A REMOTE ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION IN INDONESIA
ACEH WITH PECULARITIES ALL ITS OWN
CONQUESTS OF HEART AND SOUL OF ACHEHNESE
I was looking at an old publication about the Achehnese and was surprised at some of its features, which have their own peculiar charm. An island in Sumatra, which converted over a period of time from Hinduism into Islamic way of life. No swords, no conquests. No threats of any kind. And conservative Islam took its roots there all on its own. Yes a few Saints did visit Aceh and are buried there but they came centuries after the conversion of Aceh into Islam.
We find King Erlangga ruling Java from 928 to 1049 AD. Marco Polo came here in 1292 AD and found most people idol worshippers except the petty kingdom of PARLAK which was ruled by Muslims. By 1345 AD when Ibn Battuta came here, he found it under the Sultan Al-Malik Al-Zahir. The remarkable thing is that there were no wars of any kind. Muslim had won the hearts and souls of the people of Indonesia, here Aceh.
One of its most amazing aspect is the rule of SULTANAS over Aceh. The best period of Aceh is considered to be the period when women ruled over the Island. The most famous Sultana is Sapiatodin Shah who ruled from, 1640 to 1675 in Aceh. She is remembered to this day for her ruling style. A famous Saint Abdur Rauf Teungku di Kaula wrote a book on Islam and dedicated it to her, extolling her virtues. Other Sultanas like Inayat Shah are also remembered in such a way by Arab travelers. Aceh also produced Warrior Queens.
The disgust started when the Dutch invaded Aceh for securing PEPPER and they came to be known as Pepper Wars from 1873 to 1914. Resistance was offered by many Achehnese but they died in the process as Dutch conquered the land. Many Royal monuments exist of the departed Royals but they are simple graves and are not buildings in any way. In any case an Islamic civilization developed here with many conservative aspects and yet many out of the way concepts, which can be termed as pure Secular. But that it what is missed. That Islam is in its own way approaches life in a very secular way. It is a DEEN not a religion.