SAMUDERA PASAI AS THE FIRST ISLAMIC KINGDOM IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
Determination of Barus as the starting point of Islam in Indonesia by the President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo has spawned a scholarly debate. Especially if the used is a historical approach, namely the knowledge of past reconstruction that adheres to the objectification and scientific facts. According to the British historian RG Collingwood, historical facts will never come to us in a pure way. He always has a bias in his recorders, including the efforts of historians to write them down.
Historical world is very lucky with the existence of inscriptions on the tomb of Sultan Malikkussaleh and genealogy. Because of the writings listed, it can be known how long the age of Islam has entered into Southeast Asia. There is a theory that the kingdom Peureulak 1075 M and Lamuri 1205 first existed before Samudera Pasai 1213-1260 M1. But no scientific study proves.
From the side of historical reconstruction, the mainstream of Islamic history in Southeast Asia mentions Samudera Pasai as the first Islamic sultanate. This kingdom is a combination of two Hindu kingdoms, namely Samudera and Pasai, with the king Meurah Silue2 who later titled Sultan Malikussaleh.
Inauguration Pasai as the first Malay Islamic civilization in the archipelago also occurred in two national seminar momentum, which is 17-20 March 1963 in Medan and 10-16 July in Banda Aceh. In fact, in the seminar found also postulates about the traces of Pasai Kingdom since the 11th century.
One of the oldest documents about the existence of Pasai Kingdom is called Imago Mundi, written by Venetian adventurer Marco Polo. He still had time to meet with Sultan Malikussaleh (1292). Ethnographic testimony of Marco Polo on Pasai and seven other kingdoms in Sumatra (only 6 kingdoms that had been visited by him). Perlak is the first place he explores. In addition to Pasai and Perlak are Muslim, other kingdoms are said to still adhere to pagan religion and cannibal traditions3.
An Arab traveler, Ibn Bathutah visited Pasai in 1346 AD In his book Rihlah. He tells about Sultan Malikul Thahir, the eldest son of Sultan Malikussaleh, he is a generous, just and fond king who travels around the country to spread Islam. Therefore when he died by his people held “Malikul Adil4“.
Some archaeological evidence is like to “disturb” Pasai’s validity efforts as the oldest Islamic empire in Southeast Asia. There has been an attempt to make Perlak the first Islamic empire by using pseudo-facts, the 840 M. dubbed grave. Similarly advancing Barus as the oldest Islamic kingdom in the archipelago with the proposition that Muslim traders have entered this area since the first century Hijrah or the 7th century AD 625-642 AD), but it does not have a strong current of history.
The Pasai Kingdom is known to have a relatively modern government, the use of the first gold currency in the Islamic empire of Southeast Asia, military power, as well as international trade5 and political relations.
The affirmation of orbits besides Pasai as the first center of Islamic civilization in Southeast Asia (especially Indonesia) is done not with the historical, but ethnographic, historical approach of speech. The people there (Perlak and Barus) believe that their area is the starting point of Islam, not Pasai.
Actually, the use of the history of speech to reveal the truth of the past is valid, but when there is no other attempt to dismantle the building of the historical bourgeoisie.6 Keep in mind, the determination of Pasai’s history does not occur in political space, but scientific proof. Colonial-era anthropologists such as Snouck Hurgronje and Jean-Pierre Marquette’s histories, also show evidence of the existence of the Pasai Kingdom before the conquest of the Aceh Kingdom in 1524.
Drowning of Pasai history, and the appearance of Barus history
Barus is a city with an important history in the archipelago. The town of Barus has been known in the Far East, Europe, and North Africa centuries before Christ as well as an important crossing of camphor, incense, sandalwood, and gold. The metropolis of Sumatera reached its peak in the 10th century, then continued to decline into just a shabby and deserted sub-district town.
However, the first archaeological evidence of Barus does not refer to Islamic treasures. Long before Islam, Barus was known as the origin of Batak Toba. In the 11th century, based on epigraphy and archaeological research, revealed the facts of Tamil Hindu-language7 tombs in this area. The tombs of clerics in a 13th-century hanging board took place in another phase when Barus had deserted as a world trade city.
Since the Pasai Kingdom weakened and dimmed at the end of the 15th century, the axis of Malay civilization and literature finally moved to the West-South coast, namely Barus and Singkil. In this area, two things developed together, namely the philosophy of Islam Sufism and Malay literature.
The main character of Malay history from Barus is Hamzah Fansuri who is thought to have been born in the 1570s and died in the 1630s. Fansur itself means “camphor”. Formerly Barus region entered the territory of the Kingdom of Aceh. Another great thinker who was born 120 kilometers from Barus (Singkil) was Shaykh Abdur Rauf as-Singkili (1615-1693).
In contrast to the development of Islam in the region of Pasai which is characterized by fiqh Mahzab Syafii. Barus and Singkil became a place for the advent of the idea of Sufism. Sufism became the catalyst for the development of tolerant, inclusive, and progressive Islam. The development of the tradition of dhikr and suluk in the archipelago is strongly influenced by the Sufism of Barus and Singkil.
However, there is still a connection between Pasai and Barus. The works of Sufism, such as Syarap al-‘Asyikin, Mir’atul Thulab, Tarjuman Mustafid, or Umdat al-Muhatajin Suluk Maslak al-Mufridin are written in Malay and Arabic script which is synonymous with Pasai.
The idea of Islamic development of Southeast Asia can not be separated from Pasai Malay literature in the 13th century until the 14th century. This is the second development after Buddhist Malay literature in the kingdom of Srivijaya in the 7th to 13th centuries8.
Genealogically, Islam in Indonesia or even Southeast Asia should not forget Pasai as the first point of Islamic-Malay civilization, not merely a replication of Indian or Arab, or Chinese traders or travelers. But it is called the new Sufism Islam if Barus (without discouraging Singkil) is said to be the starting point of civilization.
1H.M.Zainuddin; Tarich Atjeh dan Nusantara; 1961; 160
2Muhammad Said; 1981; Anthony Reid (ed), 1995; Robert Pringle, 2010
3H.M.Zainuddin; Tarich Atjeh dan Nusantara; 1961; 327
4Reid, Sumatera Tempo Doeloe, 2010; 8-10
5Teuku Ibrahim Alfian, Wajah Aceh dalam Lintasan Sejarah, 1999; 3-4
6Paul Thompson, Oral History: Voice of the Past, 2000:28
7Claude Guillot, 2002
8Abdul Hadi WM dalam Sardono, 2005
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