By the beginning of 14th century, along the coastal regions of Java and some other areas outside Java the trade with merchants from abroad had reached a culmination point. Among those merchants were many who came from Persia and Gujarat, who embraced the Islamic faith. Through contact with those respected traders, many Indonesians were conv erted to Islam. Not surprisingly, it was around that time that some influential Moslem coastal states arose.
While the older Hindu influence was mostly limited to the upper classes of the society, Islam, perhaps due to its egalitarian principles, gained its initial foothold among the masses of the people.
Especially in regions where the Hindu inf luence had not taken hold, notably in areas outside Java and Bali, the Islamic religion was readily received by the people. In Aceh, for ins tance, Islam was already firmly established in the 12th century A.D. Other areas where the Islamic influence has taken a strong hold are South Sulawesi, East Sumatra, West Sumatra and coastal regions of Kalimantan.
Even so, remnants of Hinduism and the still older local beliefs often remain to lend local color to customs and traditions.
Category: Discover Indonesia