|Al-Ustaz Ishak Al-'Alawy|
|Kampung Laut Mosque in Tumpat is one of |
the oldest mosques in Malaysia,
dating to early 18th century
Islam was also brought to Malaysia by Indian Muslim traders in the 12th century AD. It is commonly held that Islam first arrived in Malay peninsular since Sultan Muzaffar Shah I (12th century) of Kedah, the first ruler to be known to convert to Islam after being introduced to it by Indian traders who themselves were recent converts. In the 13th century, the Terengganu Stone Monument was found at Kuala Berang, Terengganu where the first Malay state to receive Islam in 1303 Sultan Megat Iskandar Shah, known as Parameswara prior to his conversion, is the first Sultan of Melaka. He converted into Islam after marrying a princess from Pasai, of present day Indonesia.
The religion was adopted peacefully by the coastal trading ports people of Malaysia and Indonesia, absorbing rather than conquering existing beliefs. By the 15th and 16th centuries it was the majority faith of the Malay people.
Sunni Islam by country
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The Sunni Islam of the Shafi'i school of thought is the official, and legal form in Malaysia, although syncretist Islam with elements of Shamanism is still common in rural areas. Mosques are an ordinary scene throughout the country and adhan (call to prayer) from minarets are heard five times a day. Government bodies and banking institutions are closed for two hours every Friday so Muslim workers can conduct Friday prayer in mosques. However, in certain rural states such as Kelantan and Terengganu the weekends fall on Friday and Saturday instead of Saturday and Sunday. The Malaysian authorities have strict policies against other Islamic sects including Shia Islam. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has faced persecution in Malaysia. A notable sect that has been outlawed is Al-Arqam.
Manhaj Islam HadhariThe term "Islam Hadhari" ("Civilizational Islam") is a type of progressive Islam heavily promoted by former Malaysian prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to emphasize the central role of knowledge in Islam. This doctrine espouses a belief in hard work, honesty, good administration and efficiency are equally valued and appeals to Muslims to be inclusive, tolerant and outward-looking.
Manhaj Islam Hadhari aims to achieve ten main principles:
1.Faith and piety in God
2.A just and trustworthy government
3.A free and independent people
4.Mastery of knowledge
5.Balanced and comprehensive economic development
6.A good quality of life
7.Protection of the rights of minority groups and women
8.Cultural and moral integrity
Dato' Dr Abdullah Mohd Zain, a minister in the prime minister's department, says, "It emphasizes wisdom, practicality and harmony." He added that "It encourages moderation or a balanced approach to life. Yet it does not stray from the fundamentals of the Qur'an and the example and sayings of the Prophet."
There are however Muslims in Malaysia that disagree with this concept, as the teachings of Islam are already complete and thus, they feel that Islam does not need a new name or face.
Cultural Role Main Article: Malay Islamic identity
|An Ustaz during the |
Akad Nikah ceremony.
Muslim women generally wear the tudung (hijab or headscarf) over their heads. However, Malay women not wearing any headgear are not reprimanded or penalised. However, with the influx of Arabic travellers, foreign Muslim women (Arabs) wearing hijab that leave only their eyes exposed are often spotted in tourist attractions, not the least at the shopping malls. At certain Malaysian institutions such as the International Islamic University, wearing of the tudung is mandatory; however for non-Muslim students this usually amounts to a loosely worn piece of cloth draped over the back of the head.
The tudung is very commonly worn by Malay girls and women. Many Malay parents also fit tudungs onto their babies to get them used to it as early as possible. Some regard the tudung to be an indication of Arabic influence in Malay Muslim culture, and point to incidents such as the banning of the traditional Malay wayang kulit in the state of Kelantan (which was ruled by the Islamist PAS) to be "un-Islamic".
Also, principles of modesty apply not only to accepted dress codes but public behavior in general. Similar to the expectations in most Muslim nations, males and females are discouraged from meeting in social situations without a chaperone unless the meeting conforms to proper Islamic pre-marital arrangements that culminate in marriage. This injunction not only precludes "small talk" but also precludes behavior such as PDA (Public Displays of Affection) and egregious flirtation. In conservative states where PAS has more influence, such as Kelantan, different genders are at least theoretically segregated in public places like the cinema and supermarket.
Malaysia's top Islamic body, the National Fatwa Council has ruled against Muslims practicing yoga, saying it had elements of other religions that could corrupt Muslims. The same body has ruled against ghosts and other supernatural beings. 
Political Issues UMNO's committee in mosqueTan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, the 14th chief minister of the state of Selangor said "We want mosques to carry out more activities for the Muslims. Unfortunately, UMNO (political party) only want to put their men in the administration of mosques. This is absurd,". He said he wants to replace mosque committees to reduce political interference. "We must remember, the Sultan of Selangor in his every speech has stressed against using mosques for political purposes and His Highness has been consistent in stating his views" 
Definition of Malay Main article: Malaysian Malay
As defined by the constitution of Malaysia, Malays must be Muslim, regardless of their ethnic heritage; otherwise, legally, they are not Malay. Consequently, apostate Malays would have to forfeit all their constitutional privileges, including their Bumiputra status, which entitles them to affirmative action policies in university admissions, discounts on purchases of vehicles or real estate, etc. It is legally possible to become a Malay if a non-Malay citizen with a Malaysian parent converts to Islam and thus claim all the Bumiputra privileges granted by Article 153 of the Constitution and the New Economic Policy (NEP), etc. However, the convert must "habitually speak the Malay language" and adhere to Malay culture. A textbook for tertiary Malaysian studies following the government-approved syllabus states: "This explains the fact that when a non-Malay embraces Islam, he is said to masuk Melayu (become a Malay). That person is automatically assumed to be fluent in the Malay language and to be living like a Malay as a result of his close association with the Malays."
Islam in Malaysia is thus closely associated with the Malay people, something an Islamic scholar has criticised, saying that Malaysian Islam is "still clothed in communal garb; that Muslims in Malaysia have yet to understand what the universal spirit of Islam means in reality."
Sharia legal system parallel to the civil courts, there are Sharia courts which conduct legal matters related to Muslim family sphere. Legal issues like Muslim divorce and Muslim apostasy are conducted in the Syariah Courts. However, there are cases whereby apostasy cases are tried in the Federal Courts. Non-Muslims are not bound by Shariah.
1. Future of the Global Muslim Population - Malaysia Forum. 2010.
3.^ Wu & Hickling, p. 35.
4.^ Wu & Hickling, pp. 19, 75.
5.^ Article 160 (2). Constitution of Malaysia.
6.^ Malay of Malaysia
7.^ Ooi, J. 2007. Merdeka... 50 years of Islamic State?. Available from: http://www.jeffooi.com/2007/07/merdeka_50_years_of_islamic_st.php. Accessed 21 July 2007.
8.^ a b Putra, Tunku Abdul Rahman (1986). Political Awakening, p. 105. Pelanduk Publications. ISBN 967-978-136-4.
9.^ "Dewan Rakyat Hansard for 11 July 2005".
10.^ Wu & Hickling, p. 35.
11.^ Report by the Special Rapporteur on the
12.^ T.W. Arnold, 1913/1997, The Preaching of Islam, Delhi: L.P. Publications, p. 294, 294 nt.2; Dru C. Gladney, Hui Muslims in The South Asian Studies, California, vol.16, No.3, August 1987, page 498, p.498 nt.8.
13.^ W.P. Groeneveldt, 1877, Notes on the Malay Archipelago and Malacca, Batavia : W. Bruining.
14.^ "Rights Group Says Six Malaysians Detained For Being Shia Muslims", Islam Online. Accessed August 13, 2007.
16.^ Morgan, Adrian. "Malaysia: Heretical Islamic cult returns", SperoNews. Accessed August 13, 2007.
17.^ Kent, Jonathan (Aug. 6, 2005). "Malaysia's clash of cultures". BBC.
18.^ Top Islamic body: Yoga is not for Muslims - CNN
19.^ Malaysia issues fatwa on ghosts - Aljazeera English
20.^ Shuid, Mahdi & Yunus, Mohd. Fauzi (2001). Malaysian Studies, p. 55. Longman. ISBN 983-74-2024-3.
21.^ Wu, Min Aun & Hickling, R. H. (2003). Hickling's Malaysian Public Law, p. 98. Petaling Jaya: Pearson Malaysia. ISBN 983-74-2518-0.