Saturday, October 6, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Crescent in North Thailand:

Muslims of Chiang Mai
by David Henley / CPA

The Muslim population of Chiang Mai is not particularly large - according to the 1980 census it comprised a mere 2.5% of the city's overall total - but it is successful, diverse, and (at least in the main Muslim neighbourhoods) very noticeable.

Four main areas of Muslim settlement are readily identifiable by their mosques, halal restaurants, men sporting prayer caps and women wearing head veils. Two of these areas (Chang Peuak and South Changklan) are predominantly Bengali, or South Asian in character, whilst two others (Ban Haw and Sanphakoi) are predominantly Yunnanese.

The South Asians

There are no specifically Muslim areas located within the old city walls, but just to the north, on Chotana Road beyond Chang Peuak Gate, lies an old Bengali Muslim neighbourhood centred on the green-and-white An-Nur Mosque. Historically, the first established Muslim community in Chiang Mai was probably Bengali. Cattle traders operating out of Moulmein who had originally migrated to Myanmar from the Chittagong area of Bangladesh, these Bengal Muslims are first reported to have settled in Chiang Mai as early as 1830.

The Muslim community expanded during the course of the 19th century with the arrival from Yunnan of Hui Muslim refugees from the failed "Panthay Rebellion" of Tu Wen-hsiu. These Yunnanese Muslims, known locally and in neighbouring Laos as "Chin-Haw", settled in and around upper Changklan Road in an area still known as "Ban Haw". The chief Yunnanese mosque, on Charoenprathet Soi 1, is today Chiang Mai's most important Jama' Masjid, or Congregational Mosque.

Towards the end of the 19th century, following the Pahang Rising of 1891-95, a group of Malay Muslims was deported to Chiang Mai by the Siamese government. These Malay Muslims eventually assimilated with the Bengali Muslims of the Chang Peuak area, but not before they had introduced peninsular cuisine in the form of satay and peanut sauce, salad khaek, murtabak, etc., to this far northern city.

Contemplative Chin Haw, Chiang Mai.

Following their various arrivals in Chiang Mai during the 19th century, the Bengali, Yunnanese and Malay Muslims intermarried to a certain degree. In addition, all groups took local Thai wives and raised their children as Muslims in a convenient and fair exchange - Muslim religion for Northern Thai cultural characteristics.

From a purely Islamic point of view there was no problem with this melange. Although representing three separate and distinct traditions in the spread of Islam through Asia - Yunnanese Islam being of the overland "Silk Road" variety, whilst Islam reached the Malays by the maritime dhow trade, and Bengal by direct conquest - all three groups settling in Chiang Mai belonged to the mainstream Sunni variant of Islam. True, the Yunnanese and the Bengalis both belonged to the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam, whilst the Malays followed the teachings of the Shafi'i school of Sunni Islam. Yet these were (and are) minor distinctions, which in no way prevent intermarriage, worship together, and shared values - particularly when intermarriage with the local Thai community and the resulting adoption of many Northern Thai cultural values are taken into account.

Today Ban Chang Peuak consists of about 75 households clustered around the An-Nur mosque, all of whom profess the Muslim faith, a shared ancestry, and involvement at some time in their lives in the cattle trade. In addition to Chang Peuak, a secondary area of "South Asian" and Malay Muslim settlement also developed in and around southern Changklan, well away from the Yunnanese of Ban Haw, in the area opposite the post office near the junction of Changklan and Chiang Mai Land roads. Here the local Muslim community has established a mosque, madrassa (religious school) and an institute for higher Islamic Studies. Nearby are several Muslim restaurants specialising (as befits the North Thai-Malay mix) in khao soi and satay dishes.

Mempelajari ajaran agama Islam di Masjid Ban Haw, Chiengmai

The Bengali Muslim community at Chang Peuak and the more recent South Asian population of Changklan might, should they so wish, more accurately sub-divide their ancestry into Bengali, Pathan, Punjabi and Sindhi origins. However, they are not really concerned by this matter, and even sometimes employ the term khaek - a generic (and somewhat disrespectful) Thai term for South Asians and Arabs as a whole. Thus the visitor enquiring after the whereabouts of the mosque may well be met with incomprehension when asking for the masjid. "Wat khaek", by contrast, is well understood by everyone. (Ulamak Islam pun disebut 'monk' sementara masjid pula disebut 'wat' !!)

Traditionally, both because of their preferred calling as cattle traders and the religious obligation to slaughter animals for food according to prescribed halal rites, Chiang Mai's Bengalis and other South Asians have tended to be associated with the meat business. This has, of course, been a very fortuitous relationship, as most Northern Thai Buddhists have no scruples about eating meat, but few would be prepared to kill the animals such a diet entails. Although originally centred around Masjid an-Nur and the Chang Peuak community, the meat production business was gradually transferred to the south Changklan area as a result of the development of Chotana and the loss of grazing land in the area. Partly as a result of this development, the newer Changklan Muslim area gradually became noticeably wealthier than the older Ban Chang Peuak. Today nearly all halal butchering in the city is carried out by Changklan Muslims, though a casual visit to nearly any meat section in a city market will reveal a crescent moon above at least one stall.

The Yunnanese Chinese

Whilst Yunnanese Muslim traders have been travelling to north Thailand for many centuries, and a small settled presence has existed in Chiang Mai from at least the middle of the 19th century, in recent years this presence has grown considerably due to political unrest in the Sino-Burmese borderlands. In part this was occasioned by the Japanese (and related, if largely forgotten, Thai) invasions of the Shan States in World War II.

The Japanese, inveterately anti-Chinese to the point of ignoring the basic economic realities of imperialism, attacked and destroyed the affluent Panthay community at Panglong, dispersing the settlement's Yunnanese Muslim inhabitants throughout the Shan States and beyond. Some displaced Panthays settled at Tachilek on Burma's frontier with northernmost Thailand; others crossed into Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces, where they built mosques at Mae Sai, Chiang Rai, Fang and other lesser towns.

Haw ladies at prayer, Chiang Mai.

Subsequent political disturbances added to this trend. In 1949 the victorious communist forces of Mao Tse-tung drove elements of three KMT armies across the Yunnanese frontier into Burma. Of the three senior KMT commanders, one was Muslim, as were many of the soldiers. Following years of warlordism and failed attempts to undermine the communist regime in Yunnan, many of these ageing soldiers settled in Thailand where they became businessmen, the more successful moving to Chiang Mai where they assimilated into the local "Haw" community.

Many such Yunnanese - Muslim as well as non-Muslim - have relatives, friends and former comrades scattered throughout Laos, Thailand, Burma and Yunnan, so that the imam of, say, Taunggyi in the Shan States is well-known to the imam of Chiang Mai's Charoenprathet Mosque. The same is true of Muslim leaders and businessmen in Fang, Mae Sai, Tachilek and even Yunnan itself. The community is rich, influential, confident and - despite earlier involvement in some rather dubious cross-border trading and KMT enterprises - increasingly respectable and respected.

Within Chiang Mai, the oldest and best-established Yunnanese community is certainly Ban Haw. Here, in an area centred around Charoenprathet Soi 6 and the Anusarn Market, may be found numerous "Chin-Haw" households, both Muslim and Buddhist. As a general rule, the Muslim Yunnanese live mainly to the north, clustered around the large mosque distinguished by a red-and-gold sign in Thai, Chinese and Arabic. By contrast the non-Muslim Yunnanese tend to live further south, around Anusarn Market. The non-Muslims are more recent arrivals, and much of the land on which they live is rented from their longer-established Muslim Yunnanese fellows.

Relations between Muslim and non-Muslim Yunnanese, and with the surrounding Thai Buddhist community, are good - though by-and-large eating together is restricted to non-Muslim visits to Muslim restaurants. Prohibitions against pork and other haram (forbidden) foodstuffs keep the Muslims at home, just as in China itself. Sections of the original Ban Haw community have spread out to establish themselves on Loi Kroa Road, Sri Dornchai, and by the fruit market in Talad Meuang Mai, north of the Mae Ping Post Office.

Whilst relations between Muslim Yunnanese and non-Muslim Yunnanese in Chiang Mai, and especially in Ban Haw, remain good, it should be noted that in recent years (particularly following sustained KMT settlement in northern Thailand), the longer established Muslim Haw have shown some reservations. In particular, they are anxious to stress their links with the wider Chiang Mai Muslim community as a whole, as well as to distance themselves from recent non-Muslim Chinese migrants from Burma who may be associated in the public mind with the KMT, opium smuggling, and other illegal activities.

Chiang Mai's fourth major Muslim community, comprising a mixed Thai-South Asian-Yunnanese population but certainly dominated by the latter, is to be found to the east of the Ping River in and around Sanpakhoi. In the lanes just behind the Bain Compound, and in the shadow of the tall and unattractive Floral Chiang Mai Condominium, may be found the Attaqwa Mosque and the associated Chitpakdee or Attaqwa School.

Here classes are given in Arabic and Islamic knowledge ('ilm) to children of all Muslim backgrounds in Chiang Mai and the surrounding provinces. Much of the land around the Attaqwa Muslim community is owned by Thai Muslims of Chinese origin, and the Yunnanese links are very evident both in the "Chinese-Arabic" stylised script of the mihrab (prayer niche) in the mosque, and in the photographs and certificates posted on the walls of the school.

Despite these reminders of the diverse ethnic origins of Chiang Mai's Muslims, it should not be forgotten that all Muslims holding Thai nationality consider themselves to be Thai first and foremost in mundane concerns, Muslim first and foremost in matters spiritual. The minaret of the Attaqwa Mosque provides a fine example of this cultural synthesis which seems to work very well indeed. Suspended from the inside of the green, star-and-crescent topped dome there hangs a northern Thai gong, used to call the faithful of Chiang Mai to prayer. As a symbol of Islam in Northern Thailand, this must surely be hard to surpass.

Interesting website. Please drop by to read the full and other related articles here,

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Lapuran Human Right Watch

Untuk gambaran dan maklumat tambahan, sila Baca mengenai lapuran Human Right Watch di sini,

Friday, August 3, 2007


Surah ini diwahyukan di Madinah

Pokok perbincangan surah ini ialah penyampaian berita gembira kepada Rasulullah bahawa umat Muslimin akan mendapat kemenangan yang besar, dan agama Islam akan berkembang dengan luasnya, serta janji Allah kepada orang-orang Mukmin, orang-orang Munafiqin dan orang-orang Musyrikin. Juga memperkatakan tentang Bai'tul-Ridhwan (Perjanjian setia) antara Mukmin dengan Rasulullah SAW. Juga penyampaian berita gembira bahawa mimpi Rasulullah masuk ke Masjidil-Haram bersama-sama para Mukminin akan terlaksana dalam kenyataan.

Intisari ruku' (1) bagi surah ini ialah :
(1.) Menerangkan penyampaian berita gembira bahawa Rasulullah dan orang-orang Mukmin akan mencapai semua hasil perjuangan mereka iaitu mendapat kemenangan, keampunan dan nikmat yang sempurna, kedudukan yang kuat dan hidayat ke jalan yang lurus dalam usaha menyampaikan risalah dan membangunkan masyarakat.
(2.) Menerangkan janji-janji Allah mengurniakan nikmat-nikmat yang besar kepada kaum Mukminin dan di samping janji siksa terhadap orang-orang Munafiqin dan orang-orang Musyriqin.
(3.) Merakamkan peristiwa Bai'tul-Ridhwan.

Sumber ambilan ialah:
Ayat 1 - Sesungguhnya Kami telah membuka bagi perjuanganmu (wahai Muhammad) satu jalan kemenangan yang jelas nyata,
Ayat 2 - Kemenangan yang dengan sebabnya Allah mengampunkan salah dan silapmu yang telah lalu dan yang terkemudian, dan menyempurnakan nikmatNya kepadamu, serta menambahkanmu hidayah ke jalan yang lurus (dalam mengembangkan Islam dan melaksanakan hukum-hukumnya).
Ayat 3 - Dan dengan sebabnya Allah memberikanmu pertolongan (untuk mencapai kejayaan) dengan sepunuh-penuh dan sehandal-handal pertolongan (yang tidak ada bandingannya).
Ayat 4 - (Tuhan yang membuka jalan kemenangan itu) Dia lah yang menurunkan semangat tenang tenteram ke dalam hati orang-orang yang beriman (semasa mereka meradang terhadap angkara musuh) supaya mereka bertambah iman dan yakin beserta dengan iman dan keyakinan mereka yang sedia ada; pada hal Allah menguasai tentera langit dan bumi (untuk menolong mereka); dan Allah adalah Maha Mengetahui, lagi Maha Bijaksana.
Ayat 5 - (Allah melakukan yang demikian) supaya ia memasukkan orang-orang yang beriman - lelaki dan perempuan - ke dalam Syurga yang mengalir di bawahnya beberapa sungai; dengan keadaan kekal mereka di dalamnya, serta menghapuskan dosa-dosa mereka; dan adalah yang demikian itu pada sisi Allah merupakan kejayaan yang besar (untuk mereka);
Ayat 6 - Dan supaya Ia menyeksa orang-orang munafik - lelaki dan perempuan, dan orang-orang musyrik - lelaki dan perempuan, yang menyangka terhadap Allah dengan sangkaan yang buruk (bahawa Ia akan mengecewakan RasulNya). Atas merekalah tertimpanya bala bencana yang dibawa oleh peredaran zaman; dan (selain itu) Allah murkai mereka dan melaknatkan mereka serta menyediakan untuk mereka neraka Jahannam; sedang neraka Jahannam itu adalah seburuk-buruk tempat kembali.

Ayat 10 - Sesungguhnya orang-orang yang memberi pengakuan taat setia kepadamu (wahai Muhammad - untuk berjuang menentang musuh), mereka hanyasanya memberikan pengakuan taat setia kepada Allah; Allah mengawasi keadaan mereka memberikan taat setia itu (untuk membalasnya). Oleh itu, sesiapa yang tidak menyempurnakan janji setianya maka bahaya tidak menyempurnakan itu hanya menimpa dirinya; dan sesiapa yang menyempurnakan apa yang telah dijanjikannya kepada Allah, maka Allah akan memberi kepadanya pahala yang besar.

Intisari ruku' (2) bagi surah ini ialah :
Mengisahkan dolak-dalih kabilah-kabilah yang lemah iman yang tidak menyertai angkatan Rasulullah ke Makkah untuk mengerjakan umrah.
Sumber ambilan ialah:
Ayat 11 - Orang-orang "A'raab" (kaum Arab Badwi) yang ketinggalan tidak turut (bersama-sama denganmu ke Hudaibiyah), akan berkata kepadamu (wahai Muhammad): "Kami telah dihalangi oleh urusan menjaga keselamatan harta benda dan anak isteri kami; oleh itu, pohonkanlah ampun kepada Allah untuk kami". Mereka berkata dengan lidahnya apa yang tidak ada dalam hatinya. Katakanlah (wahai Muhammad: "Jika demikian sebab ketinggalan kamu) maka adakah sesiapa yang berkuasa mempertahankan kamu daripada terkena atau menerima sesuatu ketetapan dari Allah jika Ia tetapkan kamu ditimpa bahaya atau beroleh manfaat? (Tidak ada sesiapapun, dan apa yang kamu katakan itu bukanlah menjadi sebab) bahkan Allah adalah Maha Mendalam pengetahuanNya tentang sebab ketinggalan yang kamu lakukan itu (dan Ia akan membalasnya).
Ayat 12 - "(Itu bukanlah sebabnya) bahkan sebabnya kamu telah menyangka bahawa Rasulullah dan orang-orang yang beriman (yang pergi berperang akan binasa semuanya dan) tidak akan kembali lagi kepada akan isteri dan keluarga masing-masing selama-lamanya; dan sangkaan yang demikian itu diperelokkan (oleh Syaitan) di dalam hati kamu (serta menerimanya); dan lagi kamu telah menyangka berbagai-bagai sangkaan yang buruk (terhadap ugama Allah yang dibawa oleh RasulNya); dan (dengan itu) menjadilah kamu kaum yang rosak binasa".
Ayat 15 - Orang-orang (munafik) yang tidak turut berjuang (bersama-sama kamu) akan berkata semasa kamu pergi (mengepong musuh serta) mendapat harta rampasan perang: Biarkanlah kami turut serta dengan kamu!" Mereka (dengan itu) hendak mengubah janji Allah (yang menentukan hanya orang-orang yang turut hadir di Hudaibiyah sahaja yang berhak mendapat harta rampasan perang itu). Katakanlah (wahai Muhammad): "Kamu tidak dibenarkan sama sekali turut serta dengan kami; demikianlah Allah menegaskan (larangan itu) semenjak dahulu lagi". Mereka akan berkata pula: "(Bukan Tuhan yang melarang) bahkan kamu dengki kepada kami", (apa yang mereka katakan itu tidaklah benar), bahkan mereka tidak faham kecuali sedikit sahaja; (mereka hanya faham tentang kehidupan dan kesenangan dunia semata-mata).

Intisari ruku' (3) bagi surah ini ialah :
Allah merestukan perjanjian Bai'tul-Ridhwan dan menjanjikan kemenangan yang lebih banyak.
Sumber ambilan ialah:
Ayat 18 - Demi sesungguhnya! Allah reda akan orang-orang yang beriman, ketika mereka memberikan pengakuan taat setia kepadamu (wahai Muhammad) di bawah naungan pohon (yang termaklum di Hudaibiyah); maka (dengan itu) ternyata apa yang sedia diketahuiNya tentang (kebenaran iman dan taat setia) yang ada dalam hati mereka, lalu Ia menurunkan semangat tenang tenteram kepada mereka, dan membalas mereka dengan kemenangan yang dekat masa datangnya;
Ayat 19 - Dan juga dengan banyak harta rampasan perang, yang mereka akan dapat mengambilnya. Dan (ingatlah), Allah adalah Maha kuasa, lagi Maha Bijaksana.
Ayat 20 - (Sebagai memuliakan orang-orang yang memberi pengakuan taat setianya di Hudaibiyah, Tuhan menujukan firmannya kepada mereka): Allah menjanjikan kepada kamu harta rampasan yang banyak yang kamu akan mengambilnya, lalu Ia menyegerakan untuk kamu harta rampasan perang ini, serta Ia telah menahan tangan manusia (pihak musuh di situ) daripada menyerang kamu; (Allah melakukan yang demikian supaya kamu beroleh manfaat) dan supaya menjadi tanda (yang membuktikan kebenaran janjiNya) bagi orang-orang yang beriman, dan juga supaya Ia menambahkan kamu hidayah ke jalan yang lurus.
Ayat 21 - Dan ada lagi harta rampasan lain yang kamu belum dapat menguasainya, (tetapi) Allah telah memelihara harta itu dengan kekuasaanNya (untuk kamu mendapatnya); dan (ingatlah), Allah adalah Maha Kuasa atas tiap-tiap sesuatu.
Ayat 22 - Dan sekiranya orang-orang kafir (dari penduduk Makkah) itu memerangi kamu (di Hudaibiyah), tentulah mereka akan berpaling melarikan diri dengan kekalahan; kemudian mereka tidak akan beroleh sesiapapun yang menjadi pelindung atau memberikan pertolongan.
Ayat 23 - (Kekalahan orang-orang yang menentang Rasul Allah sudah tetap menurut) "Sunnatullah" (peraturan Allah) yang telah berlaku semenjak dahulu lagi; dan engkau tidak akan mendapati sebarang perubahan bagi cara dan peraturan Allah itu.
Ayat 24 - Dan Dia lah yang telah menahan tangan mereka (yang musyrik) daripada melakukan perkara yang buruk terhadap kamu, dan tangan kamu daripada berbuat demikian kepada mereka di kawasan Makkah, sesudah Ia menjadikan kamu dapat menewaskan mereka. Dan (ingatlah), Allah adalah Maha Melihat akan segala yang kamu kerjakan.

Intisari ruku' (4) bagi surah ini ialah :
(1.) Menerangkan impian Rasulullah untuk kembali ke Makkah dan memasuki Masjidil-Haram telah menjadi kenyataan.
(2.) Menerangkan sikap Rasulullah dan para Mukmin dalam perhubungan mereka terhadap orang-orang kafir dan terhadap sesama Muslimin dan kegiatan ibadat mereka dalam kehidupan seharian.
Sumber ambilan ialah:
Ayat 27 - Demi sesungguhnya! Allah tetap menyatakan benar RasulNya dalam perkara mimpi itu dengan kenyataan yang sebenar; iaitu sesungguhnya kamu tetap akan memasuki Masjid Al-Haraam - insya Allah (pada masa yang ditentukanNya) - dalam keadaan aman (menyempurnakan ibadat umrah kamu) dengan mencukur kepala kamu, dan kalau (tidak pun) menggunting sedikit rambutnya, serta kamu tidak merasa takut (akan pengkhianatan musuh sehingga kamu keluar balik dari situ). (Allah mengangguhkan berlakunya kenyataan itu) kerana Ia mengetahui (adanya feadah dalam penangguhan itu) yang kamu tidak mengetahuinya; maka Ia menyediakan sebelum (terlaksananya mimpi) itu, satu kemenangan yang dekat (masa berlakunnya).
Ayat 29 - Nabi Muhammad (s.a.w) ialah Rasul Allah; dan orang-orang yang bersama dengannya bersikap keras dan tegas terhadap orang-orang kafir yang (memusuhi Islam), dan sebaiknya bersikap kasih sayang serta belas kasihan kasihan sesama sendiri (umat Islam). Engkau melihat mereka tetap beribadat rukuk dan sujud, dengan mengharapkan limpah kurnia (pahala) dari Tuhan mereka serta mengharapkan keredaanNya. Tanda yang menunjukkan mereka (sebagai orang-orang yang soleh) terdapat muka mereka - dari kesan sujud (dan ibadat mereka yang ikhlas). Demikianlah sifat mereka yang tersebut di dalam Kitab Taurat; dan sifat mereka di dalam Kitab Injil pula ialah: (bahawa mereka diibaratkan) sebagai pokok tanaman yang mengeluarkan anak dan tunasnya, lalu anak dan tunasnya itu menyuburkannya, sehingga ia menjadi kuat, lalu ia tegap berdiri di atas (pangkal) batangnya dengan keadaan yang mengkagumkan orang-orang yang menanamnya. (Allah menjadikan sahabat-sahabat Nabi Muhammad, s.a.w dan pengikut-pengikutnya kembang biak serta kuat gagah sedemikian itu) kerana Ia hendak menjadikan orang-orang kafir merana dengan perasaan marah dan hasad dengki - dengan kembang biaknya umat Islam itu. (Dan selain itu) Allah telah menjanjikan orang-orang yang beriman dan beramal soleh dari mereka, keampunan dan pahala yang besar.

Khulasha Al-Quran.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Muslims of Vietnam and Kampuchea

Siddiq Osman Noor Muhammad

Is there any place on earth where Muslims do not exist? The Holy Prophet, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that the whole earth is a mosque and Muslims have followed this teaching to the letter so that today, we can hear the azan, first rendered by Hadrat Bilal, (may Allah be pleased with him), echoing from the minarets from Istanbul to Jakarta and from Delhi to Los Angeles. And so, Muslims would not be surprised to hear that brother and sister Muslims, even as of today, preserve their iman (faith) and nurture their piety in such far off lands as Vietnam and Kampuchea (formerly Combodia). As Imam Ahmad Raza Khan has so aptly put it in his "Salaam", Allah's law and governance, as exemplified by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) holds sway in every nook and corner of the earth.

Kis jagaa aur kahan tera kabza naheen
Ek mera hee rahmat pay daawa nahee
Shah kee saree ummat pay lakhon salaam
Is there a place where you don't have control?
I am not the only one with a claim on your mercy
(the whole ummah has a claim and so)
A million salutations on all the followers of the Holy Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)

Lo behold! Even when we land in such far-off places as Vietnam and Kampuchea we find that Allah's law has already been established here.There are many tribes in Vietnam and Kampuchea, but it is the Chams who, in large measure, converted to Islam from Hinduism. Originally, their country was called Champa. The Arabic inscriptions in stone, found near Phan Rang in Vietnam, dating back to the tenth or eleventh century are the earliest record of the Muslim presence in Champa, informs Bill Strubbe in his article, "The People Persist". Islam arrived here via India and Malaysia and the Cham language is of Malay-Polynesian origin.

Areas of concentration of Muslims in Vietnam are along the south eastern coast facing the South China Sea, and in the south, especially in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). And in Kampuchea, a sizeable number of Muslims exist in Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, and in the south in the Gulf of Thailand.

There are quite a few similarities between the Chams of Vietnam and Kampuchea and Malaysians-Indonesians. Both are Sunni Muslims, following the Shafi'i madh-hab (school of thought). Their culture is similar. For example, both live in villages called kampongs. Muslim men wear batik lungi (shuka in Kiswahili) tied in a knot at the waist, whether in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam or in Jakarta, Indonesia, but while the black cap is popular in Indonesia, the Chams of Vietnam and Kampuchea wear white caps like Muslims in other places and these are called kapea (recollection: kofea in Swahili). And the elders among the Chams wear white robes and turbans as is the sunnah. Finally, mixed marriages of Chams to Khmers, Vietnamese or Chinese non-Muslims almost always result in the non-Muslim partner's conversion to Islam (as among the Guyanese for example). The seal of iman (faith) is set; "kis jagaa aur kahan tera kabza naheen", mused Imam Ahmad Raza Khan.

But the Muslims of Vietnam and Kampuchea have suffered from the scourge of Communism. Before Saigon in the south (now Ho Chi Minh City) fell to the communists from North Vietnam, Chams used to go to Hajj, but this has now been stopped. Muslims from the rest of the world should make a concerted presentation before Vietnam to allow Chams complete freedom of worship. The brighter side is that five times daily prayers are held in the beautiful mosque in Ho Chi Minh City called Jami-ul-Masjid Cholon and the Chams refer to any muezzin as Bilal after the universally historic, spiritually brimming personality of Hadrat Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him.).
Cham Muslims are the country's largest minority in Kampuchea (formerly Kampuchea). Masjid an-Nur an-Naim, built in 1901 in Chrang Chamres, was once the largest in Kampuchea. Now, it is being rebuilt after being destroyed by the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge closed mosques and schools and those Muslims who refused to eat pork were executed.

When the Khmer Rouge were finally ousted from power in 1979, only 20 of the 132 mosques in Kampuchea remained. Some 90,000 of the 200,000 Chams were killed in the dark years of the Khmer Rouge regime before the Vietnamese troops entered Kampuchea in 1979 and ousted their regime. Things are now returning to normal and in the past 2 years, 55 Kampuchean Chams have made the Hajj.

The Chams are materially very poor people, but they are saving pennies to rebuild their mosques and madrasas. As you read this, I am sure your heart is going a beat faster and your mind is racing to ask: What can I do to help my brothers and sisters in Vietnam and Kampuchea.

Non-muslims, whether capitalists or communists might kill Muslims, but can they shake their Iman (faith)? Turn a corner and you will meet a Bilal

(Note: This article was first published in Iqra The Islamic Journal of Memon Jamat Nairobi, No. 30, Jamadil Aakhir 1415)

Cambodia - Islam

Islam is the religion of the Cham (also called Khmer Islam) and Malay minorities. According to Po Dharma, there were 150,000 to 200,000 Muslims in Cambodia as late as 1975. Persecution under the Khmer Rouge eroded their numbers, however, and by the late 1980s they probably had not regained their former strength. All of the Cham Muslims are Sunnis of the Shafii school. Po Dharma divides the Muslim Cham in Cambodia into a traditionalist branch and an orthodox branch.

The Cham have their own mosques. In 1962 there were about 100 mosques in the country. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Muslims in Cambodia formed a unified community under the authority of four religious dignitaries--mupti, tuk kalih, raja kalik, and tvan pake. A council of notables in Cham villages consisted of one hakem and several katip, bilal, and labi. The four high dignitaries and the hakem were exempt from personal taxes, and they were invited to take part in major national ceremonies at the royal court.

When Cambodia became independent, the Islamic community was placed under the control of a five-member council that represented the community in official functions and in contacts with other Islamic communities. Each Muslim community has a hakem who leads the community and the mosque, an imam who leads the prayers, and a bilal who calls the faithful to the daily prayers. The peninsula of Chrouy Changvar near Phnom Penh is considered the spiritual center of the Cham, and several high Muslim officials reside there. Each year some of the Cham go to study the Quran at Kelantan in Malaysia, and some go on to study in, or make a pilgrimage to, Mecca. According to figures from the late 1950s, about 7 percent of the Cham had completed the pilgrimage and could wear the fez or turban as a sign of their accomplishment.

The traditional Cham retain many ancient Muslim or pre-Muslim traditions and rites. They consider Allah as the all-powerful God, but they also recognize other non-Islamic deities. Their are closer, in many respects, to the Cham of coastal Vietnam than they are to other Muslims. The religious dignitaries of the traditional Cham (and of the Cham in Vietnam) dress completely in white, and they shave their heads and faces. These Cham believe in the power of magic and sorcery, and they attach great importance to magical practices in order to avoid sickness or slow or violent death. They believe in many supernatural powers. Although they show little interest in the pilgrimage to Mecca and in the five daily prayers, the traditional Cham do celebrate many Muslim festivals and rituals.

The orthodox Cham have adopted a more conformist religion largely because of their close contacts with, and intermarriages with, the Malay community. In fact, the orthodox Cham have adopted Malay customs and family organization, and many speak the Malay language. They send pilgrims to Mecca, and they attend international Islamic conferences. Conflicts between the traditional and the orthodox Cham increased between 1954 and 1975. For example, the two groups polarized the population of one village, and each group eventually had its own mosque and separate religious organization.
According to Cham sources, 132 mosques were destroyed during the Khmer Rouge era, many others were desecrated, and Muslims were not allowed to worship. In the PRK, Islam has been given the same freedom as Buddhism. Vickery believes that about 185,000 Cham lived in Cambodia in the mid-1980s and that the number of mosques was about the same then as it was before 1975. In early 1988, there were six mosques in the Phnom Penh area and a "good number" in the provinces, but Muslim dignitaries were thinly stretched; only 20 of the previous 113 most prominent Cham clergy in Cambodia survived the Khmer Rouge period.

Cham Muslims: A Look at Cambodia's Muslim Minority

By Antonio Graceffo

Followers of the religion of Islam make up less than one percent of the predominantly Buddhist population of Cambodia. Roughly 80% of Cambodia's Muslims belong to the Cham ethnic group.
"There are two types of Muslims in Cambodia." Said Sary Abdulah, president of the Islamic National Movement for Democracy of Cambodia. The two groups include: Sunni, traditional Muslims, along the lines of Arab Muslims, who pray five times per day, and Fojihed Muslims, who follow an ancient Cham interpretation of the religion.
"They only pray once a week. They speak Cham, and keep the old Cham traditions." Sary Abdulah went on the explain that the Fojihed maintained many of their pre-Muslim beliefs, particularly in the super-natural, and magical powers. "They believe that they can pray, and achieve great internal power, called Chai. It is similar to what Kung Fu people call Chi."

"We begin learning Islam in our village when we are small. Our parents and the village Mullah are our first teachers." Said Ismail Taib, a twenty-four year old Cham from the large ethnic community, located at kilometers seven, eight, and nine, outside of Phnom Penh. The Koran which is being used in Cambodia is written in Arabic. In interviewing various Chams it seemed that the ability to read and interpret Arabic was one of the most important issues in deciding who was qualified to be a Mullah. "Anyone who could read Arabic could be a Mullah." Said Ismail. "Later, if we wish to continue our studies, we can leave the village and go to a big school in Phnom Penh or Kampong Cham. A few lucky ones will get to go abroad and study."

Although Sary Abdulah, and many members of his organization were US citizens, Malaysia seemed to be the leading influence on Muslims in Cambodia, and was one of the leading places that young Muslims hoped to study."The Koran cannot be translated in Cham, because the Cham have no writing system." Explained Sary Abdulah. "But we are currently translating the Koran into Khmer language. Of course, the translation is going slowly, because we have no funds. So, we can only do a few pages at a time." Sary asked me if there were some way I could find funds to support his translation of the Koran.

Islamic education and education in general is one of the main focuses of Sary Abdulah's work as a community leader. "We need schools and volunteer teachers." He told me as we strolled through the Muslim market at kilometer eight. "All of this food is Halal." He told me, proudly. At a stall, I purchased a pudding, made of gelatinous coconut oil. "No bacon here." He joked. "But I think you will like this one."After taking a small bite, to see if Sary was putting me on, I devoured the tasty pastry in a single gulp.
"I told you." He laughed, as I ordered three more. "You see, Cham people never lie to you."

The market was a typical outdoor market, seen all through Asia, with various foods and goods being sold from stalls. But the primary difference was that the vendors were almost all women, who wore the beautiful, colored head wrappings of the Muslim faith. Although one didn't see the all-black hoods and dresses of fundamentalist countries, the Cham wore traditional clothing more often than any other residents of Phnom Penh. Many of the young Cham boys were clad in sarongs and head scarves. Older men wore a small hat, or fez, and many sported a beard. But like religious devotion in western countries, families held varying degrees of obedience to the traditions, making many Cham indistinguishable from members of other religions.

Sary Abdulah, for example did not go with his head covered. And many teenage boys were wearing jeans and T-shirts with images of their favorite Taiwanese pop-group, F-4.We visited a state run school, where all of the students were Cham, but where the curriculum followed the same guidelines as Khmer schools. "When the children finish here, they walk across the street to the Madrasa, and continue studying in the evening." Explained Sary Abdulah. "We teach them about Islam and Arabic language. But we also want them to learn English and French. So much depends on where the volunteer teachers are from. Our last teacher was able to teach the children French. Some can teach Chinese and Japanese.

Right now, we have no teachers at all."Once again, Sary Abdulah made his plea. "When you write this story, please ask teachers to come here and help up. And ask rich Muslims in America to send money, so we can build schools, buy computers, and teach our children."Nearby, the Islamic vocational school was a rundown cinderblock building, standing alone in an open field, which had flooded during the night. Chickens and goats ran freely through the school building. "I would like to show you the school." Said Sary Abdulah, "But there is too much water. Anyway, we have a few computers there and a sewing class. In the Cham community education is available to both boys and girls. "We don't discriminate." Said Sary. "But the boys and the girls come at different times of day."

Sary Abdulah took me on a tour of the mosque, connected with the madrasa. "This building was destroyed by the Khmer Rouge." He said. "It took the people until 1987 to be able to rebuild it, and open the doors again."As with every other aspect of life in Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge period, lasting from 1975-1979 left an indelible mark upon the society. It is estimated that, 132 mosques were destroyed during the Khmer Rouge period. Under the regime, Muslims were prohibited from worshiping. Today, however, Islam has been given the same freedom as Buddhism. In early 1988, there were only six mosques left in the Phnom Penh, and of the 113 most prominent Cham clergy in Cambodia, only 20 survived the Khmer Rouge period.

( Our final stop was at a huge feast prepared by a local Cham community. "Because Ramadan is coming soon, we like to have a big feast in preparation." Sary told me. The pre-Ramadan feast coincided with the Buddhist festival of the dead, when most Khmers would be saying prayers for their departed ancestors. Before sitting down to eat, the men all kneeled on prayer mats and remembered their lost loved ones. "The Koran doesn't tell us this, exactly." Confessed Sary Abdulah. "But we feel it is the right thing to do."

Like everyone else in Cambodia, after being nearly annihilated during the Khmer Rouge regime, the Cham had been through a lot, but they still found a place in their hearts for charity. "We invite poor people to the feast so that they can have a good meal. This is what the Koran says that we must do."Sary brushed the uncomfortable subject of the US War on Terrorism. "Some people misinterpret the Koran. But the Koran is about peace. Our religion is about peace. We, the Muslim people, only want peace. You are Catholic." He said of me. "But you are my brother, And I invite you here to share food with us. Because this is what the Koran says to do."
When asked if he had a message he would like to send out to the whole world, Sary answered, without hesitation. "Let them know that Muslim people are not terrorists. Please take your articles to America and teach people about Islam and about the Cham."
"Anything else?" I asked, in closing.
"Yes," He said with a smile. "Tell them to send teachers and money, so we can educate our people."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Muslims in China: A brief history

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The Emperor asked them as to the meaning of the term Hui (Those who shall Return the Chinese name for Muslims) to which one of them answered: It refers to the temporary stay of man upon earth, which he leaves to Return at death; it refers to the soul's Return to the Beyond, to the Return of the erring conscience to the Right Way, to the Return to the Real and True from the elusive and false.

Tang Dynasty Tradition

The Advent of Islam in South China:

The advent of Islam in South China makes a fascinating study. The earliest Muslims came to these parts by sea. Arab traders were known to have sailed to China even during the period beyond historical records. Records exist from 5th century A.D. (Tang Dynasty 618-907) which shows the route from Siraf in the Persian Gulf to Muscat in the Gulf of Oman, thence to the South Indian (Malabar) coast. From there the route continued to Ceylon (Sarandip), to Nicobar group of islands, to straits of Malacca, then round the South coast of the Malay Peninsula to the Gulf of Siam and thence to Canton and Hangchow in China.

According to Muslim traditions, when the early Muslims were being persecuted in Mecca some of them were allowed to migrate to Habash (Abyssinia) but most of them later came back, including the famous companions and muazzin Bilal. However, the Books of Individual Records noticed that four companions did not return, one of them being Abi Waqqas, a maternal uncle of the Holy Prophet. It is narrated that Abi Waqqas had gained favour with the Najashi King of Habash who had allowed him to sail to China.

This tallies with the account of Liu Chih (who wrote a 12-volume Life of the Prophet in Chinese in 1721 A.D.) according to which Abi Waqqas, the Holy Prophets maternal uncle, arrived in China with three other Sahaba. Broomhall gives the date of this arrival in China of the Sahaba. Broomhall gives the date of this arrival in China of the Sahaba as 611 A.D. The Chinese historian gives the date as 587 A.D. Both the dates are incorrect, since the first revelation to the Prophet came in 611 A.D. and the first batch of Muslim emigrants went to Abyssinia in 615 A.D. Abi Waqqas could not have reached Canton before 616 A.D.) Abi Waqqas then went back to Arabia to being the Holy Quran and came to China the second time after 21 years.

An inscription at Canton dated 1861 A.D. Also states that Abi Waqqas landed in Canton in 587 A.D. and built the mosque of Holy Remembrance. It is believed that the earliest mosque built in China is the present mosque of Holy Remembrance at Canton. The mosque was built along-side the Smooth Minaret (Kwang Ta) which was built earlier by the Arabs as a lighthouse. The mosque and the minaret exist even today in Canton, and the tomb of Abi Waqqas as well as a small mosque, also located in the Muslim graveyard of Canton. According to Great Ming Geography, two of his companions lie buried in nearby Fukian. It is almost certain that these were the first Muslim preachers who came to South China by sea and propagated Islam in the coastal cities of Kwangchow, Chuanchow, Hangchow and Yangchow. There is, however, a difference of opinion about the exact dates because of the difficulties in calculations in the Western Gregorian Calender and the Chinese and Muslim Lunar Calenders.

The introduction so Islam in Western China makes a still more colourful and fascinating study. According to Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) records, two embassies, one from Yezdegrid, the grandson of Khosroes and the other from the Roman Empire, came to the court of Tai Tsung, the second tang Emperor (627-650) in 638 and 643 respectively and both reported their defeats at the hands of the Arabs. Yezdegird, the last of Sassanian Kings of Iran, had sought refuge with the Turkish tribes of Ferghana an had also sought friendship with Emperor Tai Tsung whose capital was at Chang An (modern Sian). The Chinese of the time were at the height of their power, and had their frontiers with the Persian Empire. In 650, Tai Tsung died and his son, Emperor Kao Tsung, received an appeal for aid from Firuz, the son of Yezdegird.

Kao Tsung sent an emissary to Caliph Osman at Madina to plead for Firuz and the Caliph in return sent one of his generals to Sian in 651 and thus the first Muslim Embassy was established in Western China. During the reign of the Omayyad Caliph, Walid I, Central Asia, India, North Africa and Spain were being conquered. At the time when Mohammad Bin Qasim had landed in Sind, Qutaiba Bin Muslim was making advances in Central Asia. Emperor Hsuan Tsung and the envoy refused to kow tow to the Emperor saying he could only bow to the Almighty Allah. However, Qutaiba agreed to release the Chinese prisoners on the condition that they taught Muslims how to make paper an art the Chinese had masteres. Thus the art of paper-making was acquired by the Arabs and taken to Baghdad. From there this art spread to Egypt, Spain and later to Europe.

It was because of the death of Caliph Walid I (719 A.D.) the assassination of Qutaiba and the overthrow of the Omayyads by the Abbasids that the Arab advancement in Central Asia was halted. This period corresponds in time with the Battle of Tours in France (732 A.D.) when Muslim advances in Europe were also halted.

In 755 A.D., five years after the rise of the Abbasids, during the reign of Abu Jaffar, the 3rd Abbasid Caliph, a rebellion broke out in China the leader of which was a Turk named An Lu-shan. Emperor Hasuan Tsung was driven from his capital and he abdicated in favour of his son Su Tsung (756-763 A.D.) who appealed to the Arabs for help. Abu Jaffar sent 4,000 Muslim soldiers who recovered Sian and Honanfu for the Emperor in 757 A.D. These soldiers never went back, but instead married in China and formed the nucleus of the naturalised Chinese Muslims in Western China whose descendents live there even today. The story was repeated by Tai Tsung (763-780 A.D.), son of Su Tsung, who also sought help from Abu Jaffar when 300,000 Tibetans invaded his kingdom. Abu Jaffar sent a large contingent so much so that the Chinese government was obliged to double the tax on tea to raise funds to pay them. These Muslims also settled down in Western China and some in Yunnan, in South China, where they came to be known as Panthays.

As a result of contact with Muslim armies, many people accepted Islam, among them a tribe ralled Hui Chi, after whom the Muslims of China were known until the time of the Yuan (Mongol) dynasty, when the name was changed to Hui-Hui, by which name they are still known. But there is another name, which is generally used by Muslims, that is, Ching Zhen, In Chinese, Islam is called Ching Zhen Jiao, meaning Pure Religion, as Ching and Zhen mean clean and real respectively.

Muslims Under Sung, Yuan and Ming Dynasties:

During the Sung Dynasty (960-1280), the Court Records mention twenty embassies from Arabia. Muslims received good treatment from the kings of this dynasty and many of them were given titles and appointed to high posts.The news of this treatment spread to the Muslim countries and many Muslims came from Turkestan to find employment in the Chinese army. During the Mongol period (Yuan Dynasty, 1260-1368 A.D.) the Muslims thrived and established themselves as an important section of Chinese society.

The records of Yuan Dynasty include many biographies of distinguished Muslims who were employed by the Mongols. Sayid Ajjal (Sai Tien-Chih) of Bokhara became the conqueror and governor of Yunnan. His son, Nasaruddin is mentioned by Marco Polo. He distinguished himself in the wars against Cochin China and Burma. Alauddin (A-lao-wa-ting) and Ismail (I-ssu-ma-yin) were sent from Persia to China as expert makers. Their machines were used in the catapult siege of Siang Yang fu in 1271 A.D. Jamal-ud-Din, a Persian astronomer presented to Kublai Khan seven Persian astronomical instruments (1267 A.D.) and a new chronology entitled Wannianli (The Ten Thousand Year Chronology).

Under the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) also, the Muslims enjoyed privileges, and, both in the army and the civil services, occupied high positions. Numerous embassies came to China from Arabia and Muslim arts and crafts influenced China. A number of Muslim artistic motifs can be seen in the famous Ming porcelain and the beautiful blue of this porcelain is due to the introduction of Persian cobalt. A good deal of porcelain belonging to this period bears Arabic words and inscriptions and verses from the Holy Quran. Moreover, many shapes of Tang, Sung and Ming china are based on those common in Islamic countries.

During the Ming period, Admiral Zheng Ho and his lieutenant Ma Huan (Muhammad Hasan) became famous as navigators and explorers. Zheng Ho was the name bestowed on Sai Ho Ch'ih (i.e. Sayyid Haji) by Yung Lo, the third Emperor of the Ming. He is also known by the title San Pao Kung (Our Master of the Three Jewels) given to him by the grateful Chinese settlers of South East Asia, who worship him to this day as one of their saints. Zheng Ho was born in 1371 A.D. in the fourth year of the reign of the first Ming Emperor Hung Wu. Having los this father at the early age of twelve he joined military service and took a prominent part in the subjugation of his ancestral Yunnan province fro the newly risen Ming power.

He achieved spectacular successes in the pacification of the frontier provinces of China while he was still in his teens. His distinguished services to the state brought him royal favour, which he utilised for the welfare of his fellow Muslims, A living monument of his solicitude for the Chinese Muslims is the stone tablet of the Sian mosque (Siam or Xian), which commemorates some of the generous concessions that he obtained for them from the grateful Emperor. In 1403 Emperor Yung Lo ascended the throne and planned to extend the Chinese political influence and trade overseas. For this ambitious venture he selected Zheng Ho to lead Chinese armadas in the China Sea and the Indian Ocean. The story of his seven maritime expeditions has few parallels in the history of navigation. Having churned the waves of the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean almost a century before Vasco da Gama reached India, Zheng Ho made his last voyage to the Eternal Home in 1435 at the age of 65.

The Panthays of Yunnan:

Islam was introduced in Yunnan (literally South of Clouds) province by the soldiers of Kublai khan in the beginning of Yuan Dynasty (1260-1368 A.D.). Marco Polo writes of the presence of Saracens in Yunnan. Rashid-ud-Din, who died in 1316 A.D. wrote: All inhabitants of Yachi (modern Talifu) are Mohammedans. Kublai Khan united this province in 1257 A.D. and appointed one of his ministers Sai Tien-Chih (Syed Ajjal) as governor. Syed Ajjal was from Bokhara and traced his lineage to the Holy Prophet in the 27th generation. His son Nasaruddin and grandson Saddi were also governors of Yunnan.

It was during the Manchu rule that the Panthays of Yunnan (so named after the Burmese name for Muslims) had their difficulties and clashes with the Central government in which millions are said to have perished. An Imam of Talifu, Ma Teh-hsing and his lieutenant Ma Hsien (Mohammad Hassan) declared their independence in 1855 and so did Tu Wen-siu (Sultan Suleiman) who made Talifu his capital at a time when the Central government was engaged in the Taiping uprising and the Second Opium War which led to the occupation of Peking by Western powers.

Sultan Sulaiman adopted the title of Generalissimo (Yuan Shuai) and established regular caravan trade with Burma. Ma Hsien, meanwhile, accepted service with the Imperial Army in the rank of Brigadier General (Chen Tai). While serious differences arose between Ma Hsien and Sultan Sulaiman, the Taiping uprising was put down with the help of General (Chinese) Gordon in 1864 and the Central government then concentrated forces against Sultan Sulaiman. It is said that when he was finally convinced of his impending defeat at the hands of Imperial Army at Talifu, Sultan Sulaiman first poisoned his three wives and five daughters and then himself committed suicide on 15 January 1873 after having ruled the area for 16 years. Since then the population of Panthays in Yunnan has been on the decrease.

The Tungans of Western China:

Tungan or Dungan is the word for converts in turkish and the term was generally used for muslims in the areas now comprising Kansu, Ningsha and Xinjiang. These were the people converted to Islam through contacts with Arabs since the days of Tang Dynasty. Vigurs (or Vighurs), a Turkish race originally Buddhists, they had followed the example of their beloved prince Sartook Bookra Khan (Satoq Bughra Khan) and had become Muslims en masse. The Tungans also had a difficult time under the Manchus specially in 1785, from 1862 to 1876 and in 1895 because they resented wearing of Manchu style queues and also the restrictions imposed on building mosques and performing pilgrimage etc. (due to economic reasons & colonialism)

The Story of Yaqub Beg:

Yaqub Khan came to Chinese Turkistan from Khokand in 1864 as a subordinate officer with approximately 60 men. Being a man of action and ability, he set up an independent kingdom in Yangi Hissar, Kashgar and Yarkand which lasted for 12 years. The Amir of Bokhara conferred on him the title of Atalik Ghazi. He added Kucha, Aksu, Urumchi and Turfan to his territories and in 1872 his independence was recognised by the Russians and subsequently by Britain and Turkey.

The Sultan of Turkey conferred on him the title of Amir-ul-Momineen. In the meantime the Ching Emperor having successfully dealt with the Taiping uprising, deputed an experienced general, Tso Chung-tang, to establish Chinese suzeranity in the area. General Tso raised an Agricultural Army which produced its own food as it went along thus overcoming the logistic problem of crossing the Gobi desert. The campaign was slow and it cost the Chinese government 30 million pound sterling but it succeeded. Urumchi fell in 1876. Yaqub Beg suddenly died on 1st May 1877. Although the Ching Emperor tolerated a Muslim local chieftain at Turfan, his position was maintained for political purposes without any real power.

Recent History

Coming nearer our times, Dr. Sun Yatsens revolution which delivered the Chinese people from the Manchus and overthrew the Ching Dynasty in 1911 was welcomed by the Chinese Muslims also. Dr. Sun Yatsen proclaimed the doctrine of harmony and equality of five races. These five races (or nationalities as these are called now) were Han, Manchu, Tibetan, Mongol and Hui (i.e. Muslim) and are represented on the flag of the People's Republic by the 5 stars. During this period Muslims were appointed to important positions in the Army and they also secured seats in the National Legislative Assembly and held high posts in the Nationalist government.

When Chairman Mao led the Workers and Peasants Red Army in the famous Long March of 6,000 miles (1934-35), many Muslims joined the Red Army. It is said that a mosque was built for them at Yenan, Chairman Mao headquarters after the Long March. later, during the war against the japanese and during the struggle against Chiang Kai Shek, most Chinese Muslims joined the struggle alongwith the majority of the Han Chinese. Xinjiang was secured without a fight due to the efforts of Burhan Shahidi and Aziz Saifuddin. Burhan Shahidi is now the President of the Islamic Association of China and Saifuddin an Alternate Member of the Politburo.

Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou Enlai took special care to look after the Muslims in China so much so that the People's Liberation Army was especially instructed to follow at 10-point code in Muslim areas which include the protection of Mosques, a ban on eating or mentioning of pork and a ban on fraternisation with Muslim women. During the Agrarian Reforms of 1950, when all lands belonging to temples and monasteries were nationalised, the waqf (endowment) property attached to the mosques was exempted from confiscation. Article three of the agriculture Reform Law (1950) stipulated that lands belonging to the mosques may be kept by them depending on circumstances and with the consent of the Muslim residents in the area where the mosques are located.

During the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), however, the Muslims of China were persecuted along with the Buddhists and Christians, by the ultra-leftists led by Lin Biao and the Gang of Four. The Red Guards made all-out attacks on religious institutions calling them bourgeois and reactionary institutions. They attacked and defaced mosques as well as burned religious books despite government directives that the mosques must be protected. It is a tribute to the wisdom of Chinese leaders like Zhou Enlai who opposed the policies of the Gang of Four and the Red Guards and eventually brought the situation under control.

After the down-fall of the Gang of Four the People's Government under the directions of the present leaders has implemented a policy of national equality and regional autonomy. They have followed a liberal policy towards religious minorities aimed at allowing freedom of religious belief and freedom to speak and write minority languages and respect for the customs and habits of the minorities. Old mosques are being renovated and reopened. The famous Peking Niu Chief mosque (built in 996 A.D.) for instance, has been completely renovated and draws large crowds of Muslims not only on festivals but on Fridays and weekdays. One can see that the environment for Muslims in China is growing more and more congenial.

Central Asia, Journal of Area Study Centre, University of Peshawar.

Monday, July 9, 2007


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Aku cari bukan harta bertimbun-timbun,
Untuk hidup kaya,
Aku cari bukan wang berjuta-juta,
Untuk hidup bergaya,

Aku cari bukan kawan-kawan,
Untuk hidup sekadar berfoya-foya,
Aku cari mana dia Al-Ghazali,
Aku cari mana dia Al-Shafie,

Kita bongkar rahsia kitab suci,
Cari panduan,

Kita bongkar rahsia sunah Nabi,
Cari pedoman,

Aku hidup kerana Dia Rabbi,
Dialah teman,
Dialah wali,
Dia mencukupi,
Aku hidup bererti,
Menikmati damai abadi.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

Saturday, June 30, 2007


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Adil adalah memberi yang hak kepada yang berhak akan haknya, mengikut kadar masing-masing. Ini bersesuaian dengan firman Allah SWT dalam surah an-Nahl : 90

Maksudnya :
“Sesungguhnya Allah menyuruh berlaku adil, dan berbuat kebaikan , serta memberi bantuan kepada kaum kerabat; dan melarang daripada melakukan perbuatan-perbuatan yang keji dan mungkar serta kezaliman. Ia mengajar kamu (dengan suruhan dan larangan Nya ini), supaya kamu mengambil peringatan mematuhiNya”.

Pelaksanaan keadilan tidak melihat pada keturunan, warna kulit, bangsa, kedudukan, miskin kaya atau perbezaan agama. Ini bersesuaian dengan peruntukan dalam al-qur’an dan hadis Rasulullah SAW. Allah SWT berfirman dalam surah al-Maa’idah : 8

Maksudnya :

“Dan jangan sekali kebencian kamu terhadap sesuatu kaum itu mendorong kamu kepada tidak melakukan keadilan. Hendaklah kamu berlaku adil (kepada sesiapa jua) kerana sikap adil itu lebih hampir kepada taqwa. Dan bertaqwalah kepada Allah, sesungguhnya Allah maha mengetahui dengan mendalam akan apa yang kamu lakukan”.

Dan hadis Nabi SAW diriwayatkan oleh Bukhari maksudnya,

“Sekiranya (anakku) Fatimah mencuri nescaya aku akan memotong tangannya”.

Amanah pula bermaksud menunaikan segala tanggungjawab dan kewajipan yang diletakkan ke atasnya. Ini bersumberkan dari al-qur’an dan hadis Nabi SAW. Dalam al-qur’an Allah SWT berfirman dalam surah an-Nisa’ :58

Maksudnya :

“ Sesungguhnya Allah SWT menyuruh kamu supaya menyerahkan segala jenis amanah kepada ahlinya (yang berhak menerimanya), dan apabila kamu menjalankan hukum di antara manusia, (Allah menyuruh) kamu menghukum dengan adil. Sesungguhnya Allah SWT dengan (suruhanNya) itu memberi pengajaran yang sebaik-baiknya kepada kamu. Sesungguhnya Allah SWT sentiasa mendengar lagi sentiasa melihat”.
Dan hadis nabi SAW, yang diriwayatkan oleh Ahmad

Maksudnya :

Dan tidak beriman bagi seseorang yang tidak amanah”.

Islam Hadhari meletakkan amalan tadbir urus yang baik (good governance) dan adil serta amanah kepada semua lapisan rakyat. Pengurusan negara yang cekap, adil, amanah (tidak boros dan perbelanjaan berhemah) melahirkan negara yang baik, maju, dan dirahmati Allah SWT sebagaimana ditegaskan dalam al-qur’an surah Saba’ : 15

Maksudnya :

“ Demi Sesungguhnya, adalah bagi penduduk negeri Saba’ satu tanda (yang membuktikan kemurahan Allah) yang terdapat di tempat tinggal mereka, iaitu: dua kumpulan kebun (yang luas lagi subur)”. Yang terletak disebelah kanan dan disebelah kiri(Kariah mereka).(Lalu dikatakan kepada mereka):”makanlah dari rezeki pemberian Tuhan kamu dan bersyukurlah kepadaNya: (negeri kamu ini adalah)negeri yang baik(aman dan Makmur), dan (Tuhan kamu adalah) Tuhan yang Maha Pengampun”.


Salah satu prinsip utama pendekatan Islam Hadhari ialah mewujudkan rakyat yang berjiwa merdeka. Antara ciri jiwa merdeka ialah berfikiran kreatif dan inovatif. Masyarakat yang berjiwa merdeka dapat melahirkan buah fikiran yang dinamik dan positif sehingga mampu melahirkan idea-idea baru yang bermanfaat bagi memartabatkan diri, keluarga, masyarakat dan negara. Ini selaras dengan firman Allah SWT dalam al-qur’an surah al-Isra’: 70


“Dan sesungguhnya kami telah memuliakan anak-anak Adam; dan kami telah beri mereka menggunakan berbagai-bagai kenderaan di darat dan di laut; dan kami telah memberikan rezeki kepada mereka dari benda-benda yang baik-baik serta kami telah lebihkan mereka dengan selebih-lebihnya atas makhluk-makhluk yang telah kami ciptakan”.

Masyarakat hendaklah mengatasi belenggu pemikiran yang terjajah, bersikap terbuka kepada kemajuan dan perubahan orang lain, tidak bersikap jumud dalam menghasilkan pemikiran berdaya maju dan menolak amalan-amalan negatif yang boleh menyebabkan jiwa terus terbelenggu.

Masyarakat yang berjiwa merdeka bukanlah masyarakat yang terlepas daripada peraturan undang-undang dan etika, sebaliknya asas-asas murni itu hendaklah digunakan sebagai landasan membangunkan masyarakat dan negara yang teguh dan utuh.

Setiap potensi anggota masyarakat harus digerakkan sebijaksana mungkin sehingga mampu memartabatkan jatidiri, imej keluarga, integriti masyarakat, keutuhan negara berasaskan patriotisme yang tinggi dan kesetiaan yang tidak berbelah bahagi.

Jiwa merdeka harus mampu melakukan pilihan dan membuat saringan serta bersikap terbuka terhadap faktor dari luar lingkungan budaya dan tradisi yang tidak bercanggah dengan nilai etika dan sejagat yang sifatnya menyumbang terhadap pembangunan tamadun mengikut acuan kita sendiri.

Makna jiwa merdeka bukan hanya terletak pada slogan atau pernyataan luaran semata-mata tetapi lebih daripada itu menuntut pengorbanan dan keperluan bekerja bersungguh-sungguh ke arah menyumbang dan membangunkan negara.

Untuk konsep sepenuhnya sila layari disini,

Friday, June 22, 2007

ARTIKEL MUKADIMAH : 50 Tahun Merdeka Tapi Buta Sejarah Bangsa

uploaded by anaianai

Saya merujuk kepada Tulisan Tuan Nai Long Kassim ibni Nai Long Ahmad bertajuk “Kewujudan Kedah bukan pada 1136 Masihi” yang disiarkan oleh akhbar Utusan Malaysia pada 13 Februari 2007 adalah dirujuk. Tulisan tuan ada banyak kebenarannya dan saya berpendapat masih ada lagi maklumat yang tersimpan dan tidak ingin didedahkan walaupun Malaysia akan menyambut 50 tahun kemerdekaannya pada 31 Ogos 2007.

Sebagai penyelidik dari universiti tempatan maklumat-maklumat TERBARU yang saya selidiki semenjak tahun 2005 banyak menuju kearah apa yang diperkatakan oleh Tuan Nai Long Kassim ini terbukti ada kebenarannya. Seterusnya, saya tertarik dengan nama Raja Maha Besar Benua Siam Dinasti Ayuthia yang bergelar Boromoraja Ekataat V. Penyelidikkan yang dijalankan, nama sebenar Baginda ialah Khalifah Sharif Abu Bakar Syah dan baginda beragama Islam. Sebelum ini kita semua menyangkakan Empayar Ayuthia (1350 - 1767) yang tinggi peradabannya di Thailand itu sebagai Empayar yang beragama Buddha. Tanggapan ini adalah salah sama sekali. Thailand, asalnya adalah dari bangsa Sukhothai (suku thai @ puak Thai) yang berasal dari Lannathai. Mereka memang sudah berkali-kali cuba menyerang Ayuthia dan akhirnya berjaya menakluki Ayuthia pada tahun 1767,di ketuai oleh ketuanya bernama Alaungpaya. Serangan pertama mereka adalah dalam tahun 1758 keatas KerajaanIslam Toung Oo di burma berikutan kematian Boromokot,Sultan Muhiyuddin Mansur Syah yang bersemayam di Kota Palas Langkawi.

Akan tetapi siapa sebenarnya yang memerintah Ayuthia sebelum ia ditawan? Pemerintah Ayuthia menunaikan Haji ke Tanah Suci Mekah, melaksanakan hukum-hukum Islam dan pentadbiran dibahagikan kepada 2 kementerian, untuk Islam dan bukan Islam. Mereka menjalin hubungan dengan Perancis dan sempena lawatan itu dinamakan sebatang jalan di Perancis sebagai Jalan Ayuthia. Mereka ini adalah dari keturunan Siam bukan Thai. Dalam erti lain Siam itu beragama Islam, Thai itu beragama Buddha. Sekiranya bahasa jiwa bangsa, sudah pasti, bahasa Thai untuk bangsa Thai dan bahasa Siam untuk bangsa Siam. Kita lihat pula di Malaysia hari ini terdapat orang Melayu yang bertutur dalam Bahasa Siam di Kedah, Kelantan dan Perlis dan mereka beragama Islam. Bahasa Siam ini jika ditutur di Thailand, langsung tidak difahami lagi oleh majoriti rakyat Thailand hari ini.

Orang-orang Melayu di Utara Semenanjong hari inilah berbangsa Siam, ia itu asal usul keturunan bangsa Melayu yang menjadi rakyat Nagara Benua Siam Dinasti Ayuthia dahulu dan Empayar ini meliputi seluruh Nusantara, Champa, termasuk sebahagian India. Arus kemodenan tidak menyentuh mereka sama sekali dan mereka kekal dalam budaya bahasa Siam seperti adanya, 300 tahun dahulu. Dalam manuskrip Undang-Undang Kedah, yang mula diitulis pada tahun 220 Hijrah (799 masihi) adat Siam ini telah pun lama diguna pakai oleh raja-raja Melayu zaman dahulu. Manuskrip ini dirampas oleh Inggeris di Istana Kota Beruas dahulu dan baru dipulangkan kepada kita sekitar tahun 2003/04.

Sila semak nama-nama tempat yang mempunyai makna dalam bahasa siam disini,

Diantaranya penggunaan sirih pinang sewaktu meminang, bekas meminang, cincin emas sebentuk, warna kuning sebagai warna diraja, larangan memegang kepala, membasuh kaki sebelum tidor adalah adat siam. Sebagai contoh, didalam buku Undang-undang Kedah, mengenai pakaian dalam Adat Raja Johor,

“Maka adat ini turut adat raja-raja Kedah ini, yang kerajaan itu kuning juga”.(ms 34)

“Demikianlah zaman raja-raja dahulu-dahulu itu. Pada adat raja-raja dibenua Siam gelar demikian itu bahasa Siam Cau Phaya Kersan”,(ms 36).
Tidak teragak jika saya katakan bahawa asal keturunan bangsa Melayu ialah Siam kerana raja-raja Melayu yang menjadi tunggak adat istiadat bangsa Melayu telah pun menggunakan adat tersebut, tetapi mereka beragama Islam. Seterusnya, dimuka surat yang sama, perihal pemerintah Johor,

“Maka pada Bahasa Melayu Bendahara itu panglima negeri.Pada segala negeri yang kecil-kecil bendahara itu dikatanya lambat pada adat Siam”.

Sebelum naik kerajaan pada tahun 1350,pemerintah Ayuthia ini berasal dari Kesultanan Kedah, dimana keturunan mereka tiba dari Cina dan membuka Kota di Kuala Muda. Ketua rombongan dari Cina dan pengikutnya diketuai oleh Putera Waran Wong Ser(Mahawangsa), cucu kepada Maharaja Cina bernama Sai Tee Sung dari Dinasti Tang. (rujuk kepada Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa) Maharaja Sai Tee Sung telah diislamkan oleh utusan Baginda Rasullullah SAW bernama Saad bin Waqqas.Baginda pula telah memberi surat watikah kepada cucunya untuk menyebarkan Islam di Nusantara.

Apabila naik Kerajaan, Baginda Wa Ren Wong Ser (bermaksud Naga Laut Puak Tentera) memakai gelaran Sultan Madzafar Syah I (222H, 812 M) dan berkahwin dengan Sharifah Mariam ibni Syed Jamal Al Jefri dari keturunan Bani Hashim. Sharifah Maryam berketurunan Arab dan baginda juga di panggil Tok Soh. Makam Tok Soh masa ada lagi di Pin Nang Tung Gal (bermaksud, jadi permaisuri tunggak Negara) dengan ukiran kalimah Shahadah dan ayat suci Al Quran pada nisan nya di Kampung Tok Soh, Pinang Tunggal, Kulim,Kedah (Makam ini diklasifikasikan sebagai makam purba). Mereka mendirikan kota dengan penduduk tempatan di Kuala Muda (Muadat bermaksud belerang), Kedah dan menjalankan pelabagai perniagaan pembuatan senjata yang menggunakan belerang.Contoh dua meriam yang dijumpai didalam sungai dan telah dihasilkan oleh orang Melayu Saimen boleh dilihat di Muzium Negeri Kedah.

Generasi kedua Kesultanan Negara Kedah ialah Po Disut @ Sayyidina Jamalull Alam Badrul Munir bergelar Sultan Madzafar Syah II dan generasi ketiga ialah Sayyidina Ali Wa Maulana Sayyidina Jamalull Alam Badrul Munir @ Sultan Alirah Shah Perlak (bersemayam di Istana Bukit Cho Ras), keempat ialah Sultan Hussin Syah dan kelima Sultan Sheikh Abdul Kadir Shah @ Tuan Sheikh Keramat. Makam baginda terletak di Lang Gar (bermaksud putus dunia) bertarikh 291H (903 M). Kesemua mereka adalah pemerintah Nagara Kedah Pasai Ma (nama Negara Kedah dahulu).

Yang saya kira menarik sekali ialah pemerintah ke 11 Negara Kedah iaitu Sultan Madzafar Syah III yang juga bergelar Rama Tibodi I (@ Sheikh Ahmad Qomi). Baginda menjadi Maharaja pertama Benua Islam Siam Ayuthia Kedah Pasai Ma. Semasa upacara mengangkat sumpah, Melaka tersurat dan disebut baginda sebagai salah satu tanah jajahan Ayuthia. Pada masa itu Melaka termasuklah Johor dan Kepulauan Riau. Pada masa itu juga pemerintah Kedah baru saja mengalahkan Kerajaan Tenangsari (Burma) yang menyerang Kedah sekaligus menguasainya. Pemerintah Kedua Ayuthia ialah Naresuan yang berkahwin dengan Ratu Iman, Acheh. Pada Makam Baginda, tertulis dlm Bahasa Kawi, Gusta Barubasa empu Kedah Pasai Ma bermaksud, Keluarga yang memeluk Islam menguasai Kedah Pasai Ma. Kerajaan ini lah yang mana Pattani, Ligor, Singgora, Kesultanan Melaka dan Acheh turut berada dibawah kawalannya.Sebab itu lah bila mencari kesan Sejarah Kesultanan Melaka sukar mendapat buktinya kerana nama mereka juga tersenarai dalam senarai Raja-raja Ayuthia dalam bahasa Siam !.

Tahukah pembaca semua siapakah yang menjadi Raja Benua Siam Islam Nagara Kedah Pasai Ma yang terakhir. Tak lain dan tak bukan iaitu Sultan Jaafar Muadzam Syah atau lebih dikenali sebagai Long Jaafar. Sebelum itu Ayahanda baginda, Syed Alang Alauddin yang juga bergelar Panglima Bukit Gantang menjadi Maharja Benua Siam Islam, Nagara Kedah Pasai Ma. Baginda melantik puteranya Long Jaafar menjadi menteri di Larut Perak untuk menguruskan lombong bijih kerajaan Nagara Kedah disana. Perak pada ketika itu berada dibawah Nagara Kedah.

Apabila ayahanda baginda mangkat dalam tahun 1862, baginda ditabal di Berahman Indra (sekarang Balai Besar) Alor Setar bergelar Sultan Jaafar Madzam Syah. Dalam rangka lawatan ke Merbok, baginda ditangkap oleh Thai dan Inggeris dalam tahun 1876, disiksa di Yan, sebelum dipijak dengan gajah hingga mati di belakang Balai Polis Gurun dalam tahun 1876.Peristiwa ini benar berlaku dan saya cabar sesiapa pun termasuk pengkaji sejarah tempatan untuk mengkaji maklumat ini,samada benar atau salah. Long Jaafar hanya disebut sebagai Enche Long Jaafar yang dikatakan menjumpai bijih timah di Perak bagi menutup sejarah bangsa Melayu oleh mereka-mereka yang mempunyai kepentingan selepas merdeka dan juga hari ini.

Dalam penyelidikkan saya, dengan terbunuhnya Long Jaafar orang-orang Melayu hilang segala-galanya meliputi sastera, senibina, manuskrip-manuskrip,syair, industri pembuatan belerang, sajak, puisi dll. Penjajah Inggeris telah menipu kita dimana mereka berpakat dengan Thai lalu menyerahkan peradaban itu kepada Thai. Mereka memutarbelitkan fakta sejarah sehingga kita menyangkakan Thai dan Siam itu sama saja. Inggeris memberi peradaban Ayuthia milik kita itu kepada Thai agar mereka dapat, menjatuhkan Islam, menjajah Semenanjong dan mengutip hasil bumi seperti bijih timah,emas,rempah ratus dll. Ditinggalnya kita pada hari ini tanpa warisan sejarah bangsa dan agama untuk memulakan kerajaan Malaysia ketika merdeka.Sejarah yang ditinggalkan adalah versi mereka, bukan versi kita. Kita terpaksa bermula dari bawah untuk memertabatkan bangsa. Kita berjaya melakukannya dalam masa 50 tahun saja. Bayangkanlah sekiranya kita bangsa Melayu keturunan Siam ini memerintah Ayuthia dulu selama 417 Tahun, betapa hebatnya peradaban itu! Pasti ia di cemburui dan dingini/diidamkan oleh bangsa lain.

Sebelum ini raja-raja kita membayar ufti kepada Siam Islam, ibarat cukai Kerajaan Negeri kepada Kerajaan Persekutuan tetapi bila Thai mengambil alih Ayuthia, seolah-olah memberi ufti kepada Kerajaan asing yang berlainan agama. Bila raja-raja daerah kita enggan membayar, walau ada yang cuba berbaik-baik, Thai tetap menyerang orang-orang Melayu, mengugut, membunuh dan menyiksa dengan kejam. Akhirnya ramai kerabat dan rakyat di Negara Kedah dan Pattani menjadi ‘Korban Musuh Bisik 1821’ dalam tahun 1821. Setelah usaha ini selesai mereka mengubah sistem pendidikkan mereka, rakyat siam hanya boleh belajar bahasa Thai sahaja,(Dasar Rathinayok dan Phibul Songgram), sehingga apabila selesai, dinamakan negara mereka,Thailand. Semua ini berlaku kerana Raja Chakri Sukhothai benci bangsa Siam ini ujud lebih dahulu daripada Thai lalu dibakarnya manuskrip Al Quran, Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa, Sejarah Melayu dll sewaktu berjaya menawan Ayuthia dalam tahun 1767. Kejadian ini berulang lagi di Ligor apabila Thai mula menunjukkan kekuasaannya ke Selatan.

Sewaktu Thai (bukan Siam) menjajah Kedah selama 5 tahun (1876-1881) dengan pertolongan Inggeris mereka membakar istana-istana lama (17,mungkin lebih) milik Raja Benua Siam Islam, Nagara Kedah Pasai Ma termasuk di Bukit Cho Ras (istana Sayyidina Ali, Sultan Alirah Shah, Perlak), diserang dan dibunuh orang-orang Siam Islam Pattani, Kedah, Majapahit dan tentera Cina Manchu (Islam). Seorang saksi yang tinggal berdekatan, berusia sekitar 90 tahun menceritakan bagaimana Inggeris sekitar awal 1910 datang semula memecahkan lagi 3 bilik dibawah tanah ditapak istana Bukit Choras yang telah dibakar oleh Thai 35 tahun terdahulu.Di setengah-setengah lokasi seperti candi ditanamnya patung-patung tertentu untuk menyesatkan penyelidik kita pada hari ini.

Syukurlah orang Melayu masih tetap berpegang kepada agama Islam. Sekarang saya harap saudara/i mula faham kenapa berlaku kekecohan di Pattani. Saya difahamkan juga bahawa Inggeris ingin menyerahkan wilayah Pattani, Satun,Yala, Ligor dan Songkhala untuk merdeka bersama kita dalam tahun 1957 dahulu tetapi ditolak oleh TAR kerana TAR cucu raja Thai itu. Inggeris tahu bahawa daerah ini jajahan Nagara Kedah, berdasarkan manuskrip Undang-Undang Kedah yang tercatat di m.s.15. Sebagai rakyat Malaysia yang merdeka kita berhak untuk mendapatkan maklumat ini. Oleh itu, sempena menyambut Hari Kemerdekaan Malaysia yang ke 50 tahun, marilah kita sama-sama mencari kembali permata yang telah hilang itu.