The tombstone of Sultan Malik Al-Salih, the founder of the kingdoms of Samudera and Pasai situated in present-day Aceh. Believed to have died in 1297 AD.
When I first started writing here, I did mention one of the main purpose of this blog was to start the English adaptation of the Malay novel "Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti" indirectly... That is, by trying to explain the contents of the book to English readers, God willing I would unconsciously convert enough material which would eventually become a book on its own. So let me start by telling you a story about a very enigmatic will, a will concerning the end-times and how the Malay Archipelago fits into the prophecies!
The ancient Malay text, Hikayat Raja-raja Pasai (the annals of the kings of Pasai) believed to be written before 15th Century AD mentioned - The Prophet Muhammad SAW said....
Sometime after I leave this earthly existence, there will appear a kingdom under the winds, Samudera is its name. When you hear the name, send a ship to bring all the state regalias, also convert the whole kingdom to Islam and teach them the Syahadah (the two Islamic articles of faith, Lailahaillah Muhammadurrasulullah - There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah).... Because in the kingdom, many people will become the saints of Allah. But on the way to there, you must stop and fetch a fakir (a man who have renounced wordly goods) at the state of Menggiri and bring him along.
The Sulalatus Salatin dubbed as the History of the Malays by the Orientalist Stamford Raffles, written sometime in the 17th Century by the Bendahara ( a noble title almost similar to the present day prime minister) of Johor, Tun Sri Lanang also mentioned the same will but differ a bit by calling the state where the fakir is to be fetched as Muktabar. Nevertheless, the person in question is the same, a king who renounced his kingdom to become a full-time missionary in service of God.
This will is the main premise or raison d'etre of the Malay novel "Berpetualang ke Aceh" as the book explores the reasons behind the will, particuarly the existence of a particular lineage of Malay kings with certain ties to the Prophet Muhammad which is why the kingdom of Samudera must be found so that the state regalias from Mekah in the Arabic Peninsula can be passed to them... For what? That is one of the misteries. But one can surely surmise, such precious items as the state regalias of Mekah which represent the Ahlul Bait, the family of the Prophet's legitimate right to rule and guide the people to the right path can only be passed to those with royal credentials worthy of the Prophet's attention... Or the Prophet's thickest bloodline?
The book is written through the eyes of a traveller Muhammad Al-Aminul Rasyid who is searching for his roots following so many deja vus and dreams he had all throughout his life, deja vus and dreams which came more often around his 30s. Particular disturbing was a dream regarding a Malay kingdom he had just a week or two before the September 11th 2001 terrorist attack in New York which saw the World Trade Centre twin-towers totally devastated and crumbled to earth... For the dream had indirectly prophecied the event as the clarion call to the coming of World War III and the end-time events as envisioned by Prophet Muhammad SAW 1,400 years ago.
At first Rasyid tried to ignore the dream but when he saw the WTC crumbed on television one night at his office, he couldn't shake it off - this is it his heart calls out... This is the sign of the coming of a new age related to the dream. Thus he took some days off and looked for nenek, his father's mother whom he hadn't seen for the last 3 years. And for the first time ever, they talked about the family roots and that's when Rasyid learnt about some legendary figures from the days of yore particularly a person called Keramat Kuala Bidor.
Nenek told him how Keramat Kuala Bidor left a kingdom somewhere in Sumatera to start a new life with his wife and became poor fisherman in Teluk Intan, Perak. Nevertheless, they lead a fulfilling but simple existence because they never really cared about the material world. Of some interest were the miraculous events associated with this saintly-person including walking Jesus-like on the vast waters of the Perak river on the night of Lailatul Qadar (a blessed night in the Islamic lunar month of Ramadhan), hence the reason he is known as Keramat (as in blessed by miracles) Kuala Bidor (Bidor river mouth which meets the Perak river where he used to stay)... Or simply in English, the miraculous man of Kuala Bidor.
Armed with new-found knowledge of his roots, Rasyid soon set off on his trusty big bike to Perak to look for the old tombs associated with Keramat Kuala Bidor and certain personas related to the royalty. Realising that there's some 30 tombs of Perak kings or Sultans alone scattered in the state, he followed his heart as to which tomb to visit. Then's when he uncovered links that goes much further beyond the 500 year old Perak Sultanate... Officially, the Perak royalty is the most-legitimate off-spring the old Malaccan Sultans which flourished in the 15th Century but here, Rasyid found the roots stretching to Aceh 700 years ago to the twin kingdoms of Samudera and Pasai, then much further to the Sultanate of Perlak established 840 AD.
The links however didn't stop there... Rasyid also found the Middle-Eastern origins of the Sultans of Perlak which relates to the troubles and civil wars in Baghdad at the end of the Umaiyyad Caliphate and the establishment of the Abbasids. The whole thing also involved the fights between the opposing Islamic sects of the Sunnis and the Syiahs and in order to understand more, the traveller had to understand what makes the two sects constantly at odds with each other. And so he learned about the explicit and implicit circumstances behind the tragic death of Prophet Muhammad's eldest grandchild Saidina Hassan who was poisoned, allegedly through the instruction of Muawiyah, the founder of the Umaiyyad Chalipate... And the execution Hassan's younger brother, Saidina Hussein in the fields of Karbala in Iraq when his band of 70 plus family members and supporters were cornered by an army of thousands, at the command of Muawiyah's son and succesor Yazid.
Whatever, the most important thing was how the roots link to Prophet Muhammad through a very respected branch which yielded a person known as Sultanul Awliya (king of the saints) Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani... And thus this Rasyid believed explained why the Prophet insist a ship be sent to the kingdom of Samudera and the state regalias handed over, and that in the kingdom there will appear a lot of saints for that is where the blessed seed has been thrown by circumstances and from there it will bloom and cover the whole Malay Archipelago.