This blogspot is a medium to share my thoughts and adventures apart from promoting my books. Below are the books which have been written or authored and published by myself.

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti".

ISBN 983-42031-0-1, Jun 2006

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Membela Syiar yang Asal"

ISBN 983-42031-1-x, May 2007

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Sirih Pulang ke Gagang?"

ISBN 978-983-42031-2-2, November 2007

It is interesting to note that while these books were written in Malay it has gained enough attention to merit being part of the collections of the American Library of Congress and National Library of Australia. Look here and here.

While the first three books were published by my own company, the fourth titled "Rumah Azan" was published in April 2009 by a company called Karnadya with the help of the Malaysian national literary body Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. It features beautiful pictures along with stories behind selected mosques which could be related to the history of Islam and the Malays alongside the formation of the Malaysian nation. Look at the article A collaboration of old collegemates - the book "Rumah Azan".

My fifth book "Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and Malay Sultanates", an English translation and adaptation of the Malay book "Ahlul Bait (Keluarga) Rasulullah SAW dan Kesultanan Melayu" authored by Hj Muzaffar Mohamad and Tun Suzana Othman was published early 2010. Look here... My 5th book is out! Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and the Malay Sultanates... . For more information check out my Malay blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU.

Like my fourth book "Rumah Azan", the sixth book "Kereta Api Menuju Destinasi" is also a coffee-table book which is published by the company Karnadya with the cooperation of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (the main Malay literary body in Malaysia). Coming out January 2011 it features pictures and stories on the adventure travelling by train to all of Peninsular Malaysia along with the interesting places which could be reached this way.

My seventh book "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" in turn is a coffee-table book which is written, editted, designed and has pictures taken by me. Coming out of the factory October 2011, this book which combines family history with history of places such as Singapura, Johor, Batu Pahat, Muar and in fact the history of the island of Java and England has been reviewed with me interviewed live in the program Selamat Pagi Malaysia at RTM1. Look at the article Siaran langsung ulasan buku "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" dan temu ramah di Selamat Pagi Malaysia. Some selected contents have been featured in Sneak peek "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah".


The "Berpetualang ke Aceh" series of novels could be obtained in e-book form. Enter http://www.e-sentral.com/, click general novel and go to page 4. You can also type the word "Aceh" at the search box. Or click straight Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pulau Besar 2: Why so many long tombs?

OK... I've had my dinner, in fact I also had a long nap and then a brief kebab meal after visiting the local pasar malam, a Malaysian equivalent for the flea market. Let us continue... Straight to the story about the tombs of Pulau Besar!

This is the complex housing the main tomb at Pulau Besar, the tomb of a person of high saintly status called Sultan Ariffin Sheikh Ismail. Now, many thought he is king as implied by the word Sultan and that Ariffin is also part of his name. Well, they got it wrong. This saint's name is actually Ismail, same name as the eldest son of the Prophet Abraham Alaihissalam. For information, the name Sultan Ariffin is actually a honorific to denote him as the king of the Ariffins, who really know God and has experienced gnosis. On the other hand, he is after all a king... It's just not in the usual sense of a royalty residing inside a palace ruling a kingdom and it's subjects in an everyday manner, no...

Bear in mind though the word Ariffin here is a Sufi or Tasawuf term derived from the Arabic root-name Arif - the person who knows. As in how do you truly know God? Well, you have to ask the masters about that. I will not attempt to describe much as this is a very difficult matter, one that could cause great confusion if not explained properly while a proper explanation could only be made to someone who already has the proper experience and training... Just like you can only truly explain Einstein's Theory of General Relativity to someone who have studied Tensor Calculus, that is high level mathematics.

Oh... I forgot to mention who Sultan Ariffin Sheikh Ismail is.... By the way, the name Sheikh is to denote that he is a religious master. For information, he is a fourth-generation (if memory serves me right) descendant of the much celebrated Sufi grandmaster Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, the founder of the Qadiriyah tariqat or spiritual way who lived in 12th century Baghdad. According to the legends, Sheikh Ismail first came to the Malay Archipelago to find the kingdom of Samudera (in present-day Aceh) and guide the whole population to Islam, especially the king Merah Silu who was later proclaimed as Sultan Malikus Salih, king of the pious ones! As to how he ended up in Pulau Besar near the coast of Melaka, well, I don't think I have a proper answer for that. So let's just let sleeping dogs lie ya...

This is the tomb of Sharifah Rodziah, said to be a grand-daughter of Sheikh Ismail situated a small distance away from the complex housing the tomb of Sheikh Ismail but still within the overall compound. Notice the length of the tomb? I reckon not less than 20 feet long!

Then again, the tomb of Sheikh Ismail itself is about 30 feet long while next to it, within the same complex lies a much longer tomb, almost 50 feet long said to belong to Sheikh Ismail's teacher, Sheikh Yusuf as-Siddiq!

There, another long tomb, methinks within 20 feet long too but situated some 500 metre from the Sheikh Ismail tomb complex. If the previous tombs in this article are said to belong to highly religious figures, this one belonging to another legendary figure simply known as the nenek kebayan, an old female is among the exception. Not that she was not religious... For nobody knows that for sure and it is not wise to question one's faith without knowing the actual truth. Only that nenek kebayan is considered more of a magical mystical figure... She might be ugly like an old hag but the nenek kebayan have appeared in many Malay folklores as the gentle grandma-like figure who helped plenty of prince and princess in distress including matchmaking those in love but facing great difficulty in tying the knot because of objections from other parties! As to why she is buried here, hmm... Now I'm really dumb-founded!

Oh... Now we can get to the question posed in the title of this article... Pulau Besar, why so many long tombs. First we must know why the tombs are so long... It is not because the persons buried were giants or very tall? Nope, that would be very ackward as can be seen by the look of the tombs... How can you have someone 20 to 50 feet long but the width of the body still about 2-3 feet maximum just like a normal man? Can you imagine that?

Hmm... Maybe you could imagine a 50 foot tall man with his shoulders 3 feet wide but doesn't that look funny? How can you walk around with a body like that and become a venerated religious teacher some more? Heh! Now I'm being stupid, hehe!

Anyway, in old Malay beliefs, such long tombs actually denotes people of high spiritual status. Because of the favours bestowed from God due to their religiousness or good manners and intentions when alive, their tombs become elongated in time so that people in latter times could immediately recognise their status, at least this is what I understand about the long tombs.

As for why there's so many long tombs in Pulau Besar, isn't the answer now obvious? It simply means there's so many people of high spiritual standing buried on this island. And so that also explains why it is called Pulau Besar which literally means the 'big island'. Physical-wise, the island's size is only about 170 hectares but status wise, it is big enough to attract people interested in mystics from all parts of the Malay archipelago. In fact, the existence of Sheikh Ismail's tomb attracted visitors from as far as India, Pakistan and Africa too as he was after all a Qadiriyah grandmaster just like his great-grandfather Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, the man known as Sultanul Awliya, the king of the saints!

Just a few metres from the tomb of nenek kebayan lies her well, the well of nenek kebayan! The story goes that one can dip one's hand inside the shallow muddy waters and if luck is on their side, they might get souvenirs like old coins, even precious stones like rubies and ancient weapons like a kris from the olden days!
Now, study the picture carefully. The well is actually situated within the confines of a golf course built to attract more visitors to the island especially the rich. But according to local tales, the 'powers-that-be' were not pleased. And so the golf course was built but the whole project including an already completed clubhouse worthy of a five-star establishment was left languishing only to be the playground for small-time adventurers like me, yeah! :]

Look at the far end showed in this picture, another abandoned major project after it has well taken off. The project was really a major one... I believe there's more than 10 blocks of 5-storey or so lavish apartment buildings definitely worthy of a five-star establishment. I've walked an 'played' at the area a few times and to me, the design made me feel like being in Italy or the Mediterraneans! The whole complex also reminded me of the Tivoli Villas, once considered among the most prestigous apartment area in the Klang Valley.

Problem is they say there were 'disturbances' that caused the project to be abandoned after it was almost completed... Apparently the workers got spooked by something while prospective future buyers got hint of a series of weird happenings involving the supernatural and decided it was not worth the trouble. The complex looks ready to be used except no appliance was fitted. So anyone can come and enjoy the five-star facility there, that is if you can stand being spooked just like in the movie Exorcist. Then again nowadays, one is now not so free to venture there as the owners has employed security guards to shoo away unwelcomed visitors. The news is the project is to be revived...

About half a year ago, I entered Pulau Besar at night and saw the lights coming out from that part of island just like at a full-fledged city. So does that mean, the apartment complex will soon have people occupying it? Well, in this particular visit in January, I found out it was all more for show... Maybe the owners want to give the impression that whatever spooked the place the last time has been cleared an the place is now ready to be a full-fledged resort... Maybe what I saw then was just an exercise to check that the electrical supply is all in order. But the locals say, the 'powers-that-be' won't allow any success as it means, unclean activities will come surging into the island... When one have foreign visitors coming in the droves, one is sure to see alcohol and fornications coming in too. That is why until now, the apartment complex remain as it is... Beautiful yes but empty...

This is the route to one of my favourite escapades on the island, a strip of beach that only a few knows where it is and how to get there. Often, I like to bath and swim in the nude and this is one of the open places in which I can indulge in this 'hobby'!, hehe! :]

The apartment complex seen from my favourite strip of beach...

And this is my very own istana hinggap, my 'weekend palace' or so... A friend who have stayed in Pulau Besar for more than 10 years built it himself and this is where I often stay when I'm here, that is when I'm not urged to sleep elsewhere like in front of the tombs or somewhere more 'exotic' like a certain cave facing the seas. Cheerio! :]


Anonymous said...

Tq 4 bring me at "istana hinggap"n met ur firend n his wife. They are so kind . InsyaAllah! one day i'll come again.

Anonymous said...

salamssss .. .. menarik .. .. blog blog merah silu begitu perhatian sy kerana begitu byk kebetulan .. .. antaranya ttg pulau besar ini yg baru saja sy ketahui lewat inflite magazine bulan lalu .. .. sy berhajat utk ke sana kerana tertarik pd makam makam yg ada juga ttg nenek kebayan .. .. thanks for sharing merah silu .. ..


mohd rizal said...

saya rizal.. cerita yg saya cari2 ada di dlm blog ini. apa yg sy harap adalah penjelasan yg lebih lanjut mengenai info di bawah ini.

8. Namun cabang paling afdal keturunan ini masuk ke Perak. Disebabkan perebutan takhta antara adik-beradik berlainan ibu selepas kemangkatan ayahanda mereka, waris utama membawa diri ke Patani sebelum anaknya pula berhijrah ke Perak.

atau info ini terdapat di dlm buku berpetualang ke aceh?
saya amat memerlukan maklumat lanjut mengenai info ini.tq

Radzi Sapiee said...

Wassalam. Maaf. Info itu bukan untuk dikongsi. Harap faham...

anak beringin said...


Post ini mengimbau kenangan ambo waktu ziarah Pulau Besar pada Mei 2004. Namun hanya 1 makam sahaja yg diziarah iaitu Sultanul Arifin Syeikh Ismail Al Baghdadi...

Byk sungguh kaitan di antara Sultanul Arifin Pulau besar dgn makam2 lain di kl ni... Petang tadi pun ambo diberitakan oleh pengunjung makam Syed Lal Syah Al Bukhary di KL mengenainya. Begiru juga dgn makam yg baru diziarahi beberapa kali di Tmn Sentosa Jln Klang lama.

Mudah2an makbul hajat ke Pulau Besar lain kali utk menziarahinya lagi..