The Malays and Umar Abdul Aziz…
by LanH (LanH14@englishsection.com), 11 November 2013
IN the year 100 Hijra (718 CE) the King of Srivijaya, one Sri Indravarman sent a letter to the Caliph Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz of the Umayyad Caliphate and requested the Caliph to send him a preacher who could explain the Islamic faith to him.
The letter read: “From the King of kings who is the descendant of a thousand kings, whose wife is also a granddaughter of a thousand kings, whose animal cages are (filled with) a thousand elephants, in whose territory there are two rivers that irrigate the aloe trees, spices, nutmeg and limes such that its fragrant aromas reach out to a distance of 12 miles.
"To the Arab King who does not associate other gods with Allah. I have sent you a gift, which is actually a gift that is not so much, but just a token of friendship. I want you to send me someone who can teach Islam to me and explain to me about its laws." — Letter of Srivijayan King, Sri Indravarman for Caliph Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz.
While browsing the internet looking for information on Hazrat Umar Abdul Aziz, (682-719 AD) the celebrated Umayyad Caliph whose empire stretched from the shores of the Atlantic to the highlands of Pamir (India) and now looked upon as excellent example by a number of Pakatan Rakyat leaders such as Lim Guan Eng and Mohamad Sabu, I came across the above statement from Wikipedia.
The short rule of Hazrat Umar Abdul Aziz (717-719 AD) was like an oasis in a vast desert — a benevolent rain which had fallen on arid soil. It was the brightest period in the 91-year Caliphate of the Umayyads, which, though short lived, had transformed the outlook of the State and had released such powerful democratic forces that after his death the attempts for the restoration of autocracy under Hishaam failed miserably and ultimately culminated in the fall of the Umayyads at the hands of the Abbasids.
I was amazed with that information; how Umar Abdul Aziz who only ruled for two years and five months could have such an impact and much respected by leaders of the world including from the Malay Archipelago.
Ancient Malay kingdoms such as Srivijaya which during its height occupied almost all areas of Sumatra and the Malay Peninsular, put interest to have close relationship with the Umayyad empire. Srivijaya which centered in today’s Palembang was said to be associated to the origin of many of the Malay Sultanates; Melaka included.
The offspring of the Malay king of Palembang then went and explored various parts of the Malay world such as Melaka and Johor-Riau. In ‘Sejarah Melayu’, Singapore (Singapura) was said to be have been founded by Sang Nila Utama, also a prince from Palembang after he had seen a lion.
From my previous readings, I only knew that the first Palembang king to adopt Islam was Ariodamar who ruled from 1455-1486. After converting to Islam, he used the name of ArioAbdillah or Aridillah. The coming of Islam to Palembang was late compared to other areas in Sumatra such as Pasai and Perlak which were said to accept Islam in the 7th century.
When the great explorer, Marco Polo passed Pasai and Perlak in 1292 during his voyage back to Europe from China, he noted that the kings of Pasai and Perlak such as Malikul Saleh were Muslims.
Even the kings of Palembang had became Muslims, the majority of their people were not Muslims, not until the formation of the state of Palembang Darussalam in 1659 headed by its Sultan, the famous of them who was Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II who ruled from 1803 to 1821.
This great Sultan chose not to be cooperative with the Dutch by accepting its adviser (the same status as the British Resident in the Malay states), but was determined to push out the invader. War broke out, and at last the great city of Palembang fell into the hands of the Dutch. Today Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II has been declared a national hero.
Back to the story of Srivijaya, even its king, Sri Indravarman had asked Umar Abdul Aziz to send a preacher to Palembang (Srivijaya), the kings and people of his kingdom were said to be devout Hindus and Buddhists.
It was noted that Mahayana Buddhism came to Srivijaya around the 7th century. A Chinese-Buddhist pilgrim, I-Tsing, who was going to India, arrived at Sriwijaya University in 671AD, and spent six months studying Sanskrit. He stayed here for four years writing his memoirs and giving a valuable description of the city of Palembang.
The city was traditionally a trade center, and, for about 500 years up to the 13th century, Palembang was one of the principal ports of the world, meaning a central point for the bulk of the Indonesian islands’ trade.
Palembang was believed to be the predatory power, and was once the capital of the Sriwijaya Empire. There were regular ships that laid anchor here and it sent its mercenaries as far as Mesopotamia (land under the control of the Umayyad Caliph including Umar Abdul Aziz). There were many scholars and monks, and perhaps thousands of them, who learnt Buddhist teachings and translated Sanskrit texts here.
In Palembang, the earliest Malay/Sanskrit inscription (writing) was traced to the Prasasti Kedukan Bukit (683 AD) and Prasasti Talang Tuwo (684 AD or 608 Saka Year of the Sriwijayan calendar). The writing on the stone proved the Sriwijayans had a great civilization. The Malay world covers a vast area. At the peak of the Sriwijayan empire, its sailors and travelers went as far as Madagascar and Polynesia.
At the end of the 13th century, Sriwijaya had splintered into eight small kingdoms, the largest of which, Malayu, was centered on Jambi and became a strong power. But finally, with the rise of Melaka, in the 14th century, Sriwijaya became a remote backwater.
Crescent Company Logo on Ceramic Plate, found at Gulchampamaage Aage, Fulidhoo, Vaavu Atoll
kurendhoo ziyaaraiy under threat
ރަމީޒް ވިދާޅުވީ، ފާއިތުވި ތިން މަސް ދުވަހުގެ ތެރޭގައި ކުރެންދޫގެ ފުޓްބޯޅަ ދަނޑުގެ އެއް އަރިމަތިން ބޮޑުބައެއް ގިރާލާ، ގަބުރުސްތާނާއި ރަށުގައި އެތަކެއް އަހަރު ދުވަސް ވަންދެން ހުރި “ކުރެންދޫ ޒިއާރަތާ” ދިމާއިން ވެސް ބޮޑުބައެއް ގިރާލައި އެ ސަރަހައްދުގައި ހުރި ދިރާގު އެންޓަނާގެ ފާރު ވެސް ވެއްޓި ބޮޑުބައެއް ގިރާލާފައިވާ ކަމަށެވެ.
ޅ. ކުރެންދޫ އަކީ ކާށިދޫ ބޮޑުކަނޑުގައި، ދެ ކަނޑުއޮޅި މެދުގައި އެއްވެސް ނިވައި ކަމެއް ނެތި އޮތް މީލާދީ ސަނަތު ފެށުމުގެ ދެ ހާސް އަހަރު ކުރިން މީހުން ދިރިއުޅެ، މިހާރު ދެހާހަހެއްހާ މީހުންގެ އާބާދީއެއް ދިރިއުޅޭ ރަށެކެވެ.
04 އޯގަސްޓް 2013
MALDIVES – TRIBUTE TO TONY HUSSEIN – DISCOVERER OF HIDDEN TREASURE IN THE MALDIVES
Story by DOUG LEES, from the latest issue of Surfing World Magazine
Tony inside bowl - Honkys late 70s
On 27 May this year, Anthony “Tony Hussein” Hinde, the surfer who discovered the waves of the Maldives, died surfing the wave he found in 1973 — the wave where, he said his “soul became complete”.
Having ridden a wave to the end, Tony did not get back on his board and was spotted floating in the water. Despite the best efforts of fellow surfers and the local doctor he could not be revived. Tony had suffered a sudden heart attack as he finished that wave.
Tony’s story is one of the truly great surf fairytales. He was the 20 year old from Australia who went on a surfing adventure at a time when many of the world’s best surf breaks were yet to be discovered. A shipwreck on a deserted island in the middle of the Indian Ocean landed him on the then-unknown Maldives, where he found his own nirvana and made it his life and livelihood.
Tony with the first surfboard ever ridden in Maldives
In 1973, Tony was traveling with his good friend Mark Scanlon on a surfing trip from Indonesia to Africa. By December they had come as far as Sri Lanka, where, despite neither having any sailing experience, they talked their way onto a 56-foot ketch bound for Africa. The captain’s plan was to set sail and let the current push them north, but the December currents drove them south towards the Maldives.
On the third night, when they thought they were in the middle of the ocean, the boat was hit by a four-foot wave. Luckily they managed to surf the boat in to the deserted shore – Tony Hussein had landed on the Maldives. In the morning they realised they were “in a beautiful lagoon, surrounded by a beautiful reef and covered by an equally beautiful sky”.
Tony doing a cutback at Pasta Point.
Despite the captain deciding not to stay, Tony and Mark salvaged the boat and sailed it around the islands – at the time one of the most deserted places on earth. One day on this journey of discovery they rounded a headland where “there was a wrapping, blue, perfect left-hander, offshore wind, six feet, breaking off a deserted island with no other surfer for a thousand miles”. As luck would have it, there was a right-hander just as perfect on the other side of the island. After just one session there, Tony decided this was where he wanted to live.
Tony sailing his dhoni
The Maldives opened to tourists in 1972 but by December 1973, Tony estimated, there had only been “maybe 100 people through”. Tony and Mark were the first to arrive on their own and the local government agency didn’t know what to do with them. There were no guest houses in the Maldives, so they billeted with locals until Tony rented a house, for seven dollars a month for a year.
“I was 20 and thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” he said.
From 1974 to 1984 Tony and selected friends surfed the Maldives area by themselves. They would simply walk to the end of the island and paddle out or sail in Tony’s small dhoni, a single-sailed local transport vessel, to other islands nearby. They would leave their boards in the jungle and sail back and forth.
they saw another yacht sailing by they would belly the waves straight in and hide in the bush. Tony gave the waves he’d discovered names, by which they are now widely known. He originally named both the left and right breaks Sultans, but later changed the left to Honky’s after his nickname Honky Fats Waller.
In 1984, Tony got his first outboard motor, mounted on the back of his dhoni. This was a major advancement after ten years of sailing and poling between islands and in and out of lagoons. In the Maldives Tony found personal as well as surfing nirvana, converting to Islam in 1977. He said his conversion was a “way of thanking Allah for guiding me to the Maldives and for the good fortune I’d had there”. He also liked the fact that the people of the Maldives were like Polynesian Muslims, a more casual, but very respectful sort of Islam. “They respect the religion here but theyíre not hardcore about it,” he said. In 1983 his naturalisation was completed when he married a local Maldivian, Zulfa, with whom he had a son and a daughter.
It’s estimated that only about ten different white men had surfed Honky’s up until 1984 – now that’s a well kept secret. But in the mid-eighties, more surfers arrived through the introduction of friends. Tony said he’d always known that one day the Maldives would be exposed to the world and thought he would open a surf travel company. So, in 1989, in partnership with good friend and surfer Ian Lyon, Atoll Adventures was begun.
Ian and Tony met in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka in 1980, but it was several years before Tony let Ian in on his secret – the surf in the Maldives – and then it was with some urgency. Tony wrote to Ian saying that, due to a change in the laws in the Maldives, if he was to come surfing there, he had to get there before May 1984. Ian arrived soon after receiving the letter and had two month’s of perfect surf with Tony.
Ian describes Tony as one of the most interesting people he has ever known, a man he admired and loved as much as a brother. He says that first trip was one of the best experiences of his life. ”Staying in this isolated country of tiny islands with a culture and people unlike any others I had experienced. Surfing perfect waves with only a few friends and getting to know Tony really well, understanding and appreciating just how amazing his life of the past ten years had been and being part of an incredible secret.”
Together, Tony and Ian introduced surfers to the ìincredible secret. In the early years of the business, Ian says, they had a hard time even convincing people that there was surf in the Maldives. People would ring and abuse them. There’s no surf in the Maldives, they would say, accusing them of running an imaginary surf camp.
Tony and Boppa
Now, Atoll Adventures is the leading surf travel company to the area and the resort they pioneered on Pasta Point has become the most popular surf location in the Maldives.
Tony often said he would spend the rest of his life in the Maldives and this is exactly what he did.
In an earlier issue of Surfing World (SW 299), Tony said: “I have been very happy here, happier than I ever thought possible. Again I want to thank Allah for all that he has given me. I have lived a lucky life, a dream life, in my years in the Maldives. My only regret is that Simon Anderson didn’t invent the thruster 15 years earlier.”
Tony’s wife of 25 years, Zulfa, died in January 2008 while undergoing treatment for Leukemia at Wollongong Hospital. He is survived by his son Ashley (23) and daughter Mishal (15). Ashley has deferred his university course in Sydney to return to the Maldives to attend to family affairs and learn everything about the operations of Atoll Adventures. Mishal is at boarding school in Brisbane.
Tony and Zulfa
The Story Of Hazrat Zulqarnain
By Dr A. Q. Khan
A few days ago my childhood class-fellow from Bhopal, Dr Anwar Kamal Pasha, who is now a Saudi national, visited me. He went to Saudi Arabia in the mid-fifties and later opened a hospital in Jeddah. As happened with many Pakistanis, he was helped in getting Saudi nationality by another Pakistani, Dr Fazlur Rahman, who was royal physician to the late King Khaled bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud. Dr Pasha is a tall, handsome gentleman, a true copy of his father, Col Ibrahim Pasha of the Bhopal Army. Dr Pasha presented me an excellent book – a book which is really a treasure of knowledge – containing the secrets of Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS). It proved to be so interesting and absorbing that once I started reading it I could not put it down. I would like to share some of these secrets here. The name of the book is: Unlocking the Secrets of Dhul-Qarnayn and Yajouj and Majouj, and it is written by Mr Hamdi bin Hamza al-Suraiseri al-Johani, a Saudi scholar. It was published under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud. May Allah Almighty shower His blessings on them and their families. Ameen.
The story of Zulqarnain (AS) has been mentioned by Allah in Para 15, Surah Kahf, Ayats 83-100 in the following words:
“(O Muhammad), they ask you about Dhul-Qarnayn. Say: ‘I will give you an account of him.’ We granted him power in the land and endowed him with all kinds of resources. He set out (westwards) on an expedition until, when he reached the very limits where the sun sets, he saw it setting in dark, turbid waters and nearby he met a people. We said: ‘O Dhul-Qarnayn, you have the power to punish or to treat them with kindness.’ He said: ‘We will chastise him who does wrong, whereafter he will be returned to his Lord and He will chastise him grievously. But as for him who believes and acts righteously, his will be a goodly reward and we shall enjoin upon him only mild commands.’ Then he set out on another expedition until he reached the limit where the sun rises and he found it rising on a people whom We had provided no shelter from it. Thus was the state of those people, and We encompassed in knowledge all concerning Dhul-Qarnayn. Then he set out on another expedition until when he reached a place between the two mountains, he found beside the mountains a people who scarcely understood anything. They said: ‘O Dhul-Qarnayn, Gog and Magog are spreading corruption in this land. So shall we pay you taxes on the understanding that you will set up a barrier between us and them?’ He answered: ‘Whatever my Lord has granted me is good enough. But help me with your labour and I will erect a rampart between you and them. Bring me ingots of iron.’ Then after he had filled up the space between the two mountainsides, he said: ‘(Light a fire) and ply bellows.’ When he had made it (red like) fire, he said: ‘Bring me molten lead which I may pour on it.’ So high was the rampart that Gog and Magog could not scale it, nor could they pierce it because of the strength of the structure. Dhul-Qarnayn said: ‘This is a mercy from my Lord: but when the time of my Lord’s promise shall come, He will level the rampart with the ground. My Lord’s promise always comes true.’ And on that Day We shall let some of them surge like waves against others, and the Trumpet shall be blown. Then We shall gather them all together. That will be the Day We shall place Hell before the unbelievers.”
Only in one more place (Surah Anbiyaa) has Almighty Allah mentioned Yajouj and Majouj (Gog and Magog). There he used the following words about them: “But there is a ban on any population which We have destroyed, that they shall not return until the Gog and Magog are let through and they swiftly swarm from every hill.”
The author has given rather convincing arguments that earth from a nearby site was used and that that earth contained many minerals. These melted as they were poured onto the hot iron pieces, turning the rampart into a compact, solid and impenetrable mass.
Syed Abul Aala Maudoodi, in his explanation of the Holy Quran, titled Tafhimul Quran, a book which is beautifully translated into English by Dr Zafar Ishaq Ansari, mentioned that Yajouj and Majouj were wild, ferocious marauders living in north-eastern Asia (present-day Nongolia and China). They used to raid inhabited areas, killing and looting as they went. They were also known as “the Horse People” and were probably the Mongols. Some historians thought that these people lived in the area north of the Black Sea while others thought they lived east of what is now Moscow, the capital of Russia.
Mr Mukhtar Masood mentioned in his very interesting book titled Lauh-e-Ayyam that the Iranians thought that Zulqarnain (AS) was Cyrus the Great, which is not a possibility in view of historical facts. Mr Masood was a very able civil servant whom I used to meet on PIA flights to London which, in those days, made a stopover in Tehran on the way. However, Pakistani passengers were not allowed to disembark in the Iranian capital, which annoyed and frustrated us. The Shah of Iran, who met his downfall in 1979, traced his ancestors back to Cyrus the Great and celebrated 2,500 years of the Pehlavi Dynasty in 1971, spending almost $800 million on the grandiose event. Yahya Khan attended the celebrations and caused embarrassment by drinking too much liquor and then wetting his pants. Brig Amir Gulistan Janjua, his military secretary, was prompt in dealing with the embarrassment. He “accidentally” spilled a glass of cold drink on Yahya Khan and took him away, all the while apologising profusely for the “mishap.” Brig Janjua, later lieutenant general, went on to become Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia and, at the end of 1988, governor of the North-West Frontier Province, which is now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The extensive and thorough research carried out over many years by Mr Hamdi bin Hamza has negated all claims that Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS) was either Alexander the Great, as many people assume, or Cyrus the Great. As Almighty Allah explained in the Quran, Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS) was a prophet sent by Allah and it was he who had travelled to the places where the sun rose and where the sun set. It was he who erected a rampart or barrier in China to protect the inhabitants from the marauding Mongols. Those mentioned as Yajouj and Majouj were Mongols.
I have mentioned the information available in Surah Kahf about Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS). I would now like to go into greater detail about the invaluable book written by the Saudi scholar, Mr Hamdi bin Hamza al-Suraiseri Al-Johani. The book contains more than 500 pages with useful drawings and photos, and the information given would require many columns to discuss fully. I am therefore limiting myself to the essentials.
History tells us that about 3,400 years ago (1392 BC) a child was born in the grand palace of the Pharaoh on the banks of the Nile. The father was the most powerful Pharaoh, Amunhotep III – the same Pharaoh who wanted to murder Hazrat Musa (AS) and was drowned by the Almighty when he was chasing Musa (AS) and his followers. The prince was named Amunhotep IV, but he changed his name to Akhenaten after becoming king (Pharaoh) in 1360 BC. Allah had given him the status of Prophet in 1362 BC and he was quietly following Wehdaniat (monotheism). Once he felt powerful enough he publicly announced his belief. His mother, Tiye, also believed in one God. After some time Akhenaten built a new city, Akhetaton, in the centre of Egypt and forbade the worship of idols.
According to the Holy Quran, Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS), the name Akhenaten is known by in the Quran, was a nice, religious person and Allah had sent him as a messenger to his people, the Egyptians.
Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS) lived in Akhetaton for about 12 years and then suddenly he, his mother and all the inhabitants disappeared. This remains one of the greatest secrets of Egyptian history. From 1342 BC on, Egyptian history opens a new chapter.
In about 615 AD, Allah sent revelationsto our Holy Prophet (PBUH) with Surah Kahf. Following Allah’s command, Zulqarnain and his family and followers left Egypt to visit the places of sunset and sunrise and to build the rampart between two cliffs in China to protect the inhabitants from the attacks of the cruel Mongols -the “Horse People” (discussed in Part I). The Holy Quran has not given any further information about Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS), his mother and his followers after the building of this rampart and the rest remains secrets of Egyptian and Chinese history.
Mr Hamdi bin Hamza carried out extensive research and found that Yajouj and Majouj consist of a sentence of six words in Chinese meaning “inhabitants of the Asia continent and inhabitants of the horse continent.” In Chinese, Yajouj is known as Yajouren and Majouj as Majouren. The author travelled extensively throughout China, meeting many Chinese historians. He convincingly postulates that when Musa (AS) and the Pharaoh were arguing about Allah Almighty, Pharaoh’s son AkhenatenAkhenaton (Zulqarnain) interceded and tried to convince his father and other people to believe what Musa (AS) was saying. None other than a very important and influential person could intercede in such a discussion.
Hence, it must have been the son of the Pharaoh. History or the Quran do not mention the departure or migration of Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS). It was most probably on the command of Allah that he migrated to preach that there was only one God, the All-Mighty, All-Powerful and All-Knowing.
The Quran says that Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS) first went to the place where the sun sets. The author has given convincing arguments that this place is the Maldives Islands where there are hot sea currents. Anthropologists have also confirmed that it was around 3,400 years ago that the first humans came to the Maldives. This would coincide with the time when Zulqarnain (AS) reached there.
According to the Quran, Zulqarnain and his party then left for the place where the sun rises. The author’s research convinced him that this was the Kiribati Islands in the Pacific, thousands of kilometres east of Australia. There he found the “Sun Rise Hotel” where, on Jan 1, 2000, representatives from international agencies and many tourists had gathered to see the first rays of the sun rising on the new millennium. These islands are now known as the Republic of Kiribati, with a population of 100,000. Unfortunately, the inhabitants are very poor. I wish one of the rich Arab countries would fix a yearly donation to these poor people. We know that both the Maldives and the Kiribati Islands lie on the Equator where sunrise and sunset times are more or less constant.
Mr Hamdi bin Hamza also visited the city of Zhenzhou in Henan County, China, where he found a rampart forming a barrier between two steep mountains. It was seven km long, 36 meters wide at the base, nine meters wide at the top and nine meters high. Chinese historians mention it as being the First Great Wall.
When Zulqarnain (AS) reached Zhenzhou city (now a very important industrial centre), the people there asked him to build a barrier between the mountains to keep out the marauding “Horse People” (Mongols). For this they were willing to make payment in goods. Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS) politely refused to accept any compensation, saying that the Almighty had provided him with enough resources and manpower and that they should supply only the materials required. This consisted of steel pieces (probably slag and pig iron). This he used to fill up the space between the two mountains. He then asked them to heat the whole until it is red hot (probably using coal which is found abundantly in the area). When it was red hot, Zulqarnain (AS) asked them to bring earth (probably rich in metallic ore), which was then poured onto the red hot iron, turning the whole into a compact, solid mass.
Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS) and his people were called “Chu People” by the Chinese, meaning alien or outsider. Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS) was accepted as their leader and established a kingdom there. After about 200 years this became known as the Chu Dynasty and it lasted for almost 800 years.
Mr Hamdi bin Hamza believes that Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS) and his mother and companions are buried in or near Zhenzhou city and he hopes that some day archaeologists will find their graves in the same way as those being found in Egypt 5,000 years after their burial.