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Conversion to Shiism in Salatiga


Salatiga is a small town in Central Java, Indonesia, where people from different religions live in harmony. In their daily lives, they chat while smoking, drinking coffee in a small stall, similar what other people do. Shia devotees found in Salatiga are people who are looking for the truth as they were dissatisfied with the principles they previously held. They previously learned from Islam teachers from various ideological backgrounds, but what they learned did not satisfy them. They finally heard about Shia teachings that according them is relieving. They feel that they have found the things that they have looked for and they need in life which resulted in conversion to Shiism in Salatiga.

Finding spirituality in Shia Islam

Shia teachings and other Islam teachings were born at the same time, somewhere around 12th Century AD, however the origins were in the 6th century AD. How can the teaching that started more than hundreds of years after the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is believed as the pure Islam? Is there Islam that does not carelessly accuse others as heresy or shirk without a clear reason? They struggle to find the answer of such question. They are looking for a beautiful and peaceful Islam, which makes them in peace because they find the truth, not the kind of Islam that is busy accusing others who are of different religions of being kafir (infidel) with fierce faces.

A member of the Salatiga Shia community said, “I am used to live in an Islamic family since I was born, but what I learned was not enough for me, there are many weaknesses, illogical and inconsistent things. If there is no Shia community, I may continue to live in confusion.” Another person said, “I need a religion that is not spiritually dry like Wahabi teaching. If there is no Shia, I may have converted to Catholic, Alhamdulillah (praise is to God) there is Shia in Islam that I choose to follow it.”

Some of these Shia devotees in Salatiga were brats who were finally tired of their lives. They made Shia as their final destination. They hope that their sins are forgiven by submitting themselves to Ahl-e-Bayt (AS). Forming a spiritual group is an attraction for people who are bored of their old lives. By following series of worships practiced by Shia community, they find a new thing like a human being who is rebirth and start a new life.


Spiritual thirst forces some people to find out if there is other form of Islam that can satisfy their thirst. They choose Shia for this reason. After conversion to Shiism in Salatiga, they find Islam that is filled with peace, humbleness, and love as taught by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Qur’an. Shia Islam is the teaching bequeathed by the Prophet’s (PBUH) family, whom the Prophet (PBUH) witnessed to be close with Him and obedient to Allah. Therefore, Shias believe it to be illogical when Wahabis defended Yazid and blame Imam Hussain (AS). They argue that, how could people defend Yazid, who loved his monkey and drinking wine more than his people, as the right person? Even a person with a simple and a righteous mind will stand for Imam Hussain (AS), who struggled to uphold his grandfather’s teaching of Islam. Shia’s way of thinking is simple, standing for righteousness.


Shia community (A research everyday lives of the Shia community in Salatiga, central java) by Retnowati and Yedi Efriadi p. 208 – 210


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