Religion and Culture to 1649

Andaya, Barbara Watson. “Delineating Female Space: Seclusion and the State in Pre-Modern Island Southeast Asia,” in Other Pasts: Women, Gender and History in Early Modern Southeast Asia, ed. Barbara Watson Andaya. Honolulu: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Hawaii, 2000: 231-53.

p. 243-44. Andaya discusses briefly the influence of Islam as a force for secluding women within the home, but points out how until the end of the 17th century, women, especially in Patani and other places, actively and publicly participated in ceremonies, politics, war, and so on. The 17th century Acehnese text, Taj as-Salatin, dictates that the ruler should be a man because women “lack understanding” but concedes that a widow can succeed her husband if he leaves no male heirs. Furthermore, both Aceh and Patani developed a practice of female rule despite these “rules.” She mentions Raja Ungu and her daughter (Raja Kuning) as particularly active and powerful female rulers in Patani.

Andaya, Barbara Watson and Ishii Yoneo. “Religious Developments in Southeast Asia, c. 1500-1800,” in Cambridge History of Southeast Asia – volume 1: From Early Times to c. 1800, ed. Nicholas Tarling, 508-71. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

p. 519. Makassar was one of the few major trading centers at the beginning of the 17th century that had not yet converted to Islam, despite the patronage the rulers there gave to Muslim merchants and the missionary work done there by teachers from Aceh, Java, and Patani.

Bruce, Allan. “Notes on Early Mosques of the Malaysian Peninsula.” Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 69, no. 2 (1996): 71-81.

p. 78. Bruce notes that Abdul Hashim Nasir saw 15th century Melaka as instrumental in spreading a Javanese style of mosque throughout its empire. Bougas agrees, but argues that the Javanese style did not overtake mosque architecture in Patani. Bougas argues that the earliest mosques used existing types of local religious architecture and points to the use of a Thai Buddhist wat prototype, specifically its wihan or prayer hall. Bougas goes on to show that the mesjid is sometimes low set while the surau is always raised on tiang (posts) which have the floor beams morticed into them and continue upwards to support the roof. Mosques are generally rectangular with a single roof ridge on a three-tiered roof. Walls are of wooden planks punctuated by full-length shuttered windows, but glazed tiles have generally replaced atop. While present structures add a balai lintang (covered porch) to the front and a slightly lower set mihrab extension, like a kitchen, to the west wall, Bougas believes the earliest Patani mosques lacked either feature. Bougas’s principal case study, Surau Aur, which he claims to be 150 years old, is 8 x 5 meters in plan with a mihrab, side windows decorated with carved wooden grilles, carved ventilation panel over the curved lintel, and carved kala-makara (protective Hindu-Buddhist monster mask) which has metamorphosed into a lotus design. While there are other kinds of early mosques in Patani, Bougas feels that typologically they lead nowhere, while the “Patani style” can be traced down the east coast to Kelantan and Terengganu where carved floral motifs gave way to Qu’ranic inscriptions in Jawi. Mesjid Kampong Laut, still standing at Nilam Puri, near Kota Baru, is widely believed to be Malaysia’s oldest mosque. Bruce seems skeptical of this, however, pointing to the low chance that it would have survived five centuries. It does resemble Patani mosques, but seems also to be the meeting place between Javanese and Patani styles.

Casparis, J. G. and I. W. Mabbett. “Religion and Popular Beliefs of Southeast Asia before c. 1500,” in Cambridge History of Southeast Asia – volume 1: From Early Times to c. 1800, ed. Nicholas Tarling, 276-339. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

p. 330. They date the Islamization of Patani to the 15th century, when it was rapidly expanding into neighboring Perak, Kedah, Pahang, Kelantan, and Terengganu.

Charney, Michael W. Southeast Asian Warfare, 1300-1900. Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section Three: South-East Asia, v. 16, eds. V. Lieberman, et al. Leiden: Brill, 2004.

p. 65. Within the context of firearms, Patani is cited as one of the places where such weapons were attributed with spiritual powers and given names. Other such places included Palembang and Makassar.

Hall, D. G. E. A History of South-East Asia. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1981.

p. 229. Patani was converted from Melaka and Kelantan as Patani’s vassal. Terengganu officially accepted Islam on becoming a vassal state of Melaka.

Reid, Anthony. “Islamization and Christianization in Southeast Asia: The Critical Phase, 1550-1650,” in Southeast Asia in the Early Modern Era: Trade, Power, and Belief, ed. Anthony Reid. Asia East by South. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993a: 151-79.

p. 156. Reid describes the Patani chronicle (Hikayat Patani) as one of the only indigenous writings that described the conversion as a gradual process. The first king to convert only gave up eating pork and worshipping idols, for example, but change none of his other kafir habits. Not until the reign of Sultan Mudhaffar Syah was the first mosque built and the Islamic religion became more widespread in the rural areas, reaching as far as Kota Malighai. Still, many ‘heathen’ practices continued such as making offerings to trees, stones, and spirits.

p. 157. Reid argues that by the latter half of the sixteenth century, Islam became a more institutionalized political force. For example, in Aceh, Johor, Patani, Banten, Demak-Pajang-Mataram, and Ternate, they expanded their political control over rural hinterland populations. In their conflicts with neighboring kingdoms, the idea of jihad (holy war) became prominent as Islam began to assume a major role in their self-perception.

p. 178. Within the context of the rise of Islamic law in replacing some local applications of adat, Reid noted that in Patani in 1601, two young aristocrats were put to death for committing the offense of zina (fornication). This was according to Shafi’i law.

Reid, Anthony. Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce. Volume 1: The Lands below the Winds. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.

p. 68. The major mosque of Patani was built by Chinese labor at the end of the 16th century and it was exceptional: “a stately edifice of brickwork, gilt very richly within, and adorned with pillars, curious wrought with figures.”

p. 81. The cutting or shaving of hair of subjects, especially court women at the death of the monarch, as was reported of 17th century Patani, Aceh, Siam, and Johor may have represented symbolically the sacrifice which in pre-Islamic days would have been made in human lives.

p. 154-56. The practice of taking temporary wives was quite common in 16-17th century Southeast Asia and Reid uses an explicit example from Patani, recorded in 1604, in which it described the customs of temporary marriages. Towards the end of the 16th century it became more common for kings of nobles also to acquire prostitutes or concubines, but this practice was less common and less reputable than having temporary wives.

p. 157. Evidence of Muslim law being employed in punishing people for adultery, for example, was noted in 1604 when two men were asked, one to strangle his daughter, and the other to kris his son, because the married woman had accepted gifts from her admirer.

p. 168. Dang Sirat, a Malay opera star in Patani, figured prominently as an entertainer and is mentioned in the Hikayat Patani.

p. 206, 210. Javanese forms of popular theater spread to Melaka and Patani and thence to the Malay world more broadly. Comedies were performed, all by women, in the Javanese style, witnessed by Floris in 1612. A troop of 4 men and 8 women also came to Patani in the 1620s (mentioned in the Hikayat Patani) and performed various stories from the Ramayana, accompanied by music, as well as other more recent tales of the Malay past (such as the bendahara of Melaka resisting the first Portuguese invasion, etc).

p. 213. In the 16th century, Patani’s nobat, the typical drum-based royal ensemble, was composed of four golden trumpets and four silver ones, two golden oboes (serunai) and two silver ones, 12 royal drums, and 8 state drums.

p. 233. Malay language became the major mediator between Arabic, Persian, and Indian ideas and literary styles in Southeast Asia. First in Pasai, then in Melaka, Patani, Johor, and Makassar, and most of all Aceh, during the period 1570-1650, numerous religious and literary classics of western Asia were translated, adapted, and read, in the process inspiring new Malay styles.

Reid, Anthony. Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce. Volume 2: Expansion and Crisis. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

p. 82-83. Many port cities developed a similar layout, but only at the royal center where such organization was possible. The royal palace faced northward onto an open field. To the west stood a mosque and to the east or north, a market. This style may have originated in Java, such as Banten, and spread elsewhere to places such as Patani and Aceh, but not to Makassar.

Wink, Andre. Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World – Volume 2: The Slave Kings and the Islamic Conquest, 11th-13th Centuries. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1997.

p. 293. Wink notes Anthony Reid’s article in which he cites a Portuguese traveler who made the oft quoted statement, “the king is a pagan; the merchants are Moors.” Wink argues that such must have been the case in Samudra in 1282 when a non-Muslim king sent Muslim envoys to China, but also applies it to Patani in the 14th century, Melaka in the early 15th, Banjarmasin in the early and Makassar in the late 16th century.


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