In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Islam in Indonesia

  • Introduction
  • Bibliographies and Dictionaries
  • Journals
  • Islamic Intellectuals and Religious Leaders

Islamic Studies Islam in Indonesia
Fred von der Mehden
  • LAST REVIEWED: 11 June 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 31 March 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0042


Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, composing approximately 85 percent of its more than 255 million population. They are Sunni, although there has been some influence of Shiʿism among religious intellectuals. The Shafiʿi School dominates, but Indonesian Islam has been traditionally characterized by syncretism, with strong Hindu and animist pre-Islamic influences. The study of Islam in Indonesia has experienced considerable changes, both in the background of the authors and in the subjects under analysis. In the colonial period, as would be expected, most literature available outside the Indies was in Dutch and frequently was authored by those in the colonial administration or those with close ties to government. At that time, Indonesians did relatively little scholarly work that was known outside the colony, except in the field of theology. In the first decades after World War II, there was some decline in interest in Indonesia among the Dutch, and the nationalist upheaval limited the activities of Indonesian scholars. American and other foreign scholars, particularly from the disciplines of anthropology and history, filled this vacuum. By the end of the 20th century, there was a strong Indonesian contribution, including works from many scholars who had been educated in the West. In addition, local bookstores have been inundated by translations of Islamically oriented Middle Eastern and South Asian books and pamphlets by scholars and activists. Thus, in the 21st century, Indonesians have available to them works from many more disciplines and perspectives.

Bibliographies and Dictionaries

Regional bibliographies are cited in the entry titled “Islam in Southeast Asia.” In this section are Indonesia-specific bibliographies. Most do not focus solely on Islam in Indonesia, but all include significant citations on the subject. Except for the online update of Kemp 1990 and Excerpta Indonesica, none cites very recent material. The most extensive compilations have been from the Library of Congress in Rony 1996.

  • Boland, B. J., and I. Farjon. Islam in Indonesia: A Bibliographic Survey, 1600–1942, with Post-1945 Addenda. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Foris, 1983.

    Somewhat difficult to find and in need of updating but good for the period.

  • Excerpta Indonesica. 1970–.

    Covers Western and Indonesian language sources. This contribution includes abstracts, bibliographies, and chapters from books. It is very useful for research on many subjects, including Islam in Indonesia.

  • Federspiel, Howard. A Dictionary of Indonesian Islam. Southeast Asia Series 94. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1995.

    Very useful, especially for those employing Indonesian sources.

  • Kemp, Herman. Annotated Bibliography of Bibliographies on Indonesia. Leiden, The Netherlands: KITLV, 1990.

    This is a useful place to start, and the best of its kind at the time. To update the 1990 edition, there is now an updated online source by George Miller, the Meta-Guide to Indonesia: Annotated Bibliography of Post-1990 Bibliographies on Indonesia.

  • Kennedy, Raymond. Bibliography of Indonesian Peoples and Cultures. Edited and revised by Thomas W. Maretzki and Henn Theodore Fischer. New Haven, CT: Human Relations Area Files, 1955.

    This is a classic bibliography of the various ethnoreligious groups of Indonesia. Reprint, Kennedy, Raymond, Bibliography of Indonesian Peoples and Cultures, Yale Anthropological Studies 4 (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger, 2007).

  • Krause, Gerald, and Sylvia Krause. Indonesia. Oxford: CLIO World Biographical Series, 1994.

    This is a heavily annotated and wide-ranging bibliography of English sources. It needs updating.

  • Perpustakaan-Islam.

    This website provides an archive of articles as well as a search engine for finding books and articles on the Qurʾan and fatwa on various subjects.

  • Rony, A. Kohar, compiler. Unveiling Indonesia: Indonesian Holdings in the Library of Congress; A Bibliography. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1996.

    This is a bibliography of the most extensive holdings publicly available at the time. It is not annotated.

  • Sumardi, Mulyanto. Islamic Education in Indonesia: a Bibliography. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1983.

    This is an updated and translated version of Bibliografi Pendidikan de Indonesia. It is not annotated, and most citations are in Indonesian. It covers the years 1945–1975.

  • Tairas, J. N. B. Indonesia: a Bibliography of Bibliographies (Daftar Karya Bibiografi Indonesia). New York: Oleander, 1975.

    Overtaken by Kemp 1990, this is still good on earlier Indonesian sources.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.