. " . Gift" has been described by Winstedt as

The TuJifat al-Nafis, or . PrectOUS :Mala Annals''', or Sejarah Melayu.:

"by fur the gte.atest Mal~Y history h~~:r ~h:he effo;ts of two members (futher and Composed dun~g the mld~18?OSR~au t~e TuJifat is usually ascribed to the youn~er son) of the Bugts roy.~1 ~umlly.t~ .. Al d The Tuhfat is primarily concerned with man, Raja Ali ~1-HuJI bin Raja aJt ~m: ~is rulers in the kingdom encompassing describing relatIOns between Malay ani . ug b t vcen them and the Dutch, from the

. d L' as well as re anons e \, .

Johor, RI3.u an ingga, feat interest to the present analysts

til 1864 However 0 gr .

early l Sth century un 1 • I' b . . <T of Bab II. These sections

. f Bab 1 and tne egmnmg .

arc the early sections 0 , d " ' ne of the Se'j'aralr Melay«, conceutratmg

. .., M thcson's wor s u resut .

include, In Vjrgima a . ' f courtly traditions in Malacca, and descrip-

on the history of the establishment Ok' d f [unjust] Sultans."2 Bab I actually hi h b fell the uns oms 0

tions of catastrophes w tc e I I'" P to its last reprcsentative, Sultan

. f the Melaka roya mcage u

carnes the story o. D' d Bab n commences with a more elaborate

Mahmud if, murdered In .1699 ~. d" ~n Tl is affair is of course, not dealt with

account of Mahmud's reign an emrsc. 11 ( ,

. n 15th-17th century Malay political ':'Itio~ale, ~hc

• In the course of current thesIs. research of the Trdrfat al-Nafts in comparison WIth his major author had an opportunity to 7xamlp~hpa~LS. rah Mclay". otherwise known as the Rames MS 18.

source, the Co:'l.r1ies.t known version 0 e eja .

This article is the result. . . wer and olltlcal structure" is meant, very b~,eflY, the

By "the Sejarah Meiayu tradlt,on of po • ~ h a r •. 1612 concept of m?narch,.c,. status

following: The Raffles MS 18 presents t~c r?adcr \:~ focu~ of all social and polil!c~l activity and society in which the ruler h~s ab~olutc :rc'~~~~~~~naries and title-holders, about whl~h the Rames loyalty. Beneath the ruler IS a hierarc yof MS 18 stresses the pact of political r.laltons between MS 18 is unfortunately vague. T!,c Ra. es. cestor of Malay kings, and Demang L~bar ruler and ruled made by the. mylhlcal Sri Ttl Bua~a, e~ntwo tenets of political order: that ~ll SUbjects Daun ancestor of Malay subjects. The pact establish t rule with justice and respect for the ir subjects. must ~rwa)'s be loyal to thci~ ruler, and th~t.rtl;er$ ;eu~ent, providing the only functional link b:t"ee~ Allah supervises these tWO SIdes of the po inca ~fah alone may deal with them. .Howe,:er, I~ke a them: if either side departs faffirom t~sPft;"'qUi[CS inherent legitimation, which It prOVIdes .111 t~~o

ower systemS, that of the Res. I . ty of a ruler; and (b) by propagat1l1g e

p in ways' (a) by demonstrating the genealoglca proprie d by the ruler's daulat (transcendental

mal • f he act ill terms of loyalty insprrc

ideological aspects 0 t Pant <Icrltaka (disloyalty}.

sanction to rule) versus the repugn d M laya" in' Historiam of Sautll

l R. O. Winsted! (1963), "Malay ;ro~e~\;[0~dS~r~~I~~3anp. 27~ ., .

East Asia, ed. D.G.E. Hall, Lon on, .... , , IN.'.. p 1973 p. l. Paper delivered

Y '1 ihcson (1973). "Concepts of Stat? 111 the T"IIfal a - AaftNs U n·A·p' r 1973; to be published with

. " a 1 • I S E Asian state systems, . . ., , .

at colloquium on pre-co o~lla ., 6' Pr _ /Ollial state 51·stemS ill Southeast "s,a.

other papers by MBRAS m Monograph . J e co .


PART n, 1975


in the Raffles MS 18 version of the Scjarah Melayu, the coverage of which ends during the regin of Sultan Ala'u'd-din Ri'ayat Shah II about 1536.3

Raja Ali al-Haji is invariably associated with the composition of the Tuhfat because his has been the only published MS since Winstedt originally edited it in 'Jawi in 1932.4 Matheson, who for her Ph. D. at Monash University produced a detailed editing of extant versions of the Tuhfat al-Nafis, found that only three recensions were available to her. Her MS "A" was a short MS in the Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde (Catalogue No. HS 630). and was an 1896 copy from a MS in the archives of the Yang Di-pertuan Muda of Riau. Her MS "B" was Maxwell 2, a copy made for Maxwell in March 1890. This was some 38,000 words longer than MS "A", contained many embellishments and additional subject matter, and on the whole appeared to her to be a lengthened redaction of MS "A". As her MS "C", Matheson used the so-called "Winstedt text" of 1932 (also known as the "Johor text"), although she did not really consider it a proper MS. Winstedt's version was a printed Jawi text which he claimed to be based on a 1923 text belonging to Tengku Fatirnah, daughter of Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor. Tengku Fatimah's text was, in its turn, a copy from an "older text". However, Matheson felt that the Winstedt version was adequately represented by MS "B" (Maxwell 2). For this reason, and because it is the only readily available (and rornanizcd) version of the Tuhfot al-Nofis, I have used the Winsted! text for my work and this article.'

Writing of the Tuhfat was begun in late 1865, and much of the early sections was taken from the Silsilah Melayu dan Bugis dan Sakalian Raja-Raja-nya without any acknowledgement." This, however, is not unexpected because the Silsilak was being written about the same time, and also by Raja Ali al-Haji.? On the other

3 Sec R.O. Winstedt (1938) cd., "The Malay Annals or Sejarah Mclayu, [he earliest rcscension from MS No. 18 of the Raffles Collection", in: JMBRAS, vol, 16, pt. 3 (Dec 1938), pp. 1-226. An English translation of the Raffles MS 18 can be found in C. C. Brown (1970) tr., Scjarait Melayu or Malay AIII/als, Kuala Lumpur/Singapore, O.V.P., rev. ed., 1970. In ali subsequent footnotes, the abbreviation Sejarah denotes Brown's translation, and Raffles MS 18 refers to Winstedt's rornanizcd edition of the Malay text.

, R.O. Winstedt (1932) ed., "A Malay history of Riau and Johore", in: JlvlBRAS, vol, 10, pt. 2 (Aug L932), pp. 1-320. Winstedt includes an English summary of the Jaw. text, which has since been described as "not wholly reliable". See A. Sweeney (1967), "Sir Richard Winstedt's summary of the 'Tuhfat al-Nafis", in: JMBRAS, vol. 40, pt. 1 (July 1967), pp, 155-156.

s Raja Ali al-Haji Riau ([965), Tuhfat al-Nofis: sejarah Melayu dan Bugis, ed, Munir bin Ali,

Singapore, Malaysia Publications Ltd., 1965. In subsequent footnotes, the abbreviation Tuhfat denotes this version. See also V. Matheson (1971), "The Tuhfat al-Nafis: structure and sources", in: BKI, vol, 127, pt. 3 (1971), pp. 376---378; and Sweeney (1967), p. 156. In a conversation in Canberra, June 1974, Matheson told me that BS 630 probably represented the work of Raja Haji Ahmad, while the longer Maxwell 2 and Winstedt MS represented the work of his SOli, Raja Ali al-Haji, Incidentally, in the index of the Univcrsiti Malaya library I have seen yet another cataloguing of a Tultfat MS. This is a microfilm of an MS called Cod. Or. 8545 (a Leiden designation 1). However, I am not qualified to say whether this represents a completely separate MS, or whether it is another Dutch holding of HS 630.

• Winsted! (1963), p. 27; Matheson {I 97 I), p. 381. Matheson has also detected several other sources which were employed without acknowledgement (PP. 384-385). For excerpts from, and a summary of, the Stlsilah, see H. Overbeck (1926), "Silsilah Melayu dan Bugis dan Sakalian Raja-Raja·Nya", in: JMBRAS, vel, 4, pt. 3 (Dec 1926), pp. 339-381.

7 Sweeney is loathe to agree with this view, put forward by Winsted!. See Sweeney (l967), p. 156, and note 32 below.


T. 1. MOY


hand, one of the Tuhfat's most distinctive features is that it docs acknowledge by name some of the other sources used in its compilation. Matheson found that the longer redactions (Maxwell 2 and Winstedt's text) exceeded the shorter HS 630 in this respect, being dominated by references to a "Siak history". 8 In fact, she found a number of named sources which could not now be identified as extant. 9 Unfortunately the Sejarah M elayu does not get a mention as such; but in dealing with Melaka Sultanate history, the Tuhfat refers often to "other" chronicles which recount at length the episodes which it summarizes. The subject matter strongly suggests that the Tuhfat's author was aware of a version of the Annals.

This feature of making references to sources reflects a general characteristic of the Macassar and Bugis historiographical genre of which the Tuhfat is part, i.e., a concern for the precise registering of events in "diaries", the maintenance of genealosies and an overall keen interest in who did what first, and when.l" Winstedt, among others, also commends the author of the Tuhfat for his chronological accuracy,l1 and it is rather reassuring to the student of Malay history to find an indigeno~s source adhering noticeably to some principles of "Western" historiographical objecti-

vity. .

Nevertheless, the Tuhfat's author falls prey to a fault common to most writers of history: he projects into the text a personal bias in the favour of interests closest to him. Matheson, for example, has found that Raja Ali is "misleading" about his attitude to his sources, giving the impression that his quotes "are faithfully ... recorded. However, when the passages from sources in the Tuhfat are compared with their originals, it becomes obvious that the author has often altered them to c?incide with his own interpretation of events ... ". Being pro-Bugis, the author docs Violence most often to the "Siak history" that he employs.P Winstedt has also noted that the text "has the adventitious interest of giving the [general] Malay viewpoint of events, of which there are Dutch and English records'.P But these aspects of the Tuhfat are hardly surprising, and in my opinion are far outweighed by the overall historiographical accuracy of the text, particularly when compared to the Sejarah Melayu. In addition, such biases occur in sections irrelevant to this paper.v'

• Matheson cites Roolvink as believing that the "Siak history" concerned is one of two extant MSS: Cod. Or. 7304 and v.d, Wall 191. Sec Matheson (1971), p, 380.

• Matheson (1971), pp. 383-384.

10 For discussions of South West Celebes historiography, sec 1. Noorduyn (1963), "Some aspects of Macassar-Buglnese historiography". in: Historians of South East Asia, ed. D. G. E. Hall, London, O.U.P., 3rd pr., 1963, pp, 29-36; and A.A. Cerise (1966). "Old Buginese and Macassarese diaries", in: BKl, vel, 122 (1966), pp, 417-424.

11 Winstedt (1963), p. 27. Sec also Abdul Rahman Kasbon (1970), "Pcrbandingan Raja Ali Haji dan Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir Munshi sebagai sejarawan", in: Dewan Bahasa, vol. 14, no. 12 (Dec 1970), pp. 558-564; and the "Introduction" to L. Andaya (1971), The kingdom of Johor 1641-1728: a study of economic and political developments in the Straits of Malacca, n.p., Ph.D. thesis, Cornell University, 1971.

ra Matheson (1971), pp. 3SS-389. 13 Winstedt (1963), p. 27.

1< As stated at the beginning of this article, the relevant sections of the Tuhfat arc the early portions of Bab 1 and the commencement of Bab 11, i.e., Tuhfat; Bab I. pp, 1-10; Bab II, pp.33-36.


PART II, 1975


The "Tuhfat" on power and hierarchy

. U~like the Raffles MS 18, the Tuhfat al-Nafis makes continual reference [0 lemtO~les controlled by a central kingdom, i.e., areas outside Johor-Riau which recognized the adrni nistration of the yallg dt-pertuan muda and the sultan. According to f>:1atheson, "the coronation formulae of both the Sultan and the YPTM refer speclfical~y to the ruler's authority over the dependencies ". ", which were termed in the text either daerah ta'a/ok or jajahan teluk rantau.w

However, the Tuhfat joins the Sejarali Melayu in having no concept ofHthe state".

As Matheson says:

:~he closest ~~e a~pro,ach in the Tulifat to a conceptualized idea of authority IS Ill, th~ ~ord keraJaan.' But the concept of'kerajaan' is inextricably linked with the :a~a .and seems to Imply a power which is inherent in the position of Sultan and IS intimately connected with the reigning Sultan of the time."16

The tangibl.e integrating force in the Johor-Riau realm was, instead, upward-focused loyalty, which Matheson sees as of a "feudal" type!"; this loyalty worked from a broad m~ss base .to a pyramidal top consisting solely of the ruler, and travelling through mterrnediare uppe~ echelon foci such as the Bendahara and Ternenggong, !,~ other ;:ords, th: Tu1ifa! s brand of loyalty is to personalities rather than to an

Ideology and an IdeologIcally-defined person, such as one finds in the Raffles MS 18. T.he Tulifa! presents a "real" political world, wherein it falls to the sultan to keep hIS subordmate chiefs and ministers on friendly terms with each other in order to preserve the realm's cohesion.

In constrast to the Raffles MS 18, the Tuhfat does not emphasize the necessity of a~solute loyalty to the ruler. On the contrary, it is far more explicit in how. the ruler's conduct. affects the welfare of his kingdom and people, ~e.pIC~tng vanous cat~s.trophes W~lch befall kingdoms as divine punishment for regal mJu.shces. Most striking of all is the absence in the Tubfat of any reference to the an~lent pact bctwe~n Sri Tri Buana and Dernang Lebar Daun out of which the Sejarali Melayu derives the political fundamentals which it stresses, and which run ?S an underc~rrent through the Tuhfat as well. However, this point will be discussed In more detail later.

The Tuhfat al-Na]is. is not at all helpful to anyone endeavouring to sort out the complex an~ poorly articulated array of titles in the Sejarah Melayu, relating to the sub-regal . hl~rarchY., .O~ course, the major positions of Bcndahara, Penghulu Bendahari/Sn Nara diraja, and Temenggong are quite distinct, as is that of Laksama~a. Apart from them, the other titles emerge only in the personalities of their variOUS holders, and nOl In terms of functions attached to them _ if indeed specific

rs Matheson (1973), p. 9.

16 Matheson (l973)t p. 16. On the kerajaan concept. see also Andaya (l97i)) PPT 36-38.

11 ~ee ~fatheson (1973), pp. 7, 11. Th~ use of the term "feudal" is ill-advised in the Tuh[at context I on y on th~ ;srounds of the notorious problem of defining the term, and the a ro riatencss ~f most definitions to European hist?rical patterns. See, for example, E. A. R. ~o!n 1974 ~he tyranny ?f a construct: feudalism and historians of Medieval Europe" i . Th A ( . ),

Historical Review, vol, 79, no. 4 (Oct 1974), pp. 1063-1088. ,n. e "lcrICO"





PART n, 1975

functions attach to many of the titles at all. Thus, attempts to separate functional ranks from honorifics in the Melaka sultanate hierarchy remain frustrating.

One new datum is that the Tuhfat gives a Raja Besar Muda as successor of Iskandar Shah (founder of Melaka) and as institutor of various court protocols, the royal regalia, and the positions of "the four mentri" (ministers) and four bentara {court heralds)_1B This personality, however, does not appear in the Raffles MS 18, in which only Raja Tengah (Sultan Muhammad Shah, third ruler of Melaka) is credited with the elaboration of court protocol and adal.l9

The Tuhfat also introduces us to the new and exceedingly powerful position of yang di-pertuan }1111da or yamtuan muda. Its inception dates from the reign of Sult~n Abdul-Jalil Il (d. 1677 A.D.), well past the coverage of the Raffles MS 18, and Its development covers the 18th century.F" The yamtuan muda eventually becam,: ~he direct overseer of the Johor-Riau kingdom on the ruler's behalf, also supervismg his household, organizing his trading interests, advising him on policy matters, and running the kingdom's defence. The rise of this figure in the sub-regal hierarchy resulted in the eclipse of the Bendahara, whose Melaka sultanate predecessors figured so strongly in the Sejarah M elayu account of political structure. It also affected the sultan's position in "real power" terms, but as the phenomenon falls well outside this paper's time-frame, it cannot be considered in any detail,

The Tuhfat:« information on the position of Bendahara for the Melaka sultanate period is sketchy, and in the Bab I "summary" there is no effort to provide a comprehensive genealogy of holders of that position. However, an important Item ~f data given in the Tuhfat, and about which the Raffles MS IS is surprisingly vague, I~ that the "first Bendahara", Tun Pennata Muka Berjabar was the brother of Sri Tri Buana's successor at Singapura, Sri Pekrama Wira.21 He was, therefore, the vital source of royal blood for the Bendahara lineage, ranking it second to the rulers' line. This is particularly significant when we recall that it was a Bendahara who succeeded the childless Mahmud II in 1699 A.D. The Tuhfat also describes the first Bendahara as the official who "memerentah segala menterii yang (li-ball'a takhta kerajaan-n)'a".22 For the rest of the Tu/ifo/'s account, however, vari?u.s Bcn~aharas emerge in the text largely as personalities of note or notoriety. ThIS IS particularly

the case for the Johor-Riau Bendahara Tun Habib, "styled Bendahara Seri Maharaja",.for Whom we are given a date of death (7 Muharram 1109 = 26 July 1697)23; and hIS son and successor, Bendahara ibni Dato' Bendahara Tun Habib Sri Maharaja, who comes to succeed Mahmud II as Abdul Jalil III, after conspiring in Mahmud's assassination.t-

The only Temenggong appearing in the Tu/ifal al-Nafis is a post-Raffles MS 18 character, the saudara of (Dato') Bendahara ibni Bendahara Tun Habib, and also a conspirator in the murder of Mahrnud. The Tulifat gives two versions of his subsequent career: that he was made yanituan 'muda, and that he was appointed Bendahara.25 • As for the Sri Nara 'diraja, a title which the Raffles MS 18 makes synonymous with penghulu bendahari or treasurer, there is but one reference to this official in the reign of the young Sultan Mudzafir/Mudzafar of Johor, who always consulted him and the Dato' Bendahara (of the day) before taking decisions.w The ranks of Laksamana (named in the Tuhfat as Hang Nadim) and Sri Bija 'diraja are mentioned only in connection with their military service of Sultan Ala'u'd-din II, in whose reign the Raffles MS 18 ccnchides.a? Finally, two hulubalang, or warrior captains, appear til the Tuhfat as personalities: titled Megat Sri Rama and Sri Bija Wangsa, they are Mahmud II's assassin and bodyguard

In addition to the yang di-pertuan muda, another new title/rank emerges in the Tuhfat, i.e., the Indra Bungsu, The text docs not say what function may have been a.ttached to the title, but it is fairly certain that Indra Bungsu was an exalted title, smce Mahmud II's Indra Bungsu was the third major conspirator in the plot to allow Megat Sri Rama to menderhaka and kill Mahmud, In one version of postassassination events, the Tuhfat says the Indra Bungsu was made yang di-pertuan mudas»

The "Tuhfat" and legitimation by genealogy

In Bab I, the Tuhfat gives a royal genealogy running from Sri Tri Buana to Sultan Mahmud II of Johor, Up to Sultan Ala'u'd-din Ri-ayat Shah Il, son of Mahmud I, the Tuhfat's king-list repeats the Shellabear MS of the Sejarah Melayu, and varies from the Raffles MS 18 only with the insertion of an additional ruler between Raja Iskandar Shah (founder of Mclaka) and Sultan Muhammad Shah, i.e.,

to Tulr/a/, Bab 1, p. 4.

HI Sejarah, Ch. VI. p. 44ft'. . .

so Tuhfat, Bab I, p. 9. This is the first reference 10 t~e yang di.perIlIOJ~ I!rr~da in the text, the posinon being held by Abdul Jam II's brother, who lived m Pahang and died In 1087 A.H. (1676 A.D.l, becoming known as Marhum Muda, Sec also Winstedt (I~32l, pp.320-319. Matheson appears to have missed this reference, for she places the first rnenuon of the yamtuan mudu ~t the lime when the Beudahara succeeding Sultan Mahrnud in 1699 A.D. as Sultan Abdul J.ahl III appoints hissaudara/brothcr the Tcmenggong to the position [Matheson (l?73), p. 31. Winstedt, on the other hand, says theslludara so appointed was the Indra Bungsu [Winstedt (1932), p, 3191. The actual text gives both versions, of which Wlnstedt's intcrpreta.lion is t~e second. flut the Malay is ambiguous, and to decide definitely one way or the other IS very difficult. See TJI/Jfat, Bab Il, p, 35.

01 Tuhfat Bab I pp.2-3. cr. Raffles MS 18, p. 62, and Sejarah, Ch, Ill, pp, 20-21, where the first Bendahara is named Tun Perpatch Permuka Berjajar, To extract the Tuhfat": data from the Raffles MS 18 account is virtually impossible.

__ Tuhfat; Bab I, p. 3., i.e., he commanded all the ruler's mlnlstcrs. Of course, this is a retrospective


,. Trdr/at,.Bab I, pp. 9-10. Convers!ons from Islamic to Christian dates were carried out using tables m G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville (1963), The Mushrn ottd Christian calendars, London, O.U.P., 1963.

'" Tuhfat; Bab I, p, 10; Bah II, pp. 33-34. This Bendahara is also referred to as Date' Bcndahara in Bab 11, which is somewhat confusing since his father (Tun Habib) had the title Dato", It means either that father, then son, conspired in Mahmud's murder (which seems unlikely as there is no death notice for a Date' Bendahara in Dab II); Or that by the late 17th century Bendaharas had the title Dato' as a matter of COurse.

•• Tu/rfal, Bab n, pp, 34-35. Sec also note 20 above. as Tuhfat, Bab I, p, 8.

27 Tuhfat, Bab I, p, 8.

as Tuhfat, Bab U, pp, 33-34.

•• Tuhfa), Bab II, pp. 34-35. See also note 20 above.




JMllRAS, VOL. 48

PART II, 1975


ao See Wang Gang-wu (1968), "The first three rulers of Malacca", in: JMBRAS, vol, 41, pt. I (July (968), p. ]3. The Shellabear version of the Malay Annals referred to is W. G. Shellabear (1961) ed., Sejarah Mclay", Kuala Lumpur, a.u.p., edisi bam (new ed.), 1967. In subsequent footnotes, the abbreviation "Shellabear MS" will denote this edition.

at Seiarah, Ch, VII, p. 51; and Trill/at, Bab I, p. 5.

.. It should be noted here that the Tuhfat version of succession from Ala'u'd-din II does not tally with the genealogy given in the other work that Raja Ali al-Haji is believed \0 have written, the Si/si/ah Melayu dan Bugis, Sec Overbeck (1926), p. 348, and notes 6 & 7 above.

with the R~ffles MS 18 has been to avoid treating daulat and derhaka as strict conceptual OPPOSItes, and to define the fundamental ideological polarity as one between derhaka and loy~lty inspired by the ruler's daulat , The Tuhfat al-Nofis gives no cause to vary this .approach, especially since the traditional awe in which . Malay sultans and the notion. of daulat Were held continues to maintain a grip on much of present-day ~alay s~clety. ~.l~hough derhaka can be readily explained by Malays, many have ~Ifficulty In verballZl?g their understanding of daulat: it is both mystical, and something that they have simply accepted in kings. In attempting to explain why the concept of daulat is almost totally absent from the Raffles MS 18 (the w d

'1 If b '. h Dr

1 se o~curs ut twice m t e .MS),33 one Malay interviewee told me that, by the time

the Sejarah Melayu was written, daulat was "already there" - assumed _ in the Melaka tradition of political structure. Enigmatically he concluded: "It can be said Or not said: it is there."3-1

. Da~lat, in .~he Tuhfat context, must also have been "already there" as far as Raja All al-Haji was concerned - if one can safely interpret its absence from the text as the author's assumption that daulat warranted no explanation at all. However, the co~c:Pt of derhaka is very obvious in the text, as it is also in the Raffles MS 18: This IS to ?e expected since both texts portray a monarchic, status society, and. this class of society depends for its continuity solely on the fostering of complete subJ:ct loyalty, Both the Raffles MS 18 and the Tuhfat make a contribution towards continuity by praising loyalty and depicting derhaka as abhorrent. But the emphases of the two texts on derhaka differ, as will be explained presently.

. Earlier, I noted that the Tuhfat al-Nafis makes no reference whatsoever to the ancient convenant of loyalty and just rule made between Sri Tri Buana and Deman" Lebar Daun, upon which the Sejarah Melayu founded its political conceptions. ~evertheless, th~ Tll/~at does emphasize, ~vith one remarkable exception, the ultimate intent of the Sejarah s pact: that Allah IS the sole executant in the punishment of departures from the pact-established relations between ruler and ruled.

. Where the Tuhfat is dealing with affairs also covered by the Raffles MS 18

(i.e. pre-1536), a didactic intent shows through, aimed at demonstrating that the w_elfare of the kingdom depends upon the ruler's behaviour _ in particular, that kmgdor;ns fall as a. ~atter of divine retribution for ruler's injustices.35 The Sejarah Me!ayus. three.stnklng ~xamples of this reappear in Bab I of the Tuhfat, Firstly, R~Ja Ah describes the ikan todak attack on Singapura in Paduka Sri Maharaja's rCl~n as a result o~ the king's killing of Tun Zainal al-Khatib, "sa-orang ulama' aulia'": when he dIed "bala' daripada Allah Ta'ala pun turun-lah".36 The second .. Raffies MS 18, pp. 69, 96.

J-I. Mohammad AH bin Hj Mhd Yasin, in an interview recorded at a Pcrsatuan Sejarah Malaysia Kawasan Muar rneeung, Muar, 21 Feb ]975.

,5 This strongly suggests that Raja Ali, in writing the Tufljar from "older histories" took an inter-

pretative approach in making his summaries. '

:)6 Tu1ifatt Ba_b I, p.3; H~nah i~rou~ht down a ~tastrophe (upon Smgapore)", The description of Tun Z~lnal. al.Khal~? as a saintly theologian" does not appear in the Raffles MS 18, which fC?fers to him SImply as a servant of God from Pasai" (sa-orang hamba Allah di-Pasaiv and names him .Tun lana Khatib. According to the Raffles MS 18, Tun Jana Khatib observes the queen ofSmgapore »: pa~ac,:, wzndow, .an~ casts a spell upon a betel-palm nearby, turning it into two pa~ms. Paduka Sri Pikrama Wira IS angered by this display of magic and has him executed' Se}arah, Ch. VI, pp. 39-40. .

the Raja Besar Muda mentioned earlier.s" Table 1 summarizes the differences diagrammatically. Such differences naturally pose a large question as to the facts of the early Melaka sultanate period, but it is far more important in the analysis of a text's legitimating function to determine the degree to which it is internally consistent, and what devices it employs to maintain this consistency.

From Sultan Muhammad to Sultan Ala'u'd-din II, the Tuhfat and the Raffles MS 18 are in agreement, at least as to order of succession and regnal titles. However, the Tuhfat does not go into as much detail regarding marriages of rulers and the maternal side of their descent. In this connection the two texts differ markedly at one point. The Tuhfat gives Raja Kassim, later Sultan Mudzafar Shah, as the son of Tun Ratna Wati, daughter of the "Kling" Mani Perindan. The Raffles MS 18, on the other hand, describes him as a son of Sultan Muhammad Shah's "other wife, the Bendahara's daughter"; it marries Ratna Wati off to Bendahara Sri Amar 'diraja and has her give birth to Tun 'Ali, a famous Melakan Sri Nara 'diraja.31

From Sultan Ala'u'd-din II to Sultan Mahmud, the last ruler of the SingapuraMelaka lineage, the Tuhfat provides data past the Raffles MS 18 coverage, but again does not go into consistent detail regarding marriages and maternal descent.P? Table 2 summarizes this series of rulers.

The king-lists of the Tuhfat al-Nafis perform the very simplest of legitimating functions of the genealogical category: they demonstrate valid and direct descent from ruler to ruler, and an ancestry back to the mythical, magical Sri Tri Buana, The Raffles MS 18 does more than this, and more obviously, in that it places great emphasis on pedigree, linking the Malay lineage of Melaka back to Alexander the Great (Iskandar Dzul-Karnain) and mighty Indian dynasties. In this latter text, genealogy extends its legitimating function to encompass th.e fundamental "rightness" of a lineage to wield power, in terms of reflected glories of its antecedents. Genealogy thus encroaches upon the preserves of ideology, which is the subject of the next section. But the Tuhfat does not achieve anything more than showing the legality of regal descent, and this is not surprising since the sections dealing with prc-Mahmud II genealogy are, by the author's admission, summaries of "other longer histories".

As far as genealogical legitimation for the Melakan sub-regal hierarchy is concerned, the Tuhfat simply does not give sufficient data to draw up lineages. Its most significant contribution, as already pointed out, is to specify the royal lineage origin of the Bendahara branch.

The "Tuhfar" and legitimation by ideology

In the traditional Malay context, discussion of ideological legitimation immediately involves the difficult concepts of daulat and derhaka - supramundane sanction of a ruler, and disloyalty to a ruler. The most useful working assumption in dealing



·.··.c •. -----------IiIIIIIriImrI----- ___~~

T. J. MaY


instance is the fall of Singapura to the army of Majapahit, which Raja Ali ascribes to Sultan Iskandar Shah's unjust treatment of one of his gundek, or secondary wives, the daughter of Sang Ranjuna Tapa. Rumours that she has been unfaithful to him reach the king's ears, and without any investigation he has her killed, "beheaded (panchollg) at the end of the market-place". Ranjuna is enraged by this shaming of his daughter, and he assists the Javanese forces from within the city, bringing about its capture and the flight of Iskandar Shah to the peniusula.F Thirdly, there is the capture of Melaka by the Portuguese. Raja Ali is more explicit than the Sejarah's author in attributing this catastrophe to the unjust slaughter of Tun Mutahir Bendahara Sri Maharaja and his family by Sultan Mahmud 1. After the killings, Raja Ali writes, "maka datang-lah qada' Allah Ta'ala ia-itu datang-lah Peringgi melanggar Melaka ilu."38

On the more positive side of the relation between Melaka rulers' behaviour and Melaka's welfare, Raja Ali makes but one remark, praising the rule of Sultan Muhammad Shah, and implying that the goodness of his rule is reflected in its longevity:

"Shahadan pada pekerjaan Sultan Muhammad Shah ini-lah adil serta aman-Il)'a dan ada-loti lama-nyu ia di-dalam kerajaan-nya ellam puloh tujoh lallllll."39

In both the Tuhfa: al-Nafis and the Raffles MS 18, derhaka proves to be the most forceful ideological aspect of legitimation, far outweighing the concept of the ruler's daulat and any appeals for loyalty based thereon. But when dealing with the crime of derhaka the Tuhfat is noticeably less strident than the Sejarah Melayu, and in tact is inclined to be ambivalent in its attitude to the subject, not really considering derhaka as fully heinous an offence as the Raffles MS 18 depicts it. Nor does the Tuh/at place as much stress as the Raffles MS I & on the worthiness of absolute loyalty.

;<7 Tuhfat, Bab I, pp. 3-4. If punehong is an error for pa/lelra/lg (stake), then Ra~juna'~ daught;f

was impaled, which accords with the Sheliabear version of the Sejarolt Melayu, In which the girl is sulakau in the market (Shcllabear MS, Ch. 10, p, 68). However, the Raffles MS 18 says Ranjuna's daughter was pcrje"ggikatl (p, 81), which Brown translates simply as "exposed" (S'iaralr, Ch. VI, p, 41), with a note that the tern' is in current use in Negri Sembilan. Winstedt, in his An unabridged Malay-E/lglish dictionary (Marican & Sons, Kuala Lumpur, 6th enl, ,:d., 1965), translates peljeIlgglkan as a Negri Sembilan term meaning "to expose a corpse". I think that the Raffles MS IS, and Brown's translation, represent the original tradition of the fate of Ranjuna's daughter ~ that she was exposed publicly, quite possibly naked, and probably not done to death at all. This makes the comments of her father, as recorded in both the Raffles MS 1 S and the Shellabear MS, completely intelligible: "I f my child has really done wrong, then simply kill her: II hy put her to such shame?" However. the Tuhfat's account is internally consistent, making the shame lie in the public nature of the pirl's execution. Here, Ranjuna Tapa says: "If she has really done wrong deserving death. then kill her ill secrecy, not publicly in the middle of the country!".

as Tuhfat, Bab I, p. 7. Ironically, this Bendahara may well have deserved his fate, if Portuguese accounts of the treatment meted out to Diogo Lopes de Sequeira in 1509 arc correct. Portuguese chroniclers assert that the Bendahara Sri Maharaja not only urged Mahmud 1 to betray the trust of Sequeira, but also subsequently plotted to overthrow the ruler, for which he was executed. The Bendahara is even immortalized in the 17th century Portuguese epic poem Malacca Conqnistada, such was his impact on Portuguese interpretations of Melaka~ history. See Fr~ncis~o de Sa de Meneses, The conquest of Malacca, tr. E. C. Knowlton Jnr, Kuala Lumpur. University

of Malaya Press. 1970, pp. 37-38, 48-49. .

"" Tuhfat, Bab I. p. 5: "Moreover the reign of Suit an Muhammad Shah was both Just and peaceful, and he was king for sixty-seven years." Cf, Sejal'llh, Ch, IV, p. 49, which is in much the same vein. The Raffles MS 18 also ascribes a lengthy reign to Sultan Muhammad~ fifty-seven years (Sejaralr, Ch. VlI, p. 51) ~ but he actually only ruled Melaka from [423 until 1444/45.


PART 11, 1975


There are five major derhaka situations in the Tuhfat in its coverage of the Singapura-Melaka lineage up to 1699; four are also dealt with by the Raffl;s MS 18, a~d only two of these reasonably resemble a traditional doctrinaire approach to the cnrne,

The first case is thai of Sang Ranjuna Tapa, who as we saw earlier is provoked by shameful treat.ment of I~is daughter into enabling Javanese forces investing Singapura to capture 11. To him is meted out a terrible punishment reserved for those who become traitors ("yang belo!") ~ he and his wife and children arc turned to stone. This is fundamentally a repetition of the Raffles MS 18 account.w The second example is the episode of Hang Jebat (called Hang Kasturi in the Raffles MS .1&41), .who commits derhaka by taking one of Sultan Mansur Shah's gundek; fornicatt~g With her and then running amok in the palace.42 In due course, Hang Tuah kills Hang Jebat ; but then the Tuhfat omits to mention the classical punishment of death for derltaka which befalls the family of a traitor, and which in the Raffles MS 1& account is ?ealt out to Hang Kasturi's wife and children. In the Sejarah Melayu, Hang Kasturi's house and the ground in which its foundations rested follow his corpse into the sea. But the Tuhfa; does not mention any of this in connection with r:ang Jebat.. A~mittedly, the Tltlifat's author was only summarizing Melaka-period history, but III doing so he must have considered the classical aftermath of the traitor's own d:ath irrelevant, and thus left it out. Nor did he record the Sejarah Melayu's allegations of Jebat-like seduction made earlier against Hang Tuah himself.

T~e. remaini?g three examples of derhok« situations bear very little resemblance to traditional attitudes, The third case, also included in the Raffles MS 18 is when Sultan Mahmud I is caught out by Tun Biajit having an affair with the latter's wife. T.he Tu/ifat .and Sejarah versions are virtually the same: Tun Biajit confronts the king, spear III hand, and in Raja Ali's telling says; "Jika, tidak aku takut derhaka neschaya tinda-Iah nama Sultan Mahmud hari esok." As in the Sejarah Melayu: no ~Hm Tu.n Biajit for that remark, and Sultan Mahrnud tries to make up to him by giving him one of his favourite gZtlldek.43 Fourthly, also in the Raffles MS 18, we have the episode in which Raja Kassim succeeds his younger half-brother Sultan Abu Shahid, as Sultan Mudzafar Shah. The Raffles MS 18 recounts th~ events in detail, and in a manner which strongly suggests an attempt by the chronicler to cover up an actual usurpation cf the throne.w But the Tuft/at is much briefer and to the point. After remarking on Sultan Abu Shahid's and Raja Kassim's maternal descents, Raja Ali covers the transition of power as follows;

In Tuhfat, Bab I, pp. 3-4; and S'i(IJ'(I[" Ch. VI, p, 41. .tt Sejarah, Ch, XI, pp, 7 5~ 77.

12 Tutfat, Bab T. p. 6.

1:1 Tulyal, Bab I, p, 7: "II'! Were 110t afraid of committing derhaka, surely the name of Sultan Mahm.u~. would .. b; a thmg?f the past tomorrow." See also Sej(l/'OII, Ch. XV, p, 121, where Tun Biajit/Bayajit s speech IS longer, and the king's repentance more reasoned.

II ScjnmJr, Ch. VII. pp, 52-53.

·I~ TL~/~fol~ Bab I, p. 5: "'JSuJlan Ab.u Shahid's] ret~n ended, Raja Kassirn becoming king; and the

Raja of Reka_n [the regent] was killed togeth;:r with Raja Ibrahim [Sultan Abu Shahld] .

because a nOISY mob want~d to slab the Raja of Rekan, and the Raja of Rekan stabbed Sultan Abu.Sh~llld. Thus both dled,for such are lire doings of the IIIjgirt)· and tire killgdoms of this world." My ItaliCS.




"Akhir2 pekerjaan-nya itu, Raja Kassim menjadi raja, dan Raja Rekan itu [the regent) terbunoh bersama Raja Ibrahim [Sultan Abu Shahid] ... , sebab menyabor orang i hendak menikam Raja Rekan itu, maka Raja Rekan menikam pula Sultan Abu Shahid itu, maka matilalt kedua-nya, sebab kerana pekerjaan k ebesaran dan kerajaan dunia ini ada-nya."45

With that last observation the Tuhfat moves on.

The fifth and last major example of derhaka in the Tuhfat al-Nafis comes from a period far past the Raffles MS 18 coverage, i.e. the events surrounding the death of Sultan Mahmud II in 1699 A.D. His murder brought to an end the original lineage of Melakan kings, and brought to power the Bendahara of the day, the latest representative in a "parallel" lineage of similar royal ancestry. If for no other reason, the episode deserves comparison with the Raja Kassirn incident in the Sejarah Melayu as another instance of usurpation. However, it also comprises the previously noted "remarkable exception" to the overall intention of the Sejarah Melayu's political tradition, i.e., Allah's control over the ruler-ruled relationship.

The affair is only briefly mentioned in Bab I: Sultan Mahmud was killed by a hulubalang called Megat Sri Rama because" ... Sultan M ahmud itu membunoh isteri Megat Seri Ramo, sebab kerana makan sa-hulas nangka ketika raja itu lagi tengah kradll."46 Such brevity at this point makes the incident seen quite unreal; nor do we learn anything at this point about the fate of the murderer.

However, Sultan Mahmud's death is the opening event in the more expansive Ba b II, from which we obtain a detailed account of events leading up to the regicide.s? One is immediately struck by the author's introduction to the episode: this, he says, is how "kerajaan raja2 Melaka berpindah kepada bendahara-nya", and Mahmud is described as the last in a line of kings, descended from Sri Tri Buana, who rule in Singapura, Melaka and (early) JOhOL It is also apparent that Raja Ali was aware of several versions of the affair, for he carefully notes that there are alternatives in "other histories" to the account he presents.

The sequence of events begins with the killing of Megat Sri Rama's pregnant wife. She comes to the palace and finds that someone has left an offering of nangka masak for the sleeping Sultan Mahmud with the penghulu istana. From the latter she obtains a portion, and eats it. When Mahmud awakes and discovers this, he becomes angry, has Megat Sri Rama's wife summoned, and slashes her belly open.

Megat Sri Rarna, on hearing the news, is overcome with rage and grief, seeks out the Dato' Bendahara, and informs him that he intends to avenge his wife'S slaying, adding: "Jikalau Dato' hendak menjadi raja, ini-lah kettka-nya! Yang di-perhamba hendak menderhaka tiada boleh tiada."4~

Were this part of a Sejarah Melayu account, one might reasonably expect to find the Bendahara dissuading the aggrieved Megat from the terrible sin of derhaka. However, after noting that Megat Sri Rama was among the most formidable and powerful/llllubalang, the Tuhfat tells us that the Dato' Bendahara takes counsel with

.sfi Tuhfat, Bab 1, p. 10.

4, Tuhfat, Bab ll, pp. 33-34.

.. Tuhfat, Bab U, p. 34: "If the Data' [Beudahara] desires to become king, this is the opportunity!

I intend to commit derhaka, be it permitted or not."


PART II, 1975


his saudaru the Ternenggong, and with the Indra Bungsu. All of them agree to unite behind the intention of Megat Sri Rama:

" ... segala orang2 besar di-dalam negeri itu banyak sukakan bendahara itu menjadi raja. Kerana kala mereka, 'Jill baharu Megat Serf Rama di-buat-nya, akhiri-nya kita semua pun nanti di-perbuat-nya begitu jugal' Maka tetap-lah kemuafakatan ;tu_n.-.9

The Tuhfat recounts how one night Sultan Mahmud is cavorting with his favourite wife called Peri/Pari (peri = fairy), who is described as "suatu No' dari jin"SG. In the COurse of their love-making the king's semen spills on the sleeping-mat, and he orders a gundek called Enche' Pong, who is a Laksamana's daughter, to lick it up and swallow it. The text then notes: " ... maka Enche' Pong itu pun bunting-lah, k0I101l."51

The conspiracy against Mahmud draws to a close. The Dato' Bendahara has l~e king's .constant "bodyguard", a courageous hulubalang called Sri Bija Wangsa, killed off 10 order to facilitate Megat Sri Rarna's plot to murder Mahrnud. This comes to pass when the king is being borne on the shoulders (julang) of a follower to Friday prayers:

" ... di-parang-nya hulu baginda itu, lalu mangkat, dan Megat itu punmari juga, kerana di-luntar olett baginda dengan keris-nya. Shahadan apabila baginda itu mangkat segala orang Z besar negeri Johor iIU mengangkat-lali Dolo' Bendahara itu menjadi Raja Jolror."52

The T uhfat gives the date of Mahmud's death as falling in the period 29 July - 26 August 1699, and the date of the Bendahara's succession (as Sultan Abdul-Jalil) as 3 September 1699.53

J. Tuhfat, Bab 11, p, 34: " ... all the orang? besar [nobles] in the country very much wanted the Bendahara to become king. They said, This which has been done to Megat Sri Rama will finally happen to us all!' And the conspiracy was confirmed."

51l Tuhfut ; Bab II, PD. 33, 34. Malays traditionally regard intercourse with supernatural beings as most _perverse. That Sul~an Mahmud actu!'lly had homosexual tendencies is alleged by Alexander Hamilton, who was trading up the Sungei Johore in 1695, and met Mahmud. Sec Alexander Hamilton (1930), A new account of the East Indies, cd. W. Foster, London, The Argonaut Press, 1930, vol, Jl, pp, 51-52.

51 Ti~"fa!, Bab n, ~. 34: " .. : and. the~, it is .r~,!,oured, Enchc' Pong [became] pregnant." Raja AI! evidently realized the biological impossibility of this, and notes that there are three different versions concerning this event.

52 Tuhfat, Dab H. p. ~4: "[Mahmud] w~s struck on the head with u parang; and died, Mcgat dying also because the king had hurled his keris at him. Thus, when the king died, all the orang" besar of Johor elevated the Bendahara to the position of king of Johor." Hamilton, who learned ~f Mahmud's death during another vi~it to J?hor in 1703, writes that it was Mahmud's prcdeliclion for homosexuality that led to his demise. Mahmud's mother tried to break him of the habit by sending a beautiful girl to sleep with him. But Mahmud broke both the girl's arms and was finally speared to death the next morning by the girl's father. See Hamilton (1930), p .. 52. f!O\:eve~, Andaya has found that Malay versions of the episode, as recounted with slight varianons in th_e Tiihf~1 and the Siak Chronicles (Cod. Or. 7304 and 6342), are supported by Dutch reports - 10 particular, by a letter written by Batavian Governor van Hoorn dated 17 Oct 1699. Sec Andaya (1971), pp, 203-206.

., Tuhfat, Bab II, p. 34: Safar 1111 A.H. for Mahmud's death, and 8 Rabi al-Awal llll A.H. for Sultan Abdul-Jalil's succession,




The fact that the Bendahara succeeds the assassinated king is not in itself peculiar, for Mahmud had no living issue at the time of death. His gundek , Enche' Pong, subsequently gives birth to a son, but this is nevertheless preceded by the birth of Raja Sulaiman, son of the new Sultan Abdul-Jalil, at the time of, or soon after, his father's accession to the Johore throne.s!

It is the means by which the Bendahara's succession is engineered that is fascinating, and contradictory to the old tradition of ruler-subject relations expounded in the Raffles MS 18. The Tuhfat paints an ugly picture of Sultan Mahmud, and he undoubtedly breaks his side of the political relationship by treating subjects shamefully and unjustly. But his leading subjects ~ the Bendahara, Temenggong, Indra Bungsu - do not permit Allah to operate as overseer. Instead, they abet a regicide which in realpolitik terms of expediency is not unjustifiable, but which still runs full against the didactic tenor of the Sejarali Melayu. There is only one possible interpretation of Mahmud's assassination in Sejarali M elayu terms: that Megat Sri Rama be considered the agent of Allah. Certainly, the Tuhfat says that Megat Sri Rama dies at the king's hands, but then no mention is made of any punishment being meted out in traditional form to his family. And Allah smiles upon the new lineage. The Tuhfat tells us that Sultan Abdul-Jalil enjoys a long reign of twenty years, and that Johor prosperedes:

" ... ramai-lali negeri Mckain Tauhid, ia-itu negeri Johor flu serta mashhor-lah, segala "adat-nya flalus2, apalagi bahasa-nya,"

S< Tuhfat, Bab I, p, 10; Bab II, pp, 34-35. Enche" Pong's son is adopted and brought up by the Raja of Pagar Ruyong. He is known variously as Si Buyong and Raja Bcraleh, and finally as Raja Kechi! who makes a claim of the Johor throne on the strength or his descent from Sultan Mahmud. Sec also Winstedt (1932), p, 319.

50 Tuhfat, Bab n, pp. 35-36: •• .........•.. Makam Tauhid - that is, Johor - was populous and famous; all its customs and its etiquette were most refined."


PART [I, 1975

Table 1: Iskandar Shah to Muhammad Shah - Two Versions.


(a) RAFFLES MS. 18


Radin Bagus

ISKANDAR SHAH (1399/1400-1413 A.D.)


Raja Kechil Besar

SULTAN MEGAT (1413-1423 A.D.)


·------r--·-·-· -

Raja Tengah SULTAN MUHAMMAD (1423-1444 A.D.)

-- - --------1

Radin Anum

Based on Seiarah, Ch. VI, p, 42; and Tuhfat, Bab I. p, 4. The dates given in Table 1(3) follow the reconstruction of the first three Mclakan reigns made by O. W. Wolters in his Tit. fall of Srivijaya in Mnta» historv, Ithaca N. Y., Cornell University Press, 1970, pp. 116. 147.








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