Formal Religion and the Inward Land: Islam in Java
19 – 26 October 2019

Join Cambridge Muslim College as we touch the soil and traverse the Land of Java, one of the 18,000 islands in Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population.

We will commence our journey in the east, the seat of the ancient Majapahit Empire and the resting place of the first known Muslim in Java, Fatimah Binti Maimun. It was in this bustling mercantile district that the Nine Luminaries of Java (Wali Songo) began to plant their seeds of faith, bringing the people to Islam.

Our next destination is a coastal city in central Java that bears witness to the Demak Sultanate, the maiden Muslim kingdom on this island. Here we will visit beautiful archetypal Javanese mosques and traditional learning institutions (pesantren) that continue to teach from manuscripts written in the classical Pegon script alongside modern curricula.

Finally, we will dive into the depths of Java’s heart. This spiritual hinterland is a confluence of Islam and the classical Javanese soul. We will immerse ourselves in some of the most lyrical literary works ever produced by a Muslim civilization (Candi Bahasa) amidst some of the oldest Hindu-Buddhist structures in the world (Candi Sila).

Don’t miss this opportunity to visit Java, a land of scholars, history, and deep Islamic faith.

We will be visiting seven cities: Surabaya, Gresik, Trowulan, Semarang, Kudus, Surakarta and Yogyakarta


  • Lectures and sessions with scholars
  • Land transportation: train and buses
  • Full board*
  • Accommodation
  • Tickets to tourist attractions
  • Local Guide
  • Tour Leader

 *We are sorry that we cannot accommodate specific dietary requirements. See FAQ.

Saturday, 19 Oct
: Participants arrive in Surabaya. Welcome dinner and orientation at the hotel.
Saturday, 26 Oct: Participants depart from Yogyakarta. Airport shuttle TBC

**Note on airport pick-up and drop-off: We will provide three services each on the arrival and departure dates. The times will be confirmed according to participants’ travel schedule.

Surabaya – Hotel Singgasana
Semarang – Balemong Resort
Surakarta – Aston Solo Hotel
Yogjakarta – Gallery Prawirotaman Hotel

COSTS (per person)
Shared accommodation (room for 2 people): £1,150
Single accommodation (room for 1 person: £1, 350


About the Scholars
Nani Abdul Rahman
Nani is a keen observer of Nusantara and member of Embara, a guild that seeks to promote Nusantara art and beauty. She was raised by the sea under the care of a Javanese lady who was her primary nursemaid. She studied Bahasa and classical Malay literature at the feet of her mother. At present, she is deepening her knowledge in the Javanese language, sung poetry and sacred dance under the guidance of traditional teachers in Central Java.

Nani received her legal education at Harvard Law as a Fulbright and Khazanah scholar and the International Islamic University Malaysia. She currently works for an investment firm and lives with her Javanese Keeper in Singapore.

Professor Lejla Demiri
Lejla is the Chair of Doctrine and Deputy Director at the Center for Islamic Theology at the University of Tübingen.

From 2007-10 she was a Research Fellow at Trinity Hall College, Cambridge University, and also taught courses on religious pluralism and interfaith dialogue at the Cambridge Muslim College. Lejla holds a BA and MA from Marmara University, licentiate degree and postgraduate diploma from the Pontifical Gregorian University, and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Her research interests include the history of Islamic theology, Islam and religious pluralism, Christian-Muslim relations and Ottoman Intellectual History.

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad
Abdal Hakim was educated at Cambridge, Al-Azhar and London universities. He is currently the Shaykh Zayed Lecturer of Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University and Director of Studies in Theology at Wolfson College. He has published and contributed to numerous academic works on Islam, including as Director of the Sunna Project, and is a leading figure in inter-faith activity, notably as one of the signatories to the Common Word statement. He is well-known as a contributor to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’.


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