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Terengganu : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
  Welcome
  Getting There
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  Terengganu Map 1
  Terengganu Map 2
  Kuala Terengganu Map
 
  Visit Terengganu
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  Unique Homestays
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ARTS & CULTURE
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HISTORY & HERITAGE
  Terengganu History
  The 19th Century
  The 20th Century
  The Age Of Commerce
 
  The Inscribed Stone
 
  Traditional Boat Building
  Malay Exotic Wooden
  Royal Treasures
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HANDICRAFTS
  Malay Handicrafts
  Batik, Songket & Silk
  Brassware & Wood Carving
  Mengkuang & Pandanus Weaving
  Keris (Blade) Making
  Rattan & Bamboo Product
  Traditional Wau / Kite Making
   
PLACES OF INTEREST
 
  Must Visit Places
 
ISLANDS HOLIDAYS
  Islands Of Terengganu
  Pulau Perhentian Island
  Pulau Lang Tengah Island
  Pulau Redang Island
  Pulau Bidong Island
  Pulau Kapas & Gemia Island
  Pulau Tenggol Island
 
  Beach Holidays
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TASIK KENYIR (LAKE)
  General Info
  Herbs Park & Kelah Sanctuary
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  Getting There
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KUALA TERENGGANU
  Around The City
  Islamic Civilization Park
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MARANG
  Overview
   
DUNGUN
  Overview
  Chemerong Waterfall
  Rantau Abang (Turtle Nesting)
   
KEMAMAN
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HULU TERENGGANU
  Overview
  Ajil Pheasant Park
  Berang River Safari
  Sekayu Waterfall (Must Visit)
   
SETIU
  Overview
   
KUALA BESUT
  Overview
  Lata Belatan Recreational Forest
  Lata Berangin & La Hot Springs
  Lata Tembakah Waterfall
 
Kelantan : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Pahang : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Johor / Johore : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Malacca / Melaka : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Negeri Sembilan / The Nine State : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Kedah (Langkawi) : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
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Sabah : East Malaysia / Malaysian Borneo - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Labuan (Federal Territory) : East Malaysia / Malaysian Borneo - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Sarawak : East Malaysia / Malaysian Borneo - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
 
 
 
TERENGGANU - EAST COAST REGION OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA

HISTORY & HERITAGE - The Inscribed Stone

 
 
  THE DISCOVERY

It was in 1902 that Syed Hussin Gulam al-Bukhari, an Arab prospector from Riau (in Indonesia) who had come to Kuala Berang looking for gold and tin, first discovered the Terengganu Stone. While washing his feet in readiness for midday prayer at the Kampong Buluh mosque near Kuala Berang, Syed Hussin noticed that the stone he was standing on had been inscribed with Jawi words. He was curious and immediately got the penghulu (chiefi's permission to take the stone back to Kuala Terengganu. There he presented it to the sultan (Zainal Abidin Ill). The sultan had it placed in the fort on Bukit Puteri, and there it remained until 1922 when a British colonial official had it sent to the Raffles Museum in Singapore for examination. The museum sent photographs of the inscription to C. O. Blagden, a colonial scholar of Malaya. Blagden deciphered the contents of the Jawi inscription. The translation was subsequently published in the Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. The Terengganu Stone was sent back to Malaysia following the opening of the National Museum (Muzium Negara) in Kuala Lumpur in 1963. Then, in the late 1980s, the stone was returned to the Terengganu state government, and it is now on display in the recently opened State Museum.

The Inscribed Stone / Batu Bersurat Terengganu

 
  THE DETAILS

Kampong Buluh was not the stone's original home. The locals had found the stone jutting out of the bank of a small stream nearby after a flood in 1887 and had carried it to the mosque to serve as a platform for them to do their ablutions. The inscription turned out to be a proclamation issued by the "Sri Paduka Tuan" of Terengganu, urging his subjects to "extend and uphold" Islam and providing 10 basic laws for their guidance. Four of the laws are either missing or illegible. The other six deal with debtors' obligations, sexual offences, the bearing of false witness, and types of penalties in default of payment of fines. But more significant is the date on the first face of the inscription, which is given as the month of Rejab, 702 AH or the year 1303 AD. The laws were not fully Islamic in nature. They were the local laws of the Malays and Javanese at that time, and Javanese and Sanskrit legal terminologies are largely used in the inscription. To the linguist the inscription and the laws provide proof that the Malay language could be and was used for legal purposes.

How the Terengganu Stone was discovered. (From Early History, The Encyclopedia of Malaysia, 1998: 129).

Above How the Terengganu Stone was discovered. (From Early History, The Encyclopedia of Malaysia, 1998: 129).

 

The granite stone on which the inscription was chiseled is unpolished. It is 84 cm in height and weighs 214.8 kg. The stone was probably chosen because of its convenient shape. It is slightly wider at the top with flat faces on the front, back, and sides. This gave sufficient space for the edict. The top part has long since been broken off (most writers assume that there are writings on the missing part), thus affecting the inscriptions on the lateral sides. These appear to run up one side, over the (missing) top, and down the opposite side. Efforts to locate the missing part of the stone have been unsuccessful. The inscriptions on panels A and B are fortunately unaffected by the breakage.

 
 
  HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANT

Panel of Batu Bersurat Terengganu / Terengganu Inscribed Stone

Panel of Terengganu Stone

 

Comparing the writing with similar inscriptions on other stones, S. Q. Fatimi, who had studied the coming of Islam to Malaysia, wrote: "The Malays tried to copy the forms of writing used by the people of Champa.' Although the Terengganu stone is of a later date, it is similar to stone inscriptions of Phan-rang (Vietnam) in what was then part of Champa territory. But the inscription reflects the court culture of the Javanese capital.   It is a culture of the Hindu-Buddhist Majapahit empire with its pantheon of deities, including Kali (the goddess of destruction) to whom the Terengganu populace pleaded for protection, and this was a not altogether incongruous picture of the 14th century Malay world.

 

Based on linguistic evidence, however, Terengganu was probably converted to Islam via Sumatra rather than Java. The use of the Malay language for the Terengganu inscription would point to the Malay kingdom of Srivijaya in Jambi, Sumatra. The inscription hints at a literary tradition centered on the court, which was concerned with preserving the old (Hindu-Buddhist) teaching as well as adapting to the new one (Islam). The ruler, or Mandalika, was trying to impose basic Islamic teaching upon his newly-converted people: to deter them from stealing, adultery, and rebellion. It also points to Islamic law couched in Sanskrit terms such as Dewata Mulia Raya (God), Mandalika (lawgiver), derma (penalty), balanchara (adultery), adi-pertarna (the first) and tamra (regulation).

 

However, with our current state of knowledge, who the Mandalika really was is anybody's guess.   In fact the stone itself is still shrouded in historical mysteries. What happened to the first Islamic kingdom of Terengganu? What indeed was its origin and why did this kingdom subsequently disappear?   We do not know, but the answers might eventually come from archaeologists and other scholars. It is likely that Terengganu was attacked and overrun by foreign forces, possibly even from Java. The Terengganu stone may be the only surviving artifact of an important era and polity. The Kuala Berang or Terengganu stone is a historic Islamic contribution to the people of the Malay- Indonesian Archipelago within the field of ancient writing and language. It is a most treasured heritage.

 
 
 
HISTORY & HERITAGE - The Inscribed Stone
TERENGGANU - EAST COAST REGION OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA