MANUSYA: Journal of Humanities, Special Issue No.14, 2007
Hurgronje 1906: I, 360). PrinceDipanagara was passed over for the throneof Yogyakarta in the early nineteenthcentury as the son of a concubine, possiblycontributing to the outbreak of the greatJava War of 1825-30 (Adas 1987: 94, 96).Although it is not stated clearly whetherhis mother was free or slave, the habits of the central Javanese nobility make it quitelikely that she was a free concubine.Even in the case of servile concubines,Southeast Asian men tended to dislikeIslamic legal provisions, preferring to holdsuch women under
(Lasker 1950: 32-3
. The numerous debt slaves of the regionwere especially prone to being possessedunder customary arrangements, as thiscategory of servility found no place in the
(Clifford 1913: 122-3, Maxwell1890: 247-8, Thosibo 2002, Ruibing1937). Moreover, the recourse to custommay have helped in selling concubines tosingle non-Muslim Chinese men, whichbecame big business from the eighteenthcentury, as numbers of Chineseimmigrants swelled (Reid 1983: 27).Under the
such sales would havebeen frowned upon. Indeed, they wouldtechnically have been prohibited if thefemale slaves in question were Muslims.Southeast Asian Muslims also invokedcustomary law to evade
provisionsthat imposed an equal status on children of concubines (Lasker 1950: 32-3). In Aceh,where considerable stress was placed onthe maternal line, descendants of concubines retained the 'taint' of slaveryfor several generations. To avoid this,people practised birth control orinfanticide, both of which violated theholy law (Snouck Hurgronje 1906: I, 21-2,359, Loeb 1972: 230-1). In Lampung,South Sumatra, children of concubineshad to be recognised by their free half-siblings in a special
ceremony, andeven then they were not completely equal(Djajadiningrat 1929: 90). Among theAlas of North Sumatra, adoption,prohibited in the
, was employed toclear the 'stain' of slave descent (Iwabuchi1994: 130, 158).However, Muslims in Southeast Asiamight also turn to the
in dealingwith matters of concubinage. This is clearfrom a 1892 collection of Meccan
for Southeast Asian believers.
34explained why the child of a female slave,born as the result of illicit sexual relationswith her owner, inherited the mother'sservile status. Had the mother been alegitimate concubine, the child wouldhave been born free.
96 stressedthat a master had to free a slave if hewished to marry her, rather than merelyhave her as a concubine (Kaptein 1997:195).In addition, servile concubinage sharedcertain features typical of Islamdom as awhole. In late seventeenth century SouthSulawesi, jealous free wives whipped theirhusbands' concubines, or even went so faras to murder them. At the same time, bymaintaining inflated harems, mastersdenied a family life to unwanted partners(Gervaise 1971: 83-5, 115-16). Sultanswere especially likely to have excessivelylarge harems, as in Aceh in the sixteenthand seventeenth centuries (Hadi 2004:100). That said, concubines possessedtheir own slaves in northern Borneo in the1840s, and were considered to be fairlysocially privileged (Low 1968: 144).Concubinage survived the imposition of colonial rule. Raja Ali, ruler of Riau,mentioned concubines at least twice in hisextensive correspondence with the Dutchauthorities. In 1872, he lamented that his