An Arab Indonesian family
5,000,000 Native Indonesians with Arab ancestry
|Regions with significant populations|
Jakarta, Java, West Sumatra, Aceh, Riau, South Kalimantan, South Sulawesi and Maluku
|Indonesian, Arabic, Indonesian regional languages|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Hadhramis, Arab Singaporeans, Arab Malaysians, Arab diaspora|
Arab Indonesians (Arabic: عرب إندونيسي), informally known as Jama'ah, are citizens of Indonesia of Arab, mainly Hadrami descent as well as would include those of Arab descent from other Middle Eastern Arabic speaking nations. Restricted under Dutch East Indies' law until 1919, the community elites later gained economic power through real estate investment and trading. Currently found mainly in Java and South Sumatra, they are almost all Muslims.
Indonesia has had contact with the Arab world for hundreds of years, prior to the emergence of Islam in Indonesia as well as since pre-Islamic times. The earliest Arabians to arrive into South East Asia were traders came from Southern Arabia and the Gulf Arab nations. Most of the earliest Arabians were Christian Arabians, Sabeans and other Pagan religions before the coming of Islam. These traders helped to connect the spice and silk markets of South East Asia and far east Asia with the Arabian kingdoms, Persian Empire and the Roman Empire. Most contact was with spice traders, but the first Arab settlements in the archipelago may date from the fifth century. Some later founded dynasties, including the Sultanate of Pontianak, while others intermingled with existing kingdoms. These early communities adopted much of the local culture, and some disappeared entirely while others formed ethnically distinct communities.
Modern Arab Indonesians are generally descended from Hadramis, although there are also communities coming from Arabs of Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and other Gulf nations. They are generally from upper strata and classified as "foreign orientals" (Vreemde Oosterlingen) along with Chinese Indonesians by the Dutch colonists, which led to them being unable to attend certain schools and restricted from travelling, and having to settle in special Arab districts, or kampung Arab. As liaison and to lead the community, the Dutch government appointed some Captain Arabs in the districts. These laws were repealed in 1919. A few Arabs from other countries also came to Indonesia during Dutch colonial rule.
The community elites began to build economic power through trade and real estate acquisition, buying large amounts of real estate in Batavia (modern-day Jakarta), Singapore and other parts of the archipelago. Through charity work and "conspicuous consumption", they built and protected their social capital; eventually, some Arab Indonesians joined the Volksraad, the people's council of the Dutch East Indies.
During the Indonesian National Awakening, an Indonesian nationalistic movement, Persatoean Arab Indonesia, was founded by Abdurrahman Baswedan in 1934, to be more integrated as a citizen of where they lived. To unite with the native in war against the imperialist, To forbids self isolation, to fulfill their responsibility as a citizen. Eventually leading to a "cultural reorientation".
First generation immigrants are referred to as wulayātī or totok. They are a small minority of the Arab Indonesian population. The majority, muwallad, were born in Indonesia and may be of mixed heritage.
Because of lack of information, any of Indonesian scholar mistaken The Arabs of Indonesia as Wahhabism agents, as Azyumardi Azra depicts Indonesians of Arab descent as wishing to purge Indonesian Islam of its indigenous religious elements. Indonesian critics of Arab influence in Indonesia point to the founding of the radical group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) and leadership of Laskar Jihad (LJ) and Front Pembela Islam by Indonesian Arabs.
A large amount of the Arabs from Hadramaut were Sayyid and Sharif and had special status and privileges within the Hadrami community. They are descendant of Prophet Mohammed himself. Other Muslims or a non-Sayyid could not marry the daughter of the Sayyid, while a Sayyid could marry other women (Kafa'ah) because Arab's bloodline is based on father side (Patriarchy) this custom was required to keep the bloodline of Prophet Mohammed, which is considered sacred, and a gift from The God to be born as a Sayyid/Sayyida, Sharif/Sharifa. It's really important to a Sayyids to be good person, to be a great man as his ancestor, Some of them keep their identity in secret, which is better.
The majority of Arab Indonesians live in Java, primarily in West and East Java. A sizable minority live in Sumatra (primarily in Palembang, Riau and Aceh), Kalimantan, Bali, Sulawesi and Maluku Islands.
Arab Indonesians are almost all Muslim; according to the 2000 census, 98.27 percent of Arab Indonesians are Muslim, compared to 88.22 percent of the general population. Historically, most have lived in Kauman, or the area around mosques, but this has changed in recent years. The majority are Sunni, following the Shafi'i school of Islamic law with Ba 'Alawi sada families usually follow Ba 'Alawiyya tariqa and growing minority of Shia. Children are generally sent to madrasahs.
The Islam practiced by Arab Indonesians tends to be more orthodox than the local, indigenous-influenced forms like abangan who doesn't follow some of Islamic religious restriction. Most of the sayyid families follow Ba 'Alawiyya Sufi order, pretty much different from wahhabism and shiism.
Notable Arab Indonesians
- Abdurrahman Baswedan, a diplomat, Indonesian freedom fighter and the founder of Persatoean Arab-Indonesia
- Abu Bakar Bashir, suspected head of Jemaah Islamiyah
- Ahmad Albar, a rock singer
- Ahmad Surkati, founder of al-Irsyad.
- Ali Alatas (half-Sundanese), former Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Alwi Shihab, a special envoy for Middle East
- Anies Baswedan, educator
- Habib Ali Kwitang, an Islamic Cleric and founder of Islamic Center of Indonesia
- Habib Usman bin Yahya, Mufti of Batavia
- Habib Luar Batang, a Muslim Saint
- Habib Munzir Al-Musawa, a preacher
- Haddad Alwi, a Nasheed singer
- Haidar Bagir Al-Habshi, scholar and businessman
- Hamid al-Gadri, a figure in Indonesian National Revolution and member of parlement
- Jafar Umar Thalib, the founder of Laskar Jihad
- Muhammad Rizieq Shihab, founder of FPI
- Munir Said Thalib, Human Rights activist
- Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, a politician
- Quraish Shihab, an Islamic scholar
- Raden Saleh, a painter in Dutch East Indies era
- Said Naum, a Captain of The Arabs, a Philanthropist 
- Sunan Ampel, one of Wali Songo
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