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The Growth of Arabic Names in Java: The Politics of Naming in Islamizing Indonesia




Arabic name is a new approach to seeing Islam in Indonesia. Through this research, I can prove that Arabic names in Java contain significant information to see Islam in this region. As an Islamic register, Arabic names contain important information about its social world. With a diachronic analysis, we can see the patterns of Arabic names that develop over a period of time. By tracing the changing of phonological, semantic, and syntactic patterns of Arabic names that developed over a period of time, we can construct an interpretation of the Javanese Muslim community at that time. With a statistical analysis of the growth of Arabic names, their linguistic patterns, and their combinational patterns, the Arabic names used by the Javanese in naming their children could be a way of tracking the construction of parental thinking on Islam and other large structures. In the last hundred years, the Arabic names in Java have developed dynamically, representing an Islamic context of Javanese society. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Arabic names in Java tended to be felt as Javanese (domesticated), and many combined with Javanese linguistic aspects. However, by the end of the twentieth century, the Arabic names in Java experienced a dramatic growth and felt more purified, even globalized. This indicates that Javanese society is experiencing the growth of Islamic literacy. As an Islamic register, the growth of Arabic names can be interpreted as the growth of Islamic orientation among the new generation of parents in Java. Meanwhile, some of them establish an identity hybridization through a combination of Arabic-Javanese-European names. This indicates that the Javanese want to connect their children's future with Islam, Javanese tradition, and global association. This is a new synthesis between Islam and Java.

Key Words: Arabic names, Islam, Java, hybridization