Malay socio-religious practices and rituals

Islam was brought to the Malay archipelago by traders, and it soon replaced earlier beliefs among the Malays. Fundamental principles of the Shafi’i school of Sunni Islam were adopted, but certain additions reflected cultural specificities of the region. Malays strictly observe the four pillars of Islam: prayer, fasting, distribution of alms and, if they can afford it, pilgrimage to Mecca. However, even fundamental tenets of Islam are subject to local interpretations. This has led to the emergence of religious sects based on the Koran, such as spiritualism and mysticism. The regional particularities in religious practice are a sign of the dynamic interaction between Islam and the Malayan culture.

Related Information

  • Author(s):
    Zainal Kling
    15th century CE to 20th century CE
    Language of article:

    UNESCO China Conference, May 1994

    Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand

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