Duck hunt

Islam entered the Indonesian archipelago through Aceh, and it was here that Indonesia's first Islamic
State was established. Aceh is also known as "Mecca's front verandah" among Indonesians. In the
past, Indonesians making the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca had to travel via ports in Aceh.
Aceh is the first place of Islamic dissemination in Indonesia where the first
Islamic empires have established in Peureulak and Pasai. Sultan Ali
Mughayatsyah had established the empire and located capital city in Bandar
Aceh Darussalam (now called with Banda Aceh). In that time, Islamic
religion and culture had a large influence in the daily life. So that this region
has been called as "Seuramo Mekkah" (front porch of Mecca).
The 13,000 or more islands that are now known as Indonesia were once the
home to hundreds of individual Islamic sultanates that governed their respective territories and people.
Each sultanate had Islam, a royal line of successors, sophisticated trading, business and agriculture, a
civilised social structure, successful sanitation and warfare methods and magnificent and unique Islamic
architecture in their palaces and Mosques. The modern day provincial borders of the Republic of
Indonesia can now only vaguely identify these territories and boundaries that existed up until just over
50 years ago.
The first Islamic Sultanate of the entire southern hemisphere was in Peurelak, Aceh around the year
173 AH (800 AD) where the Arab, Gujarati and Chinese Muslim traders frequented in the trade of
mainly spices. Islam first came to Aceh, after which it spread to Malaysia, West Sumatra and
Makkasar. Eventually, the island of Java syncretised Islam into their existing Hindu culture around 100
years ago.

This first old Sultanate in Aceh was Shia, whose Sultan was Alaidin Saijid Maulana Mahmud Syah,
however it was challenged by a second Sultan of the Ahlus Sunnah in 918 AD whose name was
Meurah Abdul Qadir Syah (El-Fatah, 2000) resulting in the Brothers War. Although the two Sultanates
had clear differences, when faced with an invading common enemy – the Hindus and Buddhists from
the southern islands – the two sultanates united to fight off the attack from the south.
Rise of Aceh clearly demonstrates impact of Islam and trade in contestation with Europeans.
Portuguese efforts to intervene in Pasai and Pidie, and takeover of Melaka across the straits, drove
elements interested in Islam, commerce, or local patriotism to unite in support of Sultan Ali Mughayat
Sultan worked to unite the north Sumatran coast into a new and explicitly anti-Portuguese kingdom;
ideological identity and authority of Aceh competed directly with Portuguese Melaka as center of
Islamic spice route. (Similarly, Banten in western Java emerged as an Islamic kingdom in competition
with the Hindu port of Sunda Kelapa, ruled by a Portuguese ally.)
Ottoman expansion (first to Egypt, Syria, and the Hejaz in 1516–17, then to Iraq in 1534–35) provided
new military defense of Muslim spice-trading route in the Indian Ocean. First Ottoman fleet to combat
the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean was launched by the governor of Egypt in 1537–38; this failed.
Establishment of direct commercial and diplomatic relations between Ottomans and Aceh; this led to
concept of pan-Islamic counter-crusade against the Portuguese in Southeast Asia (e.g., 1566 petition
for assistance, sent from sultan of Aceh to Ottoman sultan).
High point for Islamic military success in Southeast Asia and for Muslim-Christian polarization in the
Early 1600s
Evidence that Shari'a courts in use in Aceh, to apply Islamic law in enforcing precepts relating to
prayer, fasting, and religious orthodoxy and to deal with civil matters of debt, marriage, divorce, and
inheritance as well as criminal matters of theft, drunkenness, and so on. Introduction of the kadi (law
officer, an important figure in urban governance) dates from the 1580s. A number of Islamic leaders,
from various parts of the archipelago, centered in Aceh during the 17th century, writing voluminously
on religious topics both in Arabic and Malay. The last great mystic was ‘Abd al-Ra'uf of Singkel, born
around 1615. After studying in the Middle East, he returned to Aceh, served the sultan as secretary,
and wrote widely on law and religion. His fame as a religious reformer spread widely, before and after
his death sometime following 1693.
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