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

  • Introduction
  • Bibliographies and Dictionaries
  • The Spread of Islam
  • Women and Islam
  • Islamic Law and Adat

Islamic Studies Islam in Southeast Asia
Fred von der Mehden
  • LAST REVIEWED: 14 December 2009
  • LAST MODIFIED: 14 December 2009
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0080


Southeast Asia is the home of more than 220 million Muslims and includes the world’s most populated Muslim state and its largest democracy, Indonesia. It includes three majority Muslim states (Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia), four with significant minorities (Burma/Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, and a small and declining minority in Cambodia. Muslims in the region can be characterized as displaying a growing Islamic awareness, significant involvement in politics, and developing interaction with the rest of the Muslim world. Until after World War II, studies of Muslims in the region were primarily carried out by authors from the European colonial powers. Although there was also religious literature written in Malay/Indonesian, it was little known outside the colonies. Most of the European studies were concentrated on Muslim history, experience, and practice at the local and national level. It was only with the advent of the Islamic revival and the rise of militant Islam in recent decades that cross-national approaches became more prevalent.

Bibliographies and Dictionaries

There are a number of bibliographies that cover aspects of Islam in Southeast Asia. Some of these have not been updated or are not annotated. There are variations in the citations listed, and several entries are not traditional bibliographies. Only Boland and Farjon 1983 and Horvatich 1993 have only citations on Islam in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately there is, as yet, no major 21st century bibliography on Islam in the area.

  • Kemp, Herman C. Bibliographies on Southeast Asia. Leiden, the Netherlands: KITLV, 1998.

    The best of its kind at the time, there is now an updated online source by George Miller: The Meta-Guide to Indonesia: Annotated Bibliography of Post-1990 Bibliographies on Indonesia.

  • Bibliography of Asian Studies. Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Asian Studies, 1972–.

    Published annually from 1972 and available online by subscription. While not annotated, its annual volume offers the most comprehensive multilingual and multidisciplinary tool on the region.

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

    Somewhat difficult to find and in need of updating, but the historical analysis is sound.

  • Excerpta Indonesica. Leiden, the Netherlands: Royal Institute of Linguistics and Anthropology, 1970–2002.

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

  • Federspiel, Howard. Dictionary of Indonesian Islam. Athens, OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1995.

    A very useful tool for understanding Islam in Indonesia and other Malay communities.

  • Haddad, Yvonne, John Voll, and John Esposito. The Contemporary Islamic Revival: A Critical Survey and Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1991.

    Literature of the Islamic revival from 1970 to 1988. There is a short section on Southeast Asia.

  • Houseman, Gerald. Researching Indonesia: A Guide to Political Analysis. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2004.

    A useful book that provides information on political research in Indonesia, although at time the author’s own political perspectives are obvious. It provides an annotated bibliography.

  • Horvatich, Patricia. Islam and Muslims in Southeast Asia: A Bibliography of English Language Publications, 1945–1993. Honolulu: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1993.

    Wide-ranging and interdisciplinary arranged by subject with an author index.

  • Krausse, Gerald, and Sylvia Krausse. Indonesia. Oxford: CLIO World Bibliographical Series, 1994.

    Heavily annotated and wide-ranging bibliography of English sources. Needs updating.

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