Over a period of a few hundred years, Islam spread from its place of origin in the Arabian Peninsula all the way to modern Spain in the west and northern India in the east. As Islamic ideas and cultures came into contact with new societies, they were expressed in unique ways and ultimately took on diverse forms.
There is a misconception where people believe that Islam was only spread through military conquests, however, that is actually not true. Indeed, there were wars in the history of Islam, just like any other religion or civilization, however, Islam was also widely spread through trade and entrepreneurship.
In this article, we’ll discover exactly how that happened and the story behind it all.
The Maritime Silk Roads
To understand how Islam was spread through the early ages through trade and entrepreneurship, we must first learn about the maritime silk roads. The silk roads are amongst some of the essential routes in our collective history. Through these roads, relations between east and west were established, exposing diverse regions to different ideas and ways of life. Notably, these included the diffusion of many of the world’s major religions, including Islam. After the advent of Islam in the Arabian peninsula in the 7th-century CE, Islam started its expansion towards eastern regions through trade, which was encouraged by the development of these maritime silk roads.
Expertise Of Muslim Entrepreneurs In Early Time
In those early times, Muslims were known to have expertise in commercial and sailing skills, which Islam encouraged. We all know that our Prophet ﷺ was an excellent trader himself, and these Muslims could monopolize the east-west trade of these maritime silk roads, connecting various major ports of eastern Asian regions.
Indeed, commercial ships that belonged to Muslims had to stop at these various ports to be supplied with water and food as they went on their journeys. Whether they needed to be repaired or wait for changes in wind direction, these small interactions with the locals resulted in further expansion of Islam to the people living in these important coastal cities in the Indian subcontinent, China, or the more distant southeastern islands of modern Indonesia and the Philippines.
It is believed that Islam first arrived in these southeastern regions by the 7th century.
Muslim merchants from the Arabian peninsula had to pass through these south islands via these maritime silk roads for trade to reach China’s ports.
How The Trade Of Rare Spices Spread Islam In Indonesia!
According to historical accounts, Muslim traders came to the Indonesian islands because of the rare spices present there. It is believed that some of these merchants that settled in Indonesia ended up blending with the local people, and that’s how they learned about Islam.
After the arrival of Muslim merchants in Sumatra island, the kings of the island started to follow Islam, which further facilitated this integration of Islam into the trade roads until the 12th-century A.D.
You will be amazed to know that archaeological evidence of the adoption of Islam amongst the royalty can be seen on tombstones engraved with the date of the Islamic year of Sumatran Kings of the 13th century.
As for the Philippines island, there are archaeological records such as unearthed porcelain items in the archipelago that belonged to the Tang dynasty, from 618 to 907 C.E. These items were imported to the Philippines by Muslim traders and were affirmed in their presence before the 10th century.
Moreover, in the 13th century, contacts between Muslim merchants and the local population and commerce through the silk roads between the south of the Philippines and other neighboring regions such as Brunei, Malaysia, or Indonesia encouraged the spread of Islam amongst their local population.
Therefore, one would safely say that Islam peacefully arrived in southeast Asia through trade and interactions between Muslim merchants and the locals.
We Are Here To Help Spread, Revive and Nurture Muslim Entrepreneurship
It’s inspiring to learn about the history of how Islam was spread towards many regions through trade and entrepreneurship. More so, even today, we require Muslim entrepreneurs more than ever.
In our current modern-day, the excellent ability, and skill of Muslims being leaders and entrepreneurs has been slowly fading away. Even though we have a mighty legacy of entrepreneurship and trade, it is not so common within the Muslim population to find Muslim entrepreneurs when we look at our history right now.
That’s why with Ummahpreneur, this is our purpose today to help, spread, revive and nurture Muslim entrepreneurship throughout the ummah.
Through this, we can bring about Muslim entrepreneurs that interact with people from all over the world that create excellent services and products, and that can change the narrative and image of Islam that is so often portrayed in the media.
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