Lia Aminuddin was born in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on Aug. 21, 1947, the second of the six children of Zainab and Abdul Ghaffar Gustaman, a trader and preacher from a Muhammadiyah background.
When she was 19 years old, Lia married Aminuddin Day who later became a lecturer at the University of Indonesia’s School of Engineering. The couple had four children.
Young Lia made a name for herself through her creative dried flower arrangements. In fact, she had her own show on TVRI, in which she demonstrated flower arrangement.
Relaxing on the porch of her home on Jl. Mahoni 30 in Senen, Central Jakarta, with her brother-in-law, in 1974 Lia witnessed the miraculous. A bright yellow ball of light spun through the air, vanishing as it came to rest on her head.
But it was not until the night of Oct. 27, 1995, that Lia became aware of the presence of her spiritual guide Habib al-Huda when she was praying. Later, he revealed himself to be the angel Gabriel.
Besides being the mouthpiece of God’s wisdom through the angel Gabriel, following her introduction to Habib al-Huda, Lia suddenly found herself possessing powers of healing and started writing songs, poems, and even a 232-page book Perkenankan Aku Menjelaskan Sebuah Takdir (Allow me to explain a destiny), which she claims to have completed in just 29 days.
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In 1998 Lia proclaimed she was Imam Mahdi — a descendant of the prophet Muhammad who, according to prophecy, will come to Earth during its last days to bring peace and justice to the world — as well as Maria, mother of Jesus Christ. Lia said her son, Ahmad Mukti, was Jesus Christ.
Lia’s brand of spirituality was bought by as many as 100 followers in its early days. The believers included celebrities, cultural experts, intellectuals and students, becoming known as the Salamullah.
Lia was a skilled and powerful writer/speaker who convinced others there was truth in her convictions.
As expected, in December 1997 the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) condemned Salamullah for spreading false Koranic teachings. The group, however, fought back by issuing “Gabriel’s edict” condemning the MUI for “judging truth in an unfair and arbitrary manner”.
Other milestones for the group include the time it waged war on Nyi Roro Kidul — the mythical queen of the south seas — in 1999, and its 2000 proclamation of Salamullah as a new religion. Salamullah agrees Muhammad was the last prophet but also teaches that other holy figures such as Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ, and Kwan Im the Chinese goddess of mercy will be reincarnated.
Since 2003 the group has taken to perennial philosophy — the belief that a universal set of truths common to all people and cultures exits. The group now goes by the name of Kaum Eden (The Edenists) and its leader by the name of Lia Eden.