"O Allah! We seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power (and Might) We seek strength, and We ask from You Your Great Blessings, because You have the Power and We do not have the power. You Know everything and I do not know, and You have knowledge of the unseen. Oh Allah! If in Your Knowledge this action (We are about to take) is better for my religion and faith, for our life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then make it destined for us and make it easy for us and then add blessings [baraka'] in it, for us. O Allah! In Your Knowledge if this action is bad for us, bad for our religion and faith, for our life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then turn it away from us and turn us away from it and whatever is better for us, ordain [destine] that for us and then make us satisfied with it."
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Importance of a good shaykh by Shaykh Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi Allahu anhu
Al Ghawth al-Adham Shaykh Sayyad Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi 'Allahu anhu said: You must work hard to ensure that your hearts are not locked out of the door of His nearness. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must seek the company of a Shaykh who is learned in the law [hukm] and knowledge ['ilm] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and who will show you the way toward Him. Without seeing the successful [muflih], one cannot succeed. If a person does not seek the company of scholars who put their knowledge into practice ['ulama 'ummal], he is a chicken from an egg abandoned by the rooster and the mother hen.
Seek the fellowship of those who enjoy fellowship with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). What each of you should do, when the night has grown dark and people have gone to bed and their voices are silent, is get up, take an ablution [yatawadda'], perform two cycles of ritual prayer [yusalli rak'atain] and say: "O my Lord, guide me to one of Your righteous servants near to You, so that he may guide me toward You and make me familiar with Your path." The instrument [sabab] is necessary. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) was quite capable of guiding [His servants] to Him without the Prophets [anbiya']. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must awaken from your heedless folly. As the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has said: If someone relies entirely on his own subjective judgement, he will go astray. Try to find someone who will be a mirror for the face of your religion [din], just as you look in the mirror to check the appearance of your outer face, your turban and your hair. Be sensible! What is this crazy foolishness? You say, "I don't need anyone to teach me," and yet the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has said: The believer is the believer's mirror [al-mu'minu mir'atu 'l-mu'min].
When the believer's faith is sound, he comes to be a mirror for all creatures. They behold their religious faces [wujuh adyanihim] reflected in the mirror of his speech, every time they see him and get close to him. What is this craziness? Not a moment goes by without your begging Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) to provide you with more than you already have to eat, to drink, and to wear, with more sexual opportunities and more income. These are not things that could increase or decrease, even if you were to be joined in your plea by every supplicant whose prayers are answered [da 'in mujab].
Supplication [da 'wa] will neither increase one's sustenance by so much as an atom, nor reduce it by an atom. This is a foregone conclusion [mafrugh minhu]. You must devote your attention to doing what you have been commanded to do, and to avoiding what you have been forbidden to do. You should not worry about that which is bound to come your way, because He guarantees that it will come to you. Allotted shares [aqsam] arrive at their appointed times, whether they be sweet or bitter, whether you like them or dislike them.
The people [of the Way] attain to a condition in which they no longer have any prayer of supplication [du'a] or request [su'al] to make. They do not beg [in their prayers] to gain advantages, nor to get rid of disadvantages. Their supplication comes to be a matter concerning their hearts, sometimes for their own sake and sometimes for the sake of all creatures, so they utter the prayer of supplication without conscious premeditation [fi ghaiba].
"O '' Allah, endow us with good behaviour in Your company under all circumstances!
[When the believer's faith is sound], fasting [sawm], prayer [salat], remembrance [dhikr] and all acts of obedience [ta 'at] become second nature to him, mingled with his flesh and blood. Then he receives protection from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) under all circumstances. The restraint of the law [hukm] does not desert him, not for an instant, while he is on this course. The law comes to be like the vessel in which he sits, as he travels over the ocean of the power [qudra] of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). He goes on traveling over it until he arrives at the shore of the hereafter, at the shore of the ocean of grace and the hand of nearness. Thus he is sometimes in the company of creatures and at certain times in the company of the Creator. His work and toil are with creatures, while his relaxation is with the Creator.
From Shaykh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, "The Sublime Revelation (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)," translated by Muhtar Holland (Al-Baz Publishing, Houston, 1992), p. 426-8.
Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him. (It was related by al-Bukhari)
“Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous.”
Monday, May 26, 2008
MELAKA - PALACE AND WARRIORS
THE MALLACA SULTANATE
The Sultanate of Malacca was founded by Parameswara in 1402 and later married the princess of Pasai in 1409. Centered in the modern town of Malacca, the sultanate stretched from southern Thailand in the north to Sumatra in the southwest. The Portuguese invaded its capital in 1511 and in 1528, the Sultanate of Johor was established by a Malaccan prince to succeed Malacca.
Parameswara founded Malacca around 1400. He was a Buddhist Srivijayan prince and Sejarah Melayu mentioned that he laid claims of being descended from the Macedonian King Alexander the Great / Iskandar Zulkarnain. When Parameswara became the ruler of Palembang, the Srivijaya Empire was already in decline. In 1390s, Majapahit sent thousands of ships to attack Palembang. Parameswara had fled his palace and eventually reached Temasek island which was headed by a Srivijayan descendent. However, Temasek had been a vassal of Majapahit since 1365. After several days, Parameswara was betrayed by his relative and he had to kill him. Parameswara then ruled Temasik for about 4 years, where he was finally attacked by the Majapahit armies when one of the ministers opened the gates for Majapahit armies to attack the palace. Parameswara fled north to Muar before founding Melaka in 1400. In 1409, Parameswara assumed the title Sultan Iskandar Shah due to his marriage to a princess from Pasai. His marriage to the Muslim princess encouraged a number of his subjects to embrace Islam. According to the Sejarah Melayu, legend has it that the king saw a mouse deer outwit a dog when he was resting under the Melaka tree. He took what he saw as a good omen and decided to establish a capital for his kingdom there. Today, the mouse deer is part of modern Malacca's coat of arms.
Malacca had a well-defined government with a set of laws. On top of the sultanate's hierarchy sat the sultan and he was an absolute monarch. Below him was a bendahara, a position similar to that of a prime minister. Most of all, a bendahara was an adviser to the sultan. A bendahara is a common person appointed by the sultan and it was the highest ranking officer that could be held by any common people. After bendahara, a laksamana's authority is paramount. A laksamana is an admiral and was responsible for the state and the sultan's security. He commanded the army. Later comes the temenggung which more or less a chief of public police. At the bottom of this nobility structure are penghulu bendahari, who was the treasurer of the state and the shahbandars of whom were responsible to matters of trade and ports.
The most famous Malaccan bendahara is Tun Perak. Under his advice, he managed to expand Malacca to its greatest extent. Hang Tuah is an example of Malaccan laksamana.
The sultanate was governed with several set of laws. The formal legal text of traditional Melaka consisted of the Undang-Undang Melaka (Laws of Malacca), variously called the Hukum Kanun Melaka and Risalat Hukum Kanun, and the Undang-Undang Laut Melaka (the Maritime Laws of Malacca). The laws as written in the legal digests went through an evolutionary process. The legal rules that eventually evolved were shaped by three main influences, namely the early non-indigenous Hindu/Buddhist tradition, Islam and the indigenous "adat".
The Sultanate thrived on entrepot trade and became the most important port in Southeast Asia during the 15th and the early 16th century. Furthermore, Malacca was as a major player in the spice trade, serving as a gateway between the Spice Islands and high-paying Eurasian markets. This is reflected by the Portuguese Tomé Pires who claimed "Whoever is lord of Malacca has his hand on the throat of Venice".
One of the factors that contributed to the rise of Malacca was the monsoon winds that enabled Arab and Indian traders from the west to travel to China in the east and vice versa. At the height of its power, the Sultanate encompassed most of modern day Peninsular Malaysia, the site of modern day Singapore and a great portion of eastern Sumatra. It was also the center of Islam in the eastern sphere, where imams and ustazes came to discuss religion and the like. Muslim missionaries were also sent by the Sultan to spread Islam to other communities in the Malay Archipelago, such as in Java, Borneo, and the Philippines. Most of South East Asia at that time was Hindu.
The Sultanate's most important regional rivals were Siam in the north and the declining Majapahit Empire in the south. Majapahit was not able to control or effectively compete with Malacca within the archipelago, and came to an end during the later 15th century. Siam on the other hand attacked Malacca three times, but all attacks were repelled.
At the same time, Malacca had a good relationship with Ming, resulting in Zheng He's visits. Parameswara had met the Ming emperor to receive a Letter of Friendship, hence making Malacca the first foreign kingdom to attain such treatment. In 1409, the sultan paid tribute to the Ming emperor to ask for protection against Siam. Moreover, one of the sultans, Mansur Shah even married a Ming princess named Hang Li Po. This Sino-Malacca relationship helped deter Siam from further threatening Malacca.
ABOUT THE 5 WARRIORS
Hang Tuah was born in Kampung Sungai Duyong, Melaka. His parents were Hang Mahmud and Dang Merdu Wati. His parents owned a small shop near Kampung Bendahara. When Hang Tuah was small, he worked as a woodcutter in his parents� shop. Hang Tuah grasp of religious knowledge and his skill in the art of self-defence became obvious even when he was just ten years old. Hang Tuah had four special friends of his own age and they were Hang Kasturi, Hang Jebat, Hang Lekir and Hang Lekiu and they were known as The Five Comrades. The five of them on the advice of Hang Tuah learned the art of self defence from a teacher who called Guru Ali Putera who practiced the art of self defence at the top of a mountain. Hang Tuah also learned to meditate.
Hang Tuah's appearance in the history of the region began when some men ran amuk near Kampung Bendahara. Tun Perak came with a party of guards to investigate the incident, but was also attacked. His guards fled, but when Hang Tuah and his friends who happened to be at a nearby stall, saw what was happening and rushed to save Tun Perak. They fought the amuk group and killed them all.
Tun Perak was amazed by the courage of Hang Tuah and his friends and he rewarded them for their gallant service with a suit of clothes each and appointed them as commanders. They were also presented to Sultan Muzaffar Syah and they became a well known legend in the history of Melaka. Hang Tuah was later appointed as an admiral and served under four Sultans, that is, Sultan Muzaffar Syah, Sultan Mansur Syah, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Syah and Sultan Mahmud Syah. Hang Tuah died at an very old age during the reign of Sultan Mahmud Syah. He was given a state burial By Sultan Mahmud Syah and was buried in Tanjung Keling, Melaka.
In the early days of Sultan Mansor’s reign in Malacca, a son is born to Hang Mahmud and his wife Dang Merdu Wati. The child is named Hang Tuah. When Hang Tuah is seven, his parents decide to move to Malacca. There they stay in the house of a relative not far from the residence of the Datuk Bendahara. Hang Mahmud starts a small provision shop, which his wife helps to run, while he himself goes into the forest to collect wood.
Hang Tuah meets Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi. Hang Lekir and Hang Lekieu. Together the boys, who were to become lifelong friends, learn the art of silat. Hang Tuah is elected leader of the group of youngsters and they declare loyalty to him. At around the age of ten Hang Tuah and his friends, while on a boat into the open sea notice three boats approaching in their direction. The boats are those of pirates. The boys take refuge on an island, and when the pirates land on the island, the youngsters, kill several of them and wound ten others. The survivors escape. The wounded pirates are handed over to the Batin of Singapore, who tells the boys that their brave deed would be brought to the attention of the Datuk Bendahara. In Malacca, the boys’ deed becomes the talk of the town.
Fearing repercussions, Hang Tuah and his companions decide to delve deeper into the arts of silat and also to learn other skills from the guru named Sang Andi Putra lives. Their training lasts forty-four days. Sang Andi Putra advises them to go to his brother Sang Persanta Nata in Majapahit, Java, to further their mastery of the silat and mystical arts. Meanwhile the Datuk Bendahara meets Hang Mahmud and compliments the boys on their bravery.
On day while chopping firewood in front of his house, Hang Tuah sees a man running amok and killing several persons. Hang Tuah kills the amok. A few days later a similar incident causes disturbances in Malacca. The Datuk Bendahara is at that time on his way to the palace to meet the Sultan. Hang Tuah protects him from the violent crowd, and even succeeds in killing the leader of the group and a few others. Impressed, the Datuk Bendahara and his wife decide to “adopt” Hang Tuah and his companions.
Datuk Bendahara takes Hang Mahmud, his wife and the boys to pay respects to the Sultan. Already aware of their bravery as well as their exploits, the Sultan orders the five youths to serve him. Each of them receives a keris and is also given the title of “Tun”.
A few days later Sultan Mansor and his entourage leave Malacca for Java where the Sultan is to marry Raden Galoh Chandra Kirana, a Majapahit princess. In Majapahit a plot is hatched by Pateh Gajah Mada to kill Hang Tuah. First a hulubalang, and next Taming Sari, the famous warrior of Majapahit are given the task. Hang Tuah succeeds in killing the soldier and later also destroying Taming Sari with the sword belonging to the Majaphit warrior. This famous sword, also named Taming Sari, possessing the power of giving immortality to its user is presented to Hang Tuah by the Datuk Bendahara.
Hang Tuah and his friends visit Sang Persanta Nata at Gunung Winara as instructed by Sang Andi Putra. Here they receive seven days of intensive training at the hand of this famous teacher, who predicts that Hang Tuah would one day become the Admiral of the Malacca fleet as well as attain invulnerability. At the palace another attempt is made to kill Hang Tuah. Hang Tuah manages to kill his attackers. Sultan Mansor returns to Malacca with his new bride. Hang Tuah is welcomed as a great hero. Soon he is raised to the rank of Admiral or Laksamana.
A few years later, the Sultan becomes interested in marrying Tun Teja of Inderaputera, now known as Pahang. At the Sultan’s command, Hang Tuah and his companions sail to Inderaputra. Tun Teja is already engaged to be married to Megat Panji Alam of Trengganu. Her father, Bendahara Seri Buana, troubled by the impending visit by Hang Tuah, send word to Megat Panji Alam. Megat Panji Alam comes face to face with Hang Tuah who has just landed in Pahang and challenges Hang Tuah to a fight. The battle lasting several days, ends with Hang Tuah killing Megat Panji Alam. Tun Teja is married to Sultan Mansor in Malacca.
The Bentara of Majapahit, hearing of Sultan Mansor’s second marriage is upset. Pateh Gajah Mada says that he will create trouble in Malacca. Another plot is hatched to kill Hang Tuah, and seven warriors go to Malacca from Majapahit to try to achieve this end. Disguised as thieves they cause unrest in the town, hoping thereby to draw Hang Tuah out. Hang Tuah also disguises as a thief and joins them. Together they steal valuable items, including eight boxes of gold, from the palace. Killing the seven thieves, Hang Tuah resents their heads together with the stolen gold to the Sultan. Hang Tuah is now allowed free access to the Sultan’s palace.
The special treatment given to Hang Tuah by the Sultan arouses jealousy among court officials. A scandal is created involving Hang Tuah. The Sultan now upset with Hang Tuah, orders the Datuk Bendahara to immediately get rid of Hang Tuah. Datuk Bendahara sends Hang Tuah into hiding in his own orchard, but spreads the rumour that Hang Tuah has been killed.
Hang Jebat is appointed Admiral in Hang Tuah’s place, and he is now given free access to the palace. While in the palace, Hang Jebat misbehaves himself. The helpless Sultan and his consorts, thrown out of the palace by Hang Jebat, move in with the Datuk Bendahara. Hang Jebat now abandons himself to a life of debauchery. Those sent by the Sultan to apprehend him are killed. This he does in order to avenge the Sultan’s unjust treatment of Hang Tuah.
The Sultan now regrets at having so hastily sentenced Hang Tuah to death. Hang Hang Tuah alone could, if he were still alive, overcome Hang Jebat. Seeing the Sultan’s plight Datuk Bendahara asks the Sultan if he would be prepared to pardon Hang Tuah in the event that the hero was still alive. When the Sultan says that he would do anything to have Hang Tuah back, Datuk Bendahara confesses that in fact Hang Tuah is still alive.
Hang Tuah returns a few days later. He is fully pardoned by the Sultan, and is informed of the crisis in Malacca caused by Hang Jebat. Following a few days of rest, Hang Tuah is ready to face Hang Jebat. He discovers, however, that Jebat has been given possession of Taming Sari, following his own “death.” Despite his loss of confidence, Hang Tuah proceeds to face Hang Jebat. When at the palace, Hang Tuah calls out for his friend, Hang Jebat is taken aback at the fact that Hang Tuah is still alive. A reconciliation, however is no longer possible, in view of Hang Jebat’s disloyalty to the Sultan.
The battle between the two greatest warriors of Malacca begins. Hang Tuah, recovering Taming Sari for a moment, succeeds in killing his best friend, Hang Jebat, with it. Once again Hang Tuah becomes the Sultan’s favourite. He is, however, wary, knowing that he has enemies constantly on the lookout for opportunities to destroy him. Sultan Mansor dies and is succeeded by Sultan Mahmud as ruler of Malacca.
Soon after ascending the throne Sultan Mahmud loses his consort. Hearing of the beauty of the princess of Gunung Ledang, he decides to approach her for her hand in marriage. Hang Tuah, Hang Setia and Tun Mamat, the Datok Bendahara’s son, travel to Gunung Ledang, or Mount Ophir, to negotiate the terms of the proposed marriage. The princess is prepared to marry the Sultan if certain requirements are fulfilled. Due to the difficulties in fulfilling the conditions, the Sultan abandons his intention of marrying the princess.
Hang Tuah decides to forsake court life. Just before dawn one day, accompanied by Tun Mamat, Hang Tuah goes to the mouth of Sungei Duyong, taking his kris, Taming Sari, with him. He kisses the weapon and throws it into the river. A few days later he leaves the court to live a life of solitude at Gunung Ledang
Hang Jebat was the closest companion of the legendary Malay hero Hang Tuah. He is well known for his vengeful rebellion against the Malacca Sultan whom he served. After Hang Tuah was sentenced to death, Hang Jebat was conferred by the Sultan of Malacca with the Taming Sari, a sacred kris formerly used by Hang Tuah. Believing that Hang Tuah was unjustly murdered by the Sultan he served, Hang Jebat turned against the Sultan to avenge his friend's death. No one knew, however, except the Bendahara who went against the Sultans orders and hid Hang Tuah in a remote region of Malacca that he was still alive.
With the kris in his possession, Hang Jebat became invincible and there was not one person in the entire Malacca Empire who was capable of killing him. Hang Jebat's revenge had forced the Sultan of Malacca to abandon his palace. Jebat seduced the women of the palace and spent his days eating, drinking and sporting with them. All the warriors sent by the Sultan to challenge him were killed. Even his friend Hang Kasturi was driven out when Hang Jebat realized that the other man hadn't come to join him in merrymaking.
After learning from the Bendahara that Hang Tuah was still alive, The Sultan had him recall Hang Tuah and gave Hang Tuah full amnesty. The Sultan then ordered Hang Tuah to kill Hang Jebat. Being unquestioningly loyal to the Sultan, Hang Tuah obeyed the Sultans biddings and went on to challenge Hang Jebat. After fighting in a battle that lasted for seven days, Hang Tuah eventually managed to reclaim the Taming Sari by tricking Hang Jebat. Although stabbed by Tuah, Hang Jebat bandaged his wounds and ran amok in the city square for three days, killing thousands of people before retreating to Tuah's house and dying in his friend's arms.
Hang Jebat's famous quote was "Raja adil raja disembah, raja zalim raja disanggah" which literally means "A fair king is a king to obey, a cruel king is a king to fight against".
After the fight, The Sultan ordered his men to tear down, burn and throw the ashes of the house into the sea. Two months later, when a lady of the Bendahara's retinue gave birth to Jebat's son, the sultan ordered Hang Tuah to throw the baby into the sea as well. Instead, the laksamana entrusted the child, Hang Kadim, to the Bendahara.
Exploring the Hang Kasturi Mausoleum
Jalan Hang Jebat, Malacca
Hang Kasturi is one of the five great warriors during the time of the Malacca Sultanate, particularly during the reign of Sultan Mansur Shah (1456-1477), the other four being Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Lekiu and Hang Lekir. As young men, they studied silat under the same silat master. The title "Hang" is bestowed by the sultan for the highest ranking Malay warriors.
According to a version of the Malay Annals (Sejarah Melayu), Hang Kasturi is said to have gained notoriety for having an affair or having outraged the modesty of one of the Sultan's concubines, and Hang Tuah was sent to kill him. Unfortunately in a different version (as the Malay Annals were initially handed down by mouth, there are now many different written versions in existence), it was Hang Tuah, another Malay warrior, who was accused of having an affair with the palace ladies.
In one popular version, Hang Tuah so offended the Sultan that he order Tuah to be executed. However, the Bendahara Tun Perak (similar to prime minister) took him into hiding. Later, courtiers discovered that Hang Kasturi was having an affair with one of the sultan's concubines. They surrounded the palace but no one dared to enter to capture Kasturi. When the sultan was told that Hang Tuah was still alive, he ordered Hang Tuah to kill his best friend to prove his loyalty. During the fight, Hang Tuah embedded his kris in the palace wall three times, but Kasturi allowed him to remove it. But when the same thing happened to Kasturi, Tuah stabbed him to death. The sultan later rewarded Hang Tuah the title of laksamana, for his loyalty.
Hang Kasturi's Mausoleum is located along, interestingly, Jalan Hang Jebat (formerly Jonker Street), whereas Hang Jebat's Mausoleum is located at Lorong Tukang Kuli, within a stone's throw from Jalan Hang Kasturi. Although the mausoleums were claimed to belong to these warriors, no factual evidence has been put forth to verify this.
Note : Unfortunately - there isn't much about Hang Lekir and Hang Lekiu