacock and Annabel Teh Gallop (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2015).

(51.) For an overview of Chinese sources for the early history of Islamization in Southeast Asia see: Geoff Wade, “Early Muslim Expansion in South-East Asia, Eighth to Fifteenth Centuries,” in New Cambridge History of Islam, vol. 3 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 366–408, Other major studies using Chinese source material for the history of Southeast Asia in the period covered here include: Jitsuzo Kuwabara, “On P’u Shou-Keng, a Man of the Western Regions, Who Was the Superintendent of the Trading Ship’s Office in Chüan-Chou towards the End of the Sung Dynasty,” Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko 7 (1935); M. Nakahara, “Muslim Merchants in Nan-Hai,” in Islam in Asia (Southeast and East Asia), ed. Raphael Israeli and Anthony H. Johns (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1984); Geoff Wade and Wang Gungwu, eds., Southeast Asia-China Interactions (Singapore: NUS Press, 2007); and the work of Roderich Ptak.

(52.) W. P. Groeneveldt, Notes on the Malay Archipelago and Malacca Compiled from Chinese Sources (Batavia, NY: W. Bruining & Co., 1880); and W. W. Rockhill, “Notes on the Relations and Trade of China with the Eastern Archipelago and the Coasts of the Indian Ocean During the Fourteenth Century,” T’oung Pao 15.3–16.1 (1914–1915).

(53.) For a general overview see: G. E. Marrison, “‘Persian Influences in Malay Life,” Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 28 (1955): 52–69; Brian E. Colless, “Persian Merchants and Missionaries in Medieval Malaya,” Journal of the Malayan Branch, Royal Asiatic Society 42 (1969); and Claude Guillot, “La Perse et le Monde malais. Échanges commerciaux et intellectuels,” Archipel 68 (2004): 159–192.

(54.) For more on this: Leonard Y. Andaya, “Ayutthaya and the Persian and Indian Muslim Connection,” in From Japan to Arabia: Ayutthaya’s Maritime Relations with Asia, ed. Kennon Breazeale (Bangkok, 1999), 119–136; and Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit, A History of Ayutthaya (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 125–130.

(55.) See, for example, Vladimir Braginsky, “Jalinan dan khazanah kutipan; Terjemahan dari bahasa Parsi dalam kesusastraan Melayu, khususnya yang berkaitan denan ‘cerita-cerita Parsi,” in Sadur: Sejarah Terjemahan di Indonesia dan Malaysia (Jakarta, Indonesia: École Francaise d’Extrême-Orient, 2009), 59–117.

(56.) Muhammad ibn Ibrahim, The Ship of Sulaiman (John O’Kane, Trans.) (London, U.K.: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973).

(57.) Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Indo-Persian Travels in the Age of Discoveries 1400–1800 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2007); and Writing the Mughal World: Studies on Culture and Politics (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2011).

(58.) See the contributions of both authors to R. Michael Feener, Patrick Daly, and Anthony Reid, eds., Mapping the Acehnese Past (Leiden, The Netherlands: KITLV Press, 2011); and A. C. S. Peacock and Annabel Teh Gallop, eds., From Anatolia to Aceh: Ottomans, Turks and Southeast Asia (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2015).

(59.) Pioneering work on this has been done by Vladimir Braginsky and Anna Suvorova: “A New Wave of Indian Inspiration, Translations from Urdu in Malay Literature and Theatre,” Indonesia and the Malay World 36 (2008): 115.

(60.) Takya Shuʿayb, Arabic, Arwi and Persian in Sarandib and Tamil Nadu (Madras, India: Imamul ‘Arus Trust, 1996).

(61.) P. Van Ronkel, “Het Tamil-element in het Maleisch,” Tijdschrift van het Bataviaasch Genootschap 45 (1902): 97–119.