Raja Ali Haji

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Raja Ali Haji
راجا الي هاجي
Raja Ali Haji ibn Ahmad.jpg
BornRaja Ali Haji bin Raja Haji Ahmad
1808
Penyengat Island (nowadays part of Riau Islands Province)[1][2]
Died1873
Penyengat Island, (nowadays part of Riau Islands Province)
Occupation
LanguageRiau Malay
Notable works
  • Poems
    • 1847: Syair Abdul Muluk (lit., ‘The Poem of Abdul Muluk’ or ‘The Poem of the King's Servant’)
    • 1847: Gurindam Dua Belas
  • Books
    • 1860s: Tuhfat al-Nafis (lit., ‘The Precious Gift’)
    • 1865: Silsilah Melayu dan Bugis (lit. ‘The Genealogy of Malay and Bugis’)
  • Other writings
    • 1857: Bustan al-Kathibin
    • 1850s: Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa
    • 1857: Intizam Waza'if al-Malik
    • 1857: Thamarat al-Mahammah[3]
Notable awardsNational Hero of Indonesia

Raja Ali Haji bin Raja Haji Ahmad (1808–1873) was a 19th-century Bugis historian, poet, scholar,[3] and ulama. He was elevated to the status of National Hero of Indonesia in 2004. His notable works also are recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage by the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture.[4]

Life[change | change source]

Raja Ali Haji on a 2019 stamp of Indonesia

Background[change | change source]

Raja Ali Haji was born in Penyengat[1][2] (nowadays part of Riau Islands Province) in 1808 or 1809,[5] and ethnically Bugis through the patrilineality and matrilineality kinship. His father, Raja Haji Ahmad was the son of Raja Ali Haji Fisabilillah bin Daeng Celak, who are the Bugis warrior originating from Sulawesi.[6][7] His mother, Encik Hamidah binti Malik was a cousin of her father and also of Bugis descent.[8]

Early life[change | change source]

In 1822 when Raja Ali Haji was young, he was taken by his parents to Batavia (modern-day Jakarta). At that time, his father, Raja Haji Ahmad, became Riau's envoy to meet the Governor General Baron van der Capellen. For several times, Raja Haji Ahmad regarded to became the envoy of the Riau kingdom to Java, and during his tenure, that opportunity was used by his son Raja Ali to meet many scholars to deepen his Islamic knowledge, especially the science of fiqh. Among the Betawi scholars, Raja Ali Haji often visited Saiyid Abdur Rahman al-Mashri, he had the opportunity to study astronomy with him. Apart from being able to deepen his knowledge of Islam, Raja Ali Haji also gained a lot of experience and knowledge due to his social networking skill with Dutch cultural scholars, such as T. Roode and Van Der Waal who later became his close friends.

About the year of 1827 C.E. or 1243 H. (Islamic lunar year system), Raja Ali Haji following his father Raja Ahmad went to Makkah al-Musyarrafah to perform the pilgrimage (Arabic: الحج‎‎, romanized: al-ḥajj). Raja Ahmad and Raja Ali Haji were among the first children of Riau kings to perform the pilgrimage in that era. Raja Ali Haji lived and studied in Mecca for quite some time. While in Mecca, Raja Ali Haji had the opportunity to associate with Sheikh Daud bin Abdullah al-Fathani. He had the opportunity to study several areas of Islam and Arabic language with Sheikh Daud bin Abdullah al-Fathani who was then the Chief Sheikh of Hajj (pilgrimage) and very influential among the native Indonesians community in Mecca. He was friends with one of the sons of Sheikh Muhammad Arsyad bin Abdullah al-Banjari, namely Sheikh Syihabuddin bin Sheikh Muhammad Arsyad bin Abdullah al-Banjari. Probably around that time, Raja Ali Haji managed to invite the ulama from Banjar to come to Riau, and if the ulama agreed to come, the ulama would be made Mufti in the Riau kingdom. On his way to Mecca, Raja Haji Ahmad and his son Raja Ali Haji also took the opportunity to visit Cairo (in Egypt), and after accomplished their journey, he returned to his hometown of Penyengat Island (nowadays part of Riau Islands Province).

Notable works and awards[change | change source]

Raja Ali, a man of affairs, was also a religious and literary scholar and did much to establish Riau as the intellectual centre of the Malay world in the mid-19th century. His own writings include several didactic texts, such as Muqaddimah fi intizām (1857; “Introduction to Order”) on the duties of kings, a Johnsonian dictionary of Malay usage, Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa (c. 1869; “Book of Linguistic Knowledge”), and the historical work of Silsilah Melayu dan Bugis (1865; “Malay and Bugis Genealogy”). His most outstanding contribution to learning, however, is the history begun by his father that he rewrote and expanded as the Tuhfat al-Nafis (c. 1866; “Precious Gift”), which remains an invaluable source for the history of the Kra PeninsulaBorneo (a.k.a. Kalimantan in native language), and Sumatra.

In 2004, Raja Ali Haji awarded as one of the National Heroes of Indonesia by the national government of the Republic Indonesia due to his revolutionary and persistent works.

Death[change | change source]

Raja Ali Haji's tomb in Penyengat Island.

Raja Ali Haji died in 1872 at his hometown, Penyengat Island[9] (nowadays part of Riau Islands Province), but the precise date of his death was debated. Among the best-known evidences was a letter written in 1872 when Raja Ali Haji wrote a letter to Herman Von De Wall, a Dutch cultural scholar, who later died at Tanjung Pinang in 1873.[10]

Ancestry[change | change source]

List of notable works[change | change source]

The Gurindam Dua Belas is one of the popular Raja Ali Haji's notable works

Poems[change | change source]

  • 1847: Syair Abdul Muluk (lit., 'The Poem of Abdul Muluk' or 'The Poem of the King's Servant')
  • 1847: Gurindam Dua Belas

Books[change | change source]

Other writings[change | change source]

  • 1857: Bustan al-Kathibin
  • 1850s: Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa (uncompleted)
  • 1857: Intizam Waza'if al-Malik
  • 1857: Thamarat al-Mahammah[3]

Pop culture[change | change source]

  • In 2009, an Indonesian movie ’Mata Pena Mata Hati Raja Ali Haji’ created by a local movie director, Gunawan Paggaru, as a tribute to Raja Ali Haji. The main actor who played the role as Raja Ali Haji was Saifin Nuha a.k.a. Alex Komang. This movie highlighted the major role and significant influence of Raja Ali Haji, especially in the scope of the development of Malay literature, featuring three sequels: the Raja Haji Fisabilillah era, the Engku Putri Raja Hamidah era, and the era of Raja Ali Haji himself. This movie also aims to remind the Indonesian people that Raja Ali Haji is an important native Indonesian figure in the journey of Malay literature through his notable works.

Places and things named after Raja Ali Haji[change | change source]

Indonesia[change | change source]

  1. Maritime University of Raja Ali Haji, a public university located at Tanjung Pinang city in Riau Islands Province.
  2. Social and Politic Science Institute of Raja Ali Haji, a private institute located at Bestari Hill, Tanjung Pinang city in Riau Islands Province.
  3. Raja Ali Haji Museum, a tribute museum and mosque complex for Raja Ali Haji located in Batam Island, Riau Islands Province.
  4. Raja Ali Haji Museum, a complex of museum and mosque located at the coastal area of Tanjung Pinang city, Riau Islands Province.
  5. Raja Ali Haji Dormitory (Indonesian: Asrama Raja Ali Haji, a college dormitory of the Tanjung Pinang diaspora students' union located at Pandeyan, Yogyakarta.
  6. Raja Ali Haji Historical Site (Indonesian: Situs Rumah Raja Ali Haji), located at Penyengat, Tanjung Pinang city, Riau Islands Province.
  7. Raja Ali Haji Mosque (Indonesian: Masjid Raja Ali Haji) located at Tanjung Riau, Batam city, Riau Islands Province.
  8. Raja Ali Haji Stadium (Indonesian: Stadium Raja Ali Haji), a local little sports stadium located at North Kundur, Karimun Regency, Riau Islands Province.
  9. Raja Ali Haji Foundation (Indonesian: Yayasan Raja Ali Haji), a private foundation located at Marpoyan Damai, Pekanbaru city, Riau Province.
  10. Raja Ali Haji Street (Indonesian: Jalan Raja Ali Haji, a street located near the Jodoh River in Batam city, Riau Islands Province.
  11. Raja Ali Haji Street (Indonesian: Jalan Raja Ali Haji, a street located at Sei Jang, Tanjung Pinang city, Riau Islands Province.
  12. Raja Ali Haji Street (Indonesian: Jalan Raja Ali Haji, a street located at Bagan Batu, Rokan Hilir Regency, Riau Province.
  13. Raja Ali Haji Street (Indonesian: Jalan Raja Ali Haji, a street located nead the Beringin River, Indragiri Hilir Regency, Riau Province.
  14. Raja Ali Haji Street (Indonesian: Jalan Raja Ali Haji, a street located at Bandarsyah, Natuna Regency, Riau Islands Province.
  15. Raja Ali Haji Street (Indonesian: Jalan Raja Ali Haji, a street located at Kijang Kota, Bintan Regency, Riau Islands Province.
  16. Raja Ali Haji Street (Indonesian: Jalan Raja Ali Haji, a street located at Empang Baru, Siak Regency, Riau Province.
  17. Raja Ali Haji Street (Indonesian: Jalan Raja Ali Haji, a street located at Dompak, Bestari Hill, Tanjung Pinang city, Riau Province.
  18. Local Reading House of Raja Ali Haji (Indonesian: Taman Baca Masyarakat (TBM) Raja Ali Haji, a social library-like place dedicated to local community to engage and improve the linguistic skills of young generations through reading and writing, located at Pinang Kencana, Tanjung Pinang city, Riau Islands Province.

Malaysia[change | change source]

  1. Raja Haji Street (Malay: Jalan Raja Haji), a street located at the Javanese settlement village (Kampung Jawa) in Malacca.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Raja Ali Haji bin Raja Ahmad Bugis-Malay prince, historian, and scholar". britannica.com.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Carruthers, Andrew M. (2018). Living on the Edge: Being Malay and Bugis in the Riau Islands. 30 Heng Mui Keng Terrace, Singapore 119614: ISEAS Publishing (Yusof Ishak Institute). ISBN 978-981-4818-61-2.CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Kelly Boyd (1999) Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing. Taylor & Francis. pp. 23-24 ISBN 1-884964-33-8
  4. "Gurindam Dua Belas". Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  5. Ali al-Haji Riau, Virginia Matheson Hooker, Virginia Matheson, Barbara Watson Andaya (1982) The Precious Gift: Tuhfat Al-nafis. Oxford University Press. p. 5. ISBN 0-19-582507-1
  6. N. J. Ryan (1963) The Making of Modern Malaya: A History from Earliest Times to the Present. Oxford University Press. p. 69
  7. Ali al-Haji Riau, Virginia Matheson Hooker, Virginia Matheson, Barbara Watson Andaya (1982) The Precious Gift: Tuhfat Al-nafis. Oxford University Press. p. 277. ISBN 0-19-582507-1
  8. Stewart R. Sutherland (1988) The World's Religions. G.K. Hall. p. 42 ISBN 0-8161-8978-1
  9. Arya Ajisaka. Mengenal Pahlawan Indonesia. published by Kawan Pustaka. p. 219. ISBN 979-757-278-1
  10. Timothy P. Barnard (2004) Contesting Malayness: Malay Identity Across Boundaries. NUS Press. p. 128 ISBN 9971-69-279-1

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External links[change | change source]

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