Friday, September 09, 2011
Historical Fact And Fiction - Naquib Al-Attas
In this book the author gives a penetrating insight into the ways of spurious thinking and analytical reasoning among historians of the Malay Archipelago in their explanation and interpretation of historical events pertaining to the coming and spread of Islam in the Archipelago. He exposes errors and fallacies in their chronological framework and educated conjectures, their tainted assumptions on the religious and cultural effects of Islamization in indigenous history. In dealing with the Islamic past his critique of their empirical and inductive methods and weak logical analysis and rational estimation deserves due appreciation. In contradiction to what the historians assume as the facts of history the author demonstrates his own explanation and interpretation of the major issues and casts new light on many basic matters that have hitherto eluded inquiry
Syed Muhammad Naquib al–Attas was born in Bogor in 1931 and received his early education in Sukabumi and Johore Bahru. He later studied at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, England; then at the University of Malaya, Singapore; at McGill University, Montreal, Canada; and at the University of London, London, England. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. respectively from McGill University, Montreal, and the University of London, England, with special concentration on Islamic philosophy, theology and metaphysics.
Since 1974 Marquis Who’s Who in the World has listed him among individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in their own field of endeavour. As a global scholar Professor al–Attas has lectured throughout the world and written thirty books and many articles on Islam in the fields of comparative philosophy, theology, metaphysics, religion, history, language, literature, epistemology, and education. The global influence of his ideas in contemporary times is indicated by the fact that some of his works written in English have been translated into more than fifteen major European and Asian languages,
Professor al–Attas has held several academic Chairs in various disciplines of language and literature, history and philosophy. He founded the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization Malaysia (ISTAC), a world–class learned institution, where he taught and collected the unique multilingual library comprising more than one hundred and forty thousand volumes including rare books and manuscripts. For his outstanding creative and effective contributions in the various fields of Islamic thought and civilization, as well as his contributions to comtemporary thought on education and epistemology, he received many distinguished awards of recognition and acknowledgement from learned and scientific institutions and societies in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Australia.
I A new interpretion of the story of Merah Silau; historical evidence to prove that the Great Ant is fact and not fiction; the identity of the first Muslim king of Samudra–Pasai; the original Malay derivation of the name Sumatra; the Malay custom of royal succession in the mid–14th century; other historical issues.
II New light on the Parameswara; when and why he acquired and Javanese title Parameswara; what his Malay royal title was when he rebelled against Majapahit; and the meaning of that title; when his conversion to Islam took place and where, and the name of the great missionary who converted him; his original Muslim name; his decisive role, rather than Adityawarman’s, in establishing the basis for the development of a new Malay kingdom; the founding of Malacca and her original name and its meaning; the fictitious story of the melaka tree in the founding of Malacca; the meaning of sejarah and the great man idea of history.
III On Arab identity being based on genealogy and not on ethnicity; the pioneers who brought and spread Islam in the Malay Archipelago in the early as well as the later centuries were Arabs of noble origin chiefly from the descendents of ‘Ali bin Abi Talib through his son al–Husayn, the grandson of the Holy Prophet; their names and genealogies in Malay, Javanese, Sulu, Moro and Arab (Hadrami) sources; solutions to unsolved problems in the history of Sulu and Mindanao; self–evident and other historical facts that demonstrate South Arabian (Hadramaut) provenance of Islam in the Archipelago; the great missionaries of Islam in the Archipelago in the 12th–16th centuries; the creation of the Malayo–Arabic alphabet and Jawi script based on the Arab (Hadrami) sound (vocal) system.
I The Palembang Silsilah
From the Jakarta photocopy of the original made by Sayyid ‘Ali bin Ja’far al–Saqqaf (early 20th century).
II The Cirebon Silsilah
From the manuscript of Sayyid Salim b. Ahmad b. Jandan copied from the original of Sultan Muhammad Shams al–Din Kesepuhan in early 20th century.
III The Gresik Silsilah
From the Kitab Alfat al–Nazir by Sayyid Zayn b. ‘AbdAllah al-Kaf, (see the Khidmat al–‘Ashirah (op. cit. p. 70) on the genealogy of the disseminators of Islam in India, Cambodia, Siam, Annam, the Malay Archipelago.
IV The Gresik Silsilah (App. III) reproduced in the Roman script and reconstructed by me to include the Magindanao Silsilah of Datu Mastura on the genealogy of Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuan.