¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡

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¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - a a - -
THis hook is the outcome ol a close study ol the lan¸ua¸e and heliels ol the Malays durin¸ a
period ol residence in the Malay Peninsula that has now reached twenty-two years. Its ohject is to
unravel a complex system ol ma¸ic in the li¸ht ol historical and comparative data. By itsell this
system is a tan¸le every thread ol which scholars workin¸ in Europe are led to term Malay,
althou¸h even the native distin¸uishes this thread as Indian and that as Muslim. Chapters i.-iv.
deal with the Malay's evolution lrom animist to Muslim, chapters v. and vi. with his animism,
chapters vii. and viii. with his shamanism, chapter ix. with rites lar¸ely inlected with Hindu
ma¸ic, and chapters x. and xi. with Muslim accretions.
Like all writers on this suhject I am indehted to the classical works ol Tylor, Irazer, and ¹evons,
and particularly to the articles hy specialists on the ma¸ic ol dillerent races and laith in Hastin¸s'
Enc,c|opoeJio o| Pe|i¿ion onJ Ei|ics. Workin¸ lar away lrom an adequate lihrary, I have lound
this Encyclopaedia ol incalculahle value.
Chapters iv., vi. and viii. are hased almost entirely on manuscripts written down lor me hy Malays
and checked hy my own ohservation. The chapter on ¨Ma¸ician and Muslim¨ is lounded on
Malay litho¸raphed texts and on a manuscript ma¸ico-reli¸ious treatise ohtained hy Dr. Gimlette
in Kelantan and kindly lent hy him to me. The same manuscript and an old Perak court charm-
hook have heen used lor the chapters on ¨The Malay Charm¨ and ¨Ma¸ician and Mystic.¨ Papers
on Malay charms, on hirth and marria¸e ceremonies, on the ritual ol the rice-lield and the ritual
ol propitiatin¸ the spirits ol a district have appeared lrom my pen in the 1ovrno| o| i|e FeJeroieJ
Mo|o, Sioies Mvsevms, and should he in the hands ol those who wish to study ori¸inal sources
and vernacular terms. I owe a deht to the authors ol many articles printed in the Siroiis (now
Mo|o,on) Bronc| o| i|e Po,o| Asioiic Sociei,, to Dr. Gimlette's Malay Poisons onJ C|orms, to
Foscicv|i Mo|o,enses hy Messrs. Annandale 8 Rohinson, and ahove all to that assiduous collector,
Mr. W. W. Skeat, the author ol Mo|o, Mo¿ic. Not to hurden my pa¸es with lootnotes I ¸ive
detailed relerences and authorities lor each chapter in an appendix.
I would remind Malay readers that every race has its lumher-room ol ma¸ical heliels and
practices, and many such survivals are ¸racious and heautilul and lull ol historical interest. It is to
he hoped that the rapid inllux ol modern ideas will not wash away too many ol the landmarks ol
their complex and ancient civilisation.
I have to thank Mr. C. O. Bla¸den, Reader in Malay at the School ol Oriental Studies, London,
and Che' Zainal-Ahidin hin Ahmad ol the Sultan Idris Colle¸e, Perak, lor readin¸ this work in
manuscript, the lormer has made many uselul su¸¸estions and the latter ¸iven me valuahle
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¸ ¸ - -
(a) Primitive Gods
(h) Siva and the Hindu Gods
(c) Good and Evil Spirits ol Dead Mortals
(d) Primitive Spirits, Iairies and Ghosts
(e) An¸els and Devils ol Islam
(l) ¹inn
(a) Birth and Inlancy
(h) Adolescence
(c) Betrothal and Marria¸e
(d) Death
(e) Installation Ceremonies
THIS hook deals with the ma¸ic ol the Muslim Malays ol the Crown Colony ol the Straits
Settlements, comprisin¸ Sin¸apore, Penan¸ and Malacca, ol the Iederated Malay States, Perak,
Selan¸or, Ne¸ri Semhilan and Pahan¸, ol the Unlederated Malay States, ¹ohore, Kedah, Kelantan
and Tren¸¸anu, and ol Patani, a northern Malay State helon¸in¸ to Siam.
The Malay Peninsula is the most southern extremity ol the continent ol Asia. It has the re¸ion ol
Indo-China to the north. South lies the Malay Archipela¸o. It stands midway hetween India and
China. Nature has laid it open to many inlluences, thou¸h students not presented with the
evidence ol ¸eo¸raphy, anthropolo¸y and history are apt to speak as il Malay ma¸ic were unique
and indi¸enous.
The lan¸ua¸e helon¸s to the Malayo-Polynesian or Oceanic or Austronesian lamily, which ohtains
lrom Iormosa to New Zealand and lrom Mada¸ascar to Easter Island. To the eastern hranch
helon¸ the lan¸ua¸es ol Samoa, Tahiti and Ton¸a. To the western hranch helon¸ Malay, Mala¸asy,
and lan¸ua¸es ol the Philippines, Sumatra, ¹ava, Borneo and Celehes. This latter hranch is termed
Indonesian, rather unlortunately, since lor anthropolo¸ists the word delines a particular physical
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡ - -
strain lound in the Bataks ol Sumatra, the Dayaks ol Borneo and the Torajas ol Celehes.
The typical civilised Indonesian peoples, Malays and ¹avanese, are variants ol a Proto-Malay race
with Indian, Arah and other lorei¸n admixtures. In that Proto-Malay race, whatever else may he
its components, there is a Mon¸oloid strain.
In the south ol the Peninsula, the hullet-headed strai¸ht-haired Proto-Malays are represented hy
jun¸le-trihes known ¸enerally as ¹akun and specilically as Biduanda in Ne¸ri Semhilan, Blanda in
Selan¸or, and Mantra In Malacca. The coastal trihes are termed Oran¸ Laut, or ¨Men ol the Sea,¨
and lorm a link hetween the Proto-Malays ol the Peninsula and those ol the Riau Archipela¸o
and Sumatra, their ori¸inal home.
Another ahori¸inal lorest-dweller is the wavyhaired lon¸-headed Sakai, supposed mainly on
lin¸uistic ¸rounds to have come down lrom Indo-China and on anthropolo¸ical ¸rounds to he
related to the Veddas ol Ceylon. A hranch ol this trihe, the Besisi, have intermarried lreely with
the ¹akun.
Oldest ol all Malaya's inhahitants are the Seman¸ and Pan¸an ol the north, small dark lrizzy-
haired Ne¸ritos, thou¸ht to he related to the Aetas ol the Philippines and the Mineopies ol the
Already at the he¸innin¸ ol the Christian era Indian reli¸ions, the caste system and ¸overnment hy
rajahs had heen introduced into ¹ava and into Sumatra, whence most ol the Malays ol the
Peninsula came, and Indian inlluence spread in a less de¸ree throu¸hout the Archipela¸o even as
lar as the Philippines. The old Malay kin¸dom ol Palemhan¸ in Sumatra introduced Mahayana
Buddhism into ¹ava and had a va¸ue suzerainty over the Malay Peninsula lor several centuries,
until in the thirteenth the modern Siamese ¸ained control in the north and Islam a permanent
hold in the south. A Buddhist inscription lrom Province Wellesley opposite Penan¸ (in the
southern Indian style ol writin¸ lound In West ¹ava) dates hack to ¡cc A.D. But in Malaya, as in
¹ava, the reli¸ion ol Siva retained a lootin¸ until the advent ol Islam.
THE Mantra, a Proto-Malay trihe, claim to he descended lrom Mertan¸, the lirst ma¸ician, who
was the child ol two persons called Drop ol Water and Clod ol Earth. In the Moluccas the earth
is a lemale deity, who in the west monsoon is impre¸nated hy Lord Sun-Heaven. The Torajas in
Celehes helieved in two supreme powers, the Man and the Maiden, that is, the sun and the earth.
The Dayaks ol Borneo hold that the sun and the earth created the world. The terms, ¨Iather Sky
and Mother Earth,¨ occur in the Malay ritual ol the rice-year, at the openin¸ ol mines and ol
theatrical shows and in the invocations ol the Kelantan shaman. A Kelantan account relates that
sun and earth once had human lorm, sun the lorm ol a man and earth the lorm ol a woman,
whose milk may he traced in the tin-ore ol Malaya and whose hlood is now ¸old. Actors in the
north ol the Malay Peninsula say that ¨the earth spirit, whom actors lear, is the dau¸hter ol
Seretan¸ |·| Bo¸oh, who sits in the sun and ¸uides the winds, and ol San¸ Siuh, the mother ol the
earth, who sits at the navel ol the world.¨ Many reli¸ions at once unite and dissociate the lruitlul
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡ - -
earth and the ¸loomy underworld. But as Malay drama came lrom India, this northern tradition
may he a corruption ol Hindu mytholo¸y. By some Malay actors Raja Siu, lord ol the surlace ol
the earth, is invoked alon¸ with Siva, and the name is perhaps a corruption ol Siva. Anyhow, in
time Siva and Sri usurped the place ol Iather Sky (or Iather Water, as he is sometimes called)
and ol Mother Earth in the Malay pantheon, and to-day even the existence ol these two primitive
¸ods has heen lor¸otten.
The study ol early cults shows that the place ol a sky-¸od tends later to he taken hy ¸ods ol the
sun, the moon and the stars. So in some ancient layer ol Malay heliels helore the introduction ol
Saivism, the white spirit ol the sun, the hlack spirit ol the moon, and the yellow spirit ol sunset
may have heen important, seein¸ that they have Indonesian names (mombon¿), have heen
incorporated into the Malay's Hindu pantheon, and have survived under Islam as humhle ¸enies.
¨The lishermen alon¸ the west ol the Peninsula sacrilice to lour ¸reat spirits ¨ (also called
mombon¿) ¨who ¸o hy many names hut whose scope is always the same. One is the spirit ol the
hays, another
|·. A dialect lorm ol Sultan.|
that ol hanks or heaches, another that ol headlands, and last and liercest is the spirit ol tideways
and currents.¨ Three ol these hear primitive names used hy the Proto-Malays. The spirit ol the
tides is lamous. The spirit ol the hays is mentioned as a hlack ¸enie and the spirit ol headlands as
a white. Was there ori¸inally a lourth spirit: To the three Proto-Malay names yet another, not
convincin¸ly authentic, is sometimes added. But only three ol the lour hear Sanskrit names. And
the modern namin¸ ol lour spirits alter the Archan¸els may he due to the likin¸ ol the Malay
Muslim pantheist lor that numher.
It is uncertain, too, il the primitive Malays, like the people ol Mada¸ascar and Celehes, helieved
in lour ¸ods ol the air in char¸e ol the quarters ol the ¸lohe. In Bali Indian inlluence ¸ave these
¸ods Hindu names, and three are still worshipped there as lorms ol Siva. One Peninsular charm
speaks ol ¨the lour children ol Siva who live at the corners ol the world.¨ A Perak charm
descrihes Beran¸¸a Kala as the spirit ol the West, San¸ Be¸or as the spirit ol the East, San¸ De¸or
as the spirit ol the North, and San¸ Ran¸¸a Gempita as the spirit ol the South. But ¸enerally the
lour corners ol the world are held to he in char¸e ol lour Shaikhs, ol whom the most olten
mentioned, 'Ahdu'I-Qadir, is prohahly the lounder ol the lamous order ol Muslim mystics.
A Malay knows ol Vayu under the name ol Bayu. But when with arms akimho, loosened hair,
and head-cloth streamin¸ over his shoulder, the sailor whistled to the Raja ol the Wind, he may
have heen invokin¸ not Vayu hut some indi¸enous spirit or the Prophet Solomon, to whom Allah
¸ave dominion over the hreezes ol heaven.
In the Malay pantheon there is a mysterious hlack Awan¸, addressed hy actors as kin¸ ol the
earth, who ¨walks alon¸ the veins ol the earth and sleeps at its ¸ate.¨ Apparently, therelore, he is
identilied with Siva, and this identilication, il correct, su¸¸ests a hi¸h place lor this lor¸otten
li¸ure ol some early cult. But in a Proto-Malay charm to propitiate the aloresaid spirits ol the sea,
Warrior Awan¸ li¸ures as their servant, who climhs the mast ol a ship in distress, a youn¸ man
with ¨hairy chest, red eyes, hlack skin and lrizzy hair.¨ A Kelantan charm, also, depicts him as a
haunter ol lorest under¸rowth, ¨a span in hei¸ht, with hald temples, lrizzy hair, red eyes, white
teeth, hroad chest, and leet and hands disli¸ured with skin disease.¨ This is a ¸ood picture ol a
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - 6 6 - -
Ne¸rito, memher ol the oldest race in Malaysia, hut it may he a posthumous description as
applied to this ¸od or ¸odlin¸ ol a primitive cult, who rides the storm and can cause a¸ue and
A white ¸enie, ¨jewel ol the world,¨ lives in the sun and ¸uards the ¸ates ol the sky. He has a
hrother, with seven heads, kin¸ ol all the jinn. This white ¸enie is entitled Maharaja Dewa, a
Malay corruption ol Mahadeva, the hlue-throated Siva. The distinction hetween this white ¸enie
and his hlack hrother, who lives in the moon, is sometimes ohliterated, as in the invocation used
when openin¸ the sta¸e lor a mo',on¿ play.--¨Peace he upon Mother Earth and Iather Sky' ...
Peace he upon thee, Black Awan¸, kin¸ ol the earth' ... Peace he upon the hlessed saints at the
lour corners ol the world' ... Peace he upon my ¸randsire, Batara Guru, the lirst ol teachers, who
hecame incarnate when the hody was lirst created, teacher who livest as a hermit in the moon,
teacher who rulest in the circle ol the sun, teacher ol mine whose coat is ol ¸reen heads, teacher
ol mine whose hlood is white, who hast hut one hone, the hair ol whose hody is upside down,
whose muscles are still, who hast a hlack throat, a lluent ton¸ue and salt in thy spittle.¨
Incidentally it is interestin¸ to lind the Malay still payin¸ homa¸e to Siva as Nataraja, lord ol
dancers and kin¸ ol actors, thou¸h to-day he is quite unaware ol this name and róle ol the Hindu
¸od whose theatre is the world and who himsell is actor and audience. In another Malay
invocation the Black Genie too is painted as ¨havin¸ hut one hone, the hair ol whose hody is
upside down, who can assume a thousand shapes.¨ Thou¸h he has ¨one loot on the heart ol the
earth,¨ yet this Black Genie also ¨han¸s at the ¸ate ol the sky.¨
Batara Guru or Divine Teacher is the Malay name lor Siva. And it is not surprisin¸ to lind that on
acceptin¸ the Hindu deities into their spirit-world Malays paid ¸reat homa¸e to Siva under his
sinister aspect ol Kala the destroyer ol lile. Anyhow, here are the white spirit ol the sun and the
hlack spirit ol the moon identilied with manilestations ol Siva. The spirit ol the tides is olten
associated with the spirits ol the sun and moon, and, a¸ain, the Malay expressly identilies him
with Siva and makes Kala the dread ¸od ol the sea.
Iurthermore, in Malay mytholo¸y there is a Spectre Huntsman, whom ma¸icians identily with
Siva. This Spectre Huntsman is even known hy the various Malay appellations ol the Divine
Teacher such as ¨Raja ol land-lolk,¨ ¨Raja ol Ghosts,¨ and ¨Galler Lon¸ Claws.¨ Now Siva, ol
course, was the Rudra ol Vedic times. And it has heen pointed out how in Rudra are lound the
same characteristics that distin¸uish the German Wodan (or Odin), namely those ol a storm-¸od
lollowed hy hosts ol spirits, a leader ol lost souls, identilied hoth in Malay and German le¸end
with the Spectre Huntsman. The association hy Malays ol the Spectre Huntsman with Siva
clearly corrohorates the relationship hetween Rudra and Wodan and lends colour to the theory ol
an Indo-Germanic storm-¸od, the common source ol the Indian and Teutonic myths.
The identilication ol Siva with Galler Lon¸ Claws linds a parallel amon¸ the Bhils, Kols and
Gonds ol India, who also conlound him with a chthonic ti¸er-¸od. And like those trihesmen the
Malay appears sometimes to conluse Siva with Arjuna, callin¸ that demi¸od the earth spirit and
kin¸ ol the sea.
Last phase ol all, Siva hecomes lather and kin¸ ol the jinn imported with Islam. Even his white
hull Nandi is yoked to the service ol the new reli¸ion. Accordin¸ to early Hindu mytholo¸y
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - y y - -
Brahma, or accordin¸ to later heliel Vishnu, took the lorm ol a hoar and raised the earth out ol
the waters. Other stories current in India make an elephant or a hull the support ol the earth.
Muslim cosmo¸ony delinitely places the earth on a hull with lorty horns havin¸ seven thousand
hranches, a heast whose hody stretches lrom east to west. So the Kelantan ma¸ician invokes ¨the
lather and chiel ol all jinn practisin¸ austerity in the stall ol the hlack hull who supports and lans
and shakes the world.¨ The idea that the kin¸ ol the jinn is the lather ol seven children may he
connected with the Muslim notion ol seven earths.
The wile ol Siva is known to Malays as Mahadewi ¨the ¸reat ¸oddess,¨ as Kumari ¨the Damsel,¨
and ahove all, as Sri, ¸oddess ol rice-lields. As Sri she may he said to have taken the place ol
¨Mother Earth,¨ just as her divine spouse represented ¨Iather Sky.¨ As Kumari she is supposed in
the north ol the Peninsula to have heen made hy Galler Mahsiku out ol a hit ol ea¸lewood. (In
Patani a name lor the earth spirit is Siriku.) The ¸oddess married her creator. But the le¸end adds
that she had one dau¸hter hy the ¸od (Jevo) ol the moon and one hy the ¸od ol the sun, a
remarkahle preservation ol the Malay myth that the Divine Teacher under dillerent
manilestations lived in hoth those luminaries. The same tradition adds that Kumari is invoked
a¸ainst lock-jaw and dumhness, hecause she made her eldest dau¸hter live on a hill as an ascetic
with her mouth wide open till it ¸rew into a cave which Hanuman entered'
The Malay ma¸ician olten vaunts that ¨the sword ol Vishnu is helore his lace¨ to protect him.
And with Siva, Brahma, Kala and Sri, this ¸od presides over the live divisions ol the old-world
diviner's day. Brahma is known as Berma Sakti, hut hardly enters into Malay ma¸ic. In Kelantan,
Krishna is said to he entreated to cure snake-hites and the stin¸s ol scorpions and centipedes.
Ganesha, under the name ol Gana, is little more than a villa¸e ¸odlin¸.
The Hindu demons and demi¸ods that have lound a place in the ma¸ic ol the Malays may he
conveniently inserted here. Ol most ol them the ma¸ician has only a literary knowled¸e. The
Asuras exalted demons that war not a¸ainst men hut ¸ods, are represented hy Rahu, who causes
eclipses ol the sun and moon, and to the Malay mind is a hu¸e dra¸on. Danu, a demon relation ol
his in Hindu mytholo¸y, is the serpent who inhahits the rainhow. In the north, where plays
lounded on the Ramayana are popular, Sri Rama, the hero ol that epic, is a demi¸od invoked
especially in charms connected, with the huntin¸ ol elephants, and Hanuman, the monkey-¸od, is
an evil spirit with the lace ol a horse and the hody ol a man. There, too, the ¸reat Rishis or sa¸es
are invoked, and the ma¸ician takes shelter hehind the name ol Narada and the name ol Samha,
his derider.
Bhuta and Raksasa are olten mentioned as demons even hy Malay peasants. But to-day, at any
rate, acquaintance with them is due mainly to popular romances that have come lrom the
Deccan. The Malay will turn, lor instance, to the story ol Marakarma and read ol a Raksasa who
li¸hts a lire as hi¸ as a hurnin¸ town, pours rice on a mat a hundred yards wide, and eats it alon¸
with spiders, centipedes, lizards, llies, rats and mosquitoes that, overcome hy the steam, drop on
to his lood, he drinks a well ol water, hiccups like thunder, and picks lrom his teeth with a lo¸
chunks ol lood so lar¸e that they kill cat, ¸oose or lowl hy their impact. Ol the cousinship
hetween the Indian Bhutas and the Indonesian spirits ol men who have perished hy violence so
little is known that in one account the Spectre Huntsman is called a Bhuta and in a Perak charm
the ¸reat ¸oddess Sri is descrihed as the ¨Genie Bhuta Sri who presides over rice-lields'¨ But in
lact it is not these immi¸rant demons that are the concern ol the Malay ma¸ician.
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - 8 8 - -
Ior centuries the Muhammadan zealot and more recently the Iord car have invaded the
lastnesses where Malaya's illiterate priests ol Siva invoked these alien deities. The Hindu ¸ods
continue to survive in invocations de¸raded to ma¸ical charms. Still, too, at the installation ol a
Perak Sultan the real Hindu name ol the demi¸od, who descended on a Mount Meru in Sumatra
and hecame the lather ol most ol the royal houses ol the Peninsula, is whispered hy Sri Nara
'diraja, keeper ol the State secret, into the ear ol the new ruler. He and his master are perhaps
unaware that so at the initiation ol a child into one ol the hi¸her Hindu castes his teacher
whispers a lormula containin¸ the name ol the ¸od who is to he his special protector throu¸h lile.
It is to he hoped that lanaticism will never extin¸uish this voice lrom the past.
The view that ancestor-worship is the oldest ol reli¸ious practices no lon¸er ohtains. Some
sava¸es have helieved in a ¸od existin¸ helore the comin¸ ol death. Some sacrilice to ¸ods and not
to the ¸hosts ol the departed. Others, exchan¸in¸ old li¸hts lor new, have come to ne¸lect their
hi¸h ¸ods and sacrilice to dead ancestors. Many have nature-¸ods. Besides, hein¸ a lamily cult,
ancestor-worship cannot have accompanied the ¸roup-marria¸e ol the most primitive trihes.
The ori¸in ol this lorm ol worship is easily intelli¸ihle. The dead appear to the livin¸ in dreams.
Or the dead may he horn a¸ain in a child, who is the ima¸e ol a lorelather. A Malay prays at the
¸rave ol an ancestor to he¸et a child, unaware that prohahly his worship is hased on the idea ol
the dead welcomin¸ reincarnation. The exact likeness ol a male child to his lather, that is, the
possession ol two hosts hy the same soul, causes alarm to a Malay, one ol the hoy's ears must he
pierced, otherwise either the lather or the son is likely to die. Curiously, the resemhlance ol a ¸irl
to her lather or ol a hoy or ¸irl to the mother is ol no moment.
That the dead can he kind to the livin¸ is a notion not lorei¸n to the Malay mind. The ritual hy
which a Malay acquires the powers ol a shaman su¸¸ests that ori¸inally the ma¸ician's lamiliars
were spirits ol the dead. At the propitiation ol the spirits ol Upper Perak, invocations were
addressed to the spirits ol a lamous Raja Nek and ol the hye¸one ma¸icians ol the nei¸hhourhood.
A ruler looks to his royal ancestors lor the protection ol his person and his State, visits their
scattered tomhs alter his installation or helore any ¸reat enterprise, and when sickness alllicts his
house sets a coolin¸ potion lor the patient overni¸ht upon a lamily ¸rave. As a Muslim the Malay
makes vows to prophets and saints implorin¸ their aid in the hour ol need. In Sin¸apore many
vows are sworn at the shrine ol Hahih Noh, a humhle clerk ol the last century, who ¸ave up the
pride ol the eye and the lusts ol the llesh lor reli¸ious asceticism until he could appear in several
places at once. ¨In every part ol Nanin¸ are lound tomhs ol men lamed lor piety, in whose names
the people make vows lor the prosperous termination ol any project and whose hurial places
they honour with lrequent visits and ohlations.¨ One outward and visihle si¸n ol the sanctity ol
such tomhs is the supernatural len¸thenin¸ ol the space hetween the head and loot stones,
supposed to he the work ol the deceased. There are the lon¸ ¸raves ol Shaikh Muhammad and
Shaikh Ahmad on Bukit Gedon¸ in Malacca, the hurial place ol an old Achinese medicine-
woman at Kemuntin¸ in Perak, the ¸raves ol Shaikh Sentan¸ at Temerloh, ol To'Panjan¸ at Kuala
Pahan¸ and ol To'Panjan¸ at Ketapan¸ in the Pekan district ol Pahan¸. These sacred tomhs, which
exist throu¸hout Malaya, hear an Arahic name (Ioromoi), thou¸h the dead whose tenements they
are need not he Muslim saints and may have heen merely some powerlul ruler or the revered
lounder ol a settlement, or even a pa¸an trallicker with hlack ma¸ic. A celehrated shrine is the
reputed tomh ol Sultan Iskandar, the mythical last Malay ruler ol ancient Sin¸apore, whose ¸rave
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - q q - -
on the slopes ol Iort Cannin¸ is the resort ol many suppliants, and a lew years a¸o, when it was
desired to explore it, no one, Malay, Indian or Chinese, would undertake the task. In ¹empul, in
Ne¸ri Semhilan, there is a ¸rave shaded hy a yellow-hlossomed c|empoIo tree, whose hranches
are always hun¸ with strips ol white cloth to commemorate the vows paid to a ma¸ician interred
heneath them. Il the entreaty lor health or a son or whatever may he desired wins a lavourahle
answer, then lailure to sacrilice the promised ¸oat and hold a least with prayers and cracker-lirin¸
heside the ¸rave hrin¸s trihulation upon the perjured in¸rate. The tenant ol that ¹empul ¸rave
was helieved to attend his widow in the lorm ol a ti¸er. He would lri¸hten oll his dau¸hters'
lovers, protect the home when their mother was ahsent, and drive temporal ti¸ers lrom their
path. ¨There are many little ¸raveyards throu¸hout ¹empul which are credited with havin¸
produced ti¸ers out ol-human corpses.¨ So, too, the spirit ol the last chiel ol Muar is supposed to
haunt the wooded hills round his home, a sacred ti¸er lriendly to his people. The credulity ol
these Sumatran settlers in Ne¸ri Semhilan linds a counterpart in that ol certain Patani lamilies,
who in sickness or mislortune invoke the aid ol 'To Sri Lam, an ancestor's sister who turned into
a crocodile. None ol these spirits ol the dead that can he ¸racious to suppliants are homeless
¸hosts, they are attached to a reli¸ion, a district or a clan.
Iear, however, leads to respect lor many sacred places. The an¸er ol a Malay ruler is dreaded
when he is alive, it is not less terrihle when he is ¸one. A European who visited the ¸raves ol the
¹ohore princes at Kota Tin¸¸i in ·8a6 records how his ¸uide tremhled on approachin¸ the place,
declarin¸ that any injury to the stones would hrin¸ mislortune on all present and hehaved ¨as il a
demon was ahout to pounce upon him.¨ There may have heen a peculiar reason lor this. Amon¸
the tomhs is that ol Sultan Mahmud, the last representative ol the royal house ol Malacca, which
lurnished rulers lor most ol the Peninsular States. He alone ol Peninsular rulers was murdered,
stahhed to death lor a sexual crime, the white hlood ol (Muslim saints and) Malay royalty ¸ushin¸
lrom his veins. Apparently he survives in Kelantan as a white ¸enie, Sultan Mahmud, a sea-spirit,
who can cause chills and a¸ue. A chiel, swearin¸ to his suzerain that he had not ollered a hrihe to
a Government ollicer, undertook in a tremendous oath (which came into my hands) to he
smitten ¨hy the majesty ol the ruler and ol his royal ancestors,¨ il he were committin¸ perjury.
Attrihutahle, perhaps, to this lear ol deceased rulers is the custom ol droppin¸ their real names
alter death and ¸ivin¸ them such titles as ¨The Deceased who died at the Three Islands,¨ ¨The
Deceased Pil¸rim,¨ and so on. The ma¸ician also is not less terrihle alter death than in lile. Only
lear could re¸ard as a sacred place the rock at Batu Harnpar, where a Sultan ol ¹ohore, caused to
he executed a pa¸an jun¸le chiel ¨detected in necromantic practices'¨ Three months alter his
execution this ¹akun chiel appeared to his son on the same spot and therealter haunted it,
sometimes assumin¸ the lorm ol a white cock.
Especially hanelul are the homeless ¸hosts ol those who perish hy a violent death, ol murdered
men, ol women who die in child-hirth. To them no honour is paid. They are driven away hy
ma¸ical charms and amulets, hy prickly thorns, ashes, and the stench ol hurnt herhs.
Accordin¸ to the Muhammadan laith those who die in child-hirth are entitled to the rank ol
martyrs with whom God is well pleased. The Malay has lound it hard to accept this comlortahle
doctrine. The horror ol their untimely end led his ancestors to think that such women ¸enerate
malevolent spirits. Throu¸hout Malaysia terror is lelt at the plaintive cry ol a hanshee
(PoniionoI), which is supposed ¸enerally to appear in the lorm ol a hird and drive her lon¸ claws
into the helly ol the expectant mother, killin¸ her and the unhorn child. Another hanshee
(Lon¿sv,or) llies in the shape ol an owl with a lace like a cat. The knowin¸ imitate her hoot and
utter the insultin¸ ejaculation, ¨Your hoot is near, your ¸rave is lar, and you are sprun¸
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - · ·c c - -
lrom the lid ol a cookin¸-pot in a deserted house,¨ whereupon she keeps silent and cannot hrin¸
death or disaster to any one in the villa¸e. Or she may wear the lorm ol a heautilul woman with
llowin¸ tresses. But in the nape ol her neck is a hole, which she is terrilied may he lound hy the
smooth-scaled climhin¸ perch, used therelore hy the cunnin¸ to make protective amulets. She
llies hy ni¸ht and the rustle ol her tresses is as the rustle ol rain. She loves to ali¸ht on tall trees
and hide in the hird's-nest lern. When this hanshee passes, the pre¸nant woman should he hathed
and the lollowin¸ charm recited over hetel-vine, which must he ¸iven her to chew
I om o Creoi Pis|i¹
I s|o, wii|ovi osIin¿ |eove
I be|eoJ wii|ovi moIin¿ enjvir,
I om A||o|'s c|ompion on eori|
I con Jesiro, o|| creoivres,
On|, w|oi I creoie I connoi Jesiro,.
Ve ore c|i|Jren o| Ji||ereni seeJ¹
O i|ov wii| brooJ bosom onJ smo|| ieei|¹
T|ov wii| ||owin¿ iresses onJ |on¿ noi|s¹
T|ov wii| i|e swo,in¿ ¿oii¹
I| i|ov o|i¿|iesi on o iree,
Misiress SiicI|osi is i|, nome¹
I| i|ov o|i¿|iesi on o ropiJ,
Son¿ Pon¿¿o is i|, iii|e¹
I| i|ov siiiesi on o ireesivmp,
T|e Foir B|vio is i|, nome.
I| i|ov o|i¿|iesi on i|e ¿rovnJ,
T|e Foir Swo,in¿ One i|, nome¹
I| i|ov movniesi i|e |ovse|oJJer,
T|, nome i|e Foir Siiier¹
I| i|ov siiiesi oi i|e |ovseJoor,
T|, nome i|e Foir BorJoor.
I| i|ov siiiesi on o roo|beom,
T|, nome i|e Foir Peerer¹
I| i|ov o|i¿|iesi on i|e moi,
T|, nome i|e Foir SeoieJ Vomon¹
Mo|esi noi i|e c|i|Jren o| AJom
Or i|ov wi|i be o iroiior io A||o|¹
Such, at any rate, is the charm used in Upper Perak.
To prevent a woman who dies in child-hirth lrom hecomin¸ one ol these hanshees ¸lass heads are
put in the corpse's mouth to keep her lrom inhuman shriekin¸, hen's e¸¸s laid under her armpits
so that she may not lilt them to lly, and needles placed in the palms ol her hands so that she may
not open or clench them to assist her lli¸ht. (A hen's e¸¸ is laid also under the arm-pit ol a still-
horn child helore hurial.)
Another spirit (Penon¿¿o|on) which sucks the hlood ol those in child-hed, consists ol a woman's
head and neck with trailin¸ viscera, which shine at ni¸ht like lire-llies. Il she sucks the hlood ol
woman or child, death lollows. The li¸hts ol a hill in Perak called Chan¸kat Asah, li¸hts descrihed
in that most readahle hook on the Peninsula, Geor¸e Maxwell's In Mo|o, Foresis, are
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - · ·· · - -
thou¸ht hy the superstitious to he troops ol these shinin¸ ones.
Then there is a class ol lamiliar spirits created lrom the dead. Many Malays say that their several
names are only dialect terms lor one lamiliar, hut others distin¸uish three species. The Bojon¿
may he just a mali¸nant lorest spirit or, accordin¸ to others, a man's lamiliar. As the latter he is
kept in a stoppered hamhoo vessel and led with e¸¸s and milk. Released he will cause sickness
and delirium to his victims, especially to children. His visihle emhodiment is a civet-cat. He may
he the hereditary property ol his owner, hut more olten is conjured at dead ol ni¸ht lrom the
newly-du¸ ¸rave ol a still-horn child. Pour the hlood ol a murdered man into a hottle and recite
the appropriate charm, and alter seven or twice seven days a hird-like chirp will announce the
presence ol a Po|on¿. Every day the owner must leed this lamiliar with hlood lrom his or her
lin¸er. Its victim dies ravin¸ unless throu¸h his mouth the Po|on¿ will conless the name ol its
owner and ol any malicious person who may have hired it lrom that owner. But the hest known
ol these lamiliars (Pe|sii) is ol the ni¸¸et type and takes the shape ol a house-cricket. A woman
¸oes into the lorest on the ni¸ht helore the lull moon, and standin¸ with her hack to the moon
and her lace to an ant-hill recites certain charms and tries to catch her own shadow. It may take
three ni¸hts. Or she may have to try lor several months, always on the same three ni¸hts. Sooner
or later she will succeed and her hody never a¸ain cast a shadow. Then in the ni¸ht a child will
appear helore her and put out its ton¸ue. She must seize the ton¸ue, whereupon the hody ol the
child vanishes. Soon the ton¸ue turns into a tiny animal, reptile or insect, which can he used as a
hottle imp. Accordin¸ to a more ¸ruesome version the ton¸ue that can chan¸e into this lamiliar
must he hitten out ol the exhumed corpse ol the lirst-horn child ol a lirst-horn mother and
huried at cross-roads. This vampire cricket is employed especially hy jealous wives to injure their
rivals or their rivals' children.
Besides these two classes ol malicious hirth-spirits and lamiliars, created lrom the corpses ol man,
there are ¸raveyard spooks ol the sheeted dead. In Patani one ol the most noted ol these (|oniv
bvn¿Ivs) is thou¸ht to appear as a white cat or to lie like a hundle ol white ra¸s near a hurial
¸round. ¨Should a person pass it who is alraid, it unrolls, twines itsell round his leet, enters his
person hy means ol his hi¸ toe and leasts within on his soul, so that he hecomes distrau¸ht and
dies in convulsions, unless a competent medicine-man can exorcise it in time to save his lile and
reason.¨ A hold person anxious to see ¸hosts has only to use as a collyrium the tears ol the wide-
eyed slow loris'
A relic ol the Malay's lear ol the departed survives in the morihund custom ol ahandonin¸ a
house where a death has occurred.
Spirits and ¸hosts that are not termed jinn hy the Malay spontaneously may he classed to¸ether as
llotsam ol primitive heliels. They may he the ¸hosts ol men who lived too lon¸ a¸o to he
associated ordinarily with the ¸enies ol a reli¸ion they never practised in their lives. They may he
lairies too human to have sprun¸ lrom smokeless lire. They may he ¸odlin¸s or nature-spirits too
local or petty and ne¸lected to have attracted the attention ol the pious. Or they may he spirits
too va¸ue to have acquired a local hahitation and a name. Challen¸ed, the devout Malay would
¸ive to all ol them the sinister canonisation ol ¹inn.
Some ol this class are on the horder-line hetween spirits and ¸hosts. There is the Spectre
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - · ·a a - -
Huntsman, known ¸enerally as a ¸host, in one aspect an avatar ol Siva, in another an uxorious
villa¸er whose endless hunt lor a mouse-deer lor his ¸ravid wile led to his hein¸ turned alive into
a lorest demon. In many lands a vanquished ahori¸inal people are allotted hy their conquerors to
the horderland class hetween ¸host and spirit. Were it not that he also is identilied with Siva, it
would he temptin¸ to include in it Black Awan¸ in his shape as a Ne¸rito (p. y svpro).
Then there are ¨Bachelor¨ spirits, who may he lor¸otten ¸odlin¸s or the ¸hosts ol youths cut oll in
their prime. There is the Bachelor Cock-li¸hter, who presides over mains and hates liars. There
are the Black Bachelor and the Boy with the Lon¸ Lock, ol whom Perak peasants speak.
There are a lew spirits ol hi¸h places, like the Chiel ol the mountain Beremhun in Perak or Dato
Parol, sainted lord ol Gunon¸ An¸si in Ne¸ri Semhilan and commander ol an army ol the dead
who have sprun¸ lrom their ¸raves as ti¸ers. Most lamous is the lairy Princess ol Mount Ledan¸ in
Malacca, who married Nakhoda Ra¸am, a wanderin¸ prince ol Borneo. Alter his death at sea lrom
the prick ol her needle she donned lairy ¸arh and llew to Gunon¸ Ledan¸, whence she mi¸rated
later to Bukit ¹u¸ra lurther up the coast with a sacred ti¸er as her companion. Others make her
consort ol the lounder ol Malacca. But a lorei¸n and literary ori¸in is su¸¸ested lor this lairy hy
the mention ol her llyin¸ ¸arh, the account in the seventeenth century Mo|o, Anno|s ol her ¸arth,
her sin¸in¸ hirds and her demand, when a Sultan ol Malacca wooed her, lor a hetrothal present ol
seven trays piled with the livers ol mosquitoes, seven trays piled with the livers ol lleas, a tuh ol
tears, a hasin ol royal hlood, and one ¸olden and one silver hrid¸e to he huilt lrom Malacca to her
hill top.
There is a mysterious Grannie Keman¸, known hoth in Sumatra and in the Malay Peninsula. In
Perak it is thou¸ht that she will sow tares, a relu¸e lor ¸ohlin pests, on the lresh clearin¸ unless
the larmer rise hetimes to alleviate with cool ollerin¸s, the smart ol the hurnt lorest. Her
cookin¸-pot is the inexhaustihle widow's cruse ol the Malay peasant. She is said to have tau¸ht
the art ol rice-cultivation. One Perak account speaks ol her as the emhodiment ol the rice-soul.
(In a Kelantan charm she is descrihed as the ni¸¸et vampire and declared to he the product ol the
There are echo-spirits ol the mountains, like men and women in shape. Il one ol them visits a
mortal woman, she hears an alhino child. A lormer Dato' ol Kinta lived with a lemale echo-spirit
in a cave in the lace ol a limestone hlull, a heautilul woman called the Princess ol the Rice-lields
hy the Hot Sprin¸. One ol his lollowers took another echo-spirit to wile. In three weeks she hore
him a son, whom no mortal woman could suckle.
There is a va¸ue dream demon, Ma' Kopek, the ha¸ that causes ni¸htmare. Children playin¸ hide
and seek may lose themselves hehind her prodi¸ious hreasts and he lound days later dazed and
loolish. Sometimes she takes them to a thorn-hrake and leeds them on earth-worms and muddy
water, which hy her ma¸ic look and taste like delicate cates.
There is a Kitchen Demon, a ¸ray dishevelled ha¸, who warms hersell helore the hearth at ni¸ht
and loves to hlow into llame the emhers in a deserted house.
There is the Spook that Dra¸s Himsell alon¸. He wears the shape ol an oran¸-outan¸, peeps into
attics where lair maids sleep, and once carried a ¸irl oll up a tree and lived with her as his wile.
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - · ·¸ ¸ - -
There are lormless spirits that hrin¸ colic, cholera, smallpox, hlindness. Most ol these are
unknown except to the medicine-man, who dia¸noses, lor example, one hundred and ninety nine
spirits ol smallpox accordin¸ to the part allected, and names the one that attacks a patient's
ton¸ue alter the Muslim An¸el ol Death'
Iormless too are malelicent auras that emanate lrom the corpses ol murdered men, ol slain deer,
wild pi¸, wild do¸s, certain reptiles and hirds. ¨Soon alter death the hristles on the hack move,
and stand on end with contraction and relaxation ol the muscles, and to come within the ran¸e ol
the aim ol these hristles, which have the position they assume when the livin¸ animal is enra¸ed,
is to invite the attack ol the bo|Ji.¨ A white jun¸le cock, or indeed any jun¸le cock ol unusual
colour, a jun¸le cock that does not stru¸¸le in the toils hut perches on the rod that suspends the
noose, these have bo|Ji. ¨The bo|Ji have the power ol hrin¸in¸ sickness, hlindness or madness
upon the hunter, and an attack ol lever alter unwonted exertion in a malarial lorest is always
ascrihed to them. The jin¿¿i can let the deer pass hy the unwittin¸ hunter in the lorm ol a mouse
or attack him in the lorm ol a ti¸er. They can also ¸ive the hunter the appearance ol the hunted
and thus expose him to the lire ol his lriends. The ¿eno|in¿ can kill the hunter outri¸ht.¨ In these
auras the idea ol potent soul-suhstance seems to have hecome mer¸ed in the idea ol malicious
spirits. The bo|Ji ol a deer can he expelled hy sweepin¸ lirst a ¸un, then a hranch, and linally the
noose in which the animal was cau¸ht, over its carcase lrom muzzle to hind-le¸s, the noose is
quickly slipped on to a stake and ti¸htened round it. Here the ma¸ician appears to remove
¨transmissihle properties ol matter¨ to the stake. In Patani syncretism has ¸iven the aura ol a
murdered man the shape ol a mannikin, and has made the auras ol heasts the slaves ol Siva. By
some Kelantan ma¸icians bo|Ji are said to he one hundred and ninety in numher and are ¸iven a
name (¿ono) meanin¸ spirit. All these evil inlluences are sometimes classed with jinn.
With jinn, too, are olten classed one hundred and ninety ¸ohlins ol the soil (jembo|on¿) that creep
into the haskets ol the reaper and round the stems ol rice-plants, and inlest hill and mountain and
plain. Ordinarily their shape, il they have a shape, is not ¸iven. In Patani it is said they are the
¸hosts ol men and, under Muslim inlluence, it is alle¸ed that they may ¨he seen at ni¸ht in waste
places, leanin¸ on lon¸ sticks, wearin¸ red caps and eatin¸ earth. Il any one is hold enou¸h to seize
one ol their caps and swilt enou¸h to escape their pursuit, he will ¸ain the ¸reat art ol hecomin¸
There are numerous nature-spirits, the spirit ol the river hore, that drowns men in its matlike
curlin¸ wave, the spirit ol the cataract that lies ¨prone on the water with head like an inverted
copper¨, spirits ol the sea that settle on masts in the lorm ol St. Elmo's lire, spirits ol the jun¸le
track, spirits that tamper with the noose and snare ol the hunter, spirits that live in trees
especially where wild hees nest, the spirit ol the laded lotus. Many a sacred place in jun¸le and
¸rove, supposed now to he the site ol some saint's vanished tomh, is really a relic ol primitive
worship ol the spirits ol nature.
To-day in every hamlet in Malaya, that has sullicient inhahitants to lorm a con¸re¸ation, there is a
mosque where, alon¸ with his lellow villa¸ers, the ma¸ician acknowled¸es that there is no God
hut Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet. The ollice ol Caliph or head ol the Muslim laith
within his own State is the most cherished prero¸ative ol a Malay ruler. His installation is
attended hy the ma¸ician, once master ol the ceremony hut now merely an onlooker, who listens
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - · ·¡ ¡ - -
and hears the court heralds call to the lour archan¸els to send down upon their new ruler ¨the
divine majesty ol kin¸s hy the hands ol his an¸els. the an¸els ol the risin¸ sun, the an¸els ol the
evenin¸, the an¸els who stand upon the ri¸ht and lelt ol the empyrean throne, the an¸el ol the
zenith and the horned princess, an¸el ol the moon.¨ Suckled in creeds outworn, the ma¸ician sits
at the leet ol the pious and learns all he can ahout these an¸els and the demonolo¸y ol the
youn¸est ol Malaya's reli¸ions. He adds the names ol an¸els and devils and spirits to his repertory
ol incantations.
He learns that there are an¸els, demons (or Shaitan) and jinn, all hi¸her than man. Actually he has
had a Malay account ol Muhammadan mytholo¸y lor nearly three hundred years in a work called
the CorJen o| Kin¿s, written in ·6¸8 A.D. hy an Indian missionary ol Islam in Acheen. That work
tells him ol the lour an¸els who hear the throne Ol God, one in the lorm ol a hull, one in the
lorm ol a ti¸er, one in the lorm ol an ea¸le, and one in the lorm ol a man. It tells also ol the
cheruhim who cry incessantly ¨Glory to God.¨ But more interestin¸ to him are the lour
archan¸els with individual names, who are concerned with the wellare ol men. There is Gahriel,
the an¸el ol revelation, with six pinions, each composed ol one hundred smaller win¸s, he is
covered with sallron hairs, hetween his eyes is a sun, and hetween every two hairs ol his hody a
moon and stars. Every day he dives three hundred and sixty times into the Sea ol Li¸ht, and every
drop ol water lrom his win¸s creates a spiritual an¸el (Pv|oni,vn) in his likeness. Two ol his
pinions he expands only when God desires to destroy hamlet or town. Two ¸reen pinions he
opens only once annually on the ni¸ht ol destiny, when lrom the tree that stands hy the throne ol
God the leaves lall inscrihed with the names ol those who shall die durin¸ the ensuin¸ year.
There is Michael, created live hundred years helore Gahriel and live hundred years alter Isralil.
His whole hody is covered with sallron hairs, every hair possessin¸ a million laces havin¸ a
thousand mouths, each mouth containin¸ a thousand ton¸ues that entreat the mercy ol God,
while the tears ol his million eyes, weepin¸ lor the sins ol the laithlul, create cheruhim in his
likeness. These cheruhim are his servants, who control rain and plants and lruits, so that there is
not a drop ol rain lallin¸ on earth or sea that is not watched hy one ol them. There is Isralil,
whose head is level with the throne ol Allah and whose leet reach lower than the lowest earth.
With one pinion he envelopes the west, with another the east, with a third he covers his person,
and with a lourth he veils himsell lrom mouth to chest. Between his eyes is the jewelled tahlet ol
late. His duty it will he to sound the last trump on the day ol jud¸ment. There is 'Azrail, who
accordin¸ to this version is not (as he should he) the an¸el ol death hut only his warder, and is
like Isralil in appearance. The an¸el ol death, hi¸¸er than the seven earths and the seven heavens,
God kept hidden and chained with seventy thousand chains until the creation ol Adam. When he
was seen hy the an¸els, they lell into a laint that lasted a thousand years. He has seven thousand
pinions. His hody is lull ol eyes and ton¸ues, as many as there are men and hirds and livin¸ thin¸s.
Whenever a mortal dies, an eye closes. He has lour laces. When he takes the lile ol prophet or
an¸el, he shows the lace on his head, the lace on his chest is shown to helievers, the lace on his
hack to inlidels, and the lace on the soles ol two ol his leet to jinn. Ol his other two leet one is on
the horders ol heaven, the other on the hrink ol hell. So hu¸e is he that il the waters ol all seas
and all rivers were poured upon his head, not one drop would reach the earth. No livin¸ creature
shall escape death except the lour archan¸els and the lour an¸els who hear the throne ol God.
There is also a hu¸e an¸el called Ruh or the Spirit, with the lace ol a man, who will stand heside
the throne on the day ol jud¸ment and implore mercy lor the laithlul.
There are the two inquisitor an¸els, Munkar and Nakir, who visit the dead in their ¸raves and
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - · ·¡ ¡ - -
enquire il they are helievers.
Ni¸ht and day man is protected lrom devils and jinn hy two out ol lour attendant an¸els, who
chan¸e ¸uard at sunrise and sunset. Recorders ol his ¸ood and evil deeds, they are termed Kiraman
Katihin, the Nohle Writers, ¸ood deeds are written down hy the an¸el on his ri¸ht, had hy the
an¸el on his lelt.
Nineteen Zahaniah (or Guardian An¸els), under Malik their chiel, are in char¸e ol hell.
Iinally, Ihlis, the lallen rehel an¸el who relused to prostrate himsell helore Adam, is commander
ol an army ol supreme interest to the ma¸ician, the host ol inlidel ¸enies or jinn.
(f) JINN
¹inn or ¸enies spran¸ lrom three man¸rove-leaves, the ¸reen jinn lrom a leal that soared into the
¸reen sky, the hlack lrom a leal that lell at the ¸ate ol the lorest, the white lrom a leal that lell
into the sea. Accordin¸ to another incantation they were created lrom the earth ol the mountain
Mahameru, the Malay Olympus with the Hindu name. So Malays helieve, unless it is to he
supposed that in such charms the ma¸icians were merely inventin¸ lictitious ori¸ins lor spirits
they wished to control. Accordin¸ to some incantations the ¸enies ol the earth were horn ol
alterhirth, accordin¸ to others ol the mornin¸ star. One ma¸ician's account says that jinn are
sprun¸ lrom the coconut monkey' Another declares that they were created lrom Sakti-muna, a
¸reat serpent. the kin¸ ol the jinn lrom his lile's hreath, the white jinn lrom the whites ol his eyes,
the hlack, hlue, ¸reen and yellow jinn lrom their irises, the ¸enie that lives in the li¸htnin¸ lrom
his voice. Muslims hold that ¹an was the lather ol all. the jinn, and ¹an in the Quran also si¸nilies
a serpent. There is another le¸end with a Muslim colourin¸. When Cain and Ahel were still in the
womh they hit their thumhs till the hlood came, and alon¸ with them were horn jinn, hlack lrom
the hlood that spurted cloud-hi¸h, white lrom the hlood that lell to the ¸round. So run the
discrepant accounts ol the Malay ma¸ician, who accepts also the Quran's version that jinn were
created lrom smokeless lire.
The account ol ¸enies in the CorJen o| Kin¿s is as lollows. ¹an, the lather ol all jinn, was ori¸inally
an an¸el, called lirstly Aristotle hut later 'Azazil. When 'Azazil relused to do oheisance to Adam,
his name was chan¸ed to Ihlis or ¹an and his lorm into that ol a ¸enie, ol the relation ol Ihlis to
the ¸enies, however, there are several variant accounts. Be¸ettin¸ a child every two days, ¹an
hecame the ancestor ol all the ¸enies, countless shadowy hein¸s, numerous as the sands ol the
earth and lillin¸ hill and cave, lorest and plain. At lirst they inhahited the lowest heaven. Thence
they ¸ot the permission ol Allah to descend to the earth, seven thousand troops ol them. In time
they lou¸ht amon¸ themselves and disoheyed God. So He sent Prophets and An¸els to quell them
and pen them in a corner ol the world. To pla¸ue mankind jinn can assume any shape. Some take
the lorm ol men, others ol horses or do¸s or pi¸s, others ol snakes, others ol insects. Some can lly.
Some can eat, drink and marry. One tradition talks ol three classes ol jinn, one win¸ed, another in
the lorm ol do¸s and insects, another in human lorm. A lew are ¸ood Muslims and will ¸o to
heaven, most are inlidels doomed to hell. Their ¸reat a¸e is illustrated lrom the story ol the ¸enie
detected hy Muhammad under the dis¸uise ol a very old man. Bein¸ reco¸nised as a ¸enie, he
admitted that he had met Noah and all the Prophets alter him.
A¸ain the Malay has read ol jinn in his recension ol the story ol Alexander the Great. That world-
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - · ·6 6 - -
conqueror meets a descendant ol the ¸enie Sakhr, who stole Solomon's rin¸, and assumin¸
Solomon's shape rei¸ned in his stead lor lorty days. He and his kin are ¸uardin¸ till the day ol
jud¸ment a mosque huilt lor Solomon hy Sakhr in retrihution lor his presumption. He appears to
Alexander in the lorm ol a handsome youth hut turns hy request into his proper shape. hu¸e as
the mosque, havin¸ seven heads, each with two laces, each lace havin¸ lour eyes like ton¸ues ol
llame, a cavernous mouth, teeth like liery ton¸ues, a nose like the nose ol a hull, on each lorehead
are two snakey locks, and the ¸enie has the leet ol a duck and the tail ol a hull' Near the horder
ol the world where the sun sinks Alexander linds ¸enies ¸uardin¸ Kin¸ Solomon's treasure-house
ol jewels. They are the descendants ol human men and ten dau¸hters ol Ihlis. When Alexander
marvels, the Prophet Khidzr quotes the case ol the Queen ol Sheha, who had a human lather and
a ¸enie mother, and showed this ori¸in hy the hair on her calves.
All jinn are the suhjects not ol Muhammad hut ol Solomon, to whom God ¸ave authority over
¸enies, the animal creation and the wind ol heaven.
One Malay charm speaks ol ¨¹in the son ol ¹an ol the line ol the Pharaohs,¨ a pedi¸ree lounded on
the Arah notion that the last kin¸ ol the pre-Adamite jinn was ¹an the son ol ¹an, and that he
huilt the Pyramids.
Accordin¸ to Malay heliel there are jinn inhahitin¸ the sun, the moon, the sky, the wind, the
clouds. There are others whose homes or hosts are ant-hills, wells, rocks, the hard heartwood ol
trees, ravines, lields, swamps, lakes, rivers, mountain or plain. Others are ¸enies ol cape or hay,
the sea, the tide, estuaries. Syncretism has included in these classes Indonesian soul-suhstance and
nature-spirits and Hindu divinities, hut one tradition ol the Prophet also distin¸uishes three kinds
ol ¸enies, one in the air, one on the land, and one on the sea. Malay medical lore, havin¸ horrowed
lrom Arahia Plato's theory ol the ori¸in ol disease, dillerentiates a lourth class, the ¸enies ol lire
and liery sunsets.
The colour ol a Malay ¸enie varies accordin¸ to his hahitation. Genies ol earth and the dark
lorests and lowerin¸ clouds are hlack. Those inhahitin¸ the sky are hlue or to the Malay eye ¸reen.
The jinn ol lire and sunset are yellow. In lleecy clouds and the shimmerin¸ sea they are white.
¹ust as Plato ascrihed disease to disturhance ol the halance ol power hetween the lour properties
ol earth, air, lire and water, out ol which the hody is compacted, so the Malay medicine-man
ascrihes all diseases to the lour classes ol ¸enies presidin¸ over those properties. The ¸enies ol the
air cause wind-horne complaints, dropsy, hlindness, hemiple¸ia and insanity. The ¸enies ol the
hlack earth cause verti¸o, with sudden hlackness ol vision. The ¸enies ol lire cause hot levers and
yellow jaundice. The white ¸enies ol the sea cause chills, catarrh and a¸ues.
All these are external ¸enies, visihle to lonely waylarers, to the ma¸ician in a trance or, accordin¸
to Kelantan heliel, to the ¸azer upon the lin¸er-nails ol small innocent hoys. They can talk amon¸
themselves or throu¸h the mouth ol the shaman medium. Genies ol the earth may appear in
human lorm ¨lloatin¸ in the air and not always remainin¸ the same size,¨ or in the lorm ol
animals or ants or scorpions or in any shape they please. The manulacture ol old Chinese crackle-
ware is ascrihed hy Malays to ¸enies. Muslim ¸enies haunt two mosques in Ne¸ri Semhilan,
llittin¸ to and lro in lon¸ white rohes and sometimes chantin¸ the Quran. Il a person stand under
a ladder and hathe in water wherein a corpse has heen washed, he has only to stoop and look
hetween his le¸s to see crowds ol ¸enies and demons sippin¸ the water. Inlidel ¸enies ol the earth
are thou¸ht in Patani to assume the lorm ol do¸s and ¸uard hidden treasure. Il they take a
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - · ·y y - -
lancy to a person, they chan¸e into little old men and leave sacks ol ¸old lor their lavourites to
remove. Peculiar huhhles on the surlace ol the water indicate the presence ol jars ol treasure
placed hy ¸enies in pool or well. There is a ¸enie ¨supposed to resemhle the human lorm hut to
dart ahout like a will-o'-the-wisp¨ and daze the man that crosses it. Seize a ¸enie and hold him, no
matter what terrilyin¸ aspect he may assume, and one can wrest lrom him the secret ol
invisihility. ¨Il a man had a tame ¸enie, he could cause the meat lrom another man's cookin¸-pot
to come to him.¨ The lounder ol a house ol ¸reat chiels in Perak was a poor lisherman. His traps
were repeatedly thrown on the hank and his weirs opened. He watched and saw the ollender, a
¸enie clad in the ¸reen rohes and turhan ol a Muslim pil¸rim. He seized the ¸enie and relused to
let him ¸o. The ¸enie said ¨Swallow this,¨ spat in his mouth, and told him that he would hecome
the ¸reatest chiel in the country and his lamily prosper lor seven ¸enerations.
But these external jinn (lor whom Malay physicians lind yet another ori¸in suitahle to their
medical theories, namely wind) cannot inllict disease without the help ol the class ol ¸enies that
inhahit the hodies ol men. So, at least, it is said in Kelantan. When the ¸enie, whose host a man's
hody is, has weakened him hy loss ol hlood, cou¸hin¸, dyspepsia, then only can jinn lrom outside
enter and cause him hurt. There is a yellow ¸enie controllin¸ a man's live senses. There is a white
¸enie (jin or mo|oiIoi), also called the Li¸ht ol the Prophet, that ¨takes up its ahode in the heart
ol every Muhammadan and prevents him lrom hein¸ wicked,¨ Even these internal jinn have
colour and shape. Ialse etymolo¸y and recollection ol the Indonesian hird-soul make Patani
Malays identily a man's white ¸enie with a hird, one ol Muhammad's parrots'
In some ¸enies ahstract ideas seem to lind a local hahitation and a name.
T|e ¿enie o| ¿o|Jen |i|e,
T|e ¿enie o| bri¿|i Jesire,
Veorin¿ bon¿|es o| bross onJ cooi o| siee|,
can hoth ahduct a woman's soul on her lover's hehall.
The moral character ol the white ¸enie in man's hosom may he due to conlusion ol this spirit
with the Li¸ht ol the Prophet. Genies, destined lor heaven, are moral hein¸s, and helon¸ to the
several schools ol Muslim heliel. The others are capricious and do not distin¸uish hetween ¸ood
and evil.
The syncretism that has made the name ol Malay jinn le¸ion is patent in the Perak ma¸ician's
address to ¨the procession ol the thousand jinn.¨ In that invocation the evil inlluence helieved hy
Malay animists to invest the corpses ol deer, Indonesian ¸ohlins ol the soil, the Misty Beauty that
lloats over hlind wells, the Piehald Pony, lour spirit ¸uardians ol the corners ol the world, Kala or
Siva in his destructive lorm, Sri the Hindu Ceres, a Hindu Moon Iairy heautilul upon waters, the
Herald ol the World that dwells in the clouds with a name hall Sanskrit hall Arahic, ¹amshid a
spirit ol the headlands hearin¸ the name ol a Persian kin¸, the spirits ol the Muslim dead-these
and scores more are entreated so that the ma¸ician may display the wealth ol his uncritical lore,
ollend none ol the spirit world and let no ¸enie escape the net ol his ma¸ic.
An equally ¸ood example is lound in the list ol the ¸uardian jinii ol Perak, or, to ¸ive them their
other name, the ¸enies ol the royal trumpets, whose indwellin¸ spirits were led and revived
annually centuries helore the comin¸ ol Islam. These include the Iour Children ol the Iron Pestle,
Old Grannie lrom up-river, the Prince ol the Rollin¸ Waves, the Children ol the Galler
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - · ·8 8 - -
who lives in the sky. Brahma, Vishnu, and Indra are amon¸ them. Kin¸ Solomon and 'Ali, the
lourth Caliph, lind a place. There are royal lamiliars ol the State shaman and his assistant. There is
the Raja ol all the jinn, who is throned on the hreeze ol heaven. There is the Sultan ol the
Unsuhstantial World (mo,o), who condescends to the ear-posies ol kin¸s lrom his throne on a
crystal car that is lollowed hy all the Sultans ol the universe. And there are spirits with royal titles
in Persian, and lemale lairies with Sanskrit names. The list shows a wide knowled¸e ol Malay
romances, like the HiIo,oi S|omsv'|Bo|roin and the HiIo,oi InJropviro, that are hased on
Indian models and lull ol heroes and ¸enies with Indian names. Acquaintance with such literature
was an esteemed accomplishment at Malay courts. Amon¸ the jinn re¸arded hy Perak commoners
is 'Umar Ummaiya, the Ulysses ol the Persian romance ol Amir Hamzah'
ANTHROPOLOGY and history conlirm the various sta¸es in the development ol the Malay
Iirst he was the Indonesian animist, requirin¸ no initiation into his ollice and no help lrom a
lamiliar spirit. Huntin¸, lishin¸, plantin¸, and healin¸ the sick demanded merely dillerent experts
acquainted with the practice and customs ol the particular cralt. In the ritual ol the rice-lield, lor
example, a midwile or other old woman took the leadin¸ part, hecause her sex had a henelicent
inlluence on the lertility ol the crop, and her experience with human inlants qualilied her to
handle the rice-hahy. Courtesy and persuasion and diplomatic lan¸ua¸e were the weapons ol the
Malay ma¸ician ol animism.
Next came the shaman. Comparative study has, revealed that shamanism was ¨the native reli¸ion
ol the Ural-Altaic peoples lrom Behrin¸ Straits to the horders ol Scandinavia,¨ and ¨prohahly ol
the early Mon¸ol-Tartar peoples and others akin to them, lor example, in China and Tihet.¨ Its
part in the reli¸ions ol Malaysian trihes reminds one that on lin¸uistic ¸rounds it has heen
surmised the Malay descended lrom the continent ol Asia and that anthropolo¸ists detect in him
a Mon¸ol strain. The shaman still retains his pride ol place amon¸ the ahori¸inal trihes ol the
Malay Peninsula, Ne¸rito, Indo-Chinese and Proto-Malay. One word is used hy the Malay hoth
lor the ma¸ician expert in some particular line and lor the shaman who controls spirits hy the
help ol a lamiliar. But a distinction hetween them is reco¸nised. ¨Upon the exercise ol the
shaman's power every Malay looks with considerahle dread, and the least orthodox shakes his
head when it is mentioned.¨ Islam looks lar more askance at the shaman who calls down spirits at
a séonce than at the commoner medicine-man who relies solely on charms and invocations
covered with a veneer ol orthodox phraseolo¸y. His hrothers in ma¸ic respect the shaman more
hi¸hly. In Kelantan when a shaman is operatin¸ in any district ¨all other medicine-men are
disqualilied lor the time hein¸.¨
Sometimes the Malay shaman wears cords round his wrists and across hack and hreast over each
shoulder and under the opposite arm. He can use cloth ol royal yellow at a séonce. Rarely he is a
Raja. In Perak the State shaman was commonly ol the rei¸nin¸ house and hore the title ol Sultan
Muda. He was too exalted to inherit any other ollice except the Sultanate, and accordin¸ to one
account could ascend no temporal throne. He was allotted a State allowance lrom port dues and
the tax on opium. The twenty-lilth holder ol the ollice was a ¸randson on the distall side ol
Mor|vm Ko|or, a lamous ruler ol Perak in the ei¸hteenth century. on the spear side he was a
descendant ol the Prophet' The wile ol its holder hore the title ol Raja Puan Muda. His
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - · ·q q - -
deputy or heir-apparent was styled Raja Kechil Muda. So, too, in parts ol Timor two Rajas are
reco¸nised-a civil raja who ¸overns the people, and another raja who can declare tahus and must
he consulted hy his collea¸ues in all important matters.
At a curative (hut not apparently at a State-cleansin¸) séonce the spirit-raisin¸ shaman may he a
woman. Durin¸ the last illness ol Sultan Yusul, a nineteenth century ruler ol Perak, a séonce was
conducted hy Raja N¸ah, a scion ol the rei¸nin¸ house on the lemale side, ¨a middle-a¸ed woman
dressed as a man¨ lor the occasion-a device I have seen adopted hy Malay midwives also. In
Kelantan the shaman may he a Malay or a Siamese woman.
Ne¸ritos and certain northern Sakai placed the hodies ol dead shamans in shelters huilt amon¸
tree-hranches. The soul ol a Ne¸rito ma¸ician may enter ti¸er, elephant, or rhinoceros, and there
ahide until the animal dies, when the soul at last ¸oes to its own heaven. Some Kinta Sakai used
lormerly to leave the corpses ol ma¸icians unhuried in the houses where they died. The ¹akun ol
Rompin put them ¨on platlorms and their souls ¸o up to the sky, while those ol ordinary mortals,
whose hodies are huried, ¸o to the underworld.¨ Other ¹akun helieve that ¸reat ma¸icians are
translated alive to heaven. Clearly it was the custom ol the Peninsular ahori¸ines not to hury a
ma¸ician. His soul mi¸ht inhahit a lar¸e animal temporarily, hut lound its way in the end to some
place in the air that is lull ol the unseen spirits he controlled. Malays have lon¸ huried their
ma¸icians. ¨The majority ol sacred places in the Patani States are the reputed ¸raves ol ¸reat
medicine-men.¨ But in two ol the States on the west coast, at least, when a practiser ol hlack
ma¸ic is in the throes ol death, it is helieved that the spirit ol lile can escape only il a hole is made
in the rool ol the house.
A shaman hy inheritance comes into possession ol a lamiliar spirit, or perhaps he may inherit one
lrom his preceptor. In Patani it is said that il a shaman does not hequeath his (or her) art to a
pupil helore dyin¸, then his clothes, drums, censer, and other ma¸ical appurtenances will ¸enerate
a sava¸e ¸host. There, too, it is held that hairy persons are especially qualilied to hecome
ma¸icians. The Benua, a Proto-Malay trihe, helieve that the soul ol a dead shaman (who has to he
lelt unhuried in the lorest) will in the seventh day attack his heir in the lorm ol a ti¸er. il the heir
hetrays no lear and casts incense on a lire, he will lall into a trance and he visited hy two heautilul
lemale spirits who hecome his lamiliars, il the heir lails to watch hy the corpse and ohserve this
ritual, the dead man's soul enters a ti¸er lor ever. Accordin¸ to the heliel ol the ¹akun his lamiliar
spirit comes to a shaman hy inheritance or in a dream. In all accounts the shaman must acquire as
his lamiliar a spirit that has not lound rest. This he does in a trance, olten durin¸ a vi¸il heside a
Kelantan Malays prescrihe a method ol acquirin¸ a shaman's powers that shows an accretion ol
Muslim heliel on a primitive idea, akin to the Proto-Malay superstition that round a ¸rave a ditch
must he du¸ wherein the soul ol the deceased may paddle his canoe. Sittin¸ one at the head and
one at the loot ol the ¸rave ol a murdered man, the would-he shaman and a companion hurn
incense and make helieve to use paddles shaped lrom the midrih ol a royal yellow coconut palm,
callin¸ the while upon the murdered man to ¸rant ma¸ical powers. The landscape will come to
look like a sea and an a¸ed man will appear, to whom the request lor ma¸ic must he repeated.
Now one ol the evidences ol Muslim saintship is the ecstatic vision or dream ol the Prophet or ol
one ol the ¸reater saints ol Islam. Possihly the ¨a¸ed man¨ was Luqman al-Hakim, the reputed
lattier ol Arahian ma¸ic. One day, accordin¸ to Kelantan heliel, the An¸el Gahriel was
commanded to upset Luqman and his hooks at sea as a punishment lor his pride, and the linders
ol the lew scattered pa¸es ol those hooks hecame medicine-men in their several
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - a ac c - -
countries. A Selan¸or account corrohorates the Kelantan heliel that Luqman was the lirst
ma¸ician. he lived in the sky, was descended lrom Adam and Eve, was a son (or perhaps hrother)
ol Siva, and so a link with the Hindu element in the modern Malay medicine-man's shihholeth'
The Malay has always heen apt to ascrihe ¸reater power to lorei¸n ma¸ic, whether that ol a
naked illiterate ahori¸ine lrom the woods or that ol a Hindu trader or an Arah missionary. In an
ei¸hteenth century history ol Perak it is recorded how amon¸ the medicine-men in attendance on
the dau¸hter ol a lamous Malay ruler there were Sakai lrom the jun¸le. Ma¸icians, like prophets,
have more honour outside their own horders. It is no wonder, therelore, that the Malay midwile
learnt lrom the Hindu all the ma¸ic he could teach lor the ¸reat occasions ol hirth, adolescence,
and marria¸e, or that the Malay shaman added ¸ods ol the Hindu pantheon to his demonolo¸y
and made invocations and ollerin¸s to Siva. Lon¸ helore the introduction ol Islamic mysticism,
Hinduism had encoura¸ed the Malay ma¸ician to lortily his powers and command the wonder ol
the credulous hy ascetic practices. Malay romances, paraphrased lrom Indian ori¸inals, are lull ol
stories ol heroes who acquire ma¸ic, especially lor warlare, hy retirin¸ into a hermit's seclusion on
a mountain-top. In Patani there is a ¨curious heliel, perhaps more Siamese than Malay, that no
man can hecome a really ¸reat ma¸ician in any country in which the peaks ol the hills are
rounded, and that therelore the State ol Patalun¸, in which there are many conical hills, produces
the most powerlul medicine-men in the Malay Peninsula.¨
When Islam came, the Malay ma¸ician sat at the leet ol its pundits, studied their arts ol
divination, and horrowed their cahalistic talismans. Belore his old incantations he set the names ol
Allah and Muhammad, olten in impious contexts. He detected his latest avatar in the livin¸ saint
ol Islam, to whom lolk resort ¨lor advice in le¸al disputes or as to the success or lailure ol an
enterprise or as intercessor lor the sick or to ¸et a child or to remove hli¸ht or pla¸ue or conlound
enemies.¨ He will, therelore, seclude himsell lor certain days ol the week or lor a period, the
practice hein¸ ¸iven an Arahic name and havin¸ a reli¸ious colour. Sometimes he keeps celihate.
Or he may last to impress the common herd and enahle himsell to see visions. A ma¸ician ol this
type is ¸enerally a disciple ol a crude lorm ol Sulism derived lrom India. A Selan¸or account,
stron¸ly allected hy Neo-Platonic ideas, makes Allah (as Ahsolute Bein¸ heyond all relations) the
lirst ol ma¸icians. ¨When haze was still in the womh ol darkness and darkness in the womh ol
haze, helore earth hore the name ol earth or sky the name ol sky, helore Allah was called Allah
or Muhammad was called Muhammad, helore the creation ol the Divine Throne and its lootstool
and the lirmament, the Creator ol the worlds was manilested hy Himsell and He was the lirst
ma¸ician. He made the ma¸ician's universe, a world ol the hreadth ol a tray, a sky ol the hreadth
ol an umhrella.... The ma¸ician helore time existed was Allah and He revealed Himsell hy the
li¸ht ol moon and sun and so showed Himsell to he verily a ma¸ician.¨ The lirst sentence ol this
quotation is a Malay paraphrase ol the Prophet's simile lor God helore the creation. ¨the dark
mist ahove which is a void and helow which is a void.¨ As Skeat has su¸¸ested, the conception ol
a miniature universe, Plato's ¨lixed archetypes,¨ would remind the Malay ol the relation ol the
tiny Indonesian soul to the physical hody. It reminds also ol Ihn 'Arahi's sayin¸ that all the
universe contains lies potential in God like the tree in the seed. Indeed, one Malay account ol the
ori¸in ol the ma¸ician relates how at the Muslim word ol creation (Ivn) ¨the seed was created
and lrom the seed the root, lrom the root the stem, and lrom the stem the leaves,¨ and then in
the same sentence relates how the word ol creation hrou¸ht into hein¸ a miniature earth and sky.
So time has chan¸ed the Malay hrother ol the Siherian shaman into a humhle relative ol the Suli
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - a a· · - -
Are there traces ol the ma¸ician in the Malay kin¸: Amon¸ some, at least, ol the Proto-Malay
trihes ol the Peninsula the commoner chiel or Batin is jud¸e, priest, and ma¸ician.
Between the old-world commoner chiels ol the matriarchal trihes ol Ne¸ri Semhilan and the Raja
ruler there are several ties. Like the ma¸ician (and the European district ollicer') hoth can
inlluence the weather. a wet season will he ascrihed to a cold constitution' Both are chosen lrom
several hranches ol one lamily, theoretically lrom each hranch in rotation, actually lrom the
hranch that happens to possess the candidate most suitahle in years and character. Both, therelore,
like the Malay ma¸ician hold ¨ollices hereditary or at least conlined to the memhers ol one
Like the Brahmin the Malay ma¸ician and the Malay ruler have a tahu lan¸ua¸e. A kin¸ does not
¨walk¨ hut ¨has himsell carried¨, he does not ¨hathe¨ hut is ¨sprinkled like a llower¨, he does not
¨live¨ hut ¨resides¨, he does not ¨leed¨ hut ¨takes a repast¨, he does not ¨die¨ hut ¨is horne away.¨
Ol the dozen or more words constitutin¸ this vocahulary hall are Malay, hall Sanskrit. Shaman
and ruler hoth have lelt the inlluence ol Hinduism.
Like the ma¸ician, the ruler has wonder-workin¸ insi¸nia ol ollice. The tamhourine and other
appurtenances ol the shaman will ¸enerate an evil spirit il not hequeathed to a successor. To
tread on a Malay State drum may cause death. even a Chinaman has heen known to swell up and
die alter removin¸ a hornet's nest lrom this terrilic instrument. The re¸alia ol a Malay ruler were
miraculous talismans that controlled the luck ol the State. Quite recently in Malacca a pretender
to the chieltainship ol Nanin¸ ¸ot hold ol the insi¸nia ol ollice, relused to surrender them, and
declared that possession ol them ¸ave him a ¸ood title.
In the old annual ceremony ol expellin¸ mali¸nant spirits lrom a Malay State, the ruler took a
leadin¸ part. And in the ritual ol the now ohsolete Perak court ma¸ician there are two
noteworthy details. At the séonce held durin¸ his last illness Sultan Yusul was placed shrouded on
the wizard's mat with the wizard's ¸rass-switch in his hand to await, as at an ordinary séonce the
shaman alone awaits, the advent ol the spirits invoked. A¸ain, alter the annual séonce to ¨revive¨
the Perak re¸alia, the State ma¸ician hathed the Sultan and in his person the ¸enies ol the State,
who would seem therelore to he re¸arded as His Hi¸hness' lamiliar spirits. Accordin¸ to an old
account the State shaman ol Perak was eli¸ihle lor the Sultanate, and the Raja Muda, or heir to
the throne, could hecome State shaman.
Modern man has lor¸otten that in appropriatin¸ hullaloes with peculiar horns, alhino children,
turtles' e¸¸s and other lreaks ol nature, the Malay ruler started not as a ¸raspin¸ tyrant hut as a
ma¸ician, competent ahove all his people to lace the dan¸ers ol the unusual and untried. Ior
under pa¸anism, Hinduism and Islam ma¸ician and raja dead and alive have heen credited with
supernatural powers. It is claimed lor a modern Malay ma¸ician that he can remain under water
lor an hour' It was claimed lor a hye-¸one ruler ol Perak that every Iriday he could translate
himsell to Mecca and once hrou¸ht hack three ¸reen li¸s as evidence ol his journey. The ¸raves ol
kin¸s and the ¸raves ol ma¸icians have heen alike the ohject ol worship.
THERE are three words used hy Malays lor incantation or charm, two ol them Sanskrit (jompi,
moniro), the other the Arahic word lor prayer (Jo'o). Charms are employed in a¸ricultural
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - a aa a - -
operations, hy lishermen, hunters, lowlers and trappers, to ahduct or recall the soul, to revive ore
in a mine or a patient on a hed ol sickness, a¸ainst cramp, poison, snakehite, enemies, vampires,
evil spirits, at hirth and at teeth-lilin¸, to save men lrom ti¸ers, and crops lrom rats and hoars and
insect pests, lor heauty, virility, love, to weaken a rival in a race or in a li¸ht, to divert a hullet or
hreak a weapon as it is hein¸ drawn.
A Malay charm may lorm part ol a primitive ritual, like that ol the rice-year, conducted hy a
skilled ma¸ician. It may he merely recited on an appropriate occasion hy any layman who has
learnt it. One may huy the words ol a love-charm, lor example, lrom an expert ¨lor three dollars,
three yards ol white cloth, cotton and thread, limes and salt, areca-nut, and hetel-vine,¨ or lor
¨limes and salt, three small coins, live yards ol white cloth and a needle.¨
The charm may require to he supplemented hy conta¸ious and hy homoopathic or mimetic
ma¸ic. Sand lrom the loot-print ol the woman loved, earth lrom the ¸raves ol a man and woman,
the hair-like lilaments ol hamhoo, hlack pepper. these are olten steamed in a pot while a love-
charm is hein¸ recited. Another method is to ¨take a lime, pierce it with the midrih ol a lallen
coconut palm, leavin¸ one lin¸er's len¸th stickin¸ out on either side wherehy to han¸ the lime.
Han¸ it up with thread ol seven colours, leavin¸ the thread also han¸in¸ loose an inch helow the
lime. Take seven sharpened midrihs and stick them into the lime, leavin¸ two lin¸ers' len¸th
projectin¸. The stickin¸ ol the midrih into the lime is to symholise piercin¸ the heart and liver
and lile and soul and ¸all ol the heloved. Put jasmine on the end ol the midrih skewers. Do this
lirst on Monday ni¸ht, lor three ni¸hts, and then on Iriday ni¸ht. Ima¸ine you pierce the ¸irl's
heart as you pierce the lime. Recite the accompanyin¸ charm three or seven times, swin¸in¸ the
lime each time you recite the words and lumi¸atin¸ it with incense. Do this live times a day and
live times a ni¸ht in a private place where no one shall enter or sleep.¨ A woman recites a charm
lor heauty over the water in which she hathes or over the coconut oil with which she anoints her
Sometimes the Malay appears to he indehted to India lor a charm and to have lor¸otten or
purposely omitted the accompanyin¸ ritual. In the Ai|orvoVeJo there is an incantation to arouse
the passionate love ol a woman.
Mo, |ove, i|e Jisjvieier, Jisjviei i|ee, Jo noi |o|J ovi vpon i|, beJ. Vii| i|e
ierrib|e orrow o| Komo I pierce i|ee in i|e |eori¹
T|e orrow win¿eJ wii| |on¿in¿, borbeJ wii| |ove, w|ose s|o|i is vnJevioiin¿ Jesire,
wii| i|oi we||oimeJ Komo s|o|| pierce i|ee in i|e |eori¹
Vii| i|oi we||oimeJ orrow o| Komo w|ic| porc|es i|e sp|een, w|ose p|vme ||ies
|orworJ, w|ic| bvrns vp, Jo I pierce i|ee in i|e |eori¹
ConsvmeJ b, bvrnin¿ orJovr, wii| porc|eJ movi|, come io me womon, p|ioni, i|,
priJe |oiJ osiJe, mine o|one, speoIin¿ sweei|, onJ io me JevoieJ¹
I Jrive i|ee wii| o ¿ooJ |rom i|, moi|er onJ i|, |oi|er, so i|oi i|ov s|o|i be in m,
power, s|o|i come vp io m, wis|¹
A|| |er i|ov¿|is Jo ,e, O Miiro onJ Vorvno, Jrive ovi o| |er. T|en |ovin¿ JepriveJ
|er o| |er wi|| pvi |er inio m, power o|one.
Now turn to the modern Malay equivalent.
In i|e nome o| CoJ, i|e Merci|v|, i|e Compossionoie¹
Bvrn, bvrn, sonJ onJ eori|¹ I bvrn i|e |eori o| m, be|oveJ
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - a a¸ ¸ - -
AnJ m, |ire is i|e orrow o| Arjvno¹
I| I bvrni o movnioin, ii wov|J|o||,
I| I bvrni rocI, ii wov|J sp|ii osvnJer.
I om bvrnin¿ i|e |eori o| m, be|oveJ,
So i|oi s|e is broIen onJ |oi wii| |ove,
T|oi ¿ivei| |er no resi ni¿|i or Jo,,
Bvrnin¿ ever os i|is sonJ bvrns.
Lei |er ceose io |ove porenis onJ |rienJs¹
I| s|e s|eeps, owoIen |er¹
I| s|e owoIes, covse |er io rise onJ come
Yie|Jin¿ |erse|| vnio me,
DevoiJ o| s|ome onJ Jiscreiion¹
B, virive o| i|e poison o| Arjvno's orrow,
B, virive o| i|e invocoiion,
"T|ere is no CoJ bvi CoJ onJ Mv|ommoJ is His Prop|ei."
The Malay lover only talks ol Arjuna's arrow. But the Hindu lover pierced the heart ol a clay
elli¸y hy means ol a how with a hempen strin¸ carryin¸ an arrow whose harh was a thorn and
whose plume was plucked lrom an owl.
Even in Vedic times, however, olten no ritual was required and the mere recital ol the verhal
charm sulliced. A Hindu would mutter in the presence ol a hostile witness.-¨I take away the
speech in thy mouth, I take away the speech in thy heart. Wherever thy speech is I take it away.
What I say is true. Iall down inlerior to me.¨ So, too, the Malay today without any ritual recites.-
¨O God' let the world he hlind, the universe deal, the earth stretched out dumh, closed and
locked he the desire ol my enemy¨, or he whispers,
Om¹ Iin¿ o| ¿enies¹
T|e rocIsp|iiiin¿ |i¿|inin¿ is m, voice¹
Mic|oe| is wii| me¹
In virive o| m, vse o| i|is c|orm
To moIe |eov, onJ |ocI,
I |ocI i|e |eoris o| o|| m, oJversories,
I moIe Jvmb i|eir ion¿ves,
I |ocI i|eir movi|s,
I iie i|eir |onJs,
I |eiier i|eir |eei.
Noi ii|| rocI moves
S|o|| i|eir |eoris be moveJ,
Noi ii|| eori| m, moi|er moves
S|o|| i|eir |eoris be moveJ.
The voice ol the Malay animist is heard in the charm callin¸ the corn-hahy to her emhroidered
cradle, or in the sailor's invocation lor a hreeze. ¨Come, wind, loose your lon¸ llowin¸ tresses,¨ or
in the Perak raltsman's address to the spirit ol a perilous rapid.-¨Accept this ollerin¸, ¸randdam'
Send our ralt sale throu¸h the lon¸ rapid, we heseech thee' Cause us no harm in mid journey.
Open like the uncurlin¸ hlossom ol the palm' Open like a snake that uncoils.¨ But it is not in
many incantations that the Malay roars thus ¨¸ently as any suckin¸ dove.¨
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - a a¡ ¡ - -
Most ol his charms hear all the characteristic marks ol the Indian moniro. They must he kept
secret. They are in rude metrical lorm. Many are a mixture ol prayer and spell. Numerous spirits
are ¸enerally invoked so that the particular spirit whose help is wanted or whose malevolence is
to he haulked shall not escape mention. And as knowled¸e ol a man's name will ¸ive another
power over him, so it is sou¸ht to inlluence and control a spirit hy enumeratin¸ his various
names. 'Take an address to the Earth-Spirit.-
Ai Jo,breoI i|ov ori co||eJ LorJ o| i|e SvnPo,,
In i|e mornin¿ LorJ o| Forivne,
Ai miJJo, LorJ o| i|e Vor|J,
Ai evenin¿ LorJ o| i|e Evenin¿ Li¿|i.
In i|e |i¿| |oresi i|, nome is i|e Leo|, Orc|iJ,
In miJ p|oin, i|e F|oi One,
In i|e rivv|ei, i|e F|owin¿ One,
In i|e sprin¿, i|e TricI|er.
Like the Brahmin, the Malay ma¸ician will exhaust a series ol possihilities, expellin¸ disease lrom
SIin onJ bone onJ joini onJ vein,
F|es|, b|ooJ, |eori, sp|een, rocIeJ wii| poin,
or hiddin¸
Cenies o| i|e movnioins reivrn io i|e movnioins¹
Cenies o| i|e |i||s reivrn io i|e |i||s¹
Cenies o| i|e p|oin reivrn io i|e p|oin¹
Cenies o| i|e |oresi reivrn io i|e |oresi¹
Ior the Malay, too, as lor the Hindu the ori¸in ol a thin¸ or spirit ¸ives ma¸ical control over
them. In the Atharva-Veda the mention ol the names ol the lather and mother ol a plant, lor
example, is a typical part ol a ma¸ic lormula. Incense is hailed hy the Malay ma¸ician as a product
ol the hrain ol Muhammad, ¨its smoke the hreath ol his spiritual lile.¨
Ii come Jown |rom A||o|'s presence,
From o Jrop o| Jew JescenJeJ¹
From i|e woier w|ence eierno|
Li|e comesi|oi ii's sovrce o| bein¿.
The trapper addresses ¸enies -
I Inow i|e sovrce o| ,ov, ¿enies¹
From i|e mon¿rove |eoves ,e were sprvn¿¹
One sooreJ inio i|e sI, onJ become i|e ¿reen ¿enies.
One |e|| oi i|e ¿oie o| i|e |oresi onJ become i|e b|ocI ¿enies¹
One |e|| in i|e seo onJ become i|e w|iie ¿enies¹
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - a a¡ ¡ - -
Sometimes an ahsurdly hase ori¸in is purposely assi¸ned, as in a charm a¸ainst ti¸ers.-
Ho ii¿er¹ I Inow ,ovr ori¿in¹
Yovr moi|er, ii¿er, wos o iooJ¹
On i|e p|oins o| S,rio ,ov were be¿oiien¹
The Malay ma¸ician under Indian inlluence threatens and commands, thou¸h he is apt to disclaim
ToIe i|is boii, crocoJi|e,
A coIe o| ,e||ow rice
T|e ¿i|i o| i|, sisier Foiimo|¹
I| i|ov ioIesi ii noi,
T|ov s|o|i be cvrseJ b, |er,
or a¸ain.-
Obe, m, worJs, iroppeJ e|ep|oni¹
I| i|ov obe,esi noi,
T|ov wi|i be Ii||eJ b, Sri Pomo.
I| i|ov obe,esi,
T|e Creoi Pis|is wi|| Ieep i|ee o|ive.
In a charm to weaken a rival the Malay hoasts.-
Ii is noi on i|e eori| i|oi I ireoJ¹
I ireoJ on i|e |eoJs o| o|| |ivin¿ i|in¿s.
In a charm a¸ainst a thunderstorm he outroars the tempest.-
Om¹ Vir¿in ¿oJJess, Mo|oJewi¹ Om¹
Cvb om I o| mi¿|i, ii¿er¹
'A|i's |ine i|rov¿| me JescenJs¹
M, voice is i|e rvmb|e o| i|vnJer,
V|ose bo|is siriIe o poi| |or m, seein¿,
ForIeJ |i¿|inin¿'s i|e ||os| o| m, weopons¹
I move noi ii|| eori| moves¹
I rocI noi ii|| eori| rocIs¹
I jvoIe noi ii|| eori| jvoIes,
Firm sei os eori|'s oais.
B, virive o| m, c|orm ¿oi |rom 'A|i
AnJ o| Is|om's con|ession o| |oii|.
To lri¸hten and capture a male elephant the hunter stands on one le¸ at sunrise and vaunts his
M, covnienonce is i|e |i¿|i o| breoIin¿ Jo,¹
M, e,es ore i|e sior o| Jown¹
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - a a6 6 - -
M, boJ, is os i|oi o| o ivsIer¹
M, prop is o |ierce ii¿er¹
M, seoi is o rovenin¿ crocoJi|e¹
Sittin¸ on the skin ol a ti¸er was supposed hy Hindus to ¸ive invisihle stren¸th. But these darin¸
assumptions ol power were very lar lrom the mind ol the primitive animist, who addressed all
thin¸s in heaven and earth with courtesy and delerence.
In Malay as in Hindu charms the curse plays a wei¸hty part.-
I wov|J weJ i|e imo¿e in i|e pvpi| o| m, misiress' e,e
Vii| i|e imo¿e in i|e pvpi| o| m, own¹
I| i|ov |ooIesi noi vpon me,
Mo, i|, e,ebo||s bvrsi¹
Or a¸ain.-
Cenies o| svpernoivro| power¹
Yovr |ome is oi i|e nove| o| i|e seo,
B, i|e iree on i|e broIen rocI¹
Enier noi i|e |ine Jrown b, m, ieoc|er¹
E|se wi|| I cvrse ,e wii| i|e worJs,
"T|ere is no CoJ bvi A||o| onJ Mv|ommoJ is His Prop|ei."
Om¹ I neviro|ise o|| evi|,
O So|omon¹ In i|e nome o| CoJ.
The mystic Om, symholical ol the Hindu triad, Vishnu, Siva, and Brahma, still remains a word ol
power with this Muslim ma¸ician, thou¸h almost supplanted hy the Arahic Ivn, ¨Let it he,¨ the
creative word ol Allah.-
In i|e nome o| CoJ, i|e Merci|v|, i|e Compossionoie¹
I |r, sonJ |rom i|e |ooiprini o| m, be|oveJ,
No,, I |r, |er |eori onJ |iver
Ni¿|i onJ Jo,, os i|is sonJ is |rieJ.
"Lei ii be," so,s CoJ.
"AnJ ii is so," so,s Mv|ommoJ, His Aposi|e.
Lei |er boJ, iic| wii| Jesire
Civin¿ |er no resi |rom |on¿in¿ |or me.
"AnJ ii is so," so,s Cobrie|.
Islam, comin¸ lirst lrom India, introduced the Malay to a wide lield ol lresh ma¸ic. A woman
desirin¸ the love ol a man ¸ets the lollowin¸ charm written down, wrapped in cerements that
have covered the lace ol a male corpse, and huried where her lover is hound to step. The charm
is interestin¸, hecause so, too, the Moroccan hride will pray to Allah and the Prophet and Iatimah
that her hushand may ¨he lond ol her as the dead is lond ol his ¸rave¨, and Syro-Christian charms
(which appear to have inlluenced early Islam) invoke the Iather and the Son to hind the ton¸ues
ol lalse witnesses and the navel ol the newly-horn child as ¨the ox in the yoke, the dead in the
¸rave.¨ The Malay charm runs as lollows.-
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - a ay y - -
I| Mv|ommoJ con be svnJereJ |rom A||o|
AnJ o corpse move in i|e ¿rove,
On|, i|en s|o|| m, |over's Jesire move io onoi|er.
T|e Jesire o| |is |eori s|o|| be on|, |or me,
Siro,in¿ now |ii|er |e s|o|| be m, moie vnio Jeoi|,
So|e neor me |iIe o corpse in i|e ¿rove.
The Muslim element in Malay ma¸ic will lorm the suhject ol a separate chapter. But the linal
evolution ol the spoken charm in the Malay vernacular may he illustrated here hy the incantation
wherehy the Kelantan shaman exorcises the demon ol disease at a séonce.-
O vniverse, i|e wor|J o| AJom¹
Eori| wos moJe |rom o c|oJ rom PoroJise,
Voier |rom o river o| PoroJise,
Fire |rom i|e smoIe o| He||,
Air |rom i|e |ovr e|emenis.
SIin onJ |oir, ||es| onJ b|ooJ,
Bones onJ sinews, |i|e onJ seeJ
Come |rom |ovr e|emenis o| sperm.
SIin onJ |oir were creoieJ b, Cobrie|,
F|es| onJ b|ooJ b, Mic|oe|,
Bones onJ sinews b, Isro|i|,
Li|e onJ seeJ b, 'Azroi|¹
V|ere is i|is ¿enie |oJ¿in¿ onJ ioIin¿ s|e|ier?
V|ere is |e |oJ¿in¿ onJ crovc|in¿?
Cenie¹ i| i|ov ori in i|e |eei o| i|is poiieni,
Know i|oi i|ese |eei ore moveJ b, A||o| onJ His Prop|ei,
I| i|ov ori in i|e be||, o| i|is poiieni,
His be||, is CoJ's seo, i|e seo, ioo, o| Mv|ommoJ.
I| i|ov ori in |is |onJs,
His |onJs po, |omo¿e io CoJ onJ His Prop|ei.
I| i|ov ori in |is |iver, Ii is i|e secrei p|oce o| CoJ onJ His Prop|ei¹
I| i|ov ori in |is |eori,
His |eori is Abv BoIor's po|oce.
I| i|ov ori in |is |vn¿s,
His |vn¿s ore 'Omor's po|oce.
I| i|ov ori in |is sp|een,
His sp|een is 'Usmon's po|oce.
I| i|ov ori in |is ¿o||b|oJJer,
His ¿o||b|oJJer is 'A|i's po|oce.
T|e |eori, i|e |vn¿, i|e sp|een, i|e ¿o||b|oJJer
Are i|e |omesieoJ o| |i|e,
Noi i|e |omesieoJ o| ¿enie or Ib|is,
Noi i|e |omesieoJ o| sicIness or sv||erin¿.
Ho i|ere, ¿enie¹ i|, ori¿in wos |rom i|e ion¿ve|iIe |vmes o| smoIe|ess |e||.
I Inow i|, ori¿in,
T|e nome o i|, |oi|er, i|, moi|er, onJ o| i|, c|i|J.
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - a a8 8 - -

THI, primitive Malay looked helow the outer aspect ol man and heast and plant and stone and
lound a veiled power or inner lile lor which their exterior is the host or tahernacle. This
animatin¸ spirit he called the vital ¨spark¨ (seman¸at), prohahly hecause the dead are cold. Ior
lack ol an exact equivalent, it may he termed soul, despite that word's other connotations. It is
possessed hy all thin¸s ¨in widest commonalty spread.¨ There is no aristocracy amon¸ souls, no
¨rank, condition or de¸ree,¨ distin¸uishin¸ the soul ol man lrom the soul ol plant or animal. But
souls inhahitin¸ thin¸s uselul to men, like rice, arrest the Malay's attention only less than his own
soul. The soul is the personal property ol its host. It is also an impersonal suhstance, whose
deliciency in the sick can he supplied hy soul-suhstance derived, lor example, lrom proper diet,
ruhhin¸ with a hezoar stone, hein¸ hreathed upon hy the medicine man or hrushed with the lush
¸rass ol his asper¸illum.
This suhstance, which enters the Malay child the moment the hamhoo knile (or midwile's teeth)
severs the umhilical cord, permeates his whole hody and its secretions like an electric lluid. In
some parts ol the ¸lohe it is helieved that there are separate souls lor the head, the hlood, the
heart, the saliva, and even the loot-prints. A survival ol this idea may he traced in the Malay
shaman's altar piled with morsels representin¸ every part ol the heast sacriliced. Accordin¸ to one
Malay account the soul lives in the helly. His head to a Malay is sacred. he resents it hein¸
touched even in play. All parts ol the hody where soul-suhstance is present must he ¸uarded
lrom the sorcery ol enemies. A woman's hlood can he employed to her hurt hy a disappointed
lover. Clippin¸s lrom hair or nails are hidden or destroyed lor lear possession ol them may ¸ive an
enemy control over their owner's soul and so over his lile. Clippin¸s lrom lin¸er-nails can turn
into lire-llies just as the soul ol a whole man can turn into a lirelly. So stron¸ is the soul-suhstance
in the hair shorn at a ¸irl's lirst tonsure that it is huried at the loot ol a harren tree to hrin¸ lruit as
luxuriant as her tresses. The ahundance ol this suhstance in hair and teeth makes it politic to
sacrilice all save a lock ol a Malay hoy's hair and to lile oll part ol a child's teeth at puherty.
lormerly the stumps were hlackened, it has heen surmised, to conceal lrom the spirits the partial
nature ol the sacrilice. In old days warriors especially, like Samson, wore their hair lon¸ and
uncut. And alter a death relatives used to sacrilice some or all ol their locks so that the dead
mi¸ht not revisit them. The history ol Pasai tells ol a Malay princess horn lrom a hamhoo whose
lile was hound up with one ¸olden hair that ¸littered amon¸ her raven tresses. when her consort
pulled it out, white hlood ¸ushed lorth and she died.
The Malay's respect lor saliva is shown hy the deputin¸ ol a courtier to take char¸e ol the royal
cuspidore on ceremonial occasions. The midwile spits on the hahy she welcomes into the world.
This is a ¸ilt ol a portion ol one's sell, a pled¸e ol union and ¸ood-will, a diluted lorm ol hlood-
covenant. Reli¸ious teachers ol piety and learnin¸ are invited hy parents to spit upon a child's
head or into his mouth to endow him with intelli¸ence and lacility lor learnin¸ to recite the
Quran. The saliva ol a livin¸ saint hrin¸s henelits to the credulous. Ior medicinal purposes saliva
is olten reinlorced hy scarlet hetel juice. At a sacrilice in Malacca to the earth spirit helore the
plantin¸ out ol the youn¸ rice a man walked round the lield, spittin¸ rice lrom his mouth,
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - a aq q - -
prohahly not a mere ollerin¸ ol lood hut a hond ol union hetween himsell and the earth to which
his rice-plants were to he entrusted.
Alter-hirth is lull ol soul-suhstance, and droppin¸ on the earth can ¸enerate evil spirits. In many
charms the ma¸ician threatens such spirits with knowled¸e ol their ori¸in.-
I Inow i|e ori¿in w|ence ,e spron¿¹
V|en i|e Jisc|or¿e be|ore biri| be¿on,
A Jrop o| b|ooJ |e|| io i|e eori|,
Creoiin¿ ¿enies o| i|e eori|, ¿ob|ins o| i|e soi|.
The soul may he attacked throu¸h ohjects that have come into contact with its owner. One way
to ahduct a ¸irl's soul is to ¨take sand or earth lrom her loot-print or lrom her ¸arden path or the
lront ol her door or lrom her carria¸e wheels or her pony's hooves.¨ Iryin¸ this soul-suhstance in
oil, one recites a charm.-
I om bvrnin¿ i|e |iver, i|e |eori, i|e |vsis onJ possions o| m, be|oveJ,
So i|oi s|e is broIen onJ |oi wii| |ove,
MoJ|, in |ove wii| me onJ resi|ess,
Bvrnin¿ os i|is sonJ bvrns.
The personal soul may depart in sleep ¨what it sees the man dreams.¨ A well-known Malay
quatrain tells how a ¸irl pats her pillow and calls upon her lover's soul, which comes to her in
dreams. Sudden awakenin¸, lri¸ht or sorcery may separate soul lrom hody lor ever. Then the
house ol lile will lall into disrepair and, unless the shaman or medicine-man can recall the
wanderer, the hody will die. The shaman's personal soul quits his hody in a trance to hold
intercourse with spirits. The soul may leave the human lrame and enter that ol a ti¸er to prey
upon men.
The Ne¸rito ol the Malay Peninsula conceives a man's soul to have human shape, to he red like
hlood, and no hi¸¸er than a ¸rain ol maize. A Besisi le¸end linds it in a person's shadow. Both
these conceptions ol the soul in its personal aspect recur in the heliels ol the Malay.
The soul is in the shadow ol the physical hody. One should not walk upon a person's shadow, the
a¸riculturist must not hack his own shadow and the ma¸ician, to estahlish and vaunt his
invulnerahle stren¸th, will declare his shadow to he ¨the shadow ol one heloved hy Allah and the
Prophet and an¸els lorty-and-lour.¨
The personal soul is in one's name. The Malay is reluctant to utter his own name lest hreathin¸ it
he may part with a piece ol his soul-suhstance. a third party must he asked to divul¸e the secret.
A child receives a tentative name helore the umhilical cord is cut, hut il the inlant lalls sick the
name will he re¸arded as unlucky and chan¸ed to mislead the spirits ol disease. A name like
'Ahdu'l-Qadir may ollend the Muslim saint who lounded the ¸reat reli¸ious order. Some parents
even call their children hy such names as ¨U¸ly¨ or ¨Iool¨ in order to persuade demons that they
are unattractive prey. It is desirahle always to dis¸uise one's real name. An adult Malay is olten
known as ¨lather (or mother) ol so-and-so.¨ A nei¸hhour calls her lriend's hushand ¨your house.¨
A Perak man relers to his wile as ¨the person at home¨ or ¨my rice-ha¸,¨ a Perak woman to her
hushand as ¨my chopper.¨ The Malay seldom mentions the names ol close relations, alludin¸ to
them as ¨elder hrother,¨ ¨youn¸er sister,¨ ¨¸randad,¨ ¨mother-in-law,¨ and so on. Ol
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¸ ¸c c - -
the dead person he speaks as ¨that soul,¨ usin¸ an Arahic word. To his ruler he relers as ¨Lord¨ or
¨He-under-whose-leet-we-are¨. and the lile name ol a dead Sultan is always dropped lor a new
Arahic title, ¨The Deceased on whom Allah have mercy¨, ¨Allah's Great Saint,¨ ¨The Iriend ol
Allah,¨ ¨The Deceased who was stron¸.¨ The mention ol Siva is rare in Malay charms, the ¸od
was invoked as the ¨Supreme Teacher¨, and the worldly Malay Muslim in ordinary talk speaks ol
Allah simply as ¨Lord,¨ hoth practices su¸¸estive ol a tahu ol divine names. The Malay is alraid
even to attract the spirits ol heasts. In the jun¸le the dreaded ti¸er is ¨¸randlather.¨ On a mine the
elephant, whose heavy leet and rovin¸ trunk can undo the work ol puny men, must he called
¨the tall one,¨ the hlunderin¸ water-hullalo ¨the unlucky one,¨the poisonous snake ¨the live
creeper.¨ In Patani Bay lishermen call a crocodile the ¨¸ap-toothed thin¸ummy-hoh,¨ a ¸oat or
sheep ¨the haahaa,¨ a hullalo ¨moo,¨ a sea-snake ¨the weaver's sword,¨ a ti¸er ¨stripes,¨ a monkey
¨Mr. Lon¸ Tall,¨ a vulture ¨hald-head,¨ a Buddhist monk ¨the yellow one,¨ and sea-spirits
¨thin¸ummies.¨ Smallpox in many places is termed ¨the complaint ol the ¸ood lolk.¨ The
mention ol the real name may attract the capricious attention ol the lords ol the sea, the spirit ol
a disease, a human ¸host, a kin¸, a mammal or a mother-in-law. it may also lri¸hten away such
elusive thin¸s as ore in a mine or camphor in a tree. So on a tin-mine the ore must he called
¨¸rass-seed ¨ and the metal ¨white stone.¨ Collectors ol camphor use an elahorate tahu vocahulary
ol ahori¸inal, rare and artilicial words. the hamhoo is called ¨the drooper,¨ hananas ¨the lruit in
rows,¨ hees ¨seeds on hranches,¨ hlood ¨sap,¨ a cat ¨the kitchen ti¸er,¨ a lire-lly ¨a torch lor the
eyes,¨ the nose ¨the smeller,¨ the jaws ¨the chewers,¨ a hed ¨the cuddlin¸ place,¨ and so on. Not
only is the name ol camphor itsell avoided, hut no words are uttered which mi¸ht lead the tree
to suspect that Malays were in search ol its treasures. So human in an¸er and lear are trees and
minerals and heasts.
Ior there is no dillerence hetween the soul ol man and the soul ol heasts and plants and ohjects.
As the soul ol man can take the lorm ol insect or hird, it is easy to li¸ure him re-incarnated in
animal lorm. The deer was a man who died ol ahscess on the le¸. The ti¸er wears the stripes he
earned as a nau¸hty school-hoy. The elephants have a city where they live in the shape ol men.
Limes can he used to ahduct the soul ol an elephant as well as the soul ol a ¸irl. The solid-
casqued hornhill was a malicious son-in-law, the ar¸us pheasant once a woman. In usin¸ do¸s to
hunt deer, the ma¸ician reminds them ol that common kinship which in a Malay lolk-tale makes
the house-do¸ a littin¸ hride¸room lor his master's dau¸hter, and he ur¸es them hy promise ol
relationship or marria¸e with the quarry
BvcI onJ |e s|o|| be i|, broi|er
Doe onJ s|e s|o|| be i|, misiress.
Do¸s, like rice, are close lriends ol man and have personal names and souls.
To make it hear lruit the durian tree is heaten like a nau¸hty child. ¨There are plants to which a
particularly stron¸ soul-suhstance is attrihuted, on account ol their tou¸h vital power. Amon¸ all
Indonesians, Drocoeno iermino|is stands loremost. It is the sacred plant, which is used hy
ma¸icians in all their proceedin¸s, and whose stron¸ soul-suhstance they try to transler to man.¨
Moreover, plants, like men, have this suhstance in every part ol them. Take the tree, where wild
hees nest. Its root is called the Seated Raja, its stem the Trailin¸ Raja, its hranch the Pendent Raja,
its leal the Soarin¸ Raja-in Malay the word Raja denotes either sex. Similar names are ¸iven to the
parts ol the lime tree, and the spirits ol the parts ol the ea¸le-wood tree are called expressly
princesses. The aesthetic side ol such nomenclature is a side issue to the Malay. To the coconut
palm he ascrihes delinitely seven souls, named alter princesses whose ¨neck¨ the tapper
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¸ ¸· · - -
seizes, whose hlossom-like ¨hair¨ he rolls up, lor whose juice he holds an ivory ¨hath,¨ where the
princesses may ¨clap their hands and chase one another.¨ Like rajas and spirits, the camphor tree
is addressed with a special tahu vocahulary. Iormerly there were seven experts required to take
camphor, as there are seven midwives required to hrin¸ a raja into the world.
The camphor princess lives in the tree, which is her house. Once she was wooed in her human
lorm hy a man. When he hroke her command and recited to his ruler the ma¸ical chants his hride
had tau¸ht him, she hecame a cicada and llew up into a coconut palm. So the soul-suhstance ol a
camphor tree may appear in either shape, as the soul ol rice may appear as a ¸rasshopper or he
treated as a human hahy. The soul ol the rattan is in its tiny mimic, the stick-insect. The soul-
suhstance ol ea¸le-wood, the coconut palm and ol man is conceived as a hird. Therelore, souls are
summoned hy the hurrin¸ call ol the housewile to her chicken, and rice is sprinkled over a man
to retain his soul in his hody. Stress was laid rather on the soul's power ol lli¸ht than on any
delinition ol this symhol until the Malay philolo¸ist studyin¸ the Muslim cosmo¸ony discovered
the soul in the NvriMv|ommoJ (the Radiance ol Muhammad) and identilied the hird in his
hosom as the Prophet's parrot (nvri Mv|ommoJ)'
The llutter ol the heart, the vital spark in the lirelly, the stridulous tele¸raphy ol the cicada in a
tree, the rustlin¸ lli¸ht ol a hird lrom its hranches, an uncanny likeness and the anthropomorphic
learnin¸s ol men explain the ori¸in ol these conceptions. Possihly association ol colour has led to
the soul ol tin-ore hein¸ detected in the hullalo and the soul ol ¸old in the harkin¸ deer, an
animal olten descrihed in Malay romance as ¸olden and stamped on the ohverse ol the tiny ¸old
Jinor minted in Kelantan. A Besisi le¸end speaks ol a hri¸ht snake with seven souls in the lorm ol
iridescent rainhows. The ascription ol seven souls to men and trees, when the soul-suhstance has
so many hosts and so many shapes, is a moderate estimate hased on the worldwide re¸ard lor the
numher seven.
In Ne¸ri Semhilan the soul ol a house is said to appear as a cricket. The Patani lishermen think
that even a hoat has an individual soul (mo,o), ¸enerally invisihle, to keep it lrom dissolution. It is
lucky to hear the chirpin¸ sound ol this soul. It is luckier still to see the soul. That ol a du¸-out
manilests itsell as a lire-lly, that ol a lar¸e hoat as a snake, that ol a ship as a person either male or
lemale accordin¸ to the qualities ol the vessel. Il ill lortune at sea reveals that the soul ol his hoat
is weak, the lisherman en¸a¸es a ma¸ician to leed it with ollerin¸s laid on each rih. There is no
soul until all planks have heen litted and the hull can he properly called a hoat. It is dan¸erous to
keep a perlect neolithic celt (which the Malay takes to he a meteorite), as it has lile and will
attract li¸htnin¸ to disappear in the llash, hut chipped or dama¸ed the stone is dead and harmless.
Hard ohjects have stron¸ soul-suhstance, ol which ma¸ic makes ¸ood use. The sick are ruhhed
with hezoar-stones. A candle-nut, a stone and an iron nail are employed hoth at the hirth ol a
child and at the takin¸ ol the rice hahy. The drinkin¸ ol water in which iron has heen put
stren¸thens an oath, lor the soul ol the metal will destroy a perjurer. Applied to the wound, the
hlades ol some da¸¸ers can extract the venom lrom a snake-hite, and the mere invocation ol
ma¸netic steel will help to join parted lovers.
IN the ma¸ic sale-¸uardin¸ rice lrom seed-time to harvest survives the primitive ritual ol the
Indonesian race. Strip away the ohvious accretions, the names ol Hindu deities, the
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¸ ¸a a - -
thin Muslim veneer, and the essence ol the ritual remains intact in Malaya to-day. It deals with
the soul-suhstance, human, animal, ve¸etahle, with the spirits ol dead ma¸icians, nature-spirits
and Iather Sky and Mother Earth. Except lor Sky and Earth the spirits invoked lack the
omnipresence and individuality ol ¸ods, hear ¸eneric names and are indelinite in numher. Their
sphere is a particular district. They inhahit the rice-lield, the thick jun¸le, the rays ol the settin¸
sun. No temples are erected in their honour. The customary and symholic rites that persuade
them to lriendly relations with man can he enacted in a lorest clearin¸, in the corner ol a rice
swamp, on the lloor ol a villa¸e harn. No shaman or priest ol Siva or Muslim elder presides. The
ma¸ician has the narrow scope ol the spirits he serves. He helon¸s to one small villa¸e or humhle
district. Olten the rites controllin¸ the ¸rowth ol rice are conducted hy an old Malay woman,
relic ol the lar distant past when man hunted and killed, and woman, the hearer ol youn¸, delved,
lendin¸ the heni¸n inlluence ol her motherhood to make crops prolilic. Amon¸ many ahori¸ines
this older custom is ohserved and the rites are celehrated not hy a man hut hy a woman, littin¸
midwile lor the rice-hahy. Still in parts ol the country a¸ricultural implements are ¸iven hy the
Malay ¸room to his hride as a weddin¸ present.
Belore startin¸ to lell a clearin¸ lor rice, the larmer takes a lump ol henzoin on a plate wrapped in
a white cloth as a present to the local ma¸ician, a survivor in Malay culture whose trust is ¨lirst in
God, next in His Prophet, and then in the ma¸icians ol old, the ancestral spirits who own the
clumps and clods ¨ ol the locality.|·| This expert recites charms over the henzoin and returns it to
the planter with traditional instructions. Iirst he is to hurn the henzoin in a hamhoo conch and
lumi¸ate his adzes and choppers, prayin¸ to the ¸uardian spirits, male and lemale, newly dead and
dead lon¸ since, to he cool and propitious. Then he is to stand erect lacin¸ eastward and look
round at the lour quarters ol the heavens, he is to notice at which quarter his hreath leels least
laint and he¸in to lell in that
|·. Except where acknowled¸ment is made to other sources, the lollowin¸ account is hased on two manuscripts
written lor me hy Perak Malay headmen twelve years a¸o. It contains certain interestin¸ details hitherto not noted in
the Peninsula.|
direction. Alter one or two hacks at the trees he must cease work lor the day.
When the time comes to hurn the clearin¸, the man ¸ets more henzoin lrom the ma¸ician,
lurni¸ates his torches, li¸hts them and cries thrice to spirits ol all sorts, Indonesian, Indian, Persian,
Arahian, to ¸ohlins with a Sanskrit name, to indi¸enous vampires, and ¸ohlins ol the soil, sayin¸
that the ma¸ician has duly inlormed them ol his desire to hurn, that he himsell has paid them due
respect, and that trustin¸ to the luck ol his instructor he hopes lor a lavourahle hreeze. Very early
in the mornin¸ alter the hurn he and his wile and children must hurry to miti¸ate the smart ol
the hall-hurnt clearin¸ with water in which are steeped cold rice lrom last ni¸ht's meal, a slice
lrom the cool heart ol a ¸ourd, and other ve¸etahle products chosen lor their natural lri¸idity or
appropriately cool names. Also a little maize should he planted. All this must he done helore
Grannie Keman¸ can ¸et up and sow rank weeds that will llourish and provide hidin¸ places lor
¸ohlin pests. Belore quittin¸ the clearin¸, one should pile and sin¸e three rows ol the unhurnt
hrushwood. Then one must ¸o home and wait three days helore completin¸ the hurn.
The next important occasion is the plantin¸ ol the rice-seed. In Perak and Kedah the time lor this
is taken lrom ohservation ol the Pleiades. ¨When at ¡.¸c a.m. or thereahouts a lew ¸rains ol rice
slip oll the palm ol the hand, the arm hein¸ outstretched and pointed at the constellation, or
when, the arm hein¸ so directed, the hracelet slides down the wrist, it is considered to he time to
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¸ ¸¸ ¸ - -
put down the rice nursery.¨ In some places the planter is ¸uided hy ohservation ol the sun,
calculatin¸ lrom the time when it is thou¸ht to he exactly overhead at noon. Others ¨keep the
seed-¸rain in store lor a certain delinite period, that varies with the character ol the ¸rain and may
he anythin¸ hetween lour and seven months.... This period ol rest is vital to the productive power
ol the seed.¨ The lloodin¸ ol some stream, the lruitin¸ ol certain trees also allord rou¸h local
indications to supply the delect ol the misleadin¸ Muhammadan lunar calendar.
A seed plot is chosen where the soil smells sweet. It is partitioned oll hy lour sticks into a square
ol a prescrihed size. Here hoth Sakai and Malays sometimes practise a method ol divination.
Water in a coconut shell and leaves are placed within the square. Il the next mornin¸ linds the
leaves undisturhed, the water unspilt and the lrame unmoved, the spot is auspicious, it remains
only to plant rice-seed in seven holes within the square as custom ordains.
A stick, il possihle ol a special kind ol wood (termed the ¨tortoise's chest¨) which has ¸rown on
an anthill, must he cut lresh on the mornin¸ ol the ceremony to make the ¨mother dihhle.¨ It
must he in len¸th thrice the span hetween a woman's thumh and rin¸-lin¸er and it must he
peeled. A match or ¨twin¨ lor the mother dihhle must also he prepared, ol any wood, unpecled,
three cuhits and three rin¸-lin¸ers lon¸. Another dihhle is selected hy the ma¸ician lrom the heap
ol dihhles hrou¸ht hy the planters. A pretty lealy shruh is ¸ot ready to make a ¨ playthin¸ ¨ lor
the seed. The leader ol the villa¸e mosque chants prayers lor all souls. Then those present least.
Next, with a white cloth ahout his head the ma¸ician squats, lacin¸ the east. The hi¸ toe ol his
ri¸ht loot is ahove the hi¸ toe ol his lelt, and he recites charms over henzoin. He lumi¸ates the
mother dihhle, her ¨match¨ and the other dihhle, and sprinkles them with rice-paste, does the
same to the other tools, and the same thrice to the earth in the middle ol the chosen square. He
holds out to the lour quarters ol heaven seven packets ol sweet rice, seven su¸ar-canes, seven
hamhoos containin¸ rice cooked in them, the Malay's most primitive cookin¸-pot, and rice
parched, yellow and white. He lilts the mother dihhle in hoth hands, holds it across his head, its
point towards the ri¸ht. Alter recitin¸ charms he holds it ahove his shoulder point to earth, and
di¸s it into the middle ol the square, withdraws it and then plants it lirm and erect in the hole.
Next he plants the twin or duplicate, and then the lealy shruh. He ties the mother dihhle, her
¨twin¨ and the shruh to¸ether with hark, and decorates the mother dihhle with a creeper whose
name denotes increase. At the loot ol the mother dihhle he sets a hamhoo containin¸ rice lrom
the lreak ears most lavoured lor the rice-hahy as certain to contain the rice soul, a rod ol iron, a
stone worn smooth in a waterlall, and three quids ol hetel. On the shruh he han¸s seven packets
ol sweet rice, seven su¸ar canes, seven kinds ol hanana, seven sorts ol jun¸le lruit, apparently to
attract and keep the seven souls ol the rice. He charms the third dihhle and, helore plantin¸ it
also hy the side ol the mother dihhle, uses it to make seven holes, sayin¸ as he makes them.
¨Peace he unto thee, Solomon, Prophet ol Allah, prince ol all the earth' I would sow rice lor seed.
I pray thee protect it lrom all dan¸er and mischance.¨
Alter lumi¸atin¸ two handluls ol rice he holds it with his ri¸ht hand ahove his lelt and sprinkles
it with cool rice-water ol the kind made lor his hurnt clearin¸ and with the rice-paste used in all
ma¸ical ceremonies. (In Ne¸ri Semhilan as he does this he recites a verse
Piceposie wii|ovi specI¹
I'|| ¿ei ¿o|J b, i|e pecI¹
I c|orm m, rice crvs|eJ onJ in eor¹
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¸ ¸¡ ¡ - -
I'|| ¿ei |v|| ¿roin wii|in i|e ,eor.)
The rice-paste is taken lrom a coconut shell (or in modern days lrom a soap-dish'), in which
there have also heen steeped a nail and husked rice. It is applied with a hrush ol herhs whose
vi¸orous ¸rowth or lucky names (¨the reviver¨, ¨the lull one¨) are calculated to henelit the seed,
hody and soul. Goin¸ to the lirst hole the ma¸ician cries. ¨Peace he unto thee, Solomon, Prophet
ol God, prince ol all the earth' Peace he unto you, ¸enies and ¸ohlins ol the soil' Peace he unto
my lather the Sky and my mother the Earth' Peace he unto you, ¸uardian lather, ¸uardian
mother' I would send my child, dau¸hter ol Princess Splendid to her mother. I would hid her sail
on the sea that is hlack, the sea that is ¸reen, the sea that is hlue, the sea that is purple. Ior six
months I send her, and in the seventh I will welcome her hack. It is not seed I plant. it is rice-
¸rain.¨ Holdin¸ his hreath, he puts the seed into the seven holes. When he releases his hreath, he
does it ¸ently and with averted lace.
The rice-paste he huries heside the mother dihhle and turns the coconut shell, its receptacle,
upside down on the surlace ol the ¸round, lumi¸atin¸ it and passin¸ a censer three times round it.
Then he rises lrom his task.
Children rush to pick the sweet ollerin¸s lrom the shruh, thou¸h one ollerin¸ at least must he
lelt on its hranches. The leader ol the mosque intones prayers in honour ol the Prophet. Men
seize the dihhles, women the seed. With shouts and lau¸hter the sexes strive to outdo one
another in speed at their respective tasks. Belore he ¸oes home the owner ol the lield removes
lrom the square the hamhoo lilled with rice. This cereal is eaten lor the evenin¸ meal hy himsell
and his lamily, hut no stran¸er may partake ol it.
Il it is dry hill rice, the seed has heen sown over the lield lrom the lirst and no transplantin¸ is
required. Il the rice is to he planted in an irri¸ated lield, the seed is sown in a nursery and lorty-
lour days later the youn¸ shoots are transplanted. That wet rice cultivation is less primitive is
perhaps shown hy the omission in many districts ol all charms at this lunction, thou¸h a¸ain
seven hunches are planted lirst, alon¸ with a hanana plant and three stems ol the Clino¸yne
¸randis, and a lence is huilt round them. (In Ne¸ri Semhilan the lollowin¸ invocation is addressed
to spirits.-
O Lon¿Ieso¹ O Lon¿Iesi¹
Spiriis o| i|e |ie|J ,e ore |ovr¹
Covniin¿ me we ore |ive¹
Hvri noi nor |orm m, c|i|J¹
BreoI |oii| onJ ,e s|o|| be siricIen
B, i|e iron i|oi is siron¿,
B, i|e mojesi, o| Po¿or Pv,on¿
(Home o| ovr ro,o| |ovse),
B, i|e i|iri, c|opiers o| i|e Çvron.
A||o| |v||i| m, cvrse¹)
Alter this preliminary rite no work is done lor the rest ol the day. On the morrow the seedlin¸s
are planted out hy women, who must neither drop the youn¸ plants nor speak. A wooden dihhle
is used in remote districts, elsewhere a dihhle with a steel point that hears the euphemistic name
ol ¨the ¸oat's hool.¨ ¨This instrument carries lrom live to nine seedlin¸s at once and is used seven
times in quick succession.¨ While each ol seven hunches ol seedlin¸s are hein¸ planted the
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¸ ¸¡ ¡ - -
ton¸ue must he ¨pressed a¸ainst the rool ol the mouth.¨ At this season a propitiatory sacrilice is
sometimes ollered to the earth spirits. Il dry rice is hein¸ cultivated, this is done ahout the time
the rice he¸ins to swell. Irom ahout the lourth month ol its ¸rowth no stran¸er may enter the
As soon as the ear has swollen lar¸e, the larmer cooks sweet rice in a hamhoo and invites the
ma¸ician, the leader ol the mosque, and other worthies to the least ol ¨splittin¸ the hamhoo.¨
Ni¸htly now ruhhish and stinkin¸ herhs are hurnt to scare evil spirits.
When the crop is ripe lor harvest, the ma¸ician has to ¨take the souls ol the rice.¨ Ior two
evenin¸s he walks round the ed¸e ol the lield, coaxin¸ and collectin¸ them. On the third he enters
the lield to search lor their host, lookin¸ ahout lor ears ol royal yellow, certain types ol lreak ear
remindin¸ one ol a veiled or lau¸hin¸ princess, ears on stalks interlaced, ears lrom stalks with a
lucky hird's nest at the root. When he has lound a suitahle host, he ties seven stalks with hark and
lihre and many coloured thread havin¸ a nail attached to it, and slips the nail into the middle ol
the hunch. Thrice helore the cuttin¸ ol the seven stalks is perlormed the ma¸ician walks round
them hiddin¸ malicious earth spirits avaunt.-
¨Gohlins ol latter days' Gohlins ol the he¸innin¸' Gohlins one hundred and ninety' Gohlins under
my leet and suhjection' Gohlins that creep into haskets and round stalks' Gohlins ol hill and
mountain and plain' Gohlins mine' Get ye hack and aside or I will curse ye.¨
Early the next mornin¸ the leader ol the mosque mounts a covered shelter in the lield and
intones prayers in honour ol the Prophet. A least lollows. When evenin¸ is ahout to lall, the
ma¸ician and an assistant and the larmer walk up to the plant chosen the day helore. A puzzle
rin¸ is carried to han¸ on the stalks. The ma¸ician, his head covered with a white cloth, draws
near. Takin¸ care lest his shadow lall on the seven stalks, he lumi¸ates them and, sprinklin¸ rice-
paste, ¸rasps them ¸in¸erly, hidin¸ in his palm a tiny hlade, whose handle is carved in the shape ol
a hird lor dis¸uise. He hows his head to the ¸round and mutters a traditional invocation.-
Sov| o| m, c|i|J, Princess Sp|enJiJ¹
I seni ,ov io ,ovr moi|er |or sia moni|s, io receive ,ov ¿rowin¿ io|| in i|e seveni|
T|e iime is |v||i||eJ, onJ I receive ,ov.
I io|J ,ov io soi| io i|e seo i|oi is b|ocI, i|e seo i|oi is ¿reen, i|e seo i|oi is b|ve,
onJ i|e seo i|oi is pvrp|e,
To i|e |onJ o| Pome, io InJio, C|ino, onJ Siom.
Now I wov|J we|come ,ov vp inio o po|oce |o||, To o broiJereJ moi onJ corpei.
I wov|J svmmon nvrses onJ |o||owers,
Svbjecis onJ so|Jiers onJ covri Ji¿niiories |or ,ovr service,
I wov|J ossemb|e |orses onJ e|ep|onis, JvcIs onJ ¿eese, bv||o|oes onJ ¿oois onJ
s|eep wii| o|| i|eir Jin.
Come, |or o|| is reoJ, I wov|J co|| ,ov |ii|er,
Sov| o| m, c|i|J, Princess Sp|enJiJ¹
Come., m, crown onJ m, ¿or|onJ, ||ower o| m, Je|i¿|i¹
I we|come ,ov vp io o po|oce|o||,
To o broiJereJ moi onJ corpei.
Sov| o| m, c|i|J, Princess Sp|enJiJ¹
Come¹ I wov|J we|come ,ov¹ For¿ei ,ovr moi|er onJ weinvrse.
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¸ ¸6 6 - -
V|iie onJ b|ocI onJ ¿reen onJ b|ve onJ pvrp|e ¿ei ,e osiJe¹
Bri¿|iness o| ¿enie onJ Jevi| be¿one¹
T|e reo| bri¿|iness is i|e bri¿|iness o| m, c|i|J.
Clearly the lour seas must symholize the hlack earth ol the newly-tilled lields, and the carpet ol
¸reen rice-plants chan¸in¸ tint lrom li¸ht to dark until the harvest.
The ma¸ician lilts his head. Skyward and all around he ¸azes lor the advent ol the rice-soul. With
the sound ol a hreeze it appears either in the lorm ol a ¸rasshopper or other insect or in the shape
ol a ¸irl, Grannie Keman¸. Il it lails at lirst to come, the repetition ol the most coaxin¸ lines ol
the invocation three times is certain to letch it. The ma¸ician holds his hreath, shuts his eyes, sets
his teeth, and with one cut severs the ears lrom the seven stalks. Like a midwile holdin¸ a new-
horn child, he puts the ears in his lap and swaddles them in a white cloth. This rice hahy he hands
to the owner ol the land to hold. He cuts seven more clusters ol ¸rain lrom round the plant
whence ¨she¨ was taken and puts them alon¸ with an e¸¸ and a ¸olden hanana into the hasket
prepared lor the hahy. The rice-hahy is cradled amon¸ hrinjal leaves, a stone and a piece ol iron,
and under a canopy ol cool creepers and hark and lihre and coloured thread. The ma¸ician smears
the seven stalks lrom which the ears were cut with clay, ¨as medicine lor their hurt lrom the
knile,¨ and hides them under nei¸hhour stalks that are whole. Then lacin¸ the east, he touches
the maimed stalks and cries.-
Ho oncesiresses w|ose rice|ie|Js s|one oi i|e comin¿ o| ovr |irsi Iin¿¹
Crow |ere, moiJens, in c|vmps¹
Esiob|is| ,ovr |ome |ere¹
I| i|e seven iiers o| |eoven ore s|oIen,
T|en on|, s|o|| m, c|i|J, Princess Sp|enJiJ, be s|oIen,
I| i|e seven |o,ers o| eori| ore s|oIen,
T|en on|, s|o|| m, c|i|J, Princess Sp|enJiJ, be s|oIen,
E|se s|o|| s|e be esiob|is|eJ os rocI, |irm os iron
From i|is wor|J vnio i|e wor|J |ereo|ier,
Esiob|is|eJ in |imbs onJ boJ, wii| |oi|er onJ moi|er.
On|, i| i|e Prop|ei be porieJ |rom A||o|
S|o|| ,ov be porieJ |rom me.
The ma¸ician kisses the rice-stalks and heads the procession carryin¸ the rice-hahy home. The
larmer is addressed as the lather ol the hahy and his wile as the mother. She and her children are
waitin¸ and, as she takes the hasket lrom her hushand, the woman exclaims.-¨Dear heart' My lile'
My child' How I have lon¸ed lor your return lrom your voya¸e' Every day ol your ahsence, every
month, all the year I've missed you. Now you've returned sale and sound' Come' Your room is
ready.¨ She kisses the rice-hahy three times. The ma¸ician lumi¸ates and sprinkles a spot lor the
cradle. Then he takes the e¸¸ out ol the cradle and hreaks it. Il there is an empty space at the top
ol the e¸¸, it is a poor omen, il at either side ol it, a ¸ood, hut il the shell is quite lull, the omen is
so ¸ood that it must he ¸reeted with an ollerin¸ ol yellow rice and a spatchcock. The e¸¸ and the
¸olden hanana must he eaten hy the larmer and his lamily, and no one else may taste them. Ior
three days the household must keep vi¸il, the lire may not he quenched, the lood in the cookin¸-
pots may not he linished, no one may ¸o down lrom the house or ascend to it. Thus all the
precautions littin¸ lor a new-horn child must he ohserved. Durin¸ the three days lollowin¸ these
hirth tahus, one small hasket ol ears a day may he reaped, and the reaper must work silently, not
¸aze around, and ¸uard a¸ainst his shadow lallin¸ on the plants as he would ¸uard a¸ainst
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¸ ¸y y - -
another's shadow lallin¸ on his own. On the seventh day reapin¸ may he¸in in earnest, hut the
yield lor that day is devoted to a least in honour ol the spirits ol dead ma¸icians, the lorehears
who have char¸e ol the district.
The rice won on the seventh day is trodden out on a mat, and winnowed in a sieve. Then the
¸rain is placed on a mat in the middle ol the ¸arden alon¸ with hrinjal leaves, a stone lrom a
waterlall, an iron nail, a candle-nut, three cockle-shells, a creeper and the inverted rattan stand ol
a cookin¸-pot on which is put a coconut shell lull ol water (to quench the thirst ol the parchin¸
¸rain). Around this stand the ¸rain is spread, nor may it he lelt unwatched until the sun has dried
In some parts ol the Peninsula there is a ¨harvest dance that lorms part ol the procedure ol
¸atherin¸ in the rice. The perlormers are a hand ol some lilteen or twenty youn¸ children, hoth
hoys and ¸irls, who carry winnowin¸-sieves and other tools ol the harvester. The troop is invited
lorward hy an old woman takin¸ up her position on the threshin¸ screen and sin¸in¸ to the
children, who respond hy dancin¸ and puttin¸ questions lor the old lady to answer in verse.
When the spectators are weary ol the dancin¸ and sin¸in¸ the perlormance is hrou¸ht to an end
in the lollowin¸ very curious way. The ¸irl-leader ol the children's chorus sin¸s a verse that
purports to he a charm ' makin¸ all thin¸s hrittle.' Havin¸ done so (douhtless with the idea ol
makin¸ the threshin¸ easier) she leads her hand ol dancers to the screen hy way ol testin¸ the
ellicacy ol the ma¸ic. The children tramp and stamp on the screen, and when a lath has shown its
hrittleness hy hreakin¸, the charm is supposed to have done its work and the dance ends.¨
The next process is to pound the rice in a wooden mortar. A¸ain the mortar must he hun¸ with
hark, hlack lihre, coloured thread and cool-named leaves. Allah and the Prophet are invoked. The
pestle crushes the ¸rain slowly three, live or seven times, and then may work at ordinary speed.
The rice crushed, the ¨eldest child ol the year,¨ is cooked in a spray-hun¸ pot and eaten at a least.
The last and hi¸¸est least ol the rice year is ¨the Malay harvest home. Each planter keeps open
house in turn, when all his lriends come to help him tread out his ¸rain. Even the reverend elders
assume lor the time the manner ol children and verses are handied with the ¸entle licence
characteristic ol Malay junketin¸s.¨ Games, theatricals (and lormerly hullalo-li¸hts) lormed part
ol the celehrations. Tithes are paid to the mosque and lees to the ma¸ician.
The ma¸ician presides over the lirst storin¸ ol the ¸rain in the harn. A¸ain, hrinjal leaves, a stone
lrom a waterlall, a piece ol iron, a candle-nut or hetter three candle-nuts, a plant with a line
healthy name, three cockle-shells, a piece ol torch, all covered with the ancestral rice-measure
and the measure covered with the rattan stand ol a cookin¸-pot hun¸ with hark and lihre and
coloured thread-on these solid soul-stren¸thenin¸ loundations he pours the ¸rain lrom the three
hasketluls ol rice cut near the sheal whence the rice-hahy was taken. The shepherd ol souls has
perlormed his linal task and the remainder ol the ¸rain is lelt lor the larmer to pile.
Some ol the ears that ¸o to make up the rice-hahy will he mixed with next year's seed and some
with next year's ma¸ic rice-paste used at all lunctions hy the Malay ma¸ician.
This account ol the ritual ol the rice-year in the Malay Peninsula can he supplemented lrom
other sources. Nearly a century a¸o in Province Wellesley the seed was twice measured helore
hein¸ sown in the nursery ¨in order to ascertain that none had escaped preternaturally.¨ There,
too, sometimes seven stalks were cut lor the rice-hahy, sometimes two only, a male and a
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¸ ¸8 8 - -
lemale, on each side ol which a ¸old or silver rin¸ was tied helore they were wrapped to¸ether in
a white cloth. The most notahle point in the Perak account is that the larmer and his wile are
re¸arded as the lather and mother ol the rice-soul. In Malacca the sheal lrom which the hahy is
cut is called the mother, treated like a woman alter childhirth and reaped hy the larmer's wile. In
ancient Greece there was conlusion as to the moment when Demeter, the corn-mother, chan¸ed
into Persephone, the corn-dau¸hter, and in many other countries the hucolic mind has ¸lozed
over this dilliculty.
The charmin¸ ol hatchets, the dihhle cut lrom a special tree likely hy sympathetic ma¸ic to
inlluence the quality ol the rice-plant, the dihhlin¸ ol seven holes in a special plot, the holidays
prescrihed alter lellin¸ and sowin¸ and reapin¸, the seven ears lor the rice-soul, the various
communal leasts throu¸hout the rice-year, all these are lound amon¸ the Proto-Malay trihes ol
In Ne¸ri Semhilan, where matrilineal custom lau¸hs at the proscriptions ol Islam, ¸irls and men
handy Malay ponivn, hall verse hall riddle, one with another as they work in the lields.
Comparison with plantin¸ rites in other lands has su¸¸ested that riddles are a survival ol a tahu
lan¸ua¸e, employed not to lri¸hten the soul ol a cereal hy direct relerence to the processes ol
The symholism ol the ritual will he clear to any one who has ¸rasped the primitive Malay notion
ol the soul. The soul ol the rice in the lield is ol the same stull that villa¸ers' are made ol and,
li¸ured in anthropomorphic lorm, is treated with the care lavished on a new-horn child.
The reco¸nition hy the animist ol souls that may inhahit stock or stone, man or plant, and quit its
host to assume the shape ol ti¸er, ¸rasshopper or ¸irl, leads naturally to heliel in disemhodied
spirits that may enter man and make him sick, enter drum or stone and make it a letish, and act
as capriciously as animals or human hein¸s. The idea ol the survival ol the soul apart lrom the
hody leads also to the worship ol ancestors. So in the ritual ol the rice-lield there is continual
relerence to ancestral spirits and ¸ohlins ol the soil, the hill, the plain. Accordin¸ly, every three or
lour years helore clearin¸ their lields lor plantin¸ Malay hushandmen have a mock-comhat to
expel evil spirits. Sometimes hanana stems are the weapons wielded. Sometimes the two
opposin¸ parties hurl thin rods with pared llat ends like that ol an old-lashioned stethoscope
across a ¸ully until a hlow makes the lace ol one ol the comhatants hleed and ends the lray. It has
heen su¸¸ested that ori¸inally one ol the parties in such mimic hattles represented the lorces ol
evil. In Ne¸ri Semhilan the ma¸ician opens the proceedin¸s with this conjuration.-
In i|e nome o| A||o|, i|e Merci|v|, i|e Compossionoie¹
Ancesiors i|oi in|obii i|e |o,ers o| i|e eori|¹
Cenies o| i|e soi|¹ IJo|s o| iron¹
Cei ,e osiJe, ¿enies onJ Jevi|s¹
MoIe wo, |or i|e mi¿|i o| A||o|¹
Yov w|o i|rvsi vp io peer
Bow Jown, |or os o ii¿er I poss b,.
Cenies onJ Jevi|s onJ ¿ob|ins¹
Tresposs noi w|ere A||o| |oi| |orbiJJen,
E|se ore ,e iroiiors io Him w|ose Bein¿ eaisis o| necessii,.
I Inow i|e ori¿in w|ence ,e spron¿.
From i|e soi| o| Movni Merv ,e were born,
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¸ ¸q q - -
In i|e c|ovJs, co||eJ i|e Beovii|v| Bi||ow, Ones¹
In i|e sI,, i|e PenJeni Ones¹
In i|e |i¿iree, i|e Peerers¹
In i|e woier, i|e Crow|ers¹
In i|e poi|s, i|e UpSiicIers¹
I |ove A||o|'s monJoie¹
His Prop|ei is m, prop.
T|e recorJin¿ on¿e|s |i¿|i |or me,
T|e |ovr orc|on¿e|s ore m, brei|ren,
I |ive in o |ori wii| seven wo||s o| siee|.
DescenJ on¿e|s onJ proieci me.
AnJ covse m, enemies io bow Jown,
LocIeJ be i|e ieei| onJ |eori onJ sp|een
O| o|| w|o pvrpose evi| o¿oinsi me.
I Inow i|e ori¿in o| ,e spiriis o| evi|.
Ye were sprvn¿ |rom i|e serpeni SoIiimvno¹
Mo, ,e be o|||icieJ onJ JisiresseJ,
V|en ,e ¿oze, mo, ,ovr e,es be b|inJeJ,
AnJ mo, ,ovr ¿oin¿ be s|ome|v| onJ ¿rove||in¿.
CronJsire¹ i|ov w|o Jwe||esi in bo, onJ reoc|es, vpsireom onJ Jown,
Dwe||esi on movnioin onJ in |oresi onJ on movnJ,
In rovine onJ vo||e, onJ sprin¿ onJ iree onJ rocI¹
ToIe i|, so|Jier,, i|, peop|e onJ i|, c|i|Jren
To i|e s|oJ, iree oi i|e |onJ's enJ
Ai i|e |ooi o| Movni Ko|.
Keep me |rom |orm onJ Jesirvciion
Or i|ov s|o|i be smiiien b, i|e mojesi, o| CoJ's worJ.
For CoJ onJ Mv|ommoJ onJ His soinis onJ Prop|eis
AnJ i|e on¿e|s |ori,onJ|ovr onJ i|e |ovr orc|on¿e|s
Are wii| me.
Noo|, ¿vorJion o| eori|¹
1ocob, ¿vorJion o| rocI¹
Lvjmon, ¿vorJion o| iron¹
So|omon, ¿vorJion o| o|| |ivin¿ i|in¿s¹
I crove eori|, woier, wooJ onJ sione,
A p|oce io bvi|J |ovses onJ |om|eis onJ o covnir,.
Ho¹ o|| |ivin¿ creoivres,
Ve ore o|| o| one ori¿in, o|| servonis o| CoJ¹
I| ,e |orm or Jesiro, me,
Ye s|o|| be smiiien b, i|e worJ o| CoJ,
T|e mirocv|ovs power o| Mv|ommoJ,
T|e sonciii, o| His soinis onJ prop|eis,
B, i|e |ovronJ|ori, on¿e|s,
T|e |ovr orc|on¿e|s onJ i|e i|iri, c|opiers o| i|e Çvron¹
CronJsire, sove me |rom |orm¹
I| i|, e,e o||enJ me, CoJ s|o|| b|inJ i|ee,
I| i|, |onJ mo|esi me, CoJ s|o|| breoI ii,
I| i|, |eori pvrpose evi| ioworJs me,
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡c c - -
Ii s|o|| be crvs|eJ b, i|e Aposi|e o| CoJ.
Another incantation lollows to open the doors ol the seven heavens and the seven earths.-
Cenies in|iJe| onJ Mvs|im¹
Yov onJ I ore o| one ori¿in, boi| servonis o| CoJ.
Bvi ,e ore born o| |e|||ire,
AnJ I o| i|e |i¿|i o| i|e Prop|ei
Ye ore c|i|Jren o| SoIiimvno i|e serpeni,
I om JescenJeJ |rom i|e Prop|ei AJom,
Ye ore |o||owers o| i|e Prop|ei So|omon,
I om o |o||ower o| i|e Prop|ei Mv|ommoJ.
Yov onJ I ore servonis o| CoJ.
P|o¿ve noi i|e |o||owers o| Mv|ommoJ,
E|se ,e wi|| be iroiiors io CoJ,
To His Prop|ei onJ i|e |ovr orc|on¿e|s
AnJ i|e on¿e|s |ori,onJ|ovr.
Cenies onJ Jevi|s onJ ¿ob|ins¹
Cei |ence io i|e bi¿ |eo|, iree oi i|e |onJ's enJ
Ai i|e |ooi o| Movni Ko|,
E|se ,e wi|| be iroiiors io Him w|o wos |rom i|e be¿innin¿
To CoJ's |ovse oi 1ervso|em, i|e primo| |onJ.
M, o|ior is sirewn wii| c|oJs reJ onJ b|ocI.
1inn¹ ¿ob|ins¹ |ence¹ onJ come ,e noi bocI.
This expulsion ol demons, these incantations, this relerence to an altar introduces the shaman
with his conlident control ol the spirit world, his séonces and periodical sacrilices lor the puhlic
THE main tasks ol the Siherian shaman are healin¸ and divination. His lamiliar spirit or spirits,
possessin¸ him their medium, descend at a séonce to cure the sick, avert evil, loretell the luture or
answer enquiries. By auto-su¸¸estion the shaman lalls or pretends to lall into a trance and is
possessed hy spirits who speak throu¸h his mouth. All these are leatures ol the Malay séonce,
which resemhles very closely that ol the Mon¸ol shaman even in details ol ritual. the heatin¸ ol a
tamhourine, wild sin¸in¸, the rustle and voices ol invisihle spirits, the expulsion or suckin¸ out ol
the spirit ol disease, the medium on return to consciousness ohlivious ol what has passed, the
ollerin¸s made to spirits.
Inlormation ahout the ritual ol the ahori¸inal shaman ol Malaya is scanty hut accords ¸enerally, so
lar as it ¸oes, with what mi¸ht he expected. He perlorms mostly inside a round hut or circle ol
some kind. He wears on his head a wreath ol leaves with a tult, and he carries a switch ol leaves.
Olten his hut is darkened. Invocations are chanted to the sound ol hamhoo stampers clashed on
lo¸s. One account states that the shaman strokes the evil spirit out ol a patient with his switch,
and that he shouts and shrieks to drive it into a ca¸e or network ol loops to he imprisoned hy his
ma¸ic. Perhaps this is a va¸ue description ol the lrenzy ol possession:
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡· · - -
The Malay séonce is used to cure sickness, to divine the whereahouts ol lost or stolen property, to
discover il a princess shall hear a son or what the luture holds lor a Mecca-hound pil¸rim' There
is a record ol a séonce where earth spirits were entreated to allow a sacred rhinoceros to he
hunted. The ohject ol the most lamous séonce in the history ol Perak remains ohscure. Either it
was to enquire lrom the spirits ol the State il a plot a¸ainst the British Resident would succeed or
to ask their leave and help to take his lile.
Sir Irank Swettenham has descrihed how a spirit-raisin¸ séonce was conducted hy a royal lemale
shaman durin¸ the illness ol a ruler ol Perak some thirty years a¸o. The ma¸ician, dressed like a
man, sat with veiled head helore a taper, in her ri¸ht hand a sheal ol ¸rass cut square at top and
hottom. This sheal she took convulsively. The taper llared, a si¸nal that the spirit invoked was
enterin¸ the candle. The ma¸ician, now supposed to he in a trance, howed to the taper ¨and to
each male memher ol the rei¸nin¸ lamily present'¨ Alter many spirits had heen invoked, the sick
raja was hrou¸ht out and seated on a sixteen-sided stand (an improvement on the douhle
pentacle called Solomon's seat) to await, with shrouded head and a square hunch ol ¸rass in his
hand, the advent ol the spirits ol the State. Conducted hack to hed, His Hi¸hness lell later into a
swoon attrihuted to possession hy those spirits' At this royal séonce the ma¸ician's dau¸hter led
an orchestra ol ¨live or six ¸irls holdin¸ native drums, instruments with a skin stretched over one
side only¨ and heaten with the lin¸ers.
At a humhler séonce held in Perak there was only one musician, the shaman's wile, a ¨wild-
lookin¸ Moenad.¨ Her hushand held a hunch ol leaves in either hand. The musician heat a one-
sided drum and screamed out interminahle chants. Her hushand he¸an to nod drowsily, snilled at
his leaves, waved them over his head, struck them to¸ether, and hecame possessed ol the
shaman's usual lamiliar, a ti¸er-spirit, as shown hy ¸rowls and snillin¸ and crawlin¸ under a mat.
Between the incantations he accepted a ci¸arette and talked to the patient's lamily, usin¸,
however, an ahori¸inal Sakai dialect. Possessed a¸ain ol the ti¸er-spirit he executed weird dances
and sprinkled the sullerer with rice-paste. Iinally his ti¸er-spirit identilied as the cause ol the
patient's illness a dumh vampire (Lon¿sv,or), to he expelled neither hy invocations nor the
sprinklin¸ ol ricepaste.
Another ma¸ician accompanied hy a male tamhourine-player then took his place. He held
convulsively a sin¸le sheal ol ¸rass and hecame possessed hy lour spirits in succession hut to no
purpose. Iinally hoth ma¸icians waved all evil spirits away lrom the patient on to a miniature
revolvin¸ model ol a mosque, and set it, lilled with the llesh ol a lowl and other delicacies, adrilt
upon the river.
In an account ol yet another séonce in Selan¸or, where to cure an ailment the ma¸ician hecame
possessed hy the ti¸er-spirit, it is said that the ceremony usually took place on three ni¸hts and
that the same odd numher ol persons should he present each time. Ior the reception ol the spirit
an artilicial houquet ol llowers, doves and centipedes, all made ol palm-leal, was prepared. Alter
an invocation the ma¸ician hathed himsell in incense, sullered spasmodic convulsions, spoke a
spirit lan¸ua¸e, hecame possessed, sat with shrouded head, lit tapers on the ed¸es ol three jars ol
water, and ruhhed the patient with a hezoar stone. Then donnin¸ a white coat and head-cloth, he
lumi¸ated a da¸¸er, dropped silver coins into the three jars, and ¸azed to see their position under
the three tapers, declarin¸ that it indicated the ¸ravity ol the patient's illness. Scatterin¸ handluls
ol charmed rice round the jars, he put into them improvised houquets ol areca-palm. hlossom,
and plun¸ed his da¸¸er into each houquet to dispel lurkin¸ spirits ol evil. Another sheal ol palm-
hlossom he anointed with oil and used lor strokin¸ the patient lrom head to heel. Next
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡a a - -
he was possessed hy the ti¸er-spirit, scratched, ¸rowled and licked the naked hody ol the patient.
He drew hlood lrom his own arm, with the point ol his da¸¸er and lenced with his invisihle spirit
loe. Once more he stroked the patient with the sheal ol hlossom and with his hands. A¸ain he
stahhed the houquets, stroked the patient, and alter lyin¸ still lor an interval recovered
In Perak a séonce is known as ¨possession hy spirits¨. in Kelantan as ¨the play ol the lairy
princess.¨ This Kelantan ceremony is perlormed lor three or sometimes seven ni¸hts in
succession. It is repeated alter a week or so il the sick person's condition improves. Besides the
shaman there are three musicians, one to strum on a three-strin¸ed viol, one to heat a hrass howl
with pieces ol hamhoo, one a drummer. The shaman recites a lon¸ invocation to the lour
archan¸els, the lriends ol the Prophet, the seven miracle-workers, and the lather ol all ¸enies,
explainin¸ that not he hut Luqman al-Hakim is ollerin¸ them a little rice and water and a quid ol
hetel. Next the musician with the viol chants a son¸ with an orthodox introduction hut endin¸
with an invocation to the spirits ol the villa¸e, various nature-spirits, the Spectre Huntsman and
Siva, he¸¸in¸ them to recall any ol their lollowers pla¸uin¸ the sick man. The shaman shrouds and
lumi¸ates himsell and lalls into a trance. The orchestra plays lrantically. A chant, dis¸uised hy the
phrases ol Muslim medico-reli¸ious lore, invites the spirit ol the lairy princess to enter the
medium. The shaman nods and whirls his head violently, his eyes are closed and he is possessed
hy spirit alter spirit until he has chosen the one he desires to retain. Gazin¸ at the llame ol a
candle he reports the cause ol the patient's illness. He sucks or pretends to suck the hody ol the
sick man and starts another chant lull ol pantheistic Muslim lore declarin¸ that man's hody is
God's house and no place lor spirits ol evil. This exorcism eventually translers the spirit lrom the
patient into the shaman, who has to dispel it thence with the help ol one ol his lamiliars.
Should the patient recover, a linal séonce takes place at which there is a sacrilicial ollerin¸. The
patient is hathed in charmed water lrom three jars and has three rin¸s ol thread drawn over him
lrom head to heel. ¨At Penpont, in Dumlriesshire, the emissary ol a patient, when he reached the
(holy) well, I had to draw water in a vessel which was on no account to touch the ¸round, to turn
himsell round with the sun, to throw his ollerin¸ to the spirit over his lelt shoulder, and to carry
the water without ever lookin¸ hack to the sick person. All this was to he done in ahsolute
silence, and he was to salute no one hy the way.'¨ In Pahan¸ when a Malay woman letches water
lrom the river lor a sick person's séonce, she must let it trickle into her vessel slowly without
¸ur¸lin¸, she must cover the mouth ol the lull vessel with leaves and she must not speak to any
one while carryin¸ it.
In Kelantan there are several milder lorms ol exorcism, practised hy trallickers with special
spirits, such as the nature spirits ol yellow sunsets and the echo spirits. In one, where, however,
there is no music and recitations take the place ol chants, the shaman hecomes possessed and
waves over the sullerer a leather puppet li¸ure ol Smor lrom the ¹avanese shadow-play' Il
recovery ensues, amon¸ the linal sacrilicial ollerin¸s a model ol a wayside restin¸-place is reserved
with dainties lor Siva.
The séonce to ¨revive¨ (memv|e|) the Perak re¸alia has never heen descrihed. The duties ol the
Sultan Muda or State ma¸ician were to he chiel ol all ma¸icians and to know their merits, to
attend royalty in sickness, to pay homa¸e to the ¸enies presidin¸ over the destinies ol Perak, and
to ¸ive annually a least to the spirits inhahitin¸ the re¸alia. At the séonce precedin¸ this least the
palace would he lull ol shrouded ma¸icians, each invokin¸ his or her lamiliar. The Sultan Muda
sat veiled, a hunch ol ¸rass in his hand, while the chiel musician called upon the ¸enies in
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡¸ ¸ - -
order ol precedence to descend and hrin¸ their thousand attendant spirits. ¨Come down to the
¸ate ol this world' Pass in procession to the posy, your place to ali¸ht. In your mi¸ht lies the
mi¸ht ol our Sultan. Come around, pass into the posy, your place to ali¸ht, and enter your
jewelled curtain.¨ As each spirit entered the posy, the chant ceased and the sound ol the
tamhourines was stilled.
Meanwhile some humhle musician would he cryin¸ on the ti¸er-spirit.-¨Warrior' Son ol a
warrior' Matchless in mi¸ht' Come, my lord' Come, my lile' Descend into this posy, your
ali¸htin¸ place, and pass into your jewelled curtain. Come hy the hlessin¸ ol 'Ali, the spirit who
han¸s at the door ol the sky.¨ And as the ti¸er-spirit came, the villa¸e ma¸ician who had invoked
him would turn ahout seven times and leap and ¸rowl, as his lamiliar asked why he had heen
summoned. The ma¸ician would answer.-¨You have heen invited hecause our lord has ¸ot ready a
hall and is invitin¸ the Sultan ol the Impalpahle Air and all his lollowers to a least upon the
morrow and he hopes that no harm may helall them on the way.¨ Speakin¸ throu¸h the ma¸ician,
the spirit answers.-¨It is well. I and my suhjects can he present. The had I will not hrin¸.¨ So spirit
alter spirit was raised and invited until the Sultan Muda ¸ave the si¸nal to retire.
The next mornin¸ the Sultan Muda, the Raja Kechil Muda and their tamhourine players went
with rice-paste and turmeric and censers to superintend the huildin¸ ol a nine-storeyed hall,
surmounted hy a model ol a lahulous hird, ¹atayu (ollsprin¸ ol Vishnu's Garuda) that lives on
dew. It was adorned with palm-streamers lrom which hun¸ woven hoxes ol rice, cakes, su¸ar-
cane and hananas. on the topmost tier was the severed head ol a pink hullalo, surrounded hy
water-vessels. An altar on sixteen posts was erected with ollerin¸s lor spirits not connected with
the destinies ol the State. Two hamhoo conches served to hold lood lor hun¸ry spirits ol the dead
(karamat). At dusk the Sultan Muda mounted and waved lrom the nine-storeyed hall. The others
waved heside the altar and the conches. Then the Raja Kechil Muda lell into a trance and with
shouts ascended to the mat prepared lor him. Twelve musicians heat tamhourines and chanted
invocations to the ¸enies to leave the pools and plains ol spirit-land and enter the jewelled
curtains and posies prepared lor them. Alter a rest and relreshment the ma¸icians renewed their
invocations. The tamhourines and drums ol their assistants were answered hy the thud ol all the
royal drums and the hlare ol the royal trumpets. On the ri¸ht ol the presidin¸ ma¸icians sat vir¸in
princesses holdin¸ sacrilicial ollerin¸s on their laps, on the lelt youn¸ unmarried princes
supportin¸ the re¸alia. Then the two chiel ma¸icians did oheisance to the re¸alia, ollered
delicacies to ¨the thousand ¸cnies¨ and poured upon the royal drums and into the royal trumpets
drink, which vanished miraculously as thou¸h imhihed. Iinally, towards dawn the Sultan Muda
and his ma¸icians letched the ruler ol the State, and hathin¸ His Hi¸hness hathed in his sacred
person the ¸enies that presided over the destinies ol his kin¸dom.
In Kelantan also when a least was prepared to propitiate the spirits ol a district or to hanish evil
spirits lrom the countryside a séonce lormed part ol the ritual.
Exactly how the spirits visit the medium is not expressly stated. They enter the llame ol candles
and cause them to llicker. At the installation ol a Sultan ol Perak the ¸uardian ¸enies ol the State
may inhahit the State sword and make it press upon the ruler's shoulder. In the re¸alia ritual they
are invited to descend on posies (jinjon¿ mo|oi), perhaps llowers stuck hehind the ear ol the
ma¸ician, as the yellow c|empoIo hlossom is still stuck hehind the ear ol a ruler at his installation.
The convulsive shakin¸ ol the shaman's ¸rass switch may indicate that they enter there. Sweet
jasmine attracts them. A Perak chiel, who knew how to make lrom the shroud and collin ol a
murdered man powder renderin¸ spirits visihle, enahled a lriend at a séonce to see two
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡¡ ¡ - -
women with streamin¸ hair descend throu¸h the rool and ali¸ht on the llower-vase, the artilicial
¸arden prepared lor their advent'
All the evidence points to the make-helieve ol the Malay shaman's trance. One ma¸ician
possessed hy a spirit rememhers court etiquette sulliciently to how to memhers ol the royal
lamily, and lalls down helore a dish-cover the si¸ht ol which was anathema to the spirit
possessin¸ her. Another toothless shaman asked why the hetel-nut has not heen pounded, as the
¸enie possessin¸ him is stricken with years. One possessed hy a lemale spirit impersonates a
woman in his ¸ait, and hy arran¸in¸ his dress to suit the part is said to cause amusement to the
spectators. Another showed an anxious hushand a hollow hamhoo stopped up at either end.
¨Therein he declared, recovered hy his ma¸ic, was hair and a lin¸ernail ol my wile, which some
enemy had stolen. On no account was the hamhoo to he opened. But I was unhelievin¸, risked
the harm which old lolks prophesied and hroke the seals. Now my wile's hair was line as silk and
this was as coarse as the hair ol a horse's tail, my wile's lin¸er-nail was curved like the youn¸
moon and delicate as pearl, and this nail was thick as the nail on a man's thumh. It is a pity the
white man has not made a law to clap such ro¸ues in ¸aol, hut they shall he shut in Allah's ¸aol
herealter, which is much worse.¨
There are parallels to the indication hy a lamiliar ol this cause ol a disease, hut the two related to
me were hoth examples ol a shaman's ro¸uery. As a rule the ohject ol a séonce lor the sick is to
expel or coax an evil spirit out ol the sullerer's hody, sometimes into the shaman's own hut
usually on to a receptacle containin¸ lood.
AT ¨the primitive annual nocturnal rite¨ ol leastin¸ the spirits ol the re¸alia and State ol Perak
the head ol a pink hullalo was set on the topmost tier ol the altar, the royal princesses held hits
ol the sacrilice on their laps, and there was a least on the spot while drink was hein¸ poured upon
the royal drums and trumpets. The ceremony recalls Westermarck's theory that the ori¸in ol
sacrilice was the idea that supernatural hein¸s, havin¸ human wants and human needs, mi¸ht
suller privation and hecome leehle il ollerin¸s were not made to them. This account ol an annual
least to the ¸uardian spirits ol a Malay State can he supplemented hy records ol parallel rituals to
propitiate henelicent spirits and expel evil inlluences lrom State, district and sick men.
One account ol the ritual to least the spirits ol a district comes lrom Upper Perak. When the
people ol the place are a¸reed as to the time ol the celehration, each hrin¸s a measure ol rice and
two coconuts. Candles are lit and the shaman hurns incense, invokin¸ it as ¨horn ol the hrain ol
Muhammad, the hreath ol his spiritual lile¨' Next he calls upon ¨the ancestor spirits, ¸enies and
¸ohlins to whom the earth and water ol the district helon¸,¨ and inlorms them that he is
slau¸hterin¸ a pink hullalo, without hlemish and with horns the size ol a man's closed list, in
order to invite the countryside to a least. He prays that they may cherish all lrom dan¸er and
hurt. The hullalo is slau¸htered and its hlood cau¸ht in a hamhoo. The shaman removes and sets
aside nose, eyes, ears, mouth, hooves, le¸s and shoulders, ton¸ue, tall, heart and liver,
representative ol every part ol the hody. Irom the llesh ol the carcase seven kinds ol lood are
prepared, soused, lried, hoiled, toasted, and so on, and one portion is lelt raw. In ancient China,
also, ollerin¸s were ¨ol hlood, ol raw llesh and ol sodden llesh.¨ A lour-sided seven-tiered altar is
huilt ol palm stems. On the topmost tier are placed the hlood ol the hullalo, the pieces ol the
carcase set aside hy the shaman, the seven kinds ol meat, seven cooked and seven raw e¸¸s,
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡¡ ¡ - -
and seven vessels ol water. On the live central tiers are spread sweetmeats, on the lowest tier
twenty-live ci¸arettes and twenty-live quids ol hetel. The lood not ollered on the altar is eaten
hy those present. Il there is a surplus, it may not he removed. those who wish to eat it must
resort to the spot on the lollowin¸ day. At dusk the Muslim audience depart, all except the
shaman and one or two hardy assistants. Circumamhulatin¸ the altar, Malaya's primitive celehrant
then invoked the spirits to the least and summoned them hy hurnin¸ incense and wavin¸ a white
cloth. Seven times he cried hail to the spirits and then went away. Ior seven days no stran¸er
mi¸ht enter the parish, no one mi¸ht throw anythin¸ into it or take anythin¸ lorth, no one mi¸ht
use ahusive lan¸ua¸e or cause leal or hranch to wither.
In this and the Perak re¸alia least have survived the elements ol one ol the world's oldest
ceremonies. the victim without spot, the least in which all partake helore the altar, the hlood that
is not lelt to lall upon the ¸round, the ollerin¸ that must he utterly consumed and that no
stran¸er may approach, the celehration hy ni¸ht or helore dawn. Decay has marred the ritual. The
Upper Perak ceremony the Muslim villa¸ers re¸ard as an occasion lor junketin¸ and, alraid or
ashamed to he present, depart helore the most tremendous moment has arrived. A¸ain, it is not a
totem hut spirits who are approached, nature-spirits, spirits ol the dead, Arahian ¸enies and the
Prophet addressed as a shaman' Upon them all the celehrant cries the peace ol Allah.
In the re¸alia ritual there are lour altars or receptacles lor the sacrilice, and their modern
si¸nilicance is explained. In Kelantan, too, when a sick person recovers alter the ¨play ol the
princess,¨ it is the custom to oller a sacrilice on lour altars or receptacles. On the model ol a
square live-storeyed platlorm are placed ¨lish-a hit ol skate, ol shark, a crah, a prawn, llesh-pieces
ol chicken, duck, ¸oat and heel, hoth cooked and raw, ve¸etahles-various, hoth cooked and
uncooked, hoiled rice ol seven dillerent colours, two kinds ol intoxicatin¸ liquors (arrack and
toddy), some hananas, various kinds ol cake, the hlood ol a lowl, and parched rice. . . . . One silver
dollar is placed on each storey.¨ This money is intended lor ¨ the princess.¨ Three tiny collections
ol the same thin¸s in miniature, with a silver dollar to each, are put, one on a square mat, another
into a cradle-shaped hasket termed ¨the raja's hall,¨ and the third upon a little platlorm hall way
up a hamhoo splayed into a conch. The princess descends and proceeds to taste the ollerin¸s,
he¸innin¸ with those on the small mat, ¸oin¸ next to the model platlorm, and endin¸ at the
cradle-like hasket. The model platlorm is taken to the nei¸hhourin¸ jun¸le and lelt there, hut the
small mat and the cradle, hoth desi¸nedly appropriate lor the princess, are kept in the villa¸e lor a
lew days'. The llat platlorm and the hamhoo posts splayed into conches may possihly he
connected with the widespread evolution ol the altar proper and the idol, developed lrom a post
or monolith heside the altar on which the sacred hlood ol the totem was splashed to keep it oll
the ¸round. In Polynesia, also, ¨heside the lar¸er temple altars there were smaller altars some
resemhlin¸ a small round tahle, supported hy a sin¸le post lixed in the ¸round. occasionally the
carcase ol the ho¸ presented in sacrilice was placed on the lar¸e altar, while the heart and some
other internal parts were laid on the smaller.¨
Eatin¸ to¸ether marks the trihal hond amon¸ Malays. In Ne¸ri Semhilan a newly elected chiel
invites all his people, men, women and children, ¨the cocks that lay not e¸¸s, the hens that cackle
and the chicks that chirp,¨ to a puhlic least called ¨the sprinklin¸ ol the hroken ¸rain.¨ He
sprinkles the ¸rain as a symhol ol ¸atherin¸ them under his win¸, and the hond ol trihal unity is
acknowled¸ed in old-world sentences.-¨To¸ether we skin the heart ol the elephant, to¸ether dip
the heart ol the louse. What we drop is common loss. what we ¸ain is common prolit.¨ No one
can slau¸hter a hullalo without permission ol the trihal chiel. No trihal chiel can reluse to he
present at a least lor which a hullalo is slau¸htered. the heart, the liver, and a slice
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡6 6 - -
oll the rump are his perquisites. A hullalo (never an Indian hull or cow) is slau¸htered at all hi¸
Malay leasts, secular, ma¸ical or Muslim. At certain secular lestivals the animal is caparisoned
with cloth and has round its neck the three-tiered ¸old ornament, modelled alter its horns and
worn at weddin¸s. The Yamtuan or overlord ol Ne¸ri Semhilan used to claim all hullaloes with
ahnormal horns as perquisites ol royalty. To spirits a pink hullalo must he ollered. The rool-trees
ol the Bataks, a Proto-Malay people ol Sumatra, are decorated with hullalo-horns. This domestic
animal was imported into the Malayan re¸ion a¸es a¸o lrom India.
In ceremonies conducted to coax away patently malelicent spirits, the risk ol a hond hetween the
spirits and their propitiators, il hoth partook ol the same sacrilicial meal, seems to he consciously
shunned. A hanana-leal tray or model house or hoat is olten lilled with ollerin¸s lor the spirits
pla¸uin¸ a sick Malay, and hun¸ up in the jun¸le or set adrilt on the river to hear them away.
Amon¸ the ollerin¸s on one such tray was ohserved a laked quid, the hetelnut replaced hy
nutme¸, the ¸amhier hy mace, and the lime hy oil. But the quid prepared alon¸ with it to he
chewed and ejected hy the ma¸ician upon the patient's hack was ¸enuine. A¸ain, there is a
notahle record lrom Selan¸or ol a wave ollerin¸ lor a sick Malay. A han¸in¸ lrame-work or tray
was lilled with the usual three kinds ol rice, parched, sallron and washed, an e¸¸, hananas lrom
one comh, pieces ol uncooked llesh makin¸ up a whole lowl. The hlood ol the lowls was placed
in one ol live miniature palm-spathe huckets, two ol the other lour containin¸ water and two the
juice ol cane. Iive waxen tapers were placed on the tray and li¸hted to ¸uide the spirits to their
meals, and live li¸hted ci¸arettes lor them were added. The tray was waved slowly ahove the
patient, waved seven times helore him, held lor him to spit on, and carried out and hun¸ lrom a
tree in the jun¸le. It is si¸nilicant that the cooked and uncooked llesh each made up a whole lowl
and that all the hananas were plucked lrom one comh. No meal was taken hy those present.
The precaution not to eat ol the lood presented to spirits is not however ohserved in the ritual to
¨cleanse¨ a country or district. Perhaps like the coconut, hetel and ci¸arette ollered outside a
villa¸e quarantined lor smallpox, the hullaloes sacriliced at the cleansin¸ ol a countryside are
ollered not to malelicent spirits hut to the spirits invoked to comhat them. Until recent years
Perak used to he ¨cleansed¨ periodically hy the propitiation ol lriendly spirits and the expulsion
ol mali¸nant inlluences.-¨The main line ol development in ritual is lrom the propitiation or
insulation ol evil inlluences to the conciliation ol henelicent powers.¨ The royal state shaman, his
royal assistant, and the chiel ma¸icians lrom the river parishes assemhled at a villa¸e at the loot ol
the rapids helow which the hahitations ol Perak Malays he¸an. Séonces occupied seven days. A
pink hullalo was killed and a least was held. The head and other pieces ol the victim were piled
on one ol the ralts, which then set out down-stream. The lour leadin¸ ralts were prepared lor the
lour ¸reat classes ol spirits and were manned hy their appropriate ma¸icians. The loremost ralt
carried a hranchin¸ tree, erect and supported hy stays, and was lor the shaman's lamiliars. The
lilth ralt hore Muslim elders' Next came the royal hand with its sacred drums and trumpets, and
then the Raja Kechil Muda (the title ol the assistant State shaman) and his lollowers. As they
lloated down the river, the ma¸icians waved white cloths and invoked the spirits ol the districts
passed to come ahoard and consume the ollerin¸s. Whenever they reached a mosque, they halted
lor one ni¸ht while a séonce was held and the villa¸ers slau¸htered a hullalo, placin¸ its head on
one ol the spirit ralts and eatin¸ the rest ol the carcase. At the mouth ol the river the ralts were
ahandoned and allowed to drilt to sea. The State shaman did not accompany the procession
downstream, leavin¸ the escort ol the spirit ralts with their ¸risly lrei¸ht to his assistant. So, too,
the ma¸icians ol the dillerent parishes ol the river-hanks stayed hehind in turn, each ol them
supplyin¸ a suhstitute to ¸o downstream with the assistant State shaman.
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡y y - -
In Kelantan a similar ceremony took seven days and seven ni¸hts, pink hullaloes were sacriliced,
and the shaman conducted the séonce called ¨the play ol the princess.¨
The communal sacrilices lor state or district descrihed in this chapter all lollow a shaman's séonce
and may he surmised to he part ol the most primitive ritual in Malaya. They reveal the early
attitude ol the Malay mind towards sacrilice. With human wants, kind spirits may hecome leehle
throu¸h hun¸er. With human weakness and lallihility, evil spirits will desert a person or country
lor ollerin¸s ol lood and he decoyed hy ¸reed on to waste waters. The partakin¸ ol a sacrilice
estahlishes communion. It is necessary therelore to eat ol the ollerin¸ to lriendly spirits. Iood
ollered to spirits ol disease one should he chary ol tastin¸. By a ¸ilt, as in the shaman's invocations
a sacrilice is so olten termed, spirits can he conciliated. Iinally, when a patient recovers there is
the ollerin¸ to the spirits lor their henelicence, actuated no douht hy lear ol punishment lor
omission hut containin¸ also the ¸erm ol the lreewill sacrilice ol ¸ratitude.
Sacrilices were made to spirits either at the uncertain times ol epidemics or at periods more or
less delined. The sacrilice to revive the spirits ol the Perak re¸alia was annual. The ¨cleansin¸¨ ol
the States ol Perak and Kelantan is said to have heen triennial. One account indeed states that
Perak was cleansed once in seven years or once in a Sultan's rei¸n, hut this is prohahly a native
explanation ol the ¸radual lapse ol the custom. The ritual to least the spirits ol the Upper Perak
district took place ¨when the ¸rain in the rice-lields was he¸innin¸ to swell.¨ In most places
where rice is ¸rown elahorate propitiatory ceremonies ol a communal character are celehrated in
the sprin¸ ol every third or lourth year.
To protect the soul-suhstance ol his staple lood-plant the Malay peasant, conservative as
a¸riculturists all the world over, is content with the primitive ritual ol the animist, covered lor
decency's sake with a thin veneer ol his later reli¸ions. Courts and ports, where new laiths lirst
lound acceptance, are more open to liheral inlluences, and to sale¸uard the hody and soul ol man
the Malay has added to the practices ol the animist all the ma¸ic that Hindu and Muslim could
teach him. Like all primitive peoples, he helieves that evil spirits are especially active on the
ahnormal occasions ol lile, so that hirth, puherty and marria¸e are invested with the most lavish
ceremonial. Ior the dead he accepts Muhammadan rites almost unalloyed.
As soon as a Malay woman is with child, she and her hushand have to ohserve certain rules and
ahstentions, so that no vampire may injure the expectant mother, no prenatal inlluence allect the
unhorn, and nothin¸ impede or mar a sale delivery.
To lrustrate evil spirits the woman must carry a knile or iron ol some sort as a talisman,
whenever she ventures ahroad. Il her hushand stir out ol his house alter dark, he may not return
direct hut must visit a nei¸hhour's house lirst to put any chance vampire lollowin¸ him oll the
scent. At the time ol an eclipse when spirits prowl, the woman must hide under the shell in the
kitchen, armed with a wooden spoon and wearin¸ as a helmet ol repulsion the rattan hasket-
stand that is used lor the hase purpose ol supportin¸ the round-hottomed cookin¸ pots. Every
Iriday she must hathe with limes, a lruit distastelul to devils, and drink the water that drops oll
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡8 8 - -
the ends ol her tresses.
To avert untoward prenatal inlluences ¸reat circumspection is required. In the event ol an eclipse
the Malacca or Sin¸apore woman will hathe under the house-ladder, so that she may not ¸ive
hirth to a parti-coloured child, hall hlack hall white. Il a Malay hushand hlinds a hird or lractures
the win¸ ol a lowl, his ollsprin¸ runs the risk ol hein¸ horn si¸htless or with a delormed arm. As
this last prohihition would involve a ve¸etarian diet in humhle homes, modern hushands ¸et over
it hy the convenient liction that, il the death ol an animal is compassed deliherately, there is no
startlin¸ ol the child in the womh and so no lear ol harm. Belore the end ol the sixth month,
when the loetus acquires personality, and especially helore the third month, the Patani hushand
may not even cut down a creeper, and il he slits the mouth ol a lish to remove a hook, the child
will have a hare-lip.
At a Perak house where there is a pre¸nant woman, no one may enter hy the lront door and pass
out at the hack or contrariwise, prohahly hecause there is one exit only lrom the womh, the
house ol hirth. Guests may not remain only one ni¸ht, perhaps hecause any lorm ol hurry is likely
to induce miscarria¸e. Neither hushand nor wile may sit at the top ol their house-ladder, a rule
wide-spread in the Malay Archipela¸o, lor any hlockin¸ ol a passa¸e protracts delivery. An
unplaned house-pillar indented hy the pressure ol a parasitic creeper that twined round it when it
was a livin¸ tree will exercise a like ohstructive inlluence. Alter the en¸a¸ement ol the midwile
in the seventh month, the Malay hushand (like the Brahmin) may not have his hair cut, lor lear
the alterhirth hreak.
In Upper Perak another rite precedes the customary lustration in the seventh month ol a lirst
pre¸nancy. Apparently it is an example ol imitative ma¸ic, desi¸ned to lacilitate delivery. A palm-
hlossom is swathed to represent a hahy with a child's hrooch on the hosom. This doll, adorned
with llowers, is laid on a tray and the tray placed in a cradle made ol three, live or seven layers ol
cloth accordin¸ to the rank ol the prospective parents. Midwile and ma¸ician sprinkle rice-paste
on doll and cradle. The midwile rocks the cradle, croonin¸ hahy son¸s. Then she ¸ives the doll to
the luture mother and lather and all their relatives to dandle. Iinally the doll is put hack into the
cradle and lelt there till the next day, when it is hroken up and thrown into water.
Everywhere when a woman has ¸one seven months with her lirst child there is perlormed a
ceremony, ohserved also hy Indian Muslims. In Malaya, today, it is he¸un with chants in praise ol
the Prophet. Next mornin¸ hushand and wile, arrayed in holiday attire, are escorted down to the
river. Incense is hurnt. Toasted, sallron and white rice and a coolin¸ rice-paste are sprinkled as at
every momentous husiness ol Malay lile, at seed-time and harvest, at hirth, at the shavin¸ ol a
child's head, at circumcision, in sickness, on return lrom a lon¸ journey, at a chiel's installation, at
a warrior's preparation lor hattle. Now it is sprinkled on water lor lustration. The couple are
hathed, a white cloth is stretched ahove their heads, coconut palms are waved over them seven
times, and they are drenched with water specially charmed to avert evil and procure wellhein¸, as
at the lustration alter marria¸e. Two candles are lit and carried thrice ahout their heads, and they
must lace the li¸ht with direct ¸lances to avoid any chance ol their child hein¸ squint-eyed. Then
the procession returns to the house, where the couple sit to¸ether in state as at a weddin¸. Shawls
are spread on the lloor (seven il the patient is a raja), and the expectant mother lies on her hack
with the shawls under her waist. The midwile seizes the ends ol the lirst shawl and rocks the
woman slowly as in a hammock, removes it, seizes the ends ol the next shawl and repeats the
perlormance seven times. Amon¸ the presents ¸iven to the midwile as her retainin¸ lee on this
occasion is a hetel-tray. The contents ol this she empties. il all ol them drop to¸ether, it is a
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡q q - -
si¸n that delivery will he easy. In Ne¸ri Semhilan hetel-nuts are cut into pieces and thrown like
dice, inlerences hein¸ drawn as to the sex ol the unhorn child accordin¸ as more llat or rounded
surlaces lie uppermost.
The ma¸ician ¨chooses an auspicious place lor the hirth and surrounds it with thorns, nets, rays'
tails, hees' nests, dolls, hitter herhs and a rattan cookin¸-pot stand, to keep the spirits ol evil lrom
molestin¸ mother and child in the perilous hour ol their weakness. He selects the suitahle spot hy
droppin¸ a chopper or axe-head and markin¸ the place where it lirst sticks upri¸ht in the ¸round.
Thorns and rays' tails are thou¸ht to he dan¸erous to the trailin¸ entrails ol the vampire, hitter
herhs are unpalatahle to every one, dolls may he mistaken lor the hahy, nets and hees' nests are
puzzlin¸ to spirits hecause ol their complexity, and sometimes a much perlorated coconut is
hun¸ over the door to hewilder ¸hosts hy the multiplicity ol its entrances and exits.¨ Most ol
these demon-traps are set under the lloor ol the house. But over the patient's head is hun¸ a
lisherman's net and a hunch ol the red Drocoeno, whose tou¸h vital power denotes its stron¸
soul-suhstance. By some midwives imitation weapons ol lathe are suspended lrom the rool. The
midwile may dress as a man. All locks on door or hox are opened, the sullerer's hair is unhound,
and any knot in her clothes is untied.
Il delivery is dillicult, the ma¸ician may he called to lilt the end ol the woman's tresses and hlow
down them. Or he may recite charms or write a text lrom the Quran on paper and tie it round
waist or thi¸h. The hushand will he summoned to step to and lro across his wile or kiss her, thus
condonin¸ any sins she may have committed a¸ainst him. Il the woman is a Raja, chiels will make
vows ol a ¸oat or other ollerin¸ lor her recovery. To re¸ister each vow, the midwile ties a rin¸
round the wrist ol the patient. Should the throes he prolon¸ed, hushand or mother puts dollars
under the sullerer's hack to he distrihuted in charity when her peril is past. Il the alterhirth will
not lollow, a portion ol the umhilical cord is cut lrom the child and tied to the patient's thi¸h as a
kind ol sympathetic attraction. A hoy horn with a caul is considered very lucky. Immediately
alter hirth the umhilical cord is tied with seven circles ol hlack lihre and severed with a hamhoo
knile. later, when the cord lalls oll, a poultice is applied, mixed with pepper to make the child
hrave. In Ne¸ri Semhilan it is helieved that il the severed cords ol a woman's successive children
are preserved to¸ether, these children will not quarrel or he disunited when they ¸row up.
Her trouhle over, the mother is laid on a platlorm and toasted lrequently durin¸ lorty-lour days
ol seclusion. The toastin¸ is a primitive and widely spread custom, still survivin¸ in Hindu ritual
with invocations to A¸ni. As lor the seclusion, ¨the conta¸ion ol woman durin¸ the sexual crises
ol menstruation, pre¸nancy, childhirth, is simply intensilied, hecause these are occasions when
woman's peculiar characteristics are accentuated, these are leminine crises when a woman is most
a woman.¨ The sava¸e dreads the conta¸ion ol her elleminacy, weakness, timidity and hysteria.
And survivals ol this dread may he traced in the ohservance ol continence hy Malay warriors and
lishermen, in the notion that menstrual hlood can cause leprosy, in the custom ol hushand and
wile leedin¸ separately except on the occasion ol their marria¸e.
A hahy's lirst cradle is a tray on which are placed a hit ol iron and a peck ol unhusked rice. In
Perak ¨when the hahy is promoted lrom this tray, the rice whereon he has lain is measured to
loretell his luture, il the measure is hrimmin¸, he will he rich, il it is short, poor, the halance ol
the rice is thrown to the chicken to avert ill-luck.¨
A hrush is dipped in a hlack mixture made ol hurnt coconut shell, and the eyehrows and outlines
ol the nose, chin, and other leatures are marked in hlack so that demons may not reco¸nise
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡c c - -
or desire the inlant. A cross is put on the lorehead and a spot on the nose. In Selan¸or a ¸irl's
lorehead is marked with a cross, a hoy's with a mark recallin¸ the caste mark ol the Hindu. The
mother, also, is dauhed on nose and hosom.
In some parts the mouldin¸ ol the child's head, due to the process ol hirth, is reduced hy massa¸e
or a constrictin¸ cap.
A tentative name is ¸iven to a child helore the umhilical cord is cut. ¨In Upper Perak names
su¸¸ested hy some local circumstances are ¸iven at hirth, and ¸irls, lor example, are called alter a
hutterlly, a lish, a plant. Later the parents will consult a reli¸ious elder to take a horoscope and
select a Muhammadan name lor the child accordin¸ to the date ol the hirth. This name may he
adopted temporarily or permanently. The ori¸inal pa¸an name may he used still hut will he
chan¸ed lor another in the event ol sickness. . . . In Kelantan live or seven hananas are duhhed
with persons' names. they are laid helore the inlant and he is ¸iven the name allotted to the
particular hanana he ¸rahs lirst.¨ The Perak Malays have a series ol conventional names lor their
children in order ol seniority. A Malay, as we have seen, will olten drop his own name and he
called ¨Iather ol Awan¸,¨ or whatever is the name ol his lirst-horn. Like the Brahmin, he relers to
his wile never hy name hut as ¨the person in my house,¨ or, when she is older, as ¨the mother ol
Awan¸ or so-and-so.¨
Il the child is a raja, youn¸ mothers ol ¸ood lamily suckle him or her in turn, their own children
thus hecomin¸ loster hrothers or sisters ol the inlant. The royal mother may conlirm this hy
sucklin¸ the inlant ol the loster mother.
Muslim custom prescrihes the seventh day lor the lormal namin¸ ol the child, the shavin¸ ol its
hair, and the sacrilice ol two ¸oats lor a hoy and ol one lor a ¸irl. This is lollowed in Malaya. One
lock ol hair is lelt on a hoy's head as on the head ol Brahmin children and ol E¸yptian Muslims,
hut it is a custom ol primitive Malays also to leave a lock unshorn as a relu¸e lor the child's soul.
Sometimes this tonsure ceremony may he delerred lor ¸irls until marria¸e. At one such delerred
ceremony the headman and the ¸irl's nearest relatives clipped the ends ol seven locks with seven
strokes ol the scissors, an exact thou¸h unconscious imitation ol Brahmin ritual. When the head
ol a royal hahy is shaved, the wives ol the ¸reat Perak chiels each snip a lew hairs in turn
accordin¸ to their rank. Notahle, too, is the openin¸ ol the child's mouth hy a ceremony
perlormed also in Arahia and E¸ypt, hut perhaps datin¸ hack to Brahminical India. A ¸old rin¸ is
dipped in a mixture ol hetel-juice and su¸ared and salted water, and an elder utters a Muslim
adjuration ol which the ori¸inal occurs in the Ri¸-Veda. ¨In the name ol Allah, the Mercilul, the
Compassionate' May he len¸then your lile' May he teach you to speak littin¸ly in the court ol
kin¸s' May he ¸ive to your words the attractiveness ol hetel, the sweetness ol su¸ar and the
savour ol salt'¨ The ¸old rin¸ is tied to the child's wrist.
When the lorty-lour days ol purilication are complete, the midwile throws away the platlorm on
which the youn¸ mother has heen roasted and the ashes ol the lire that has hurnt without cease
hy her side. And now, just as the Brahmin takes a child out lormally to see the sun, so the Malay
introduces his child to ¨Mother Earth and Iather Water.¨ The midwile carries the hahy to the top
ol the stair or house-ladder, recites incantations and marks a cross on the soles ol the inlant's leet
with lime. She descends and puts the child's leet lirst on iron (the hlade ol a wood-knile or the
head ol a hoe), then into a tray containin¸ ¸old and silver (usually a rin¸ ol each metal) and lastly
on the earth. That is the custom in Upper Perak, hut details vary in dillerent places. In Kelantan a
raja's child has to he taken down lrom the house hy three steps, no more, no lewer. He is
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡· · - -
carried throu¸h a line ol women holdin¸ li¸hted candles to a spot where seven ¸old plates are
placed. The lirst plate contains herhs, the second unhusked rice, the third husked rice, the lourth
rice-paste, the lilth yellow turmeric rice, the sixth earth lrom a ¸rave, and the seventh sand lrom
the sea. Into each ol these plates the child's leet are pressed helore they are allowed to tread the
earth. Then the hahy raja is carried up a seven-tiered stand and hathed. Alter the lustration, the
stand is thrown, with the spirits attachin¸ to it, into the sea.
Next the Malay inlant is carried down to the river. A candle is lit and stuck on a houlder or
hamhoo sta¸in¸. Mother and midwile descend into the stream. The mother hathes the hair ol the
midwile and then the midwile perlorms the same service lor the mother. An ollerin¸ is made to
the water-spirits. an e¸¸, a quid ol hetel, seven lon¸ and seven square rice-packets. The usual
three kinds ol rice and rice-paste are sprinkled over the surlace ol the river. The child is passed
throu¸h the smoke ol incense. Then a live lowl is placed in the water and the child made to tread
on it, so that he may have power over all domestic animals. Next a sproutin¸ coconut seedlin¸ is
set alloat and the inlant's leet are placed on it, so that he may have power over all lood plants.
Lastly a jun¸le saplin¸, usually a rattan creeper, roots and all, is put in the stream and the settin¸
ol the little leet upon it ¸ives the child dominion over the lorest. A palm-spathe hucket and a
hanana-llower are turned adrilt. Il the hahy is male, a hoy catches a lish with a castin¸-net, il the
hahy is lemale, a ¸irl should throw the net. Iinally a man casts the net over a ¸roup ol the
midwile, mother and inlant, and a crowd ol tiny children representin¸ lish.
Alter this ritual introduction to earth and water, the inlant is laid lor the lirst time in a swin¸in¸
cot lashioned ol hlack cloths hun¸ lrom a ralter. Into the hunt ol the cot are put a cat, a curry-
stone, and an iron hlade to mislead and terrily evil spirits. Then the midwile lilts the hahy into his
new home. Pious old ladies croon lullahies. Muslim prayers are recited. There is a least on curry
and rice.
In the water lor a hahy's ahlutions arc steeped the same collection ol stron¸-souled suhstances
that are put heside the ¸arnered ¸rain ol the rice lields. Il the attacks ol spirits have made him
sickly, the leaves ol a plant called the Genie's Ton¸ue (HeJ,oiis con¿esio) may he inlused in his
hath. Il the hahy cries continually, he may he ¨smoked over a lire made ol the nest ol a weaver-
hird, the skin ol a hottle-¸ourd, and a piece ol wood that has heen struck hy li¸htnin¸.¨ It is
unlucky to praise the health or heauty ol a child.
Great care is taken ol the placenta, the child's ¨youn¸er hrother¨ (or sister), which is kept lor a
while and then huried, ¸enerally under a tree. Il the new horn child is royal, hoys ol ¸ood lamily,
live to seven years old, are chosen lor this lunction. Their leader envelopes his head in a hlack
cloth and on it carries the placenta in a new earthen pot to a place selected lor the hurial.
Sometimes the hoys ride there on elephants. In Perak the coconut seedlin¸ used at the inlant's
introduction to water is planted to mark the site. Head and lace still enveloped, the leader ol the
hand returns to the royal cot, ¸reets its occupant with the Hindu Om and hails him as hrother ol
himsell and his lollowers.
Ma¸ical precautions accompany circumcision, teeth-lilin¸ and the horin¸ ol ¸irls' ears. Even the
ohservances at handin¸ a child over to the care ol a reli¸ious teacher and at the conclusion ol his
studies, Muslim as they now are, may he a survival ol Hindu ritual or some more primitive
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡a a - -
initiation ceremony.
Circumcision is re¸arded as a Muslim ohli¸ation. A hoy under¸oes it at any lucky and convenient
a¸e hetween six and twenty. Olten it is done immediately alter the celehrations at the conclusion
ol his reli¸ious studies. At the Perak court, amid ¸reat lestivities, a youn¸ raja is clothed like a
hride¸room in State dress. The State ma¸ician pours oil upon water in which the acid juice ol
limes has heen mixed. Irom the pools ol oil that lloat in the shape ol moon and stars, he tells il
the moment is propitious lor the ceremony, and il the hoy will later marry a ¸irl ol his own class.
Then he ruhs the mixture on the lorehead, hands and leet ol the hoy and ol his companions who
will under¸o the operation at the same time. Ieastin¸ may last lor days. Royal candidates are
horne in procession-in Perak on painted elephants or men's shoulders, in Ne¸ri Semhilan in the
ruler's processional car, in Patani on a hu¸e coloured model ol a mythical hird. In Patani, too,
sham weapons ol wood are carried in lront ol them. In Kelantan a torchli¸ht procession ¸oes
seven times round the house ol the chiel where the lunction is to he held, wooden or palm-leal
walls are removed and the procession perarnhulates the house without descendin¸ to the ¸round.
In Perak sometimes the hoy is seated on a hridal dais, has a dance with li¸hted candles perlormed
helore him and his lin¸ers stained with henna. There, too, a raja is covered with a silk cloth, his
hody sprinkled with sallron rice and coolin¸ rice-paste, and his mouth stulled with a lump ol
¸lutinous rice and three ¸rains ol parched rice. A hen is placed on his hody and encoura¸ed to
peck up any ol the ¸rains ol rice that may he stickin¸ to his mouth. Il she is slow to peck, it will
he lon¸ helore the hoy marries. Two coconuts and a small ha¸ ol rice are rolled over him lrom
head to heel. ¹ust helore the operation the hoy is escorted to river or well, where the same
ollerin¸s are thrown to the spirits ol the water as when he was lirst introduced to that element.
The hoy hathes alon¸ with his parents, and the one lon¸ lock ol hair that has heen a symhol ol
childhood is shorn hy his mother or nurse or the man who later is to circumcise him. Durin¸ this
tonsure a mock li¸ht is started with hundles ol rice, till the water resounds as il hullaloes were
li¸htin¸ in it, a custom recallin¸ the mock comhat to clear the rice-lields ol demons. The linal
ceremony then takes place indoors. The hoy is seated on the stem ol a hanana or on a sack ol rice,
and at the Perak court a swordsman stands heside him so that il au¸ht ¸oes wron¸ ¨the plu¸ lor
the wound and the dressin¸ may he taken lrom the operator's corpse.¨ At the same court
throu¸hout the various sta¸es ol the ritual, at the takin¸ ol the omens, at the procession to the
river, and at the operation, the royal drums are heaten and the royal llutes and trumpets hlown.
The sullerer's lood consists ol dry lish or hullalo meat and his plate is lined with a parched
hanana-leal, the dryness ol diet and leal havin¸ a hornoeopathic ellect on his unhealed wound.
Till the wound is well, he may not wear a cap. Ior months helore the operation he is warned not
to eat tou¸h meat. These and other rules are dictated hy mimetic ma¸ic. Il he was horn with a
caul, a piece ol it preserved lrom his hirth is olten ¸iven him to eat in a hanana.
An analo¸ous hut merely nominal ceremony ol a very private nature is ohserved lor ¸irls also,
either in inlancy or early youth, a midwile hein¸ the sur¸eon.
Puherty hrou¸ht also lor hoth sexes the practice ol lilin¸ and hlackenin¸ the teeth in order to
suhstitute lor sharp white lan¸s, ¨like those ol a do¸,¨ an even row ol teeth, hlack ¨like the win¸s
ol a heetle.¨ One ol the incantations recited is lor personal charm and pre-eminence and shows
si¸ns ol travestyin¸ the Suli's ¨perlect man.¨ In a lolktale called ¨Awan¸ Sulon¸¨ the operation
was done with one rasp ol the lile a day and one a ni¸ht lor nine days and ni¸hts, and the heauty
ol the ¸lossy hlack stumps ol the hero made lolk ask
V|ose i|e cocI i|oi sirvis so brove|,,
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡¸ ¸ - -
His |ips o s|ore besei wii| briJ¿es,
BriJ¿es o| b|ocI s|inin¿ po|mspiIes,
Teei| os siems so s|orp onJ IniiieJ,
Movi| o booi|v| o| reJ nvime¿s,
Ebon ieei| |iIe broce|ei circ|e?
The ohject ol this practice, as ol circumcision, was, it has heen surmised, to sacrilice a part to
save the whole. Blackenin¸ ol the teeth has died out, hut lilin¸ is still practised, even alter
marria¸e, to heautily the teeth and prevent their decay.
Girls' ears are hored either in early childhood or at puherty, with the usual ma¸ic ritual to worst
evil spirits. At the Perak court in the ei¸hteenth century two ni¸hts were devoted to henna-
stainin¸ helore the ears ol a ruler's dau¸hter were pierced, and on the second ni¸ht she was
escorted on an elephant seven times round the palace. The needle employed is threaded with
cotton ol many colours, havin¸ at the ends turmeric cut in the shape ol a lloweret, two ol these
llowerets adorn the thread lelt in each ear. just as the horin¸ he¸ins, those present throw money
into a silver howl, perhaps to drown any cry or murmur. Alter this, lar¸e ear-studs used to he
worn durin¸ a ¸irl's maiden days hut are now donned only at her weddin¸ to he discarded
lormally on the consummation ol the marria¸e. At the Perak court the ceremony is concluded
with a least and prayers in honour ol the Prophet and ol the parents and ancestors ol the ruler.
There is little or no ma¸ic ahout a Malay hetrothal. It is a contract to he ratilied helore headman
or elder, and to he puhlished ahroad hy the despatch to the ¸irl's relatives ol two elahorate hetel
hoxes, one ol them containin¸ one, or in Ne¸ri Semhilan two, rin¸s wrapped in hetel-leal. Il the
youth is ¸uilty ol hreach ol promise, the ¸irl's people keep the rin¸ or rin¸s. il the ¸irl is ¸uilty, her
parents return them with cash their equal in value. In parts ol Perak the hetel hoxes are replaced
hy trays, one ol which is adorned with a paper tree, and, when the hearers arrive, yellow rice is
strewn. The hoxes or trays are prollered only il ne¸otiations lor the marria¸e are successlul.
Nowadays ¸irls are seldom married helore they are lourteen or lilteen, or hoys helore the a¸e ol
seventeen. olten hoth are older. Like the Hindu, the Malay considers a hairy person unlucky. The
Brahmin student may not leed ¨the hushand ol a youn¸er sister married helore the elder, the
hushand ol an elder sister whose youn¸er sister was married lirst, a youn¸er hrother married
helore an elder, an elder hrother married alter a youn¸er,¨ and in Malaya, also, the request lor a
youn¸er sister's hand helore her elder sisters are wedded is universally disliked. In the li¸urative
lan¸ua¸e ol Malay hetrothal verses the suitor comes, like the Esth wooer, ¨in search ol a lost call,¨
just as amon¸ the Iinns he wants to huy a hird, and amon¸ the Sardinians to ask lor a white dove
or a white call. The suitor accepted, his mother is invited within, where she slips the rin¸ (or two
rin¸s) on the lin¸er ol her luture dau¸hter-in-law. Son¸s and leastin¸ conclude these preliminaries.
Seven days later the suitor and his lriends resort to the ¸irl's house and stay sin¸in¸ and leastin¸
lor two days and two ni¸hts. Belore leavin¸, the suitor does oheisance to his luture mother-in-
law. When harvest time comes, he and his lriends are invited to help, and the rice that will he
eaten at the marria¸e is trodden out to the accompaniment ol son¸s handied hetween men and
women, the two parties ol ¸room and hride. But in Ne¸ri Semhilan a youth is ashamed to meet
either ol the parents ol his luture hride, even accidentally on the road.
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡¡ ¡ - -
Iavourite times lor weddin¸s are alter the harvest or alter the season ol rice plantin¸, not only
hecause those are days ol leisure hut prohahly hecause so the child in the womh and the ¸rain in
mother earth are likely to develop simultaneously. The lestivities may occupy two or lour or live
days il the contractin¸ parties are humhle peasants, seven or lorty days or even months il they are
rajas. Astrolo¸ical tahles are consulted to determine a lucky time to he¸in them.
On the lirst day the ma¸ician takes steps to protect the ¸room, and a matron to protect the hride
lrom all jealous spirits. In Upper Perak this preludes a most elahorate marria¸e ritual. The
ma¸ician ties a rin¸ on a white thread round the hride¸room's neck, li¸hts a candle on cup or tray,
hurns incense and invokes all spirits and the sacred dead to he kind. He scatters sallron rice,
sprinkles the ¸room with the usual coolin¸ rice-paste and dresses his hair. A matron does the
same service lor the hride. Il her shorn lrin¸e lies close to the lorehead, it is a si¸n that she is a
vir¸in, il it sticks up, then ¨the llower has heen sipped hy a hee.¨ At the Perak court the midwile
lirst waxed and clipped seven lon¸ hairs. il the stumps moved or the tips lell towards the ¸irl, she
had heen dellowered. On either side ol the house-door a red and a white lla¸ are stuck. The
ma¸ician descends the house-ladder, sprinkles the earth with yellow rice and rice-paste, and ollers
hetel. to the spirits ol the soil. The hride is hathed in her house. The ¸room is conducted down to
the river. A white lla¸ with a candle lixed on its shalt is planted on the hank. Near hy, two lar¸e
candles are put on the ¸round. Incense is hurnt in three hamhoo cressets, to which are tied three
candles, three quids ol hetel, and three native ci¸arettes. On a vertical lrame is lastened a palm-
hlossom. A¸ain rice is scattered with appeals to all the spirits ol earth and water. The palm-
hlossom is hroken open that the dew in its heart may he mixed with limes and rice-powder lor
hathin¸ the hride¸room. Durin¸ the lustration he stands in the river lacin¸ downstream and has
water thrown into his mouth. The white thread is hroken lrom his neck and he is dressed in a
raja's ¸arh. a scion ol the Perak royal house will he lent the armlets and jewellery used at the
installation ol the ruler. Then, mounted on elephants with painted loreheads, the procession
wends its way with reli¸ious chantin¸ and son¸ to the house ol the hride. An umhrella is held
over the hride¸room's head and his attendant lans him. On arrival the ¸room steps down into a
tray ol water, in which are a stone, a rin¸, a razor, and a dollar. He is sprinkled with sallron rice
and seated on a dais. Ior three ni¸hts, sin¸in¸ and lirin¸ crackers, youths encircle a ¨henna tree¨ in
a howl containin¸ henna and stuck with li¸hted candles. The experts seize and dance with it in
turn until one ol them carries it up the house-ladder, where ¸irls receive the ¨tree¨ and take up
the dance. To extin¸uish the candles durin¸ inversions and ¸yrations is the si¸n ol a hoor. On this
lirst ni¸ht hoth hride and ¸room are stained with henna in private, and the lormal marria¸e helore
an authority lrom the mosque may now take place. All the lin¸ers ol the ¸irl are stained, three ol
the man's, countin¸ lrom the little lin¸ers. On the second day a Perak princess ol the hi¸hest rank
used to he taken in procession with lla¸s, umhrellas and music, seven times round the palace. On
that ni¸ht the lin¸ers and palms and toes and the sides ol the leet ol the married pair are stained
with henna in puhlic. Dramatic shows, dancin¸ ¸irls, and leastin¸ entertain the ¸uests. The rice lor
the con|orreoiio on the morrow is hrou¸ht out, piled in tiers on an octa¸onal platter, topped with
a tinsel tree and stuck with dyed e¸¸s on skewers. The couple sit in state, and ¸uests pay homa¸e
to the hride now and to the hushand at the sittin¸ in state on the lollowin¸ day.
On the third day there are chants in praise ol Allah and the Prophet. A hullalo is slau¸htered. The
¸irl's relatives escorted hy music present decorated rice, coconuts and lirewood to the relatives ol
the ¸room. The hride¸room is escorted thrice each way round a circular dome-shaped lrame
containin¸ incense, that is, in a passa¸e hetween its mat sides and a white cloth held up hy those
present. Alterwards he is placed inside the lrame and censed lor the space it takes a dancer with a
hranched candlestick to circle the structure three times. Next the hride is hrou¸ht out to
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡¡ ¡ - -
under¸o the same ordeal. The hride ¸oes to her room. A duenna ¸uards the door. There is a mock
comhat hetween the sexes. The ma¸ician demands entrance lor the hride¸room, and is admitted
alter presentin¸ a hetel-hox that contains a rin¸ and some cash. His instructor lilts the ¸room's lelt
hand and puts it on the hride's head. The couple have to leed one another with hetel. Then three,
live or seven old people paint the palms ol the couple's hands with henna and sprinkle them with
rice. Alter that they are stripped ol their linery, led three times in each direction round an
inverted rice-mortar and seated upon this symhol ol sex and lecundity. They are lilted thrice
helore they arc declared duly seated. The ma¸ician pours lresh coconut oil into a howl ol water,
and alter throwin¸ live ¸rains ol rice on the oil, drops the wax ol a li¸hted candle on to the
mixture. The pair are hathed with this compound, to¸ether with water lrom hlossoms ol the
areca and coconut palms. Coconut lronds are waved seven times ahove their heads. Bathin¸
accomplished, vari-coloured strin¸ is dropped round and over the heads ol the pair three times
while they step lorward, and then under their leet and upwards three times while they step hack.
Alter that the strin¸ is lowered to their chests and severed over the ri¸ht rih ol the ¸room and the
lelt ol the hride. Il the lront piece is lon¸er, the wile will ohey her hushand, il the hack piece is
lon¸er, the ¨rudder will he at the hows,¨ that is, the wile will rule the roost il the two pieces are
equal, hoth will hold their own. The next ceremony ohtains everywhere. Hushand and wile don
royal costume (or nowadays the man may wear Arah dress)-this, it has heen surmised, ¨shows
hoth the tahu character ol hride and hride¸room, and also an attempt at dis¸uisin¸ them hy
lictitious chan¸e ol identity.¨ The couple then sit in state on a dais, the hushand on the ri¸ht ol
the wile. Sumptuary custom lixes the numher and colour ol mats and pillows allowed, accordin¸
to the rank ol the contractin¸ parties. There is an exercise in Swedish drill, where the perlormer
has to sink slowly down into a squattin¸ posture, strai¸hten his knees and stand erect. This
exercise the emharrased pair have virtually to lullil, until alter three ellorts they are seated
simultaneously as custom ordains. The lloral pyramid ol rice on the octa¸onal platter is hroken
and the pair have to leed one another three times with clots ol the rice held in their lin¸ers. Alter
that they must remain motionless, like a ruler at his installation, while those present do oheisance
to the ¨royalty lor a day.¨ Guests throw money into a howl. Muslim prayers may he read. At last
the principals are allowed to retire. Each ¸uest is ¸iven a dyed e¸¸ out ol the rice pyramid to take
On the lollowin¸ days there is more lustration and leastin¸.
Throu¸hout all these ceremonies hride and ¸room remain silent and no ¸lances are exchan¸ed
hetween their downcast eyes.
Il a hushand is disappointed in the virtue ol his hride, he may advertise his disillusionment hy
appearin¸ without headdress or creese and he can claim hack hall the dowry. But a marria¸e is
not consummated lor three ni¸hts or more. So it is not usually till the seventh day that, with little
lin¸ers interlaced or hoth holdin¸ one handkerchiel, the couple are hathed a¸ain with all the
precautions descrihed lor the hathin¸ on the third day. The seven lronds waved over them are
dropped lor hride and ¸room to step to and lro across them three times, alter which the lronds
are cast out ol the house takin¸ ill-luck. A censer is passed ahout the pair and a cord ol vari-
coloured thread is tied around their necks joinin¸ them. At this ceremony the ¸uests, also, are
drenched with water lrom huckets and hamhoo squirts. (At royal weddin¸s, helore they are
hathed, the pair are carried in procession three or seven times round a storeyed pavilion huilt lor
the lustration.) Alter hein¸ hathed, hoth don linery once more and sit in state.
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡6 6 - -
Sometimes on the ni¸ht helore this linal lustration the ¸room's lriends tear him lrom the
dan¸erous lascination ol his wile's arms hy li¸htin¸ a smokin¸ lire to hrin¸ him to the door,
whereupon he is carried oll to his parents' home and only escorted hack next day lor the hathin¸
Everywhere it is usual lor the hushand to live in his hride's home lor some while alter the
marria¸e. Amon¸ the matrilineal Minan¸kahau colonists ol Ne¸ri Semhilan he lives in it
The ritual ol Upper Perak on the horder ol the Siamese Malay States contains some novel details.
The circumamhulation ol a structure containin¸ incense and the lustration ol the couple helore
the day when the hi¸ sittin¸ in state takes place have not yet heen recorded lrom the south.
The order ol marria¸e ceremonies varies accordin¸ to locality and the means ol the parties.
Sometimes the Muslim service is perlormed just helore the sittin¸ in state. Sometimes the mimic
comhat lor the hride's person, a custom practised in ancient India and in Europe, takes place on
arrival at her house and is repeated helore the hridal dais.
The throwin¸ ol rice over the head ol a hride¸room is commonly ohserved hy Indo-Germanic
peoples. Con|orreoiio, or eatin¸ to¸ether, is a worldwide usa¸e. In many parts ol India and Europe
and in Muslim Morocco the hride¸room is treated as a kin¸ on his weddin¸ day.
The Code ol Manu lays down that amon¸ the elements ol a Brahmin's weddin¸ are the leadin¸ ol
the hride three times round the sacred lire, each time with seven steps, and the hindin¸ to¸ether
ol the wedded pair hy a cord passed round their necks. A¸ain, ¨On the second or third day ol
Brahmin marria¸e ceremonies,¨ says Thurston, ¨sacrilices are perlormed in the mornin¸ and
evenin¸ and the no|o¿v ceremony. The couple are seated on two planks covered with mats and
cloth, amidst a lar¸e numher ol women assemhled within the ponJo|. In lront ol them hetel
leaves, areca nuts, lruit, llowers and turmeric paste are placed on a tray. The women sin¸ son¸s
they have learnt lrom childhood. Takin¸ a little ol the turmeric paste rendered red hy the
addition ol lime, the hride makes marks hy drawin¸ lines on her leet. The ceremony closes with
the wavin¸ ol water coloured red with turmeric and lime, and the distrihution ol hetel leaves and
areca nuts. The wavin¸ is done hy two women who sin¸ appropriate son¸s.¨ In many parts ol
India hride¸room and hride are seated on mortar or pestle or ¸rindin¸ stone.
A custom ol Hindu ori¸in is lor a Malay raja to remain away and send his creese or his
handkerchiel to represent him when he marries a wile ol humhle hirth. An ohsolete raja custom
was to send a creese to parents who were reluctant to ¸ive their dau¸hter in marria¸e, with a
messa¸e that the suitor was ready with dower and presents douhled. il they remained ohdurate,
the creese had to he returned with douhle the dower ollered. Another method, with a Sanskrit
name, was lor the suitor to lorce entry into the house, secure the ¸irl, and drawin¸ his creese dely
resistance. Il the ruse succeeded, the man had to ¸ive twice the usual dower, present two
¸arments instead ol the customary one and pay douhle the ordinary lines lor trespass. These two
ways ol wooin¸ are prohahly ol Indian ori¸in.
The paintin¸ ol the couple with henna to lend oll evil inlluences, the lirst ni¸ht in private, the
second in puhlic, the dance with the henna howl and li¸hted candles-these ceremonies occur at
Muslim marria¸es even as lar away as in Morocco. Islam has added items to the ritual ol Malay
marria¸e hut has lailed to hanish others incompatihle with its tenets. The sittin¸ in
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡y y - -
state and the lustration ol the pair helore mixed audiences ol men and women ollend the strict,
hut retain so stron¸ a hold on the Malay ima¸ination that a hi¸oted chiel, whom I knew,
reluctantly ohserved them, hut in a lolt under the rool, where ¸uests could not scale'
It should he added that when the hride is a widow, particularly a childless widow, the marria¸e
rites are ¸reatly curtailed and olten conlined merely to the short le¸al service helore the Kathi.
It is no part ol the plan ol this hook to descrihe the ordinary Muslim rites lor the disposal ol the
dead. But certain Malay superstitions require notice.
In Selan¸or and Ne¸ri Semhilan, when a practiser ol hlack ma¸ic lies dyin¸, dissolution ol the
powerlul soul lrom the wasted hody is helped hy the makin¸ ol a hole in the rool. Everywhere a
da¸¸er or a pair ol hetel scissors or some other symhol ol iron is placed on the chest ol a corpse,
and watch is kept especially to prevent a cat lrom touchin¸ the hody and electrilyin¸ it to an
awlul travesty ol lile. Li¸hts must he lit and incense hurnt and the hed where the deceased slept
in lile arran¸ed lor seven days alter a death. In the nei¸hhourhood ol the house no rice may he
¸round, shots lired or music or dancin¸ perlormed. Alter the demise ol an important memher ol
a royal lamily no ¸on¸ or musical instrument may he struck lor lorty days. It is lor¸otten that
ori¸inally silence was kept in order not to ¸uide the deceased hack to his temporal home, and
such silence is now re¸arded only as a mark ol respect.
The hody ol an important person is escorted under umhrellas to the place ol ahlution where men
or women, accordin¸ to the sex ol the deceased, support it on their extended le¸s. The corpse ol
the chiel ol ¹elehu is ¨washed hy all the mosque ollicials in the district to¸ether with the Hajis.¨
This chiel's retainers hold his insi¸nia round his corpse, which is laid upon a dais ol the type
prepared lor all lormal lunctions. As the corpse is hein¸ shrouded, lorty Hajis oller prayers. Ior it
is helieved that amon¸ every lorty who oller the prayers there will he a saint whose request will
he heard.
A chiel's hier is a hu¸e platlorm, which it may take a hundred men to lilt. At the ohsequies ol the
last Sultan ol Sin¸apore ei¸hty hired hearers and numerous volunteers carried this structure, at
the corners ol which stood lour men scatterin¸ yellow rice and llowers mixed with pieces ol ¸old
and silver. A hier may he ol several storeys. The hier ol the commoner chiel ol ¹elehu, lor
example, is ol live storeys, the hier ol a raja is ol seven. At the ¹elehu rites a lad chosen lrom a
particular trihe scatters coin lrom the topmost hier, nine maidens ol the same trihe are seated on
the litter, ei¸ht keepin¸ the corpse in position with their extended hands and the ninth holdin¸ a
youn¸ plantain tree as a symhol that ¨the hroken ¸rows a¸ain ¨ and the chieltainship ol ¹elehu
never dies. At the luneral ol royalty sixteen ¸irls used to support the hody. Outside the
Minan¸kahau colonies ol Ne¸ri Semhilan the tree symhol is not lound in the Peninsula. Children
are made to pass under a parent's hier helore it is carried to the ¸rave, not only as a token ol
respect hut to prevent them lrom pinin¸ lor the deceased.
In many places strips are torn lrom the pall and worn hy relatives ol the dead on arm or wrist to
keep them lrom undue lon¸in¸ lor the departed. This is the practice in Ne¸ri Semhilan and at the
ohsequies ol a Sultan ol Perak. The Malay Annals record an instance where the pall ol a trihutary
prince was despatched to his suzerain with the news ol his demise. Generally Malay mourners
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡8 8 - -
wear workaday shahhy clothes, a custom still lollowed at the Sri Menanti court. But in some
places, like Malacca, European inlluence has led to the adoption ol hlack ¸arments. A¸ain, the old
custom was lor mourners to ¸o without headdress and with dishevelled hair, and at a royal
luneral it was expected that all a ruler's suhjects should exhihit these si¸ns ol ¸riel. Ior three days
alter the death ol the chiel ol ¹elehu no man may wear any headdress except a white cap, Hajis
must discard their turhans and women their veils. When the most lamous ruler ol Perak in the
ei¸hteenth century came to the throne, lor seven days the royal drums and trumpets were silent
in honour ol his predecessor, and on the ei¸hth the new raja's headdress was hrou¸ht on an
elephant hy the Bendahara, the chiel who rules temporarily durin¸ the interre¸num hetween
ruler and ruler, Sultan Iskandar 'Inayat Shah donned it. and only then did his courtiers cover their
heads. (The new Sultan dismissed lrom ollice and hroiled in the sun many persons who had lailed
to arrive lor the ohsequies') Sometimes lor lorty days alter a ruler's death no headdress is worn.
But in place ol the harin¸ ol the head, Perak Malays have introduced a very popular lashion ol
wearin¸ a white hand round the hat.
At a ruler's luneral the State drums are heaten and the state trumpets hlown. Then lor seven or
even twenty or lorty days they are silent. Alter the death ol a ¸reat chiel his royal master may
order that they keep silent lor live or seven days. This custom also was prohahly desi¸ned to
avoid ¸uidin¸ and recallin¸ the departed to his earthly home.
It is considered unlucky to attend the luneral ol one who has died a had death, or ol one whose
corpse turns a dark livid hue, and mourners hurry away. There are some who will not partake ol
a luneral least, especially on the third and seventh days alter the death, hecause demons have
olten heen seen pourin¸ into rice and curry water that has run oll the corpse at the linal ahlution.
Take a strip ol the shroud, a chip ol the collin-plank, and a hroad leal to hide hehind, and one can
see them, some with children on their hacks, like human hein¸s, catchin¸ the water in jars'
Temporary wooden posts are olten planted at a ¸rave, until permanent stones can he ¸ot. Il the
deceased has lelt a child lrantic with ¸riel, then every ni¸ht lor three or seven successive ni¸hts a
vessel ol water is tied to the temporary tomhstone hy a shred ol the shroud, and every mornin¸
the child is hathed in the water. In Perak, on the hundredth day the temporary posts are cleansed
with limes and rice-paste, thrown into the river and have water sprinkled over them thrice to
drive away evil inlluences.
Sometimes over the tomh ol a saint or ruler there is lixed a mosquito-net or a li¸ht lrame and
canopy or a palm-thatched rool under which lamps and candles are lit.
Everywhere Muslim hurial is the rule now, thou¸h there survive shadowy traditions ol older rites.
Cremation was practised in mediaeval Malacca. The Dayaks ol Borneo carry into the lorests the
hodies ol those who have met a violent death, and lay them on the ¸round, their priests they
honour hy exposure on a raised platlorm. In the Mo|o, Anno|s and the tale ol the Malacca hero,
Han¸ Tuah, there are allusions to leavin¸ hodies on the ¸round, hut only those ol traitors or
enemies. In the north ol the Malay Peninsula suspension ol the dead hetween trees is practised hy
the Buddhist Malayo-Siamese, hoth as a permanent lorm ol hurial and as a preliminary to
cremation, and the northern Sakai dispose ol the hodies ol their ma¸icians in the same way.
¨Amon¸ some ol the Sakai-¹akun trihes ol Pahan¸ it appears that not only is a settlement deserted
when a death occurs hut the corpse is lelt unhuried . . . in the ahandoned house, lor, il they put a
corpse into the ¸round, the spirit would not he ahle to make its escape upwards.¨
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - ¡ ¡q q - -
Are there si¸ns ol lormer aerial hurial amon¸ the civilised Malays: Many ol the ¸rave-stones ol
rulers ol Perak are on raised platlorms. And it was not uncommon in the past lor rajas and chiels
to he lelt unhuried lor days, their successors havin¸ to he elected helore the interment. Sultan 'Ali
ol Perak, who died in ·8y·, was lelt unhuried lor lorty days, hecause his lawlul successor leared to
come upriver, ¨and the presence and proclamation ol the new Sultan are essential leatures ol the
hurial ceremonies ol the old.¨ A similar case is recorded lrom ¹elehu.
The Proto-Malays ol the Peninsula have perhaps heen inlluenced hy the civilised Muslim Malay.
Anyhow they hury their dead. ¨The hody lies ahout three leet under¸round, the tomh, which is
made ol earth heaten smooth, risin¸ ahout the same hei¸ht ahove the surlace. A little ditch runs
round the ¸rave, wherein the spirit may paddle his canoe. The hody lies with the leet pointin¸
towards the west. The ornamental pieces at each end ol the ¸rave answer to tomhstones ¨ and
have a Malayo-Arahic name. ¨On the other side ol them are seen the small, plain, upri¸ht sticks,
called soul-steps, to enahle the spirit to leave the ¸rave when he requires. There are lour
horizontal heams on each side ol the ¸rave, joined in a lramework, makin¸ sixteen in all, laid on
the top ol the ¸rave and so lormin¸ a sort ol enclosure, in which are placed, lor the use ol the
deceased, a coconut shell, a torch in a stand, an axe-handle and a cookin¸-pot, while outside this
lramework han¸s a shoulder-hasket lor the deceased to carry his lirewood in.¨ Thus is descrihed
the ¸rave ol a ¹ohore ahori¸inal chiel who died in ·8yq.
Expensive and well-huilt houses are killin¸ the ancient custom ol ahandonin¸ a home where a
death has occurred. But Sultan Iskandar 'Inayat Shah ol Perak removed lrom Brahmana Indra and
huilt a new palace at Chempaka Sari hecause he ¨disliked hearin¸ the royal music near the ¸rave
ol his predecessor,¨ and Sultan Mahmud, his successor, removed lrom Chempaka Sari to the Bi¸
Island Indra Mulia. Nowadays a wooden house is sometimes taken to pieces and erected on a site
more lucky.
The selection ol a ruler is supposed to he made helore his predecessor's hody is consi¸ned to the
¸rave. In one Malay lolk-tale, where a kin¸ has died childless and his successor is chosen hy a
sa¸acious elephant (as in many Indian stories), the prince selected is hidden to sit heside the
corpse ol the deceased, while ¸uns are lired and the drums and trumpets ol the royal hand are
sounded seven times. In Nanin¸ and in many parts ol Ne¸ri Semhilan, a chiel's successor must
mount the hier, lailure to achieve this is re¸arded as a har to election and, il there are more
claimants than one, they scramhle on to the hearse to¸ether or one alter another. At his
installation a new commoner chiel ol ¹elehu has to sit on the dais on which the hody ol the last
chiel was washed lor hurial.
The lormal installation ol a ruler is made some while alter the ohsequies ol his predecessor. There
are lestivities lor seven days or lorty days. Then the prince is hathed ceremonially and dons rohes
ol state. A Perak Sultan wears a ¸old neck-chain, dra¸on-headed armlets ol ¸old, and a creese in
his helt, in his head-kerchiel is thrust the royal seal, and lrom his shoulder han¸s a sword with an
Arahic inscription, reputed to have heen the weapon ol his ancestor, Alexander the Great' Seven
times he is taken in procession round the royal domain, to the thud and hlare ol the state drums
and trumpets, escorted hy courtiers carryin¸ lla¸s and pennons, creeses, lances and swords. On his
return to the palace, he listens to a herald readin¸ a proclamation lrom an unintelli¸ihle version ol
an old Sanskrit lormula. He is cooled with rice-paste and sprinkled with rice. Ahout him clusters
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - 6 6c c - -
a retinue, holdin¸ umhrellas, weapons, and hetel-caskets. The Sultan's pa¸es rest swords and
creeses on the ri¸ht shoulder, the pa¸es ol the heir to the throne may not lilt his insi¸nia ahove
their arms. His Hi¸hness enters the hall ol audience, mounts the throne, and has to sit motionless
¨ while the royal hand plays a certain numher ol times. . . . The numher should not exceed nine
or he less than lour. Any movement hy the Sultan would he extremely inauspicious.¨ At this
moment the ¸enies ol the State are apt to make the sword ol Alexander the Great press on the
royal shoulder. Into the Sultan's ear, the kin¸'s secret, namely, the real Indian names ol the divine
lounders ol his house, is whispered hy a descendant ol the herald who came out ol the mouth ol
a hull when lirst the hearers ol those Indian names ali¸hted on earth and required a pursuivant.
His suhjects in the hall how to the earth seven times in homa¸e.
In Ne¸ri Semhilan the Yamtuan's re¸alia comprise sets ol ei¸ht, ei¸ht weapons ol each kind, ei¸ht
umhrellas, ei¸ht hetel-hoxes, ei¸ht tapers, ei¸ht water-vessels, ei¸ht handluls ol ashes, and a howl
with one strand ol human hair. When all is ready lor the installation, chamherlains invoke the
archan¸els to send down the divine power ol kin¸s hy the hand ol an¸els. ¨The weapons are taken
out ol their yellow wrappin¸s, the royal umhrellas are opened, the royal candles lit, the water-
vessels and hetel-hoxes are lilted up on hi¸h lor all to see. A copy ol the Quran is set down
helore these mi¸hty re¸alia, and ewers lilled with every kind ol holy water are arran¸ed helore
them. One ewer contains water min¸led with hlood, another contains water with a hullet in it,
another may have water mixed with the pure rice-paste that sterilizes all evil inlluences. A censer
is waved. . . . The ¸reat chiels are ahout to swear alle¸iance to the kin¸. The presence ol the holy
re¸alia, the water crimsoned with hlood, the water that washes the lead or iron ol war-all these
thin¸s lend additional terror to perjury.¨ The herald who proclaims the election ol a new
Yamtuan ¨is expected to stand on one le¸ with the sole ol his ri¸ht loot restin¸ a¸ainst his lelt
knee, with his ri¸ht hand shadin¸ his eyes, and with the tip ol the lin¸ers ol his lelt hand pressin¸
a¸ainst his lelt cheek'¨ The chiels sweep lorward on their knees, raise lolded hands seven times to
their hrows, kiss their overlord's hand thrice and retire. A¸ain incense is hurnt, ¨and the word ol
God as written in the Quran is helieved to come down and is repeated in Arahic in the hearin¸ ol
the people, 'Lo, I have appointed a Caliph to he My vice¸erent on earth.'¨
When a commoner chiel is installed hy the Sultan ol Perak, he stands at the entrance to the
palace under a lar¸e hanana leal, while a herald reads over him the c|iri, that unintelli¸ihle
Sanskrit lormula ¨in the lan¸ua¸e ol the ¸enies.¨ Then the oath ol alle¸iance is taken. Drums clash.
An old man steps lorward, and usin¸ a ¸rass hrush sprinkles rice-paste down the hanana leal that
covers the candidate's head. The hrush and the leal are cast away and the rice is scattered over his
hody. When the new chiel has dolled his creese and crawled up to the throne to do homa¸e, the
Sultan moistens his hrow with rice-paste, tucks a hunch ol yellow c|empoIo hloom under his
head-kerchiel and sprinkles him with rice. The chiel retires hackwards, doin¸ oheisance as when
he came. A curtain is dropped midway across the hall and he ¸oes out. He must cross water and
may not look upon the Sultan or his palace or his elephants or anythin¸ that is his lor one week.
Violation ol this rule may cause death to chiel or ruler.
To the primitive patriarchal and matriarchal communities ol the Malay race kin¸s and royalty
were lorei¸n. The description in Malay romance ol royalty's silks, seamless, last ol dye, iridescent,
ol ¸ossamer muslins tan¸led hy a dewdrop, and ol other wonderlul raiment, are only the
hyperhole ol villa¸e rhapsodists marvellin¸ at the luxurious novelties ol the court and winnin¸
lavour hy laudin¸ them. The yellow umhrella ol the Malay ruler was imported lrom China. Court
sumptuary laws lor cloths, weapons, and houses came lrom India. Amon¸ Malay re¸alia, the
sword and the seal are lorei¸n, and the names ol hall the drums and trumpets are Persian. The
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - 6 6· · - -
idea that a ruler can slay at pleasure without hein¸ ¸uilty ol crime is not Malayan. The word Raja
is Sanskrit, the word Sultan introduced with the reli¸ion ol Muhammad. The divinity that hed¸es
a modern ruler is Muslim and conlerred hy Allah durin¸ the recital ol the text. ¨Lo' I have
appointed a Caliph to he My Vice¸erent on earth.¨ The white hlood ol Malay princes is that
ascrihed hy Muhammadan mystics to certain saints.
A rou¸h ¸ranite monolith inscrihed with Muslim laws in the Malay lan¸ua¸e and Arahic letterin¸,
recently discovered in Tren¸¸anu, is evidence that Islam had reached the east coast ol the Malay
Peninsula as early as the lourteenth century. At the he¸innin¸ ol the next century it hecame the
State reli¸ion ol Malacca. Barhosa ascrihed this chan¸e ol creed lrom Hinduism to the presence ol
many Indian Muslim traders at that port. An Achinese account ¸ives ·¡y¡ A.D. as the date ol the
conversion ol the lirst ruler ol Kedah to emhrace the reli¸ion ol the Arahian Prophet. The royal
house ol Malacca ¸ave rulers to ¹ohore, Pahan¸ and Perak, dominated Selan¸or and Ne¸ri
Semhilan and so spread the new laith throu¸hout the Peninsula.
The early missionaries came lrom the Coromandel Coast and Malahar, and therelore made the
Malays Sunnis ol the school ol Shale'i. Later arrived missionaries lrom the Hadramaut. In the
seventeenth and ei¸hteenth centuries Sayids ol the ¸reat Hadramaut house, descendants ol 'Alawi,
¸randson ol 'Isa al-Mohajir, ¸ained enormous inlluence at the Perak court, one ol them marryin¸ a
sister ol Perak's most lamous ruler and hecomin¸ the lather ol a Sultan ol that State.
The Malays ol the Peninsula have heen Muslims lor some live hundred years. No zealots, they are
orthodox and convinced helievers. But in their heliels and their ma¸ic the inlluence ol the early
Indian missionaries ol their latest laith is marked.
There is a hook called the Crown o| Kin¿s, ol which several editions have heen printed in E¸ypt
and at Mecca. It is on sale at most native hookshops in the Peninsula. Its author was an Achinese,
prominent in the war a¸ainst the Dutch, Shaikh 'Ahhas, who died in ·8q¡. The hook is especially
interestin¸ hecause, like ¨the majority ol Muslim philosophers and authors ol hihlio¸raphical and
encyclopaedic works,¨ the compiler ¨keepin¸ to the classilication ol the sciences ¸iven hy the
Aristotelians, considers astrolo¸y as one ol the seven or nine hranches ol the natural sciences,
placin¸ it with medicine, physio¸nomy, alchemy, the interpretation ol dreams, and so on.¨ The
work is not lree lrom Malay and Indian inlluence. There are ¸iven, lor example, live divisions ol a
live-day cycle, presided over hy Siva the Supreme Lord, Siva the Destroyer, Sri, Brahma, and
Vishnu' Still, the treatise is a lair example ol what Islam has tau¸ht the Malay to re¸ard as
science, and it is, in ellect, a repertory ol his latest ma¸ical lore.
The author he¸ins hy sayin¸ that the science ol astrolo¸y as lirst tau¸ht hy Enoch was simple, and
hecame complex and dillicult only at the prayer ol ¹esus, whose whereahouts helore His arrest
hy the ¹ews were hetrayed hy astrolo¸ical calculations. This part ol the hook quotes amon¸ its
authorities Ahu Ma'shar, an Arah astrolo¸er known to Christendom in the Middle A¸es as
Alhumasar, and ¹a'lar al-Sadik, the sixth ol the twelve Imams, reported hy the Shilahs to have
heen the author ol a hook ol inlallihle astrolo¸ical pro¸nostications lor the inlormation ol the
House ol the Prophet. A manuscript work on ¨Pro¸nostications hy ¹a'lar al-Sadik¨ came into my
hands lrom Malacca, and in Acheh and ¹ava also lortune-tellers' manuals are ascrihed to him.
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - 6 6a a - -
Crude astrolo¸y divorced lrom all knowled¸e ol astronomy enters lar¸ely into the Muslim
element in Malay ma¸ic. It determines lucky and unlucky times lor he¸ettin¸ children, li¸htin¸,
house huildin¸ and plantin¸. At the Perak court the moment propitious lor the circumcision ol a
prince is divined lrom pools ol oil lloatin¸ on water ¨in the shape ol moon and stars.¨ There are
charms that must he written only when the constellation ol the Scorpion is invisihle. The
meanin¸ ol a dream may depend on the day ol the week on which it came to the sleeper, the
omen to he drawn lrom an eclipse on the month and year ol its occurrence. Astrolo¸y is
employed to trace a thiel or recover stolen property, and is part and parcel ol most lorms ol
divination. Ior example, there are several ways ol ascertainin¸ how lon¸ one shall live, ways
dillerent accordin¸ to the month ol the Muhammadan year. In the lirst month one has to close
one's eyes at midni¸ht, recite ¨Say, 'God is One''¨ ten times, and then open one's eyes and ¸aze at
the moon, il it looks hlack, in that month one will die. In the lilth and sixth months one must
¸aze not at the moon hut at a lamp and that only on a Wednesday ni¸ht. In the seventh and
ei¸hth months one recites ¨Say, 'I seek relu¸e in the Lord ol the dayhreak''¨ seven times and ¸azes
at water in a howl, il it looks red, in that month one will die. In the Iastin¸ month one recites
¨Praise he to God¨ nine times and ¸azes at the moon, il one's shadow is there, in that month one
will die. In the last two months ol the year the eyes have to he closed, the passa¸e ¨Say, 'God is
One''¨ recited thrice and the creed once, and one's ¸aze directed at a cloudless sky either at dawn
or at eve, il it looks red like hlood, assuredly in that month one will die.
All Malay treatises on divination lrom dreams hear an Arahic title and are ol Muslim ori¸in. A
popular poem on the suhject he¸ins hy explainin¸ the omens to he drawn lrom dreamin¸ that
one sees Allah, meets an an¸el, heholds the Throne ol God or Paradise or the Razor Brid¸e across
hell-lire or the Guarded Tahlet ol Iate. Then it interprets the meanin¸ ol dreams ahout the Iour
Iriends ol the Prophet, the Quran, Ihlis, hein¸ hanished hy a Shaikh, ridin¸ a camel, eatin¸ horse-
llesh, seein¸ a date tree or a li¸ tree' Needless to say, none ol this theolo¸y, zoolo¸y and hotany is
Malayan. Local launa olten takes the place ol alien launa in native translations ol Muslim
manuals, hut otherwise their contents are lorei¸n and it is lutile to look lor an indi¸enous theory
ol dreams amon¸ Muslim Malays. All these dream manuals are divided into chapters accordin¸ to
the class ol ohject ahout which one dreams. men, heasts, llora, clothes, hirds, insects, countries
and roads, stones, lruits, musical instruments, traps lor lish and ¸ame.
The Crown o| Kin¿s devotes several pa¸es to the omens to he drawn lrom involuntary convulsive
movements ol the lelt eyehrow, the ri¸ht eyelid, the lelt nostril, the upper lip, the shoulder-
hlades, the lelt rin¸-lin¸er, and every part ol the hody. When the Malacca hero, Han¸ Tuah, was
in ¹ava, one day he donned his ma¸ic creese hecause an involuntary twitch ol his ri¸ht shoulder
led him to expect a hrawl. But lew modern Malays heed these niceties or have read ol them.
Divination hy the values attached to the letters ol men's names is hest known lrom a ¨Poem on
Allinities¨ to determine il a marria¸e will he happy. the objoJ or alphahet ol letters representin¸
numerical values is employed. This Malay poem has heen translated into En¸lish. Divination hy
possession is known to the Malays as to the Arahs, hut helon¸s to the primitive, impious, and
decried practices ol the shaman, who on demand will use it even to loretell the outcome ol a
pil¸rima¸e to Mecca' Geomancy, or divination lrom sand, is mentioned in Malay literature under
its Arahic name, hut is never practised hy the Malays. Nor do they ohserve the entrails ol animals
lor omens.
Malay treatises enumerate many animals, pi¸s, the rhinoceros, wild do¸s, deer ol all kinds, whose
entrance into a ¸arden lorehodes calamity, unless the evil portent is averted hy the ollerin¸ ol
prayers to the Prophet and ol cash, cloth, and a least to the pious expert who recites the
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - 6 6¸ ¸ - -
prayers. Butterllies, hees, hawks, woodpeckers ali¸htin¸ on a rool, lro¸s, monkeys, snakes, and
¸eckoes invadin¸ house or ¸arden, a tortoise under the lloor, lun¸us ¸rowin¸ in a kitchen,
coconuts two on a stem, nests ol wasps or mason-hees in one's clothes-all these are variously
portents ol poverty, divorce, disease or death, which the recital ol an appropriate passa¸e lrom
the Quran can chan¸e into omens ol riches, health and happiness. When a mat helon¸in¸ to the
second Caliph ol the Ahhaside dynasty was ¸nawed hy a mouse, it was sent to a diviner who
loretold a quiet and prosperous rei¸n lor its owner. The Malay manuscript lrom which the ahove
list ol portents is taken concludes with a dissertation on the omens to he drawn lrom the ¸nawin¸
hy mice ol mats or pillows or ol the neck, the ri¸ht arm or the lelt arm, or the hottom or side or
hack ol a man's coat'
A Kelantan ma¸ician, whose lore was lull ol Muslim horrowin¸s, claimed that he could rellect
¸enies on the lin¸er nails ol innocent little hoys. Sir Irank Swettenham met an Arah in Malaya
who declared that he could see a rohhery re-enacted in the surlace ol water, hut that lirst ol all
he would see a little old ¸enie hy whose help the scene ol the crime would he rellected. The
same writer saw a howl ol water, with a cotton lid tied taut across it, used as a p|onc|eiie to
discover a thiel. A chapter ol the Quran was read, two men supported the howl hy the rim, and
when at last a slip ol paper containin¸ the name ol one ol the suspects was laid on the lid, the
howl he¸an to revolve. (The author explains that the howl lailed to respond to the lirst lour
names, that the names were written in En¸lish characters unintelli¸ihle to the Malays present and
that the experiment succeeded twice') Amon¸ the re¸alia ol the ruler ol Ne¸ri Semhilan is a
howl and a hair. Divination with this apparatus is done hy Malays to discover a thiel. The howl is
divided hy lines ol Indian ink into ei¸ht compartments, each inscrihed with the name ol the
possihle culprit. A hlind man holds the hair, to which a ¸old rin¸ is tied ahove the centre ol the
howl, and intones a Muslim prayer, whereupon, il the name ol the culprit is there, the rin¸
swin¸s violently into the compartment containin¸ it.
Arah diviners, the recitation ol passa¸es lrom the Quran, the description ol methods ol divination
in ma¸ico-reli¸ious tracts, the ohservance ol astrolo¸ical times, all su¸¸est that the lorms ol
divination popular with the modern Peninsular Malay are derived lrom Muslim sources.
A notahle contrihution lrom Islam to Malaya was a new type ol amulet. The animist lound a
letish in every ohject possessed ol potent soul-suhstance, stones lrom a water-lall, candle-nuts,
cockle-shells, the hardy ¸rass (E|evsine corocono) that survives even on the trodden path. A
stran¸e knot in a Malacca cane, a curious whorl on the wooden sheath ol a da¸¸er, a mark on the
damascene ol a creese that no smith desi¸ned to lashion, the rare celt, the Perak ¨hall ol petrilied
dew,¨ all these attracted his attention and awe and trust. The hezoar stone secreted in lish or
monkey or coconut he kept in rice-¸rain lor lear that it should vanish ollended and an article ol
¸reat medicinal value he lost. Then, India introduced a lresh stock ol charms. The tinsel marria¸e
crown protectin¸ hride and ¸room, the thread tied round the newly-wedded and on the wrist ol a
child, the incense hurnt to scare demons, the wavin¸ ol charmed water over a married pair and
over the sick, and perhaps the ruhhin¸ ol those in ¸hostly peril and the lrail and ill with yellow
turmeric, red hetel, and hlack ashes may he traced to this source. Last ol all, Islam trallicked in
amulets inscrihed with ma¸ic squares, cahalistic letters, the si¸ns ol the planets and the si¸ns ol
the zodiac, the names ol the an¸els and the Excellent Names ol Allah. The hexa¸onal star ol
Solomon's seal is used hy Malays to cure madness and possession hy devil, lamiliar spirit, ¸host or
¸enie. In Perak three such stars are drawn on paper that is steeped in water lor washin¸ the lace
ol one alllicted with dizziness. A ma¸ic square scratched on leal or paper and huried in the
middle ol a rice-lield or at its lour corners will keep away rats and pests lrom the plants.
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - 6 6¡ ¡ - -
Arahic characters representin¸ K, M, y, D, ¸, ALA il traced in oil on the palm ol the hand and
lurtively ruhhed on one's lace in the presence ol one ol the opposite sex will attract that person's
love. Another such lormula will hrin¸ the Perak lisherman a ¸ood catch. Yet another is hun¸
round the neck ol an inlant that reluses its mother's hreast. One is inscrihed on lead and planted
under the house-ladder ol a woman one loves illicitly. Another is put under a patient's pillow to
induce sleep. A text lrom the Quran is hun¸ in a child's locket to save it lrom convulsions or tied
in a woman's waist-helt to save her lrom demons, or lastened to an achin¸ limh or written on
paper to he dissolved in a patient's drinkin¸ water. Printed or manuscript texts are pasted over
the door ol house or room to scare evil spirits. There is a translation hy a Kelantan Malay ol a
treatise popular with Indian Sunnis, the MvjorroboiiiDirbi, or ¨Prescriptions,¨ which cites amon¸
its sources works hy al-Buni, a celehrated Arahian writer on the Cahhala, divination, ma¸ic
squares, and the virtues ol the Basmala. The Basmala is a name lor the Arahic lormula translated
¨In the Name ol God, the Mercilul, the Compassionate.¨ The Malay translation ol the
¨Prescriptions¨ relates as lollows.-¨When God sent down the Basmala the hills shook. Its Arahic
letters are nineteen, the numher ol the an¸els in char¸e ol hell, whosoever recites them shall not
he damned. It was the Basmala that set up Solomon's kin¸dom. Whoever writes down the phrase
six hundred times and wears it shall he honoured hy men. Whoever recites it seven hundred and
ei¸hty-six times lor seven consecutive days shall ¸ain whatever he desires. Read lilty times over
the lace ol a tyrant it will hrin¸ him low. Written down sixty-one times and worn it will make
the harren lruitlul. Written on tin and put in a lishin¸ net it will attract shoals lrom all the seas.¨
Similar virtues attach to the openin¸ chapter ol the Quran and many texts used hy Muslims to
ward oll physical and spiritual ills.
Incantations are lrowned upon hy strict theolo¸ians hut, as we have seen, they are the hreath ol
the Malay ma¸ician's lile. Recited lor a lawlul ohject they do not strike the vul¸ar as unorthodox.
Illicit charms lor the seduction ol women the Malay has inherited lrom the Hindu. And il there is
reason to suspect the ellicacy ol his appeal to ¨Allah, the Mercilul, the Compassionate¨ and to
Muhammad to make a ¸irl yield to her lover, then ¨it is hetter il possihle¨ to add a conclusion
patently impious.-
In i|e nome o| CoJ, i|e Merci|v|, i|e Compossionoie¹
FrienJ o| mine, Ib|is¹ onJ o|| ,e spiriis onJ Jevi|s
T|oi |ove io irovb|e mon¹
I osI ,ov io ¿o onJ enier i|e boJ, o| i|is ¿ir|,
Bvrnin¿ |er |eori os i|is sonJ bvrns,
FireJ wii| |ove |or me.
Brin¿ |er io ,ie|J |erse|| io me¹
B, virive o| i|is rice onJ sieom
P|oce |er |ere b, m, |eori|
Or e|se ioIe ,e |eeJ¹
In a charm a¸ainst the Will o' the Wisp a Kelantan ma¸ician, with pantheism perhaps
unconscious, vaunts, ¨I am Ihlis, the son ol Pharaoh' ¨
To destroy an enemy, there is prescrihed in Malay versions ol Muslim treatises a world-wide
method ol sorcery. A cahalistic symhol is inscrihed on wax. The wax is moulded in the lorm ol a
man. Then the eyes ol the li¸ure are pierced with a needle or its helly stahhed, while a purely
Arahic charm is recited to call down upon the victim the an¸er ol Allah' To roh an enemy ol
power to harm, it sullices to draw his portrait in the dust ol crossroads, ¸rind one's heel on his
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - 6 6¡ ¡ - -
navel, tread on his pictured heart, heat the lace with a stick, and recite a short imprecation.
Symholic charms and Arahic lormulae are also prescrihed to cause impotency. Every ¸ood Malay
Muslim views with horror these hlack practices and Satanic incantations.
The contrihution ol Islam to Malay ma¸ic is not interestin¸. Ilotsam and jetsam lrom the
Talmud, the works ol the Gnostics, the science ol Indian astrolo¸ers and the practices ol Hindu
sorcerers, it came to Malaya third-hand.
ONCE more the Malay ma¸ician sat at the leet ol Indian teachers, this time as a student ol
Muslim pantheism.
To India have heen traced the lirst use ol the Suli term |ono lor loss ol the individual sell in God,
and the Suli's acquaintance with the practice ol ¨watchin¸ the hreaths¨ as a means ol worship.
The Suli le¸end ol Ihrahim hin Adham, the hunter prince ol Balkh who ¸ave up his throne lor
the he¸¸ar's howl, is modelled upon the story ol Buddha.
The Malay has two versions ol the tale ol Ihrahim, prince ol Balkh. Lon¸ helore he ¸ot them,
India had tau¸ht him to last and practise austerities in order to acquire invulnerahility and other
ma¸ical arts. Brahminical mantra, to which even the ¸ods were suhject, would have prepared his
mind lor the audacities ol popular Sulism. Like the mantra, too, Suli secrets and charms were
lascinatin¸ly esoteric, to he revealed only to the initiated. The doctrines that the disciple must
honour and ohey his teacher ahove all men and pass throu¸h several initiatory sta¸es were not
new to a race that had heen under Hindu inlluence lor centuries.
Teachers ol Sulisrn came to the Malay Peninsula more than lour hundred years a¸o. Belore the
end ol the lilteenth century a Sultan ol Malacca sent an emhassy to Pasai, a small Sumatran port
lamous as a reli¸ious centre, ollerin¸ a present ol ¸old and two slave ¸irls to any theolo¸ian who
could say il those in heaven and those in hell remain in their respective places lor ever. A Pasai
pundit replied openly that they did, quotin¸ the authority ol the Quran. But the Sultan ol Pasai
summoned him, hinted that an emhassy could not have come lor such an ohvious answer and
su¸¸ested ¸ivin¸ in private an interpretation ol the prohlem, communicahle only to the chosen
lew. The pundit took this advice and won the prize ollered hy Malacca. There is little douht that
his answer was on lines su¸¸ested hy a work that has lelt its impress on many Malay charm hooks,
the Insonv'|Iomi| or ¨Perlect Man¨ ol al-¹ili. ¨You may say, il you like,¨ writes al-¹ili, ¨that hell-
lire remains as it was, hut that the torment ol the damned is chan¸ed to pleasure,¨ or, a¸ain, ¨the
power ol endurance ol the sullerers in hell continues to ¸row-God never takes hack His ¸ilts and
these powers come lrom God-until there appears in them a Divine power which extin¸uishes the
lire, hecause no one is doomed to misery alter the Divine attrihutes hecome manilest in him.¨
The author ol the Mo|o, Anno|s, writin¸ at a learned court, was not so indiscreet as to reveal this
mystery to all and sundry. Nor does he ¸ive the Suli answer to another prohlem propounded hy
Malacca to Pasai, the paradox that hoth the man who helieves and the man who dishelieves that
God created and hestowed His ¸ilts lrom all eternity is an inlidel. Theolo¸ical discussions like
these are ahove the head ol the ma¸ician. Moreover, he has lelt to the lorei¸ner to practise
occasionally in Malaya that or¸iastic Sulism which de¸rades the lamous cry ol Ahu Sa'id, ¨There
is nothin¸ inside this coat except Allah.¨ Villa¸e ma¸icians that relrain lrom the hlack art are
popular, while the Arah teacher is respected, leared and disliked, and the Indian olten
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - 6 66 6 - -
despised. The Mo|o, Anno|s cynically record how when the Sultan ol Malacca took his Arah
teacher into hattle a¸ainst the Portu¸uese in ·¡·· A.D., the theolo¸ian clun¸ with hoth hands to
the howdah and exclaimed, ¨Let us return' This is no place to study the unity ol God. ¨
The Shi'ah heresies and the ¨rash mystic pantheism¨ to he detected in many Malay charms has
not received the attention ol En¸lish students. ¨Such mysticism,¨ remarks Snouck Hur¸ronje, ¨is
lound also in Arahian lands hut only in small circles ol the initiated as hall secret doctrines ol the
Sulis, cautiously concealed on account ol the hunt ol ollicial theolo¸ians lor heresy and ol the
suspicious lanaticism ol the vul¸ar. In the East Indies, however, it lormed wool and warp not only
ol learned speculation hut ol popular heliel. Tracts with drawin¸s and tahles were used in the
endeavour to realise the idea ol the Ahsolute. The lour elements, the lour winds, the lour
ri¸hteous Caliphs, the lour lounders ol the schools ol law, the lour attrihutes ol God in do¸ma,
the lour ¸rades ol pro¸ress in mysticism, the lour extremities ol the human hody, and many other
sets ol lour were lor popular mysticism revelations ol the one indivisihle sell ol man. Throu¸h
the names ol Muhammad and Allah, each in Arahic spelt with lour letters, were symholised the
One Bein¸.¨
Every Suli who is one with God is a saint with supernatural powers, and already it has heen said
that Malaya is strewn with the ¸raves ol miracle-workers. An ei¸hteenth century history ol Perak
records how when a Sultan ol that State lell ill vows were paid to ¨prophets and saints and the
Poles,¨ who stand at the head ol the Muslim hierarchy and are each in his ¸eneration the axis
whereon the sphere ol existence revolves. The lounder ol the orthodox Qadiri order was amon¸
the saints invoked, hut while the invocation ol saints is allowed to Sunnis, it is commonest in
India and amon¸ the Shi'ahs. A¸ain, the Suli holds that the esoteric teachin¸ ol the Quran was
revealed hy the Prophet to 'Ali, his son-in-law, to whom accordin¸ to the Shi'ahs was transmitted
the Li¸ht ol Muhammad. The name ol 'Ali, our ¨Lord 'Ali,¨ occurs in innumerahle Malay charms.
It has heen remarked that the conception ol the tears ol the Archan¸el Michael creatin¸ countless
cheruhim in his likeness to control the rain and ¸uard the lruits and plants ol the earth exhihits a
pantheistic tendency. The same may he said ol the dia¸nosis ol the Kelantan medicine-man, who
linds a hundred and ninety demons lor smallpox, each operatin¸ on a selected part ol the hody,
His Lordship Buzz on the ear, His Lordship Pe¸ on the joints, and so on. In Patani there are elders
and midwives who helieve that all evil ¨spirits were really one, pervadin¸ the whole world, only
called hy dillerent names accordin¸ to the environment in which the universal spirit ol evil was
considered lor the moment. . . . As one old man expressed it, ' It may he hot here and at Mecca at
the same time, and the spirit is the same.' He went on to explain that the spirit could hreak itsell
into one hundred and ninety parts, and that the ¸reat medicine-man was the person who could
cause it to do this and could keep all the dillerent parts under his control. ¨
Elsewhere it has heen noted how the Malay ma¸ician's idea ol an archetypal ¨world ol the
hreadth ol a tray and a sky ol the hreadth ol an umhrella¨ reminds one ol Ihn 'Arahi's sayin¸ that
all the universe lies potential in God like the tree in the seed.
Drums and wild sin¸in¸ ol interminahle chants helped the shaman to lall into a trance wherein he
trallicked with the world ol spirits, just as Malay villa¸e mystics seek union with Allah hy roarin¸
His praises in chorus and swayin¸ head and hody in ¸iddy contortions. The Brahmin ascetic
attained hypnotic slumher hy countin¸ his inhalations and exhalations and concentratin¸ his ¸aze
on some ohject. Belore completely losin¸ consciousness and ¸ainin¸ deliverance lrom the cycle ol
existence with power (like Hahih Noh ol Sin¸apore) to transport himsell anywhere at
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - 6 6y y - -
will, he ¨hears within his hody (in the heart and throat, hetween the eyehrows and in other parts)
various sounds, those ol a drum, the roarin¸ sea, the thunder, a hell, a shell, a reed, a lyre and a
The reli¸ious ascetic uses his trance to lose himsell in God, the Kelantan ma¸ician to discover il a
warrior will win a li¸ht or a villa¸er live another year. The warrior is to invoke thrice the lour
Shaikhs at the corners ol the world, the lour lirst Caliphs ol Islam and the lour archan¸els, the
hlessed saints, all miracle-workin¸ rulers dead and alive, and pray them to intercede with God to
reveal the issue ol the comin¸ hattle. Then he ¸azes at his lollowers. Il he sees them headless, they
will perish. Il he sees them armless, they will suller ¸reatly in the li¸ht. Or he may listen three
times. Il he hears no sound, his men will perish, and so on. A¸ain. the lour Caliphs have their
seats in the human lrame, Ahu Bakar in the liver, 'Omar in the spleen, 'Usman in the lun¸s, 'Ali in
the ¸allhladder. Each ol them passes to his seat alon¸ dillerent parts ol the ri¸ht or lelt nostril. ¨Il
one wants to cross a river without a hoat, one consults Ahu Bakar throu¸h one's hreath, inhalin¸
and then exhalin¸, il there is a heavy sensation, the water is deep and a hoat required, il there is a
leelin¸ ol li¸htness in the inhalation, the water is shallow.¨ There are a numher ol ways ol
divination lrom ohservin¸ the hreaths. One more charm ol which hreathin¸ lorms a part must
¨To marry hody and spirit draw all your hreath into your heart and recite the lollowin¸.- ¨I am
the true Muhammad. It is not I that say it. It is Muhammad. Iirst spirit was created, then the
hody. Only il this ni¸ht he destroyed, can I he destroyed. My hein¸ is thy hein¸. My hein¸ is one
with thy hein¸. I vanish in the lold ol the attestation, 'There is no God hut Allah-He'' in the lold
ol my mother the Li¸ht ol Muhammad until dawn.¨ Il the charm is lor protection hy day, then it
commits the reciter to the lold ol his ¨lather the Li¸ht ol Allah.¨ ¨Between the two eyehrows,¨
said Hamzah ol Barus, a lamous heterodox mystic ol Sumatra, ¨ that is the spot where the servant
meets his God,¨ and unconsciously he was quotin¸ ,o¿i ritual. Hamzah visited Pahan¸ on the east
coast ol the Peninsula ahout the he¸innnin¸ ol the seventeenth century. So it is less surprisin¸ to
lind in a Kelantan charm hook the ahove assertion hy the Malay villa¸er ol his participation in the
Islamic Lo¸os, thou¸h it is only a mundane expedient lor protectin¸ his skin'
Less learned hut equally pantheistic is the ma¸ician who, lor¸ettin¸ the terrilic appearance ol the
archan¸els lor the orthodox, cries.-
I oiiesi i|ere is no CoJ bvi A||o|¹
I oiiesi i|oi Mv|ommoJ is His Prop|ei¹
Ho m, brei|ren, Cobrie|, Mic|oe|, Isro|i| onJ 'Azroi|¹
Ye ore |ovr bvi wii| me |ive¹
I sii on i|e Seoi o| A||o|¹
I |eon o¿oinsi i|e pi||or o| His T|rone¹
Is this a dehased interpretation ol al-¹ili's description ol the Perlect Man: ¨his heart stands over
a¸ainst the Throne ol God, his mind over a¸ainst the Pen, his soul over a¸ainst the Guarded
Tahlet, his nature over a¸ainst the elements, his capahility ol receivin¸ lorms over a¸ainst matter.
He stands over a¸ainst the an¸els with his ¸ood thou¸hts, over a¸ainst the ¸enies and devils with
the douhts that heset him, over a¸ainst the heasts with his animality. . . . To every type ol
existence he lurnishes lrom himsell an antitype.¨ A literal interpretation ol mysteries is all that a
mind utterly untrained in metaphysics can compass. An extraordinary mixture ol Hindu
sentiment and ima¸ery and ol Suli metaphysical speculations on the Perlect Man occurs in an
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - 6 68 8 - -
old Perak charm lor ¸ivin¸ a person a dominant personality.-
I sii beneoi| i|e T|rone o| A||o|,
Mv|ommoJ m, s|e|ier is besiJe me,
Cobrie| on m, ri¿|i, Mic|oe| on m, |e|i,
A|| i|e compon, o| An¿e|s |o||owin¿ me.
Vice¿ereni o| A||o| . . .
On|, i| A||o| sv||er |orm,
Con I sv||er |orm.
On|, i| His Prop|ei sv||er |orm,
Con I sv||er |orm.
A |ooJeJ snoIe is m, |oinc|oi|,
A mvsi, e|ep|oni m, sieeJ.
M, eorpos, i|e |i¿|inin¿,
M, s|oJow is i|oi o| o |ierce ii¿er.
B, virive o| i|is c|orm o| Awon¿ i|e Preemineni
In seoieJ ossemb|,
Preemineni I,
Ereci, wo|Iin¿ or io|Iin¿
Preemineni I,
I, |orJ o| o|| morio|s,
Preciovs sione o| i|e Prop|ei,
Peor| o| CoJ.
The same manuscript contains a tremendous love-charm to he recited over seven hlossoms, that
must then he handed to the ohject ol one's passion.- ¨There is no God hut God. I am God, the
Divine Reality, ruler who hlesseth all the worlds. There is no God hut God, the Kin¸, the Divine
Reality, the Revealed. There is no God hut Allah, lord ol the heavens and the earth and ol the
¸reat Throne.¨ Thirty years a¸o a Perak Malay was sentenced to ¸aol lor teachin¸ an ohscene lorm
ol pantheism hased on the creed-¨There is no God hut God. I am God. God Most Hi¸h is only
this sell ol mine.¨
The claim ol the ma¸ician that he is God or that he is the hrother ol the lour archan¸els seems
hideously hlasphemous to the orthodox Malay villa¸er, a claim allied with the hlackest ma¸ic ol
the spirit-raisin¸ shaman. But to the disciple the Malay exponent ol this crude popular pantheism
explains and estahlishes his doctrine hy many lar-letched analo¸ies. The invocations used hy the
Kelantan ma¸ician are lull ol them. He calls, lor example, upon lour winds ol disease to ¸o lorth
lrom the patient's hody hy the lour doors ol the or¸ans ol the mystical lile. Wind in skin and
pores corresponds with the lirst ol the lour steps towards union with God, that is, with the
ohservance ol the law, which is the outer mark ol the reli¸ious and ahout which there is no
secrecy. Wind in sinews and hones corresponds with the second sta¸e, that is, the mystic path
enjoined hy his spiritual ¸uide lor the Suli novice. Wind in the llesh and hlood corresponds with
a third sta¸e, the plane ol truth. Wind in the hreath ol lile and the seed ol man corresponds with
the plane ol perlect ¸nosis. Or a¸ain, analo¸ies are discovered hetween the worlds ol Suli
metaphysics and parts ol the physical lrame. The material world is in the ton¸ue, the invisihle
intelli¸ihle world in the windpipe, the world ol power (wherein lie hidden the processes ol the
divine nature) in the lirst stomach ol ruminants' All this is ahracadahra to civilised men, even
metaphysicians. But the process ol thou¸ht is clear. The archan¸els are lour, the lirst Caliphs were
lour, the elements out ol which the human hody is composed are lour, the limhs ol the hody
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - 6 6q q - -
are lour. Therelore man and the archan¸els are one' Adam, Muhammad, and Allah can each he
spelt in Arahic with lour letters. Still the ever recurrin¸ numher lour' Therelore God and man
are identical' Other mystic numhers are three, lounded on Suli speculations on the trinity ol the
lover, the heloved and love, and seven, the numher ol the sta¸es in the Neo-Platonic theory ol the
emanation process ol hein¸, exemplilied also in the numher ol the Pleiades and the days ol the
week. All this is puerile, hut a charm lrom the Kelantan manuscript tract already quoted so
lar¸ely, a charm called ¨The Iortress ol the Unity ol God,¨ will show that it is wron¸ to suppose
the Malay had no serious intellectual interests until European protection provided him with
schools and colle¸es. The charm should he recited lour times a ni¸ht lrom one Iriday to the next
¨with a sincere vowin¸ ol the heart to unity with Allah and the vision ol Him implanted in one's
heart, until His Bein¸ permeates one and one has laith. 'I am lost in the universal and ahsolute
Essence ol God', and one is lost to sell and one's sell hecomes ahsolute and universal too.-
¨In the name ol God, the Mercilul, the Compassionate. Oh God' ¸rant peace to our lord
Muhammad and the household ol Muhammad who watcheth over my sell and my lriends and all
my children and all the contents ol my house and my property and the possessions ol my hands
with a sevenlold lortress lrom the lortress ol God Most Hi¸h, its rool-'There is no God hut God,'
and my wall 'Muhammad the Apostle ol God,' and my key 'the mi¸ht ol God,' which may not he
opened lor ever save with His permission. Muhammad is like man and unlike man, he is like a
chrysolite amon¸ stones.
¨Now the meanin¸ ol the term 'lortress' is that we know we come lrom not-hein¸ and to not-
hein¸ shall return. Ior there is nothin¸ evidently save the Bein¸ ol God. And ol a surety the Bein¸
ol God never parts lrom His ahsolute essence, which carries out all His will, accordin¸ to His
word. ' His desire is accomplished hy Himsell and ¸oes lorth to no other than Himsell save to
¨The meanin¸ ol the term sell is 'spirit,' one ol the attrihutes ol God Most Hi¸h, which parts not
lrom His essence and it hecomes an individualized idea and is called man. Now the spirit is
particularized and lettered. Always the spirit yearns towards God.
¨The meanin¸ ol 'the house ' is the hody. The hody is the place ol the spirit and so the veritahle
place that reveals God accordin¸ to the sayin¸ ol the Prophet, on whom he the peace ol God.
'Whosoever knows himsell, knows his Lord.' The house was huilt ol itsell and thou¸h it will pass
away, yet He Whose house it is, is the Reality Who with His ahsolute essence is eternal.
¨The meanin¸ ol our 'property' is the liver and heart and lun¸s and ¸all and all that God Most
Hi¸h has created. accordin¸ to His word.-'There is no stren¸th in any one save the stren¸th ol
Allah, lord ol all the worlds hoth as re¸ards thin¸s revealed and thin¸s hidden.'
¨The meanin¸ ol our 'possessions' is the ten senses, lirstly the outward and secondly the inner.
The outward arc live. the si¸ht ol the eyes, the hearin¸ ol the ears, the taste ol the ton¸ue, the
smellin¸ ol the nose, and the touch ol the hand. The inner also are live. consciousness, laith,
memory, perception and jud¸ment.
¨The meanin¸ ol the sevenlold 'lortress' is the creation hy God Most Hi¸h ol man with seven
attrihutes. lile, knowled¸e, power, will, hearin¸, si¸ht and speech. And seven parts ol the hody
must he howed to God in prayer. the lorehead, the palms ol the hands, the knees and the soles ol
¿ ¡o||cctloa o[ _acecá _aglcs v vv vv v, , s s a ac c e e c c á á- -m ma ag g l l c c s s, , c c o om m _ _» » c c ) )s s o o t t c c e e l l c c j jl l o o e e a ae e ¡ ¡
- - y yc c - -
the leet.
¨The meanin¸ ol the 'lock' is hecause we have utter trust and union hy surrenderin¸ ourselves to
God Most Hi¸h, accordin¸ to His word. 'Hold yourselves last to the cord ol God which hreaks
not neither is there concealment ol His will lrom mystical knowled¸e', as said the Prophet on
whom he God's peace.-'Nothin¸ at all moves save hy permission ol Allah.' Ior we cannot hehold
au¸ht il the cord hreak and it cannot hreak save hy the will ol God Most Hi¸h, and there is no
suhstitute lor that cord.
¨And the meanin¸ ol the 'key' is Muhammad Apostle ol God. Ior God is utterly hidden, none
knoweth Him save in His own person. Therelore to cherish His ¸lory, God Most Hi¸h was
revealed in the spirit ol Muhammad our Prophet and lrom that spirit God Most Hi¸h created all
this universe, and all the attrihutes ol His secret wisdom were revealed. So it is that Muhammad
is called the 'key,' hecause he opened the treasure-house that was hidden, accordin¸ to His word.-
'I opened that which was closed.'
¨And the meanin¸ ol the protection ol God is accordin¸ to His word. 'God Most Hi¸h is with
thee wheresoever thou art,' accordin¸ to His word.
God is nearer to thee than the muscles ol thy neck.' ¨And the meanin¸ ol 'rool' is the power ol
God to cover any ol His servants with mercy accordin¸ to His will, so that he he locked away
lrom all enemies and dan¸er in this world and the next, neither shall the lock he opened hy ¸enie
or man save with the permission ol God Most Hi¸h.¨
Was it to test the ellicacy ol some such charm as this that that novice on the Suli path, Sultan
Mahmud ol old Malacca, took his spiritual ¸uide with him into hattle a¸ainst the ¨white
Ben¸alis,¨ descendants ol ¸enies, the lirst European invaders ol Malaya: