SPIRITUALITY
Indonesia is home to four of the world's great religions: Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism. About 90% of the population is Muslim, making Indonesia the largest Muslim country in the world.

 The five practices observed by Muslims are known as the five pillars of Islam. The profession of faith, Shahada, holds that "There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is His prophet." Salat is the requirement to pray five times a day. Zakat means giving alms to the poor. Saum is the requirement to fast from sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramadan. The hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims must make at least once in their lifetime, if possible. Muslim practices vary from one ethnic group to another. For example, the Central Javanese are nominally Muslim, but observe many practices associated with Hindu mysticism. 

About 5% of Indonesians are Christian. Indonesian Christianity has been influenced by local practices. For example, the Easter procession at Flores is accompanied by the music of the gamelan orchestra, and the Toradjanese Christians of Sulawesi carry out bull sacrifices.

 Most Balinese are Hindu and honour the Trinity of Gods: Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. They believe in the cremation of the dead, to release the spirit and allow for participation in the cycle of reincarnation. The Balinese also combine animist and Hindu beliefs. They practise ancestor worship and perform rites that are supposed to keep peace with the forces of nature.

  Did you know?
The ancient Borobudur Temple in Central Java was built between 778 A.D. and 850 A.D. This is the largest Buddhist monument in the world. More than 10,000 labourers and carvers, using only hand tools, spent almost a century building the temple.
The Chinese and Tenggerese of Java are Buddhists. Buddhists follow the Eightfold Path to conquer desire, which, they believe, is the cause of suffering. The Eightfold Path includes right understanding, right thought, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right attentiveness and right concentration. The goal is nirvana-the escape from the cycle of birth and reincarnation.

 Some isolated communities in Indonesia are animist. Animists believe that animate and inanimate objects have a roh or life-force. They practise ancestor and spirit worship.

  Did you know?
The wahyu is a divine spirit that enters a person to provide guidance for major decisions. Many Indonesians seek the help of the wahyu and wear talismans or charms to ward off evil spirits.