Religions of malaysia

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Religions of malaysia

  1. 1. Buddhism in MalaysiaIndian influence spread well beyond the sub-continent to include South EastAsia. That trade was the motivating force in this is clear from the Sanskrit namesgiven to South East Asian ports such as Takkolo (market of cardamom),Karpuradvipa (island of camphor) and Suvarnabhumi (land of gold).Colonists from India established a number of independent States in the MalayPeninsula during the first five centuries CE. Buddhism (along with Hinduism) maytherefore have entered the Malay Peninsula at a very early period, in associationwith Indian trading and colonizing activities in the region. There is evidence forthis early contact in the mention of several place names from the peninsula inPali canonical works such as the Niddesa and the Milindapanha.Buddhist missionary activities in Malaysia might have occurred as early as the3rd century CE. After the kingdom of Sri Vijaya fell, Buddhist ideas and practicecontinued to enter the Malay Peninsula as the northern Malayan States fell underthe influence of the Thais, and the southern Malayan States fell under the controlof the Javanese empire of Majapahit.Archaeologists have found evidence of this early Buddhist influence in finds ofBuddhist sculptures from the Amaravati School (2nd to 4th century CE) in thepresent day Malaysian State of Kedah, in the north west of the peninsula.Unfortunately, these finds have not so far included any written evidence, such asinscriptions on stone, from this very early period.Source: http://www.gng.org
  2. 2. Hinduism in MalaysiaAround nine percent of the population of Malaysia are Tamil Indians, of whomnearly 90 percent are practising Hindus. Hinduism spread to Malaysia very early,and was important until Islam arrived in the 15th century. Traces remain in theMalay language, literature and art.Indian settlers came to Malaysia from Tamil Nadu in the late 19th and early 20thcenturies: laborers to work on rubber plantations and a few English-educatedIndians, forerunners of todays professional middle class. There is also a minorityfrom Northern India.Malaysian Hinduism is diverse, with large urban temples dedicated to specificdeities, and smaller temples on estates. The estate temples generally follow thetradition of the Indian region from which the workers originate. Many peoplefollow the Shaivite, or Saivite, tradition (worship of Shiva), of Southern India.Shaivism is a devotionalist grace-based concept and emphasizes love for thedeity, rather than fear. Folk Hinduism is most common, including spiritualism,animal sacrifice and worship of local gods.Since the Second World War a revival of Hinduism has occurred among IndianMalaysians, with the foundation of organizations and councils to bring unity or topromote reform.Most Hindus do recognize one God, or supreme deity. However, often God isseen as an impersonal force, or one of many gods. Jesus is also likely to beidentified as one of many deities.There are many paths to God. To be born again implies reincarnation.Source: http://www.gng.org
  3. 3. Sikhism in MalaysiaThe Sikh community in Malaysia owes its beginnings in the country to the Britishconnection and in particular with the recruitment of Sikhs for the paramilitary andpolice units which formed the nucleus from which the modern police and militaryforces of the nation derived. The first of these units was the Perak Sikhs.The Sikhs believe and worship the one and only God who is formless. Hence,idol worship is denounced by the Sikh scriptures. The Sikhs place of worship isknown as a Gurdwara which is open to all irrespective of race, religion, color orsex.The Sikhs celebrate the principal festival which is also the Sikh New Year that iscalled Vasakhi, each April and the birthdays and martyrdom of Sikh Gurus andthe installation of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib as the living Guru of the Sikhs forall times, amongst others.Source: http://www.gng.org
  4. 4. Christianity in MalaysiaFrancis Xavier set foot in Malaya in 1545, and in 1814 Robert Morrison beganwork in Melaka, where his Chinese translation of the New Testament was laterprinted. During the 1800s other churches were planted among the British settlersand government servants but, because of an understanding between the Britishgovernment and the sultans, evangelistic work was not permitted amongMuslims.Meanwhile, in East Malaysia, Anglicans and Methodists were at work among theanimist tribal peoples.With the withdrawal of outside mission help, Malaysian Christians were forced tostand on their own feet. Increasing numbers of well-qualified Christians havesensed Gods call to reach out to their own people and lead the church.In East Malaysia there has been significant church growth among the ethnicpeoples. The Evangelical Church of Borneo [SIB] has been very active in localChristians cause and it has learned to stand on its own.Source: http://www.gng.org
  5. 5. Islam in MalaysiaIslam came into this part of the world in C.E. 674 (42 years after the death ofProphet Muhammad, pbuh) when the Umayyad ruler Muawiyah was in power atDamascus. Two hundred years later in C.E. 878 Islam was embraced by peoplealong the coast of Peninsular Malaysia including the port of Klang, which was a well-known trading center.Before the arrival of Islam, the local Malays embraced an ancient religion withvarious forms of belief with some of the population belonging to the Hindu/Buddhareligion. Life was structured and arranged in ways that showed the influence of morethan one religion.At the political level, the royal ruler and the head of state in most communities in theMalay world embraced the Islamic religion. The people were impressed andattracted by the provision in the Quran and the Hadith that mankind should beranked on a basis of interpersonal equality.In Islam there was no discrimination, or division on the basis of color, class tribalaffiliation, race, homeland and birthplace, all of which gave rise to problems. Equalrights seemed the right human solution, which in practice meant the acceptance ofrights and obligation as a member of the Muslim Ummah (community).The local population saw that Islam could extricate them from this bondage andprovide the means for the extirpation of social evils. The new religion gave the smallman a sense of this individual worth - the dignity of man - as a member of theUmmah.The efforts of the ulama in implementing Islamic teachings gradually reached rulers,officials, community leaders and the ordinary people. Their efforts left its mark insuch places as Banten (formerly Bantam), East Java, Macassar, Kalimantan, theSouthern Philippines, Southern Thailand, Melaka, Trengganu and elsewhere. Theulama also played a part in the administration, and some of the powerful sultansheld firmly to the teachings of Islam.Source: http://www.gng.org

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