Islam in Malaysia in 5 Questions

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Translator: Zeynep Öncül

In this piece of the series of Islam around the World, we are going to be talking about Malaysia, a country in Southeast Asia that consists of more than 18.000 islands. You can find answers to certain questions here, such as “How was Islam spread all the way to Malaysia?, How many Muslims live there?, Which mosques and important figures are located in Malaysia?” and “What are some of the challenges Muslims go through there?”.

1How large is the Muslim population in Malaysia?

Malezya İnsanlar

In Malaysia, Islam is the dominant religion. 61.2% of the population is Muslim, 19.8% are Buddhist, 9.2% are Christian, and the remaining 6.3% are Hindu, Confucianist, Taoist, and other local believers. In terms of racial distribution in the country, Malaysian people form 57% of the population, and the rest are Chinese, Hindu, Bumiputera, and others.

2How and when did Islam arrive in Malaysia?

Malezya Harita

Malacca is on the west coast of the Malay peninsula, and it is known that Islam reached there first with the journeys of Arab, Persian, and Hindu Muslims. The emperors of Malacca accepted Islam in the early 15th century, and the State of Malacca became an important power in the region, beginning from the end of the 16th century. As Islam had been spreading across the country in these earlier times, it influenced the Malaysian culture to a large extent.

3What are some popular mosques in Malaysia?

Kristal Cami, Malezya

Malaysia is a rich country in terms of mosques, and each of these mosques is famous for different reasons. To begin with, The National Mosque, which is one of the largest mosques in southeastern Asia, draws attention with its modern architecture, traditional calligraphy, and decorative arts. Furthermore, The Crystal Mosque is another beautiful mosque that is an important symbol of Islam in the country. Other famous mosques in Malaysia include Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque, Zahir Mosque with the five domes representing five pillars of Islam, Putra Mosque, and Ubudiah Royal Mosque.

4Who are the most significant Islamic figures in the country?

Hamzah Fansuri

Hamzah Fansuri, the sheik who lived in the 16th century, is one of the most important names that worked in the name of Islam. Through poetry and metaphors, Fansuri influenced many people with mystical teachings, and he contributed greatly to the spreading of Islam in the region. In addition to Fansuri, Shaykh al-Islam Semseddin Sumatrani, Nuruddin ibn Ali ar-Raniri, and Abd al-Rauf al-Sinkili are among some of the other key figures of Sufism who were working on behalf of Islam in Malaysia.

5What are the challenges Muslims face in Malaysia?

Malezya Müslüman

Since Malaysia is a country with a multiethnic, multireligious and multicultural society, from time to time certain educational and political disagreements take place. This may lead to problems among non-Muslims regarding Islamic education.

This article was originally written in Turkish. Click to read it! 5 Soruda Malezya’da İslam

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