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The Wiki page on the spread of Islam in Indonesia stresses that our knowledge of this macro-historical process is fragmentary, for instance often we don’t how the religion diffused out into the general populace after a ruler converted. Bali seems to be the most prominent example of non-conversion, as opposed to say Java, earlier the site of the Hindu kingdom Majapahit. Javanese courts like the one in Yogyakarta retained a lot of Indic cultural features like court ritual, dance, and costumes while becoming Muslim. What prevented Balinese courts from going the same route?

Possible factors: Bali was isolated from the trade routes that spread Islam; conditions after the fall of Majapahit made Bali a refuge for fleeing Javanese aristocrats; charismatic Hindu mystics like the Shaivite Dang Hyang Nirartha (see Wikipedia) helped rejuvenate Hinduism on Bali at the same time as Java was going Muslim. And if not at that time, why not later as with Lombok and other islands to the east?

  • 2
    I think you've pretty much got the answer yourself: Bali was kind of a Hindu remnant that survived the Muslim states' eastern expansion. The religious exodus of Hindu intellectuals to Bali probably also helped fortify it against Islam's influence, unlike Lombok. – Semaphore Sep 15 '14 at 5:15
  • Thanks, although my sense is that Islamization in Indonesia was less a dynamic of state conquest than one of cultural imitation. And I'd like to know more about Java/Bali interactions during and after Majapahit, Wikipedia doesn't tell us much. – neubau Sep 17 '14 at 4:57
  • This is a good question; hope to see an answer soon. – axsvl77 Jul 21 '16 at 6:54
5

It's an interesting question (although it has been 2 years without satisfying answer; maybe you've found the answer), because it is located between Jawa Timur (East Java) and Nusa Tenggara Barat (West Nusa Tenggara), both of them have about 96% muslim population [1, 2].

Usually people will follow their leader, especially before this modern era. They respected their leader (tribal chief, king, emperor, etc) and believed what their leader said because they knew the capability and intelligence of their leader. So, my first guess is that the leader in Bali did not accept Islam as his religion.

Unfortunately, according to [3], there is no enough historical records about how Islam came to Bali.

Enough with Wikipedia which is considered "less scientific", there is an article written by a lecturer I got from a blog of Universitas Gadjah Mada's staff/lecturer [4].

1. Geographical reason

This reason is not strong enough because the distance between Jawa (Java) and Bali is only 2.4 km, they are separated by a strait.

2. Historical reason

Based on the opinion of Robert Pringle, there are some probabilities. It is only his opinion, but let's get it as a starting point.

  1. Bali has never opposed Islam openly, so it was never attacked by any Islam sultanate/kingdom. UPDATE – I am not sure about this since I found a new source about Dewa Agung who attacks or wants to attack Mataram (Lombok). I don't know if Mataram (Lombok) had been muslims or not yet then.

  2. When Majapahit Kingdom collapsed, Gelgel Kingdom raised. Mataram which superseded Majapahit was not strong enough yet. The article doesn't explain enough, but based on my knowledge: Majapahit was the superior kingdom at the time and other kingdoms in Nusantara (Indonesia) subjected (pay respect, usually also tax) to it; Mataram was an Islamic kingdom/sultanate; and Gelgel was a Hindu kingdom which controlled Bali.

  3. When Mataram raised and strong enough, and Gelgel weakened, Dutch (Netherland) came and Mataram had to resolve this external attack, so it could not handle Gelgel.
  4. Dutch became stronger and Mataram became weaker, so there was no advantage for Gelgel to convert to Islam. However, eventually Gelgel divided into 9 small kingdoms and Dutch could conquer these kingdoms easily.
2

There were several reasons, many of which you listed.

First, Bali was a relatively isolated part of the country, after Sumatra, Java, and Borneo, far from the main trade routes (near today's Malaysia). That meant that it was less susceptible to Muslim influences. (It's true that Bali is only a few miles from "Java," but that's east Java, the less accessible part of the island.)

Bali was historically a more "traditional" part of the country, a more resistant one to change. After Indonesia had adopted Hinduism, Bali, unlike the rest of Indonesia, had resisted conversion to Confuciansism.

Because of the factors outlined in the previous two paragraphs, Bali became the refuge of choice for Hindus elsewhere in Indonesia, who wanted to flee the conversion to e.g. the Muslim religion.

Finally, during the European colonial era (after the 16th century), Bali was at the geographical (as opposed to population weighted) center of the country*, and benefited from the balance of power politics involving various European and indigenous forces.

*As an example, St. Louis it at the geographical center of the U.S., but the population weighted center is further east, because of the heavy concentration on the east coast.

-2

Because Indonesia has the motto "Bhineka Tunggal Ika", which means different but still one goal, we have a tradition in Java the same as in Bali, although the majority of our islam ..

His name; Lengger

From ; Banyumas, and many other examples, that we "Bhineka Tunggal Ika" strong

In Java (Indonesia), We have Dance Lengger, The one of the banyumas (Centeral Java) culture is lengger calung. There is Lengger calung art group that grow and thrive in Banyumas region, preisely in the papringan village. The name of the community is Langen Budaya. Langen has meaning contest or having fun, Langen Budaya means contest in the culture. This community estamblished by Mr. Hadi Soemarto sukendar in 1982. He founded this community as a form of love for Indonesian culture, particular in banyumas culture (Centeral Java).

Lengger dances was used to ritual invite the rain, when the harvest or harvest season for the farmers and thanksgiving for manufacture of building. The goal that all of them were given safety. But now, the dance of lengger calung is used to fill wedding party, circumcision and cultural festival. It is done to preserve the art lengger calung banyumasan in the onslaught of foreign culture into Indonesia.

In addition, there are some people who do not like lengger. They assume thet the lengger calung culture contrary to the teachings of Islam, such as requirement that must be done to become a dancer lengger. It is considered idolatrous by some people, and also the dances that are considered nudity consist element pornographic.

source : chyrun.com

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