Religion 0f Lombok

Religion 0f Lombok
The island's indigenous Sasak people are predominantly Muslim however before the arrival of Islam Lombok experienced a long period of Hindu and Buddhist influence that reached the island through Java. A minority Balinese Hindu culture remains in Lombok. Islam may have first been brought to Lombok by traders arriving from Sumbawa in the 17th century who then established a following in eastern Lombok.
Other accounts describe the first influences arriving in the first half of the sixteenth century. According to the palm leaf manuscript Babad Lombok which contains the history of Lombok describes how Sunan Prapen was sent by his father The Susuhunan Ratu of Giri on a military expedition to Lombok and Sumbawa in order to convert the population and propagate the new religion. However the new religion took on a highly syncretistic character, frequently mixing animist and Hindu-Buddhist beliefs and practices with Islam.
Masters of Ceremonies employed by the Balinese rulers of Lombok C1870.

A more orthodox version of Islam increased in popularity in the early twentieth century. The Indonesian government agamaization programs (acquiring of a religion) in Lombok during 1967 and 1968 led to a period of some considerable confusion in religious allegiances and practices. These agamaization programs later led to the emergence of more conformity in religious practices in Lombok. The Hindu minority religion is still practised in Lombok alongside the majority Muslim religion.

Hinduism is followed by ethnic Balinese immigrants and by a minority of the indigenous Sasak. All the main Hindu religious ceremonies are celebrated in Lombok and there are many villages throughout Lombok that have a Hindu majority population. According to local legends two of the oldest villages on the island, Bayan and Sembalun, were founded by a prince of Majapahit.

The Nagarakertagama, the 14th century palm leaf poem that was found on Lombok, places the island as one of the vassals of the Majapahit empire. This manuscript contained detailed descriptions of the Majapahit Kingdom and also affirmed the importance of Hindu-Buddhism in the Majapahit empire by describing temple, palaces and several ceremonial observances.

Christianity is practised by a small minority including some ethnic Chinese and immigrants from East Nusa Tenggara. The history of a small Arab community in Lombok has history dating back to early settlement by traders from Yemen. The community is still evident mainly in Ampenan, the old Port of Mataram. Due to the siting of a UNHCR refugee centre in Lombok some refugees from middle eastern countries have intermarried with Lombok people.

A non-orthodox Islamic group found only on Lombok are the Wektu Telu ("Three times"), who pray three times daily, instead of the five times stipulated in the Quran. Waktu Telu beliefs are entwined with animism, and is influenced not only by Islam, but also Hinduism and pantheistic beliefs. There are also remnants of Boda who maintain Pagan Sasak beliefs and could be representative of an original Sasak culture, undiluted by later Islamic innovations.

Many influences of animist belief prevail within the Sasak people, most of whom believe in the existence of spirits or ghosts. They regard both food and prayer as indispensable whenever they seek to communicate with spirits, including the dead and ritualistic traditional practices endure. Traditional magic is practised to ward off evil and illness and to seek solutions to disputations and antipathy. Magic may be practised by an individual alone but normally a person experienced in such things is sought out to render a service. Normally money or gifts are made to this person and the most powerful practitioners are treated with considerable respect.
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