In the 1940s and 1950s, several organs of the newly independent Indonesian state oversaw the standardisation of the Indonesian national language. In this process, Western-oriented bureaucrats pushed the language towards European normativity, significantly decreasing the influence of Arabic. While this reform carried symbolic meaning, the practical ramifications on Indonesian orthography, spelling, and word selection also carried real, non-symbolic effects on the accessibility of this language to Indonesian Islamic leaders. Standardising orthography to use the Roman alphabet rendered many Muslims illiterate in a language they had been using for decades. Choices in word selection and spelling limited the Islamic meanings that the new language could carry, thus impacting how Muslims could use the national language for religious and other purposes. Indonesian linguistic reform carried serious social and political consequences in addition to the symbolic meanings often studied.