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‘Strangers’ and ‘stranger-kings’: The sayyid in eighteenth-century maritime Southeast Asia

Abstract

Sayyidi ‘strangers’ and ‘stranger-kings’, borne on the eighteenth-century wave of Hadhrami migration to the Malay-Indonesian region, boosted indigenous traditions of charismatic leadership at a time of intense political challenge posed by Western expansion. The extemporary credentials and personal talents which made for sāda exceptionalism and lent continuity to Southeast Asian state-making traditions are discussed with particular reference to Perak, Siak and Pontianak. These case studies, representative of discrete sāda responses to specific circumstances, mark them out as lead actors in guiding the transition from ‘the last stand of autonomies’ to a new era of pragmatic collaboration with the West.

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1 The number of persons of Arab origin in the Netherlands Indies almost doubled between the 1805s and 1880s but was estimated at around 20,500 in 1883, with some half resident in Java. See van den Berg L.W.C., Le Hadhramout et les colonies arabes dans l' Archipel indien (Batavia: Imprimerie du Gouvernement, 1886), pp. 105–9.

2 The eponymous term ‘Alawi’ refers to an ancestor of the Hadhrami sayyid, the grandson of the migrant Ahmad b. Isa, denoting common descent from him. See Ho Engseng, The graves of Tarim: Genealogy and mobility across the Indian Ocean (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), pp. 27–8.

3 Wolters O.W., History, culture, and region in Southeast Asian perspectives, rev. edn (Ithaca/Singapore: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program Publications/Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1999), pp. 112–13; Fernández-Armesto Felipe, ‘The stranger-effect in early modern Asia’, in Shifting communities and identity formation in early modern Asia and Africa, ed. Blusśe Leonard and Fernández-Armesto Felipe (Leiden: CNWS, Leiden University, 2003), pp. 80103; Sahlins Marshall, ‘The stranger-king or Dumézil among the Fijians’, Journal of Pacific History, 16, 3 (1981): 107–32.

4 Na Pombejra Dhiravat, ‘Crown trade and court politics in Ayutthaya during the reign of King Narai (1656–88)’, in The Southeast Asian port and polity: Rise and demise, ed. Kathirithamby-Wells J. and Villiers J. (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 1990), pp. 134–5, 138–9.

5 Kathirithamby-Wells J., ‘The age of transition: The mid-eighteenth to the early nineteenth centuries’, in The Cambridge history of Southeast Asia, ed. Tarling N. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), vol. 1, p. 577.

6 Henley D., ‘Conflict, justice, and the stranger-king: Indigenous roots of colonial rule in Indonesia and elsewhere’, Modern Asian Studies, 38, 1 (2004): 87, 98–101.

7 See Ahmad Raja Ali Haji ibn, The precious gift (Tuhfat al-Nafis), trans. and anno. Matheson V. and Andaya B. Watson (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1982), Table 2, p. xiv.

8 See ibid., Table 2, p. xiv. Jan van der Putten has pointed out the absence of Bugis genealogical links with the sacred Bukit Si-Guntang, the vital prerequisite for ‘Malayness’ and leadership within the Malay polity; van der Putten Jan, ‘A Malay of Bugis ancestry: Haji Ibrahim's strategies of survival’, in Contesting Malayness: Malay identity across boundaries, ed. Barnard T.P. (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2004), pp. 122–3.

9 See Reid A., ‘Introduction’, in The last stand of Asian autonomies: Responses to modernity in the diverse states of Southeast Asia and Korea, 1750–1900 (Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, 1997), p. 10.

10 Wolters, History, culture, and region, pp. 111–12, 164.

11 Sahlins, ‘The stranger-king or Dumézil among the Fijians’, pp. 101–19.

12 Hall K.R., Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1985), pp. 4950; K.R. Hall, ‘Economic history of early Southeast Asia’, in ed. Tarling, Cambridge history of Southeast Asia, p. 193.

13 Wolters, History, culture and region, pp. 30–1.

14 Wilkinson R.J., ‘Some Malay studies’, Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society [hereafter JMBRAS), 10, 1 (1932): 75–8; Winstedt R.O., ‘The romance of Alexander the Great’, JMBRAS, 16, 2 (1938): 1123; Kathirithamby-Wells J., ‘Ahmad Shah ibn Iskandar and the late 17th century “holy war” in Indonesia’, JMBRAS, 43, 1 (1970): 93–4.

15 Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals), trans. C.C. Brown (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1970), p. 15; Winstedt R.O., ‘Kingship and enthronement in Malaya’, JMBRAS, 20, 1, (1947): 35 n.1.

16 Milner A.C., ‘Islam and the Muslim state’, in Islam in South-East Asia, ed. Hooker M.B. (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1983), pp. 38, 45.

17 J.G. de Casparis, ‘Religion and popular beliefs of Southeast Asia before c. 1500’, in ed. Tarling, Cambridge history of Southeast Asia, p. 331; H.J. de Graaf and G. Th. Pigeaud, De eerste Moslimse vorstendommen op Java (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff), pp. 20–1, 138. See Ricklefs M.C., Jogjakarta under Sultan Mangkubumi 1747–1792: A history of the division of Java (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974), pp. 38; Sutherland H., ‘The priyayi’, Indonesia, 19 (1975): 61–2; Roff W.R., ‘Islam observed? Some reflections on studies of Islam and society in Southeast Asia’, Archipel, 29 (1985): 25.

18 Alatas Syed Farid, ‘Hadhramaut and the Hadhrami diaspora: Problems in theoretical history’, in Hadhrami traders, scholars, and statesmen in the Indian Ocean, 1750s–1960s, ed. Freitag U. and Clarence-Smith W. (Leiden: Brill, 1997), p. 33; Alatas Syed Farid, ‘The Tariqau al-Alawiyyah and the emergence of the Shi'i school in Indonesia and Malaysia’, Oriente moderno, 18, 2 (1999): 334–5. The Hadhrami genealogical claim is supported by the conversion myth as recorded in the central Javanese text, the Babad Dipanegara. See Fox J., ‘Ziara visits to the tombs of the wali, the founders of Islam in Java’, in The 1898 Annual AIA-CSEAS Lecture Series organized by Bambang Pranowo and M.C. Ricklefs, ed. Ricklefs M.C. (Monash University: Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, 1991), pp. 26–7.

19 van Bruinessen M., ‘Najmuddin al-Kubra, Jumadil Kubra and Jamaluddin al-Akbar: Traces of Kubrawiyya influence in early Indonesian Islam’, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde [hereafter BKI], 150, 2 (1994): 324–6.

20 The sayyid's endorsement of the ruler's conversion in a dream parallels the story of Pasai's earlier conversion linked with the arrival of Syaikh Ismail; Sejarah Melayu, pp. 43–4, 94; ‘Hikayat Raja-Raja Pasai’, trans. and intro. Hill A.H., JMBRAS, 33, 2 (1961): 118–19.

21 Sejarah Melayu, pp. 59–60.

22 Wilkinson R.J., Papers on Malay subjects, ed. Wilkinson R.J. (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1971, first published 1923), p. 85; Winstedt R.O., ‘The Hadramaut saiyids of Perak and Siak’, Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 79 (1918): 51, 53; Andaya B.W., Perak: The abode of grace (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 208 n. 77.

23 Riddell P.G., Islam and the Malay world: Transmission and response (Singapore: Horizon Books, 2001), p. 116.

24 Fernández-Armesto, ‘The stranger-effect in early modern Asia’, p. 91.

25 De Graaf and Pigeaud, De eerste Moslimse vorstendommen op Java, pp. 140–1, 157, 159–60.

26 Farid, ‘Hadhramaut and the Hadhrami diaspora’, p. 31.

27 The title ‘syarif’ is associated with descendants of the Prophet Muhammad through his grandson Husain and the title ‘sayyid’ with those who trace their descent through his brother Hasan. However, in the Malay region ‘syarif’ was used more generally as an honorific for a person of illustrious descent and the head of a prominent family, tribe or religious community. See Hurgronje C. Snouck, Mecca in the latter part of the nineteenth century (Leiden: Brill, 1970), p. 9 n. 1; H.A.R. Gibb and J.H. Kramers, Shorter encyclopaedia of Islam (Leiden: E.J. Brill), p. 529.

28 See Kathirithamby-Wells, ‘Ahmad Shah ibn Iskandar’, pp. 48–63; Ricklefs M.C., A history of modern Indonesia (London: Macmillan, 1981), pp. 7991; Reid A., Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, 1450–1680 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), vol. 2, pp. 319–28.

29 Andaya L., The kingdom of Johor, 1641–1728 (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1975), pp. 293–6; Trocki C.A., Prince of pirates: The Temenggongs and the development of Johor and Singapore, 1784–1885 (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2007), pp. 827.

30 Gullick J.M., Indigenous systems of Western Malaya (London: Athlone Press, 1958), p. 81.

31 Chula Raja, Misa Melayu (Kuala Lumpur: Penerbitan Pustaka Antara, 1966), p. 52.

32 Winstedt, ‘The Hadramaut saiyids’, p. 53; descended from the al-Faradz family, Raja Bisnu was a sayyid but was evidently conferred the more prestigious title of ‘syarif’; Winstedt R.O. and Wilkinson R.J., ‘A history of Perak’, JMBRAS, 12, 1 (1934): 132.

33 Andaya, Perak, p. 165.

34 Ibid., pp. 73–4.

35 Winstedt and Wilkinson, ‘A history of Perak’, pp. 137–40; Winstedt, ‘The Hadramaut saiyids’, p. 53; Wilkinson, Papers on Malay subjects, p. 143; Andaya, Perak, p. 174.

36 The position of Bendahara was later recovered by another ‘stranger’, Raja Ismail, of sayyidi origin.

37 Winstedt, ‘The Hadramaut saiyids’, p. 53; Wilkinson, Papers on Malay subjects, pp. 82, 136–7, 143.

38 Hitti P., History of the Arabs: From the earliest times to the present (London: Macmillan, 1964), pp. 36, 48–50; Warner W.H. Lee, ‘Notes on the Hadhramaut’, Geographical Journal, 77 (1931): 217.

39 Wheatley P., The golden Khersonese (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 1961), p. 210; Tibbetts G.R., ‘Early Muslim traders in Southeast Asia’, JMBRAS, 30, 1 (1957): 1322.

40 For example, intimate knowledge of forest resources enabled Sayyid Zin, a pioneer Sumatran entrepreneur, to identify some 16 timber species suitable for shipbuilding; see Anderson J., Acheen and the ports on the north and east coasts of Sumatra (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 198.

41 Shorter encyclopaedia of Islam, p. 532.

42 Wilkinson, ‘Some Malay studies’, p. 94; Van den Berg, Le Hadhramout, p. 50.

43 Winstedt and Wilkinson, ‘A history of Perak’, p. 135.

44 Andaya, Perak, pp. 34, n. 40, 102, 199; Misa Melayu, pp. 102–3, 219.

45 Wilkinson, ‘Some Malay studies’, pp. 96–7; Winstedt,‘The Hadramaut saiyids’, p. 53. The title of Sultan Muda, often confusingly recorded in genealogies as ‘Sultan’, was later held by Raja Mansur, a brother of Sultan Iskandar, the future Sultan Mansur/Ahmaddin (1792–1806), whose connection with Cegar Galah associated with the al-Faradz, suggests shared shamanistic skills (Winstedt and Wilkinson, ‘A history of Perak’, p. 132).

46 Other sāda associated with the title of Sultan Muda were Raja Ahmad, the son-in-law of Sultan Abd Malik Mansur Syah (1806–25), and Raja Ismail, for whom it was proposed as a consolation prize as part of the British plan to demote him. The elder brother of Sultan Idris (1887–1916) acted as state magician but there is no evidence of his having carried the title of Sultan Muda (ibid., p. 135).

47 Winstedt, ‘The Hadramaut Saiyids’, p. 53; Wilkinson, Papers on Malay subjects, pp. 82, 137, 143; Winstedt and Wilkinson, ‘A history of Perak’, pp. 141, 145. In 1862, however, the sāda lost the title of Orang Kaya Besar to Ngah Ibrahim, the de facto ruler of Larut and a descendant of the original holder of the office, Sri Nara di-Raja.

48 Winstedt and Wilkinson, ‘A history of Perak’, pp. 140, 144; Kim Khoo Kay, ‘The Perak sultanate: Ancient and modern’, JMBRAS, 59, 1 (1986): 8.

49 Sahlins, ‘The stranger-king or Dumézil among the Fijians’, p. 113; Sadka E., The protected Malay states, 1874–1985 (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 1968), p. 33 n. 1. Contrary to custom, on Sultan Ja'afar's death, Ismail as Bendahara was not promoted to the office of Raja Muda, vacated by the previous incumbent who became Sultan Ali al-Mukammal (1865–71). Instead, Sultan Ja'afar's son, Raja Abdullah, rose to be Raja Muda, a transgression matched by Raja Ismail's usurpation. Wilkinson, Papers on Malay subjects, p. 136; Winstedt and Wilkinson, ‘A history of Perak’, p. 140; Gullick, Indigenous systems, p. 62.

50 Sadka, The protected Malay states, pp. 33 n. 1, 88 n. 3; Khoo, ‘The Perak sultanate’, pp. 12–16.

51 ‘The Hadramaut saiyids’, p. 53; Winstedt and Wilkinson, ‘A history of Perak’, p. 132.

52 A Dutch account similarly describes Sayyid Abd al-Rahman of Pontianak as having a distinctly long nose.

53 Wolters, History, culture, and region, pp. 6–9; F. Fernández-Armesto, ‘The stranger effect in early modern Asia’, pp. 81–91.

54 Warner, ‘Notes on the Hadhramaut’, p. 218. For sayyidi political and military activities in Kerala in the eighteenth century and their leadership of the modernised Hyderabad state forces, see Omar Khalidi, ‘The Hadhrami role in the politics and society of colonial India, 1750s–1950’, and Stephen Dale, ‘The Hadhrami diaspora in south-western India: The role of the sayyid of the Malabar coast’, in Hadhrami traders, ed. Ulrike Freitag and William G. Clarence-Smith, pp. 78–80 and 177–9 respectively. In the Hadramaut, some sāda took up arms against Wahabi incursions. As Freitag has observed, ‘[T]he widespread assumption that the sayyids collectively renounced the bearing of arms after being introduced to Sufism [by Muhammad b. Ali al Alawi, d. 1155] ought to be considered more a moral standard than the historical reality’. Freitag U., Indian Ocean migrations and state formation in Hadhramaut (Leiden: Brill, 2003), pp. 42, 91, 128–9.

55 Harrison B., ‘Malacca in the eighteenth century: Two Dutch Governors’ reports', JMBRAS, 27, 1 (1954): 29.

56 The Dutch commercial claims and restrictions were based on Johor's ‘gift’ of Siak to the VOC in 1746, disputed by Siak's de facto rulers. See Lewis D., Jan Compagnie in the Straits of Malacca, 1641–1795 (Athens, OH: Ohio University Centre for International Studies, 1995), pp. 6971, 83–4; Harrison, ‘Malacca in the eighteenth century’, p. 32; Barnard T.P., Multiple centres of authority: Society and environment in Siak and eastern Sumatra, 1674–1827 (Leiden: KITLV, 2003), pp. 89, 102; Tuhfat al-Nafis, p. 364, n. 4.

57 B.W. Andaya, ‘Adopting to political and economic change: Palembang in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries’, in ed. Reid, Last stand of Asian autonomies, pp. 197, 207; J. Kathirithamby-Wells, ‘Siak and its changing strategies for survival, c. 1700–1870’, in the same volume, Tables 9.1 and 9.2, pp. 229–30; A. Reid, ‘A new phase of commercial expansion in Southeast Asia, 1760–1850’, in the same volume, Table 3.1, p. 63; Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, pp. 89– 90, 101–2; Knaap G.J., Shallow waters, rising tide: Shipping and trade in Java around 1775 (Leiden: KITLV Press, 1996), pp. 65–7, 83–4, Appendix 8, pp. 208–9.

58 Vos R., Gentle Janus, merchant prince: The VOC and the tightrope of diplomacy in the Malay world, 1740–1800, trans. Jackson B. (Leiden, KITLV: 1993), p. 112; Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, p. 102. Sayyid Umar later married a daughter of Raja Ismail, the son of Raja Mahmud (Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, p. 138).

59 Tuhfat, p. 97; Syair perang Siak, ed. and trans. D.J. Goudie (Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1989), p. 145.

60 Ho Engseng, ‘Before parochialization: Diasporic Arabs cast in creole waters’, in Transcending borders: Arabs, politics, trade and Islam in Southeast Asia, ed. de Jong H. and Kaptein N. (Leiden: KITLV, 2002), p. 22; Ho, The graves of Tarim, pp. 162–3. According to Hadhrami folklore, the other three eighteenth-century Alawi teachers from Tarim settled in various parts of the archipelago: Sayyid Aydarus Abd al-Rahman al-Aydarus founded a settlement in Kubu, southwestern Borneo, and later settled in Aceh; Sayyid Uthman in Siak; and Muhammad ibn Ahmad in Terengganu (Ho, The graves of Tarim, pp. 162–3); however, the al-Quadri history cites not Sayyid Uthman but Sayyid Umar as the young adventurer who went to Siak; see Netscher E., ‘Geschiedenis der eerste al-Qadris met eene vertaling door E. Netscher’, TBG, 4 (1855): 287. Furthermore, contrary to Hadhrami accounts, neither Sayyid Umar nor Sayyid Uthman were pioneers but were probably born in Siak where their fathers had settled.

61 Winstedt, ‘The Hadramaut Saiyids’, p. 53.

62 Syair Perang Siak, ed. and trans. D.J. Goudie (Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1989), pp. 36, 136, 139 n. 234c.

63 Netscher E., De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak 1602 tot 1865 (Batavia: Verhandelingen van het Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen (hereafter VBG), 35, (1879): 96, 103.

64 For a recent assessment of Western perceptions of piracy in Southeast Asia, see à Campo J.N.F.M., ‘Discourse without discussion: Representations of piracy in colonial Indonesia, 1816–25’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 34, 2 (2003): 199215.

65 Wolters O.W., The fall of Srivijaya in Malay history (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1970), pp. 79, 117–18; Tarling N., Piracy and politics in the Malay world (Singapore: Donald Moore Gallery, 1963), pp. 40–1.

66 Vos, Gentle Janus, merchant prince, p. 94.

67 Wolters, History, culture, and region, p. 164; Day A., Fluid iron: State formation in Southeast Asia (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2002), pp. 229–30.

68 The Tuhfat gives a detailed description of Raja Alam's impressive military base with well-armed vessels at Siantan where in 1748 he successfully repulsed Sultan Sulaiman's forces. Subsequently dislodged from Siantan by the Daeng Kamboja, he turned to marauding (Tuhfat, pp. 97–100; Netscher, De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak, p. 76).

69 Andaya, Perak, p. 218.

70 Vos, Gentle Janus, merchant prince, p. 94.

71 Andaya, Perak, pp. 218, 220–1, 228.

72 Between 1746 and 1755 alone, control over Siak changed hands no less than five times. Goudie, ‘What the text said to its audience’, Syair perang Siak, p. 51.

73 Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, p. 96; Francis Light, quoted in Andaya B. and Andaya L., A history of Malaysia, 2nd edn (London: Palgrave, 2001), p. 92.

74 Netscher, De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak, p. 99; Syair perang Siak, pp. 55, 66, 163 vs. 332–3.

75 Said Tungku, Hikayat Siak, trans. Hashim Muhammed Yusoff (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1992), p. 188.

76 Netscher, De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak, pp. 76, 110, 131; Tuhfat, pp. 87, 102, 107, 108, 109, 124; Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, pp. 116–20.

77 Goudie, ‘The people of the text and those off stage’, Syair perang Siak, p. 45.

78 Netscher, De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak, pp. 141–3.

79 Kathirithamby-Wells, ‘Siak and its changing strategies for survival’, p. 225; Kathirithamby-Wells J., ‘The long eighteenth century and the new Age of Commerce in the Melaka Straits’, in On the eighteenth century as a category of Asian history, ed. Blussé L. and Gaastra F. (Ashgate, Aldershot: 1998), p. 68.

80 Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, p. 124. Tengku Muhammad Ali was installed as Sultan following the death of Raja Alam (Netscher, De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak, p. 133) but the Syair perang Siak does not acknowledge this. The reason, explains Goudie, ‘is that the syair is a statement of the claim of Raja Ismail to succeed Raja Alam. Any acknowledgement of Tengku Muhammad Ali as a primary legitimate successor to Raja Alam would undermine the central purpose of the text’ (Goudie, ‘The people of the text and those off stage’, pp. 38, 39).

81 Syair perang Siak, p. 133; Hikayat Siak, 1992, pp. 197–8; Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, p. 158.

82 For an elaboration of this concept, see Andaya B.W., ‘Recreating a vision: Dataran and kepulauan in historical context’, in ‘Riau in transition’, ed. Chou C. and Derk W., BKI, 153 (1997), pp. 483–4.

83 Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, pp. 139–40.

84 Tuhfat, p. 166.

85 Ibid., pp. 188, 191, 373 f. 526 n. 1.

86 Goudie, ‘The people of the text and those off stage’, p. 36; Tuhfat, p. 211.

87 Vos, Gentle Janus, merchant prince, p. 175.

88 Andaya, Perak, pp. 341–2, 370–1; Vos, Gentle Janus, merchant prince, p. 175; Tuhfat, p. 369, f. 242 n. 2; ARA (Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague): VOC 3702, Secret, Report by C.G. Baumgarten in P.G. de Bruyn to Batavia, 9 May 1784.

89 Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, pp. 152, 155; VOC 3734: letter to the king of Siak, 17 June 1786, 2 Aug. 1786; VOC 3703: No. 10, letter from Riau, 17 May 1786; VOC 3907: A. Coupers to Raja Mohd. Ali, 27 Apr. 1789.

90 Illanun collaboration with the Syihab ‘stranger-kings’ – as indeed with the counterpart Arab syarif of Sulu – contrasted with their volatile relations with Sultan Mahmud of Riau and the displaced ex-Sultan Yahaya of Siak. See J.F. Warren, The Sulu zone, 1769–1898 (Singapore: Singapore University Press), pp. 78–9, 153–7; Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, 161.

91 Vos, Gentle Janus, merchant prince, pp. 193–4; Tuhfat, pp. 188–9; Warren, The Sulu Zone, p. 158. The marriage of Sayyid Ali's brother, Sayyid Alwi (Tengku Lung Putih), to a sister of the Sultan Ahmad Tajud'din of Kedah formed the basis of the Kedah-Siak alliance. See Bonney R., Kedah, 1771–1821 (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1971), pp. 118, 144–5; Tarling, Piracy and politics, pp. 27–8. The son of Tengku Lung Putih, Tengku (Sayyid) Ahmad Tajuddin alias Tengku Kudin, was to play a major role in Kedah's conflicts with Siam; Othman Muhammad Isa, Politik tradisional: Kedah 1681–1942 (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1990), pp. 30–1.

92 Bonney, Kedah, pp. 90–1; Andaya, Perak, pp. 375–6; Warren, The Sulu Zone, p. 158; Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, p. 155.

93 Hikayat Siak, pp. 190–6; Netscher, De Nederlanders in Djohor en Siak, p. 301; Willer J.T., ‘Eerste proeve eener kronijk van Mampawa en Pontianak’, Tijdschrift voor taal-, land- en volkenkunde van het Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen, (hereafter TBG), 3 (1855): 553.

94 Risso P., ‘Cross-cultural perceptions of piracy: Maritime violence in the western Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf region during a long eighteenth century’, Journal of World History, 12, 2 (2001): 195.

95 Bukit Batu, traditionally the appanage of the Laksamana (admiral), stretched from Tanjung Senebui, off Rokan, to Tanjung Balai, fringing the Riau-Lingga Archipelago and including the islands of Rupat and Bengkalis.

96 Goudie, ‘The people of the text and those off stage’, p. 40; Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, p. 152. In Terengganu, the influential al-Idrus family was founded by the revered mystic and theologian Sayyid Abd al- Rahman al-Idrus, popularly known as To' ‘Ku Paloh. His son Sayyid al-Saqqaf was the archetypical holyman (keramat)-cum-merchant whose influence in Ulu Terengganu was evidently tied up with his business activities, including money-lending. See Sutherland H., ‘The taming of the Trengganu elite’, in Southeast Asian Transitions: Approaches through social history, ed. McVey R.T. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978), pp. 71–3, 77–8.

97 Tuhfat, p. 188; Syair perang Siak, p. 40.

98 Hikayat Siak, p. 197.

99 Quoting the Hikayat Hang Tuah, Hank Maier interprets ‘we are playing relatives’ as ‘the desirability to trust “others” as if they were relatives, the drive to mix and assimilate with “others”’; Maier H.M., ‘“We are playing relatives”: Riau, the cradle of reality and hybridity’, BKI, 153 (1997): 672–6. For an account of the events leading to the transfer of power, see Tuhfat, pp. 206–10; Goudie, ‘The people of the text and those off stage’, p. 44; Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, p. 160.

100 Goudie, ‘The people of the text and those off stage’, pp. 40–1; Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, p. 167.

101 Tuhfat, p. 210; Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, p. 162.

102 Goudie, ‘Events which maintained the text into the nineteenth century’, Syair perang Siak, p. 31; Effendy, ‘Sedikit catatan tentang: “syair perang Siak”’, Syair perang Siak, p. 263.

103 Tuhfat, p. 189; Vos, Gentle Janus, merchant prince, p. 193.

104 Tuhfat, pp. 210–11.

105 See Mair, ‘We are playing relatives’, pp. 675–7. The fluidity, hybridity and inclusiveness associated with kinship and identity was at the heart of Malayness, its very ambivalence making room for the sāda ‘stranger-kings’ as ‘others’.

106 Dobbin C., Islamic revivalism in a changing economy: Central Sumatra, 1784–1847 (London: Curzon, 1983), pp. 47, 93–4.

107 Kathirithamby-Wells, ‘Siak and its changing strategies for survival’, pp. 236–7; Barnard, Multiple centres of authority, pp. 164–5.

108 Anderson J., Mission to the east coast of Sumatra (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1971), pp. 320–2; Dobbin, Islamic revivalism, pp. 93–5, 104–6.

109 Anderson, Acheen, pp. 190–4; Kathirithamby-Wells, ‘The long eighteenth century’, p. 68.

110 Anderson, Mission to the east coast of Sumatra, pp. 176, 320–1, 349, 352–3; Kathirithamby-Wells, ‘Siak and its changing strategies for survival’, pp. 229–30.

111 See Nicholas Tarling, ‘Introduction’, in Anderson, Mission to the east coast of Sumatra, pp. v–vi.

112 Anderson, Mission to the east coast of Sumatra, p. 165.

113 See Tarling, ‘Introduction’, in ibid., pp. iv–ix.

114 Barnard T., ‘Local heroes and national consciousness: The politics of historiography in Riau’, BKI, 153 (1997): 516.

115 Anderson, Mission to the east coast of Sumatra, pp. 172, 186–7.

116 Anderson, Mission to the east coast of Sumatra, pp. 165, 167–8, 173–7, 182–5, 320–1, 349, 352–3; Hall B., Fragments of voyages and travels, 3rd series, no.2 (Edinburgh: Robert Cadell, 1833), pp. 284–9; Kathirithamby-Wells, ‘The long eighteenth century’, p. 75; Clodd H.P., Malaya's first pioneer: The life of Francis Light (London: Luzac, 1948), pp. 119–21; Wurtzburg C.E., Raffles of the eastern isles (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1954), pp. 4950.

117 Netscher, ‘Geschiedenis der eerste al-Qadris’, pp. 288–93.

118 J. Burns, ‘Mr Burn's account of Pontianak’, 12 Feb. and 12 Mar. 1811, India Office Records, Private Papers, Raffles Collection, XI, MSS Eur. E109, British Library, London, p. 39. Part of Burn's ‘Account’ is published in Reece B. and Smith F.A., ‘Joseph Burn and Raffles's plan for a British Borneo’, Borneo research bulletin, 37 (2006): 3347.

119 Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Mashhūr, quoted in Ho, The graves of Tarim, pp. 169–70.

120 Netscher, ‘Geschiedenis der eerste al-Qadris’, pp. 290–5; Willer J.T., ‘Kronijk van Mampawa en Pontianak’, TBG, 3 (1855): 518.

121 According to an Arab account by al-Mashhūr and contrary to Dutch sources, the woman from Matan who was Abd al-Rahman's mother was not a slave but a daughter of the ruler of Matan. See Ho, The graves of Tarim, p. 170; Willer, ‘Kronijk van Mampawa en Pontianak’, p. 517.

122 Burn, ‘Account’, pp. 41–3; Day, Fluid iron, pp. 228–32.

123 Willer, ‘Kronijk van Mampawa en Pontianak’, pp. 517, 520–2; Netscher, ‘Geschiedenis der eerste al-Qadris’, pp. 297–8; Tuhfat, pp. 140, 357 f. 189 n. 2.

124 Burn, ‘Account’, pp. 43–4; Netscher, ‘Geschiedenis der eerste al-Qadris’, pp. 98–9; Willer, ‘Kronijk van Mampawa en Pontianak’, pp. 522–5; van Goor J., ‘Seapower, trade and state-formation: Pontianak and the Dutch’, in Trading companies in Asia, 1600–1800, ed. van Goor J. (Utrecht: HES Uitgevers, 1986), pp. 92–4.

125 Van Goor, ‘Seapower, trade and state-formation’, p. 92.

126 Tuhfat, p. 29.

127 The al-Qadri family history, contradicting the Taufat's account, claims that Pangeran Abd al-Rahman scored victory before the arrival of Raja Haji. Whatever the truth, relations between Abd al-Rahman and Raja Haji remained close. See Tuhfat, p. 362 F 209 n. 4; Netscher, ‘Geschiedenis der eerste al-Qadris’, pp. 299–300.

128 Tuhfat, pp. 154–7; Willer, ‘Kronijk van Mampawa en Pontianak’, pp. 527–8.

129 Landak, seized by Banten from Sukadana in 1771, was subsequently relinquished to the VOC. Willer, ‘Kronijk van Mampawa en Pontianak’, pp. 525–6; Heidhues M. Somers, ‘The first two sultanates of Pontianak’, Archipel, 56 (1998): 277.

130 Burn, ‘Account’, pp. 45–7; See Willer, ‘Kronijk van Mampawa en Pontianak’, p. 528; Netscher, ‘Geschiedenis der eerste al-Qadris’, p. 301.

131 Netscher, ‘Geschiedenis der eerste al-Qadris’, pp. 301–2; Willer, ‘Kronijk van Mampawa en Pontianak’, pp. 524, 528–9, 534–40, 558; Heidhues, ‘The first two sultanates of Pontianak’, p. 287; van Goor, ‘Seapower, trade and state-formation’, pp. 97–100.

132 Netscher, ‘Geschiedenis der eerste al-Qadris’, pp. 301–2; Willer, ‘Kronijk van Mampawa en Pontianak’, pp. 524, 528–9, 534–40, 558; Heidhues, ‘The first two sultanates of Pontianak’, p. 287; van Goor, ‘Seapower, trade and state-formation’, pp. 97–100.

133 Tuhfat, p. 195; Burn, ‘Report’, f. 48; Willer, ‘Kronijk van Mampawa en Pontianak’, p. 533.

134 Heidhues, ‘The first two sultanates of Pontianak’, pp. 279–80.

135 Veth P.J., Borneo's wester-afdeeling geographische, statistisch, historisch, voorafgegaan door eene algemeen schets des ganschen eilands (Zaltbommel: Noman, 1854), vol. 1, p. 251.

136 van Goor J., ‘A madman in the city of ghosts: Nicolaas Kloek in Pontianak’, Itinerario, 11 (1985): 291310; Heidhues, ‘The first two sultanates of Pontianak’, pp. 282–3, 285.

137 Ibid., pp. 277, 281.

138 Ibid., pp. 275–6; 287–8; Heidhues M. Somers, Golddiggers, farmers, and traders in the ‘Chinese districts’ of west Kalimantan, Indonesia (Ithaca, NY: Cornell, 2003), p. 53. Even after the withdrawal of the VOC, which had allowed the ruler a small share of the taxes, he was unable to derive the full benefits of a rich and populous hinterland with an estimated 60,000 inhabitants and effectively under autonomous or semi-autonomous tribal heads and rajas. See Smith, ‘Captain Burn and associates, p. 59; Smith F.A., ‘Missionaries, mariners, and merchants: overlooked British travellers to west Borneo in the early nineteenth century’, Borneo Research Bulletin, 33 (2002): 4561; Heidhues, ‘The first two sultanates of Pontianak’, pp. 287–8; Burn, ‘Account’, pp. 41, 107.

139 M. Somers Heidhues, ‘Nanyang Chinese heroes in Malay histories: Now you see them, now you don't’, forthcoming in series published by the Department of Afro-Asian Studies, University of Hamburg.

140 Veth, Borneo's wester-afdeeling, vol. 2, p. 282.

141 Burn, ‘Account’, pp. 44–5.

142 Tuhfat, pp. 157–8.

143 Burn, ‘Account’, pp. 47, 54, 62; Smith F.A., ‘Captain Burn and associates: British intelligence gathering, trade, and litigation in Borneo and beyond during the early nineteenth century’, Borneo research bulletin, 35 (2004): 59; Willer, ‘Kronijk van Mampawa en Pontianak’, p. 525; Heidhues, ‘The first two sultanates of Pontianak’, p. 285.

144 Burn, ‘Account’, pp. 61–3.

145 For more on Kassim's dealings with James Smith and other private traders, see F.A. Smith, ‘Hardships in country trade on the East Indies in the early nineteenth century: Seven years in the life of Captain Daniel Smith, unpublished paper presented at the International Congress of Asian Studies, Kuala Lumpur, Aug. 2007.

146 Burn's position, evidently, was temporary. He appears to have left Pontianak by mid-1812 and was replaced by John Hunt when the formal treaty with Pontianak was signed in 1813. See Smith, ‘Captain Burn and associates’, p. 60; Irwin G., Nineteenth century Borneo: A study in diplomatic rivalry (Singapore: Donald Moore, 1965), pp. 25–6; Reece and Smith, ‘Joseph Burn and Raffles's plan for a British Borneo’, p. 29; Gallop A.T., The legacy of the Malay letter: Warisan warkah Melayu (London: The British Library, 1994), pp. 214–15.

147 Irwin, Nineteenth century Borneo, pp. 26–8; Tarling, ‘Piracy and politics’, p. 15; Wright H.R.C., East Indian economic problems of the age of Cornwallis and Raffles (London: Luzac, 1961), p. 280.

148 Burn, ‘Account’, pp. 99–100.

149 Hall, Fragments of voyages and travels, p. 288.

150 Irwin, Nineteenth century Borneo, pp. 23–6, 50.

151 Quoted in van Goor, ‘Seapower, trade and state-formation’, pp. 85–6.

152 The ruler appropriated without payment a cargo of textiles, rice, iron and steel which Burn had jointly invested in with Parry, Lane and Co. of Penang and left for sale in Pontianak. See Smith, ‘Captain Burn and associates’, pp. 51, 53.

153 Burn, ‘Account’, pp. 56–60.

154 Riddell P.G., ‘Arab migrants and Islamization in the Malay world during the colonial period’, Indonesia and the Malay World, 84 (2001): 122.

155 Burn, ‘Account’, p. 53; Borneo's wester-afdeeling, vol. 1, pp. 14–15, 255.

156 Riddell, ‘Arab migrants’, p. 114. The institution of ziarah derived from the worship of founders of sacred enclaves (hawta, pl. hawat) (Freitag, Indian Ocean migrations, p. 42).

157 Ho, The graves of Tarim, pp. 152–4, 168–73.

Jeyamalar Kathirithamby-Wells, Life Member, Clare Hall, Cambridge, was Professor of Asian History, University of Malaya. Correspondence in connection with this paper should be addressed to: or ‘Serendip’, Illington, Thetford, Norfolk IP24 1RP. This is a revised version of a paper originally presented at a workshop on ‘Stranger-kings in Southeast Asia and elsewhere’ held in Jakarta in June 2006. The author is grateful to KITLV, Leiden; ARI, the National University of Singapore; LIPI, Indonesia; and IIAS, Leiden, for their invitation and joint sponsorship of my participation.

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Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
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