Wednesday, December 30, 2009

King Ramathibodi I, Thailand


Uthong (Thai: สมเด็จพระเจ้าอู่ทอง) or Ramathibodi I (Thai: สมเด็จพระรามาธิบดีที่ 1) (1314 – 1369) was the first king of the kingdom Ayutthaya (1350-1767, now part of Thailand), reigning from 1350 to 1369. He was known as Prince U Thong before he ascended to the throne on March 4, 1351. A native of Chiang Saen (now in Chiang Rai Province) he claimed descent from Khun Borom and propagated Theravada Buddhism as the state religion.

In 1350 Ayudhya kingdom was founded by King Ramadhibodi-I, which merged Lavo with the kingdom ruled from Subharnaburi called Subharnabhumi or Pan Pum, which according to the common Thai history to be identical with the Suvarnabhumi kingdom. King Ramathibodi's position was likely secured by political marriage and family ties. He was married to a daughter of the ruling family of Suphanburi, and may have also married into an alliance with the rulers of Lopburi - it was likely the king of Lopburi that he was initially chosen to succeed. He appointed both his brother-in-law and son to positions of leadership in Suphanburi and Lopburi, respectively, and established his own capital in the new city of Ayutthaya. King Ramathabodi's reign bound together the Khmer rulers of Lopburi, the Tai in the west, and the Chinese, Javanese, Bugis and Acehnese merchants who inhabited the coastal areas.

(i)Suphan Buri is a town (thesaban mueang) in central Thailand, capital of the Suphan Buri Province. It covers the whole tambon Tha Philiang and parts of the tambon Rua Yai and Tha Rahat, all within the Mueang Suphan Buri district.

(ii)Lopburi is the capital city of Lopburi Province in Thailand. It is located about 150 km north-east of Bangkok. As of 2006 it has a population of 26,500. The town (thesaban mueang) covers the whole tambon Tha Hin and parts of Thale Chup Son of Mueang Lopburi district, a total area of 6.85 km. Known as Lavo during most of its history, Lopburi province is one of the most important cities in Thai history. After the foundation of Ayutthaya Kingdom in the fifteenth century, Lavo decreased in importance to become only a border town to the north of Ayudhaya. However it became a new royal capital during the reign of King Narai the Great(สมเด็จพระนารายณ์มหาราช) of the Ayutthaya kingdom in the middle of the 17th century, The king stayed here for about eight months a year.

(iii)Khun Borom
According to the myth of Khun Borom, commonly related among the Lao, people in ancient times were wicked and crude. A great deity destroyed them with a flood, leaving only three worthy chiefs who were preserved in heaven to be the founders and guides for a new race of people. The deity sent the three chiefs back to the earth with a buffalo to help them till the land. The chiefs and the buffalo arrived in the land of Muang Then (believed to be present-day Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam). Once the land had been prepared for rice cultivation, the buffalo died and a gourd vine grew from his nostril. From the gourds on the vine, the new human race emerged—relatively dark-skinned aboriginal peoples emerging from gourds cut open with a hot poker, and the lighter skinned Lao emerging from cuts made with a chisel.

The gods then taught the Tai people how to build houses and cultivate rice. They were instructed in proper rituals and behaviour, and grew prosperous. As their population grew, they needed aid in governing their relations and resolving disputes. The chief god sent his son, Khun Borom, to be the ruler of the Tai people. Khun Borom ruled the Tai people for 25 years, teaching them to use new tools and other arts. After this quarter-century span, Khun Borom divided the Tai kingdom among his seven sons, giving each one of them a portion of the kingdom to rule. The eldest son, Khun Lo, was given the kingdom of Muang Sua- modern-day Luang Prabang. Other sons were given the kingdoms of Siang Khwang, Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Sipsong Pan Na (Southern Yunnan, China), Hamsavati (a Mon state in modern-day Myanmar), and an unknown area apparently in north-central Vietnam, sometimes identified with Nghe-an province.

Other unconfirmed sources on King Ramathibodi I
Uthong claimed descent from Khun Borom, there were source claimed that he was a Malay Muslim king named Sultan Mad Zafar Syah III ruler of the Siamese Kedah Pasai Ma, and that the Siamese were malay. Ayutthaya Kingdom was a Malay kingdom, the Tai from Burma destroyed Ayutthaya kingdom, the actual Siamese kingdom, and the current king was from Tai.
There is also some historian who said Uthong was Chinese.
However there is no confirmed or reliable documentary evidence to support the claim. Uthong claimed himself that he was descent from Khun Borom, a Tai link which is more acceptable and link to other historical fact of countries from the same region. He was the first ruler of Ayutthaya kingdom,which included Kedah, he cannot be the ruler of only part of the kingdom. But anyhow, as it is Thailand national history, it is for Thailand's historian to rebut on the claims.

1. Muslim Malay
New information from Kedah, Malaysia clearly state Rama Thibodi I by his Muslim name of Sultan Mad Zafar Syah III ruler of the Siamese Kedah Pasai Ma, probably part of the Ayuthaya Empire or by its Muslim name. Records in Iran state that he has in his royal court a Muslim scholar known as Sheikh Ahmad Qomi. He is the son-in-law of Chinese Siamese Muslim King descendent by the name of Nayuan (Bee Father). A golden coin with his name inscribe on it has been found in the island of Langkawi and is now kept in the Kedah State Museum.

During his reign he built Ton Sun Khlong Tue Mosque in Bangkok which still stand today. Persians architecture can still be seen in the ruins of Ayutthaya. Apart from that France still have records in the form of a map of 21 Mosque built in Ayutthaya during his reign and known as Shari Nao. The Mosques however were destroyed during the invasion by Sukhotai of Myanmar. Meanwhile local villages in Kedah people still speak Siam daily, a language spoken by their former King. The Siam (Muslim) language is different from the Thai language although they are very similar.

Apart from the above information, various tomb of Ayutthaya Kings such as Rama Tibodi II is located in Kubang Pasu Kedah. The tombstone is inlaid with Ayutthayans decorative motives, shape as per alphabet 't'. The tomb of Rama Tibodis II son, Khun Woran Wang Ser is also located in Alor Setar, Kedah. His decsendent lives in Kedah and carries the title Nai Long before their given names.

2. Ethnic Chinese
According to a more famous source, a seventeenth- century Dutch, Jeremias Van Vliet's Account suggested that, according to a 'reknown legend', Ramatibodi was an ethnic Chinese, sailing down from China. After he got success in trade, he became more influential and then could rule the city of Phetchaburi, a coastal town of the Gulf of Thailand, before travelling up to Ayutthaya. Scholar Charnvit Kasetsiri hypothesized that U Thong might have actually been born to a Chinese merchant family operating in the area of Phetburi. At least one royal chronicle identifies U Thong as the son of one Chodüksethi, apparently a leader of the Chinese merchant community.

Early Persian/Iran : Sheikh Ahmad Qomi & family

1. Chaophraya Boworn Rajnayok Sheikh Ahmad Qomi- the early Persian in the court of King(1543-1631)

Sheikh Ahmad Qomi , was the Persian who introduced the Islamic faith of the Jaifari 12 imam Sect (know in Siam as the Chao Sen Sect, and known world wide as the Shi - ite Sect) to Siam in the later years of the reign of King Naresuan the Great(1555-1605), toward the end of the Sixteenth century. He was born in 1543 in the village of Tainnajahar, Qom, Persia. Qom is the holy city of Shi'a Muslim, as it is the site of the shrine of Fatema Mæ'sume, sister of Imam `Ali ibn Musa Rida (Persian Imam Reza, 789–816 A.D.). The city is the largest center for Shi'a scholarship in the world, and is a significant destination of pilgrimage.

Sheikh Ahmad Qomi was a Persian and the title 'Sheikh' used in Persia meant much more than an Arab tribal leader, it meant that the title - holder was a highly learned man of the Qoran and a person deem worthy of the utmost respect and honour.

Sheikh Ahmad came to Siam in 1605, for two specific purposes, one was propagating the Islamic faith of the Ja'Fari 12 Imam Sect or Shi-ite Teachings of Islam (known in Siam as Chao Sen Sect) to the Siamese, and the other one was the setting up a 'Trading Post'.

He was highly educated as well as well versed and qualified in the teachings of the Qoran - the Islamic Holy Scriptures. He had and intellect graced with the highest degree of integrity, loyality and responsibility besides being a shrewd administrator. He served his religion as he pledged to do. He also became Siam's greatest statesman of his time; yet, he always remained in the background, never in the limelight. When he became a member of Chao Phya Phra Klang's staff, (the Minister of the Royal Treasury, Customs and Foreign Affairs), he found that the Royal Coffers were depleted, and the system for the collection of tariffs was completely inefficient and poorly adapted to the expenditures of that time. It should be noted that, owing to the continual fighting which had taken place for decades had ceased in the later part of King Somdej Phra Naresuan the Great, Siamese manpower had been drained. The fighting forces at that time thus consisted mostly of foreign mercenaries, the payment which was the main cause of the Royal Coffers being empty. Thus his appointment to reorganize the complete tariff system on more profitable lines, could not have come at a more timely moment. In fact the system he set up was so efficient that it was continued right up to the time of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). It must be noted that when His Majesty King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) reorganized the Royal Treasury, Customs and Foreign Affairs, it was Chao Phya Bhanuwongse (Tuam), the direct descendant of Sheikh Ahmad Qomi, who supervised the reorganization into the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Having settled in Siam, he enthusiastically embarked upon developing his Islamic mission and his trading post. Within a decade, due to his tireless efforts, the Chao Sen Sect was firmly established and the trading mission prospered. While becoming somewhat prosperous on the way, he gained a reputation of being an honest and trust - worthy merchant. It was during this period that he married a lovely upcountry young lady by the name of Ob Chuay who bore him two sons and a daughter. The eldest son, was named Chuen, the second one died before reaching his teens while his daughter was named Chi.

When Sheikh Ahmad Qomi passed away, he held Siam's highest title, that of Chao Phya Boworn Rajnayok. His tomb, stands on the campus of the Phra Nakorn Sri Ayudhya Teachers College.

Sheikh Ahmad, was the ancestor of many respected Thai families, the Bunnag, Singhaseni, Siphen, Chularat and Bunyaratklalin families

Ayutthaya (อาณาจักรอยุธยา)1350-1767

Ayutthaya (Thai: อาณาจักรอยุธยา, RTGS: Anachak Ayutthaya, also Ayudhya) was a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1350 to 1767 until it was invaded by the Burmese. Ayutthaya was friendly towards foreign traders, including the Chinese, Vietnamese (Annam), Indians, Japanese and Persians, and later the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and French, permitting them to set up villages outside the city walls. In the sixteenth century, it was described by foreign traders as one of the biggest and wealthiest cities in the East. The court of King Narai (1656–1688) had strong links with that of King Louis XIV of France, whose ambassadors compared the city in size and wealth to Paris. Before Ayutthaya fell to the Burmese invasion in 1767, its vassals included the Northern Shan states of present-day Myanmar, Lanna (Chiang Mai, Thailand), Yunnan & Shan Sri (China), Lan Xang (Laos), Champa (Vietnam), and some city-states in the Malay Peninsula.

According to foreign accounts, Ayutthaya Kingdom was officially known as Siam but many sources also said Ayutthaya people called themselves as Tai of Krung Tai, or the Kingdom of the Tais.

When Ayutthaya fell to Burmese attack in 1767, its territory included the Northern Shan states of Burma, Lanna (ChiangMai), Yunnan & Shan Sri (China), Lan Xiang (Laos), Cambodia, South Vietnam and all of Malaya.

By the end of the fourteenth century, Ayutthaya was regarded as the strongest power in mainland Southeast Asia. Ayutthaya began its hegemony by the conquests of northern kingdoms and city-states like Sukhothai, Kamphaeng Phet and Phitsanuloke. Before the end of fifteenth century, Ayutthaya launched attacks on Angkor, the classical great power of the region. Angkor's influence eventually faded from the Chao Phraya River Plain while Ayutthaya became a new great power.

From the fifteenth century Ayutthaya showed its interest toward the Malay Peninsula, where the great trading port of Malacca contested its claims to sovereignty. Ayutthaya launched several abortive conquests on Malacca. Due to the military support of Ming China, Malacca was diplomatically and economically fortified. In the early fifteenth century the Ming Admiral Zheng He had established one of his bases of operation in the port city, so the Chinese could not afford to lose such a strategic position to the Siamese. Under this protection, Malacca flourished into one of Ayutthaya's great foes, until its conquest in 1511 by the Portuguese.

However in the mid-sixteenth century, the Burmese Kingdom of Taungoo, also Toungoo, became stronger, it then began its 'imperial expansion' and kings Tabinshwehti and Bayinnaung attacked Ayutthaya. In 1569 Ayutthaya eventually fell and became Toungoo's vassal. The royal princes and high officials were taken back to Taungoo. One of those princes was Prince Naret or widely known later as King Naresuan.

Ayutthaya became a great power again after Prince Naret or Naresuan returned to Ayutthaya. He started gathering troops to resist the Burmese. King Naresuan finally defeated Burmese forces in a famous elephant battle with Toungoo's heir apparent, who was killed in the battle. Since then Ayutthaya became one of the most powerful kingdoms in the region. Ayutthaya controlled over the northern regions of Sukhothai and Lanna, as well as the maritime, southern peninsula. Foreign trade brought Ayutthaya not only luxury items but also new arms and weapons. In the mid-seventeenth century, during King Narai's reign, Ayutthaya became very prosperous.

Burmese forces invaded Ayutthaya. After months of siege, Ayutthaya was surrendered in April 1767. The city was sacked and totally destroyed. The Kingdom of Ayutthaya was finally annihilated.

The Kings in Ayutthaya Dynasty
Uthong Dynasty ราชวงศ์อู่ทอง(first reign, 1350-1370)

* Ramathibodi I (formerly Prince U Thong) (1350 - 1369)
* Ramesuan (1369 - 1370) (first rule, abdicated)

Suphannaphum Dynasty ราชวงศ์สุพรรณภูมิ (first reign, 1370-1388)

* Borommaracha I (Pha Ngua) (1370 - 1388)
Uthong Dynasty ราชวงศ์อู่ทอง(second reign, 1388-1409)

* Ramesuan สมเด็จพระราเมศวร (1388 - 1395) (second rule)
* Ramracha Thirat สมเด็จพระรามราชาธิราช (1395 - 1409)

Suphannaphum Dynasty ราชวงศ์สุพรรณภูมิ (second reign, 1409-1569)

* Intha Racha (Nakharinthara Thirat) สมเด็จพระอินทราชา (นครินทราธิราช) (1409 - 1424)
* Borommaracha Thirat II (Sam Phraya) สมเด็จพระบรมราชาธิราชที่ 2 (เจ้าสามพระยา) (1424 - 1448)
* Boromma Trailokanat สมเด็จพระบรมไตรโลกนาถ (1448 - 1488)
* Borommaracha Thirat III สมเด็จพระบรมราชาธิราชที่ 3 (1488 - 1491)
* Ramathibodi II (Chettha Thirat) สมเด็จพระรามาธิบดีที่ 2 (พระเชษฐาธิราช) (1491 - 1529)
* Borommaracha Thirat IV (Nor Phutthangkun) สมเด็จพระบรมราชาธิราชที่ 4 (หน่อพุทธางกูร) (1529 - 1533)
* Ratsadathiratcha Kuman พระรัษฎาธิราชกุมาร (1533); child king
* Chaiya Racha Thirat สมเด็จพระไชยราชาธิราช (1534 - 1546)
* Kaeo Fa (Yot Fa) พระแก้วฟ้า (พระยอดฟ้า) (joint regent 1546-1548); child king & Queen Si Sudachan
* Vạravoṇśādhirāj ขุนวรวงศาธิราช (1548)
* Phra Maha Chakkraphat สมเด็จพระมหาจักรพรรดิ (ruled 1548-1568) & Queen Suriyothai สมเด็จพระศรีสุริโยทัย (d.1548)
* Mahinthara Thirat สมเด็จพระมหินทราธิราช (1568 - 1569)

Sukhothai Dynasty ราชวงศ์สุโขทัย(1569-1629)

* Maha Thammaracha Thirat (Sanphet I) สมเด็จพระมหาธรรมราชาธิราช (สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 1) (1569 - 1590)
* Naresuan, the Great (Sanphet II) สมเด็จพระนเรศวรมหาราช (สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 2) (1590 - 1605)
* Ekathotsarot (Sanphet III) สมเด็จพระเอกาทศรถ (สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 3) (1605 - 1610)
* Si Saowaphak (Sanphet IV) พระศรีเสาวภาคย์ (สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 4) (1610 - 1611)
* Drongdharm (Intha Racha) สมเด็จพระเจ้าทรงธรรม (พระอินทราชา) (1611 - 1628)
* Chetthathirat สมเด็จพระเชษฐาธิราช (1628 - 1629)
* Athittayawong สมเด็จพระอาทิตยวงศ์ (1629)

Prasat Thong Dynasty ราชวงศ์ปราสาททอง(1630-1688)

* Prasat Thong (Sanphet V) สมเด็จพระเจ้าปราสาททอง (สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 5) (1630 - 1655)
* Chao Fa Chai (Sanphet VI) สมเด็จเจ้าฟ้าไชย (สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 6) (1655)
* Si Suthammaracha (Sanphet VII) สมเด็จพระศรีสุธรรมราชา (สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 7) (1655)
* Narai, the Great สมเด็จพระนารายณ์มหาราช (1656 - 1688)

Ban Phlu Luang Dynasty ราชวงศ์บ้านพลูหลวง(1688-1767)

* Phet Racha สมเด็จพระเพทราชา (1688 - 1703)
* Luang Sorasak or Phrachao Sua ('The Tiger King') (Sanphet VIII) สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 8 (หลวงสรศักดิ์ - พระเจ้าเสือ) (1703 - 1709)
* Tai Sa (Sanphet IX) สมเด็จพระเจ้าสรรเพชญ์ที่ 9 (พระเจ้าท้ายสระ) (1709 - 1733)
* Borommakot (Borommaracha Thirat III) สมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัวบรมโกศ (สมเด็จพระบรมราชาธิราชที่ 3) (1733 - 1758)
* Uthumphon (Borommaracha Thirat IV) สมเด็จพระเจ้าอุทุมพร (1758)
* Suriyamarin or Ekkathat (Borommaracha Thirat V) สมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัวพระที่นั่งสุริยามรินทร์ (พระเจ้าเอกทัศ) (1758 - 1767)

Related articles:

1. Muslim Influences in Seventeenth Century Ayutthaya(2007), by Peter Hourdequin, published in A Graduate Student Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Volume 7 issue 2, Spring 2007.
3. THAILAND-IRAN RELATIONS,by M. Ismail Marcinkowski, Encyclopaedia Iranica Online://
4. Sheikh Ahmad Qomi - ชมรมสายสกุลบุนนาค : The Bunnag Lineage Club,
5. Khun Borom,

Iran's Nobel Laureate : Shirin Ebadi

Sister Of Iran's Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi Arrested
30.12.2009 07:17

The sister of 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has been arrested by Iranian authorities, among 10 new arrests reported by the opposition on December 29.

Nushin Ebadi was detained at her home on December 28.

Shirin Ebadi told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that authorities from the Ministry of Information had threatened her sister and told her that she herself must give up her human rights work.

"When my sister was summoned [earlier] by the Ministry of Information, she was told that she has to move out of her house,” Shirin Ebadi told Radio Farda by phone. “She has a separate house, but it is in the same complex where I am living. And they told her if she doesn’t move, and if I continue working at my job, she will be arrested.”

“At first, I thought this was a joke. But unfortunately, it became clear to me that it was not a joke,” Ebadi said. “And on Monday [December 28] at 9 p.m., four people came to my sister’s house -- one of them was my previous interrogator, who had threatened to make an arrest -- and then she was arrested and taken away."

Ebadi said she does not know why her sister has been targeted.

"Whether I have done good or bad, I am responsible for it,” she said.

“My sister has neither participated in [the recent] Ashura demonstrations nor in previous demonstrations,” she continued. “Basically, fortunately or unfortunately, she is not involved in any human rights or social activities.”

A prominent journalist, Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, and a women's rights activist, Mansoureh Shojaee, were also reportedly detained the same night as Nushin Ebadi.

The developments come after at least eight people were killed in clashes between opposition protesters and security forces on December 27, the worst unrest in months.


Who is Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi (شیرین عبادی - Širin Ebâdi; born 21 June 1947) is an Iranian lawyer, human rights activist and founder of Centre for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran. On October 10, 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women's, children's, and refugee rights. She was the first ever Iranian, and the first Muslim woman to have received the prize.

In 2009, Ebadi's award was allegedly confiscated by Iranian authorities, though this was later denied by the Iranian government. If true, she would be the first person in the history of the Nobel Prize whose award has been forcibly seized by state authorities(source: wikipedia).

Ebadi was born in Hamadan, Iran. Her father, Mohammad Ali Ebadi, was the city's chief notary public and professor of commercial law. The family moved to Tehran in 1948.

She was admitted to the law department University of Tehran in 1965 and upon graduation in 1969 passed the qualification exams to become a judge. After a six-month internship period, she officially started her judging career in March 1969. She continued her studies in University of Tehran in the meanwhile and received a master's degree in law in 1971. In 1975, she became the first woman to preside over a legislative court.

Following the Iranian revolution in 1979, conservative clerics insisted that Islam prohibits women from becoming judges and Ebadi was demoted to a secretarial position at the branch where she had previously presided. She and other female judges protested and were assigned to the slightly higher position of "law expert." She eventually requested early retirement as the situation remained unchanged.

As her applications were repeatedly rejected, Ebadi was not able to practice as a lawyer until 1993, while she already had a law office permit. She used this free time to write books and many articles in Iranian periodicals, which made her widely known.

On October 10, 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her courageous efforts for democracy and human rights, especially for the rights of women and children. The selection committee praised her as a "courageous person" who "has never heeded the threat to her own safety". Now she travels abroad lecturing in the West. She is against a policy of forced regime change. Her husband, Javad Tavassolian, was an advisor to President Khatami.

Related articles:

1. Shirin Ebadi,
2. Nobel laureate Ebadi says Iran arrested her sister ,

Iranian & Persian in Malaysia

The Persian people are defined by the use of the Persian language as their mother tongue. However, the term Persian has also a supra-ethnic significance and has been historically referred to a part of Iranian peoples. The origin of the Persian people is traced to the ancient Indo-Europeans (Aryans). The Persians were originally part of a people known as the Aryans. The Aryans were cattle herders from the grasslands of central Asia. At about 2000 B. C., the Persians began to separate from the other Aryans. Finally, they settled on a plain between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, in modern day Iran, or "the land of the Aryans", who arrived in parts of Greater Iran circa 2000-1500 BCE. Starting around 550 BCE, from the region of Persis in southern Iran, encompassing the present Fars province, the ancient Persians spread their language and culture to other parts of the Iranian plateau through conquest and assimilated local Iranic and non-Iranic groups over time. This process of assimilation continued in the face of Greek, Arab, Mongol and Turkic invasions and continued right up to Islamic times.

Persian(Farsi) Language
Persian (Farsi) is the national language of Iran. Persian is one of the world's oldest languages, a well-recognized tongue as early as the 6th century B.C., it is an Indo-European language or particularly Irano-Aryan. This dialect was spoken in the province of Fars so its name derived from that. Three forms of Persian is identified by scholars: old, middle, and modern.

Old Persian, the language of the great Persian Empire, was utilized until the 3rd century BC. Old Persian extended from the Mediterranean to the Indus River in India. Cuneiform inscriptions of Darius used this language.

Middle Persian or Pahlavi, started in the 2nd century B.C., was written with a variation of Assyrian alphabet what can be seen in the Sassanian rock carvings. Middle Persian was used up to 9th century AD

With the Islamic conquest of the 7th century, Arabic script was modified to a non-semitic language. This modification resulted in an alphabet similar to Arabic, with a number of additional characters to accommodate special sounds, but they are altogether two different languages.

Modern Persian is spoken by over 40 million people in Iran and another 5 million in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan it is known as Dari. A variety of Persian called Tajik is spoken in the Tajikistan, and is written in the Cyrillic alphabet. Other dialects found in Iran are; Baluchi spoken in Sistan and Baluchestan, and Gilaki spoken in Gilan, northern Iran.

Persian language ( فارسی or پارسی, Parsi) is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is widely spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and to some extent in Iraq, Bahrain, and Oman. New Persian, which usually is called also by the names of Farsi, Parsi, Dari or Parsi-ye-Dari (Dari Persian), can be classified linguistically as a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of Sassanian Iran, itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenids. Persian is a pluricentric language and its grammar is similar to that of many contemporary European languages. The Persian language has been a medium for literary and scientific contributions to the eastern half of the Muslim world(wikipedia).

Much of the northwestern subcontinent (present day Eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan) came under the rule of the Persian Achaemenid Empire in c. 520 BCE during the reign of Darius the Great, and remained so for two centuries thereafter.

The Persian Traders in early Malaya
In the early history of Malaysia, the Persian traders like Indian, Arabic, and Chinese traders come to Kedah, Malacca; and later on Penang, Singapore. But we do know whether there is still any early Persian people still remain in Malaysia,if there is any if they were Persian Muslim,they may have assimilated to local Malay community; if they are Christian, Jews, or Bahai; they may have migrated or moved to other places. However Persian cultural influence was extensive to Malay Peninsular and Acheh in Sumatra, especially on language, the Jawi.

Iran's cultural and trade relations with Southeast Asia date back far into the pre-Islamic period. The official diplomatic relations between the two regions, exemplified by the exchange of non-permanent missions rather than by permanent extraterritorial embassies, become traceable only during the Safavid period (1501-1722). There is evidence, at least, for Persians in Malacca for the early 16th century (Ferrier, p. 423, based on assertions by the early 16th-century travelers Ludovico de Varthema and Tome‚ Pires).

According to Kedah Annals(Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa), an ancient Malay literature that chronicles the bloodline of Merong Mahawangsa and the foundation of the Kedah, a state in Malaysia. Though there are historical accuracies, there are many incredible assertions. The era covered by the text ranged from the opening of Kedah by Merong Mahawangsa, allegedly a descendant of Alexander the Great of Macedonia till the acceptance of Islam. Merong Mahawangsa was a Hindu and there were nine Hindu rulers before Phra Ong Mahawangsa converted to Islam in 1136 and took the name Sultan Mudzafar Shah. The annal also describes Chola's attack on Kedah. The descendants of Phra Ong Mahawangsa is still ruling Kedah able to trace their lineage from Merong Mahawangsa. Kadaram (Kedah Kingdom 630-1136) was founded by Maharaja Derbar Raja of Gemeron(or now Bandar-Abbas (Persian: بندرعباس), Persia around 630 CE. The Persian-Hinduism dynasty ended with Phra Ong Mahawangsa converted to Islam and the Sultanate of Kedah continue to rule until today.

The Srivijayan Empire
The foreigners, mainly Chinese, Indian, Arab and Persian, who came to trade in the Malay Peninsula, stayed mainly in these coastal communities. Their accounts of their travels and of the trade carried out in the region constitute much of the foreign sources about the Srivijayan empire, there being only about six or seven indigenous inscriptions about that empire. As J.N. Miksic has observed, "There is no evidence that foreigners penetrated inland, but Greeks and other foreigners certainly resided in the coastal emporia" (1979: 14)

I Ching,a Chinese monk was abroad a Persian ship in 671 CE, just a few years after the end of Sassanian Empire. The discovery of two silver coins of Abbasid Dynasty(750-1258 CE)at the Merbok estuary near the city state of Tan-Tan in the Malay Peninsular(Wheatley, 1964). This indicated the Persian traders and their vessels while en-route to China,may have visited the ancient kingdom in Malaya.

Some of the early Persian traders may be Jews or Armenian from Persia (today Iran & Iraq). Some are the Persian Jew and Armenian traders who had stayed in West coast India,who played important role in the spices road from the Far East to Middle East, and Europe.

(i)Early Nestorian Christian
Early Christian presence in the Malay archipelago may be traced to Nestorians from as early as the 7th century and to Persian and Nestorian traders in Malacca prior to the Portuguese conquest in 1511. There is literary evidence that there was a trading community of these Christians on the Malay Peninsula either in Kedah or modern day Klang(source:

(ii) The Jew from Persia
From the eighth century B.C.E., when the Assyrian ruler Tiglath-Pileser deported 13,150 Israelites to Persia (according to the conqueror himself), to modern times, Jews have been at the forefront of international trade. The subsequent Babylonian exile added many thousands of Judahite families to the Persian/Babylonian milieu. Persia became the pivotal point from which trade between the eastern and the western worlds evolved. The Jews were the common denominator between those worlds.

Many Jews assumed Babylonian names, as is inevitably the case in a Diaspora. Nonetheless, eight per cent of the clients of the banking families can be identified as Jews from their names alone. This percentage corres-ponds roughly to the proportion of Jews among the official population, which, before the influx of the deportees from Jerusalem and Judah, amounted to over six per cent of the total. The Aramaic form of many other names and sugges-tive facts indicate that the actual percentage was far higher.

The trail of Jewish sea-faring traders of the Roman period leads us as far as the southwest coast of India where Jews are said to have disembarked in the year 72 C.E. at Cranganore, an ancient seaport north of Cochin. The Jews adopted the local tongue, Malayalam, except for services, which continued to be conducted in Hebrew and Aramaic.

The Cochin Jews were mainly spice traders, and the few Jewish families who are left still carry on a trade in cardamon, pepper, ginger, turmeric and other spices, just as they did in the early days of the Common Era. This Persian Jews from India, or Cochin Jews were active traders along the coast of Strait of Malacca.

(iii)The Armenian from Persia
The Armenians are one of the most scattered races in the world. Whether enticed by better prospects elsewhere or forced to flee by conquest, they have put down roots in many new lands. When conditions for some Armenians long domiciled in Persia became untenable, they looked for new homes, turning towards India and later, Penang and Singapore. the Armenian obsession with commerce that led its traders to come to Indian across the overland route from Persia, through Afghanistan and Tibet in the 12th century. The Armenians became the first merchants to carry back from India spices, muslin and precious stones to Europe and the Middle East. The first reference to Armenians settling down in India is dated to the 16th century, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Aware of the Armenian merchants’ integrity and shrewd nose for business, Akbar invited them to settle in Agra, the imperial capital. In 1562. he married an Armenian, referred to as Mariam Zamani Begum in Abul Fazal’s Ain-I-Akbari. In Fatehpur Sikri, Akbar’s deserted capital, there exists a four-room building known as Mariam’s House. Remarkable for its skillful miniatures and its gilding it was built by Akbar for her.

There were Armenian Persian in early Penang, some were from India. Armenian Persian were traders involved in the spice trade and silk trade in the east.

(iv) Islamic Persian traders at Parsai and Malacca

Muslims invaded Iran in the time of Umar (637) and conquered it after several great battles. Yazdegerd III fled from one district to another until a local miller killed him for his purse at Merv in 651. By 674, Muslims had conquered Greater Khorasan (which included modern Iranian Khorasan province and modern Afghanistan, Transoxania, and Pakistan). The Islamic conquest of Persia led to the end of the Sassanid Empire and the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion in Persia. After the Islamic conquest of Persia, most of the urban lands of the Sassanid empire with the exception of Caspian provinces and Transoxiana came under Islamic rule. Iran was gradually Islamized after the collapse of the Sassanid empire; however, it was not Arabized. Iranian culture re-emerged with a separate and distinctive character and made an immense contribution to the Islamic civilization. Today, most Iranians are Muslims; 90% belong to the Shi'a branch of Islam, the official state religion.

There must be some Islamic traders who had visited Malaya after 674 AD, and may played a role not only in trade but also propagation of Islamic religion.

The sea routes, known as "spice route" were originally used by merchants and travelers from India and Iran. When Iran was turned into an Islamic state by the Arabs, Arabic merchants then sailed to India, the Malay Archipelago, all of south-East Asia and on to China. Arab and Iranian ships from Jeddah, Aden, Al-Syihr, Suhar, Muscat and Siraf, would arrive at Kedah port between the months of June and November and returned to India between the months of December to May, every year. The secret of a strong wind, which blew six here and another six months was a tightly kept secret by sailors of the East so that it would not reach the ears of Western sailors. Their knowledge on changes in season as well changes in wind direction, sea currents and movement of stars resulted in the production of a special calendar, which was jealously guarded.(source:

Pasai, Sumatra
The Persian influence on Pasai was strong, and it spread the influence to other Malay states. Pasai, also known as Samudera and Samudera-Pasai sometimes called Samudera Darussalam was a Muslim harbour kingdom on the north coast of Sumatra from the 13th to the 15th centuries CE. It was the first Muslim-Malay kingdom in the fourteenth century. Its grandeur was only possible because its position as an important trading centre on the Straits of Malacca. There were constant interchanges between the states in the area. Pasai exported its culture, and most importantly its language, Jawi. Pasai is believed derived from Parsi, Pase or Parsee, immigrants of Parsi-Indian(Indian Zoroastrians from Persia) to the west coast of India namely Gujarat, and later to northern Sumatra of today's Aceh province.

The son of the Parameswara, sultan of Malacca married a daughter of the sultan of Pasai and embraced Islam. There were undeniable interactions between Pasai and Malacca in religious, literary and political fields. Pasai was the place where problems relating to Islam were solved. The Sejarah Melayu was written with the Hikayat Raja Pasai as model. Pasai was held in high esteem in Malacca.

As reported by Tomé Pires, who was in Malacca in 1513, Pasai was a richcountry with a flourishing trade, among the merchants trading in Pasai were Bengalis, Turks, Arabs, Persians, Gujaratis, Indians, Malays, Javanese and Siamese. The capital had more than 20.000 inhabitants. The country produced pepper, silk and gum benzoin. Rice was cultivated only for domestic consumption( Tom Pires, Suma Oriental pg 142).

Arabic script as it is used for the Malay language was developed from the system of writing achieved by adapting Arabic script to the Persian language. In translating Persian literature into Malay the way Arabic script is used shows that it has already been transformed for Persian use. For phonemes not found in the Arabic alphabet new letters were created by adding a dot or dots to the existing Arabic letters. This script is called the Jawi alphabet. An early form of Malay written in the Jawi alphabet, the language became the lingua franca among traders in what is now Indonesia and Malaysia.

Persian influence on Sunni Islam in the Malay Archipelago
Islam does not have a concept of a Separation of church and state and has been the official religion and part of the governments of Iran since the Islamic conquest of Iran circa 640 AD. It took another few hundred years for Shi'a Islam to gather and become a religious and political power in Iran.
The Mongol ruler Ghazan converted to Shi'a Islam in 1310 AD and made it the state religion. Iran's first encompassing Shi'a Islamic state was established under the Safavid Dynasty (1501–1722) by Shah Ismail I. In 1501, the Safavid dynasty established Twelver Shi'a Islam as the official state religion of Iran. The Safavid Dynasty soon became a major political power and promoted the flow of bilateral state contacts.

The Islamic Iranian trader during 14th and after, may be Shi'tes.

In view of Persian and Indian Muslim influence, there are still Shi`ite traces in the Sunnite Islam practiced in latter day Aceh. The commemoration of the `Asyura (Persian: the tenth of Muúarram), the death of Husain, son of `Ali and Fatimah and grandson of the Prophet was celebrated. In Persia and Muslim India this Festival of remembrance is observed in a grand manner. In Aceh this day is called Acura or Asan-Usén (îasan-îusain grandsons of the Prophet) and was celebrated eating a special kind of porridge (consisting of rice, coconut milk, sugar, and pieces of such chopped fruits, as pomegranates), which is called kanji Acura. It is cooked in a great pan for the consumption of the whole village. This occasion is also remembered at several other places elsewhere in Indonesia.

Parsee trader in early Penang
"The Parsees come from Bombay and Surat;some of the higher sort are merchants,the lower order are chiefly shipwrights, and are esteemed excellent workmen.They are remarkably quite, well behaved people;it is much to be wished that their members were augmented,which will certainly be the case if the shipping of this port increases"(source: The Asiatic Annual Register, Vol IX, for the year 1807).

In 1832, along with Malacca and Singapore, Penang became part of the British Straits Settlements. Since Penang Island is situated on the trading route of the Straits of Malacca, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Europeans, including the Dutch and British, were competing to open up the East Indian trading routes. The settlement quickly attracted people of all descents: Europeans, Chinese, Indians, Bugis, Arabs, Armenians, Persians, Siamese, Burmese and Sumatrans. Chinese and Indians were drawn to the Straits Settlement during the second half of the nineteenth century by the booming tin and rubber industries.

The Jewish population, mostly Sephardim, migrated mainly from Baghdad and other communities in the Near East. The new community also included Sephardim from Persia and Ashkenazim from Eastern Europe, searching for both religious freedom and economic opportunity. Some went first to Malaysia, and then on to Singapore when Malaysia did not offer the freedoms and opportunities they had originally sought. The former president of the Jewish community, David Marshall, stayed in Singapore. He was born in 1908 to a Baghdad-Persian Jewish family and studied law in England before he joined the British Army as a volunteer and traveled to Singapore. When the British granted Singapore partial independence in 1955, Marshall was appointed as the first Chief Minister(source: Many of the Jews in Penang, their ancestry is Persian. There were businessman, migrated from Baghdad in the 19th century, joining the community in Penang that consisted of numerous watch dealers. Many of them have now migrated to other countries.

The Iranian students today
A number of Iranians are flocking to Malaysia, attracted by a fellow Islamic country with a relatively low cost of living, instead of pursuing their dreams in traditional exile hubs such as Canada or Sweden.

Wherever they go, the flight of educated Iranians in search of work and study is part of an ongoing "Brain Drain" which is depriving the country of some of its most talented young people.

"Easy visa, high educational standards, freedom, low costs of living and great transportation facilities" are among Malaysia's attractions for Iranian students

Related articels

1. Iranians flock to Muslim Malaysia, not West,
2. Iranian expatriates in Malaysia,
3. Malaysia bars Iranian Nobel laureate Ebadi amid protests,
4. Police fire teargas on 700 Iranians at Wisma UN (Update),
5. Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World: Early medieval India and the expansion of Islam, 7th-11th centuries(1996), by André Wink, published by EJ BRILL
7. From Isfahan to Ayutthaya. Contacts between Iran and Siam in the 17th century(2004), by M Ismail Marcinkowski, published by Pustaka Nasional Ltd, Singapore.
8. The Persian Influence Over Ayuthiya (Ayutthaya), - the roots of Iran-Thailand cultural ties date back 400 years to the time when Sheikh Ahmad Qomi, an Iranian scholar, traveled to Ayutthaya and later was appointed to a very high position in the Thais Court.

Iran and Hossein Ali Montazeri

Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri (1922 – 19 December 2009)

Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri was considered a thorn in the side of the regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, branded the disputed elections in June fraudulent and denounced the clerical establishment as a dictatorship. He died on 19-12-2009 at the age of 87

Born in 1922, Montazeri was from a peasant family in Najafabad, a city in Isfahan Province, 250 miles south of Tehran. His early theological education was in Isfahan. Montazeri then went to Qom where he studied under Khomeini and went on to become a teacher at the Faiziyeh Theological School. While there he answered Khomeini's call to protest the White Revolution of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in June 1963 and was active in anti-Shah clerical circles. After Khomeini was forced into exile by the Shah, Montazeri "sat at the center of the clerical network" which Khomeini had established to fight the Pahlavi rule. He was sent to prison in 1974 and released in 1978 in time to be active during the revolution(source: wikipedia)

Montazeri was one of the founding fathers of the Islamic Republic and remained a top arbiter of Shi'ite law. But his criticism of what he saw as authoritarianism and human-rights abuses led to his being dropped as successor to the nation's Supreme Leader.

The ayatollah continued his opposition from Qom, where he spent 5 years under house arrest for his outspoken views, until 2002. This year he played a critical role in condemning the government after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a subsequent crackdown on opposition supporters. He had branded June’s disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s hardline president, as “fraudulent” and proclaimed the ruling establishment a “dictatorship”. For almost three decades, Hussein Ali Montazeri had been one of the main critics of the Islamic Republic's domestic and foreign policy. He had also been an active advocate of civil rights and women's rights in Iran. Montazeri was a prolific writer of books and articles. He was a staunch proponent of an Islamic state, and he argued that post-revolutionary Iran was not being ruled as an Islamic state.

He played his role as a leading opposition voices until his death.

His death will enhance his stature as an important figure who battled the ruling establishment – which he proclaimed had lost its “religious and political legitimacy”. The timing of his passing has added emotional, symbolic and political resonance, coming just days into the religious mourning month of Moharram, which marks the death of Imam Hossein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammed and Shia Islam’s quintessential martyr. Ashura, the culmination of the Moharram mourning ceremonies, falls on December 27,2009. Iran's opposition loses a mentor but have gains a martyr.

The video below uploaded from youtube is a photo review of political life of Ayatollah Montazery before and after his house arrest and a tribute to his struggles during the past 60 years since he undertook the resistance to the regime of Mohammad Reza Shah. Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri is the most prominent Iranian Cleric, One of the Pillars of the Islamic Revolution and was the Heir Designate to Imam Khomeini in 80s.


Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri at the age of 87.


Iranian Cleric's Funeral Turns Into Anti-Government Protest. Thousands of Iranians attending the funeral march for Iran's top dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri on Monday shouting condemnations of the authorities and raised their voices in support for opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Tow leading opposition leaders, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, called for a public day of mourning on Monday and for their supporters to take part in the funeral, in a joint statement on Mr Mousavi’s website, “Following a call by some grand ayatollahs to mourn the death ... we announce tomorrow, Monday, December 21, a day of public mourning,” they said.

On the 22nd, December, Ahmadinejad continued his quest to strip his opponents of their last vestiges of political power. He interrupted a visit to Shiraz to return to Tehran and remove Mir Hossein Mousavi, the main opposition leader he defeated in the presidential election, as head of the state academy of arts and culture- a post he had held for ten years. Hardliners also want Mousavi arrested for his role in inciting unrest since the disputed June election.

22-12-2009 to 26-12-2009

Tension was running high at various rallies in which protesters were chanting anti-government slogans in various places. Clashes were reported in cities including Isfahan, Kermanshah and Shiraz, as opposition supporters used the Tasua and Ashura ceremonies to take to the streets.

26-12-2009 & 27-12-2009 TASUA and ASHURA

TASUA and ASHURA are two days which Muslims (SHI'A) mourn for Saint Imam Hossien who is the grandson of Muslim prophet Mohammad. In about 1350 years ago Imam Hossien martyred in a war in a place known as Karbala (in Iraq). Tasua is the 9th Night of Muharram (Tasua) Ceremonies. Ashura is on the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar and marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram. This year's Tasua fall on 26-12-2009, and Ashura fall on 27-12-2009.

Dec 27 2009, Ashura of 1430 AH, millions of Iranians gathered in many cities to mourn for Imam Hussein. It was also seven days after the passing away of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, the most respected scholar of Shi'a faith and also a vocal critic of Islamic Republic. Coincidence of these events and also people's anger over the fraud election in June and its aftermath resulted in mass demonstrations against the theocratic establishment. Regime used Basij para-militia to suppress the people. Iranian security forces injured many and killed few people. In the same day nephew of Mir Hossein Mousavi, leader of opposition, was killed by security service. Due to brutality of regime in such a day, Ashura, Iranians called that day Iran's Ashura(source: wikipedia)

No matter what happen to Iran or Persia politically, the ordinary people of Iran/Persia will suffer from the latest political development. This is another event when politician fight for their agenda, the people suffered. No matter what type of political system, people is still the most important, and main concern of political system. Politician is for people, without people, any political system is meaningless.

We hope that the latest development in Iran will never developed into global issue, another Iraq.......let Iran people decide for themselves what they want....

We hope and pray for the future of the people of Iran, that soon they will see peace and have political system that will take care of them and the country, that will make Persia great again.....

Persia, Persia, Persia.......where is thy greatness....

Related articles:

1. Hussein-Ali Montazeri,
2. Day of Ashura,
3. Battle of Karbala,
4. Shia Islam,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Karbala & The Day of Ashura

The Day of Ashura (عاشوراء (ʻĀshūrā’, Ashura, Ashoura, and other spellings) is on the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar and marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram. Muharram (Arabic: محرم) is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year in which fighting is prohibited. Tasua is the 9th Night of Muharram (Tasua) Ceremonies.

It is commemorated by Shia Muslims as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH (October 10, 680 AD). Imam Husayn was killed by Yazid ibn Muawiyah, the Sunnis' 6th Khalif. Ashurah is a day of deep mourning for Shia Muslims, which occurs on the 10th of Muharram. Ashura is a time for Shi’ites to re-live and express extreme grief and mourning for Hussein and his family. They have passion plays, they march, they chant and they beat their chests. They flail themselves until they bleed. Their actions sometimes reach a trance-like fervor.

Sunnis also commemorate Ashurah, but give it a different meaning. Not a celebration, but a remembrance, According to Sunni Muslim tradition, the Prophet Muhammad fasted on this day and asked other people to fast. Sunni Muslims also celebrate the day claiming that Moses fasted on that day to express gratitude to God for liberating the Israelites from Egypt.

Karbala City, Iraq
Map of Karbala

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Karbala (Arabic: كربلاء‎; BGN: Al-Karbalā’; also spelled Karbala al-Muqaddasah) is a city in Iraq, located about 100 km (60 mi) southwest of Baghdad. In the time of Husayn ibn Alī's life, the place was also known as al-Ghadiriyah, Naynawa, and Shathi'ul-Furaat. The estimated population in 2003 was 572,300 people. It is the capital of Karbala Governorate.

City of Karbala, a holy city for Shi'ite Muslims; it houses the shrine of Imam Hussein, a heavily revered figure in Shi'ite Islam. Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan and India flood into the city to visit the shrine. Shi'a Muslims consider Karbala to be one of their holiest cities after Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem and Najaf. The city is best known as the location of the Battle of Karbala. Karbala is also called City of Martyrs.

The city is one of Iraq's wealthiest, profiting both from religious visitors and agricultural produce, especially dates. It is made up of two districts, "Old Karbala," the religious centre, and "New Karbala," the residential district containing Islamic schools and government buildings.

At the centre of the old city is the Masjid al-Husayn, the tomb of Husayn ibn ‘Ali, grandson of Muhammad by his daughter Fatima tuz-Zahra and ‘Alī ibn Abu Tālib. Hussein's tomb is a place of pilgrimage for many Shī‘ī Muslims, especially on the anniversary of the battle, the Day of ‘Āshūrā. Many elderly pilgrims travel there to await death, as they believe the tomb to be one of the gates to paradise. Another focal point of the Shī‘ī pilgrimage to Karbala is al-Makhayam, traditionally believed to be the location of Husayn's camp, where the martyrdom of Husayn and his followers is publicly commemorated.

The city's association with Shī‘a Islām have made it a centre of religious instruction as well as worship; it has more than 100 mosques and 23 religious schools, of which possibly the most famous is that of Ibn Fahid, constructed some 440 years ago.

(source: wikipedia)

Etymology of Ashura

The word ashura means simply tenth in Arabic language; hence the name of the remembrance, literally translated, means "the tenth day". The day is indeed the tenth day of the month, although some Islamic scholars offer up different etymologies. In his book Ghuniyatut Talibin, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani writes that the Islamic scholars have a difference of opinion as to why this day is known as Ashura, with some scholars suggesting that this day is the tenth most important day that God has blessed Muslims with.
(source: wikipedia)

Shi'a Islam
Shia Islam (Arabic: شيعة‎ Shī‘ah, sometimes spelled Shi'a), is the second largest denomination of Islam, after Sunni Islam. The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi'as but are also know as Shiites or Shi'ites.

Shia Islam is based on the teachings of the Islamic holy book, the Qur'an and the message of the final prophet of Islam, Muhammad. In contrast to other schools of thought, Shia Islam holds that Muhammad's family, the Ahl al-Bayt ("the People of the House"), and certain individuals among his descendants, who are known as Imams, have special spiritual and political rule over the community. Shia Muslims further believe that Ali, Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, was the first of these Imams and was the rightful successor to Muhammad and thus reject the legitimacy of the first three Rashidun caliphs. Shīʿites have come to account for roughly one-tenth of the Muslim population worldwide. In some Shia countries and regions such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali has become a national holiday and most ethnic and religious communities participate in it. Even in India, Ashura (often called Moharram) is a public holiday.

The Shi'a faith throughout its history split over the issue of imamate, with each branch supporting different imams. The largest branch are the Twelvers, to which over 85% of Shi'a belong. The only other surviving branches are the Zaidi and Ismaili. All three groups follow a different line of Imamate.


This year, Tasua is the 9th day of Muharram, it fall on 26-12-2009, and Ashura fall on 27-12-2009.

Ashura Procession
The most visible and evocative sign of Ashura is the procession by men and boys, stripped to the waist or wearing black robes, and flailing or scourging themselves with sticks, whips, chains, and swords until their backs and foreheads bleed. Some cut themselves with knives and razors. While in other countries these displays are much more ritualized, one observing Ashura rites in Iraq should expect to see men – and even young boys — drenched in their own blood.
Then, on the eleventh day, the faithful return to their homes for a period of mourning lasting 40 days. The mourning period ends with the observance of Arba’een, when many Shi’a gather in Karbala to assert their Shi’a identity.

Past Ashura events
1. Iraq:
On January 19, 2008, 2 million Iraqi Shia pilgrims marched through Karbala city, Iraq to commemorate Ashura. 20,000 Iraqi troops and police guarded the event amid tensions due to clashes between Iraqi troops and the population which left 263 people dead (in Basra and Nasiriya).

The Shi'ite Muslim religious festival of Ashura passed without major violence in Iraq on Sunday, after tight security was deployed to safeguard millions from the bloody attacks that marred past pilgrimages. Some 20,000 members of Iraq's security forces formed cordons around Kerbala, vehicles were banned and 1,000 snipers were perched on the roofs of buildings. Troops stood watch with bomb-sniffing dogs and the wands used to detect explosives. At the climax of the 10-day Ashura event, vast crowds beat their chests and heads in mourning, chanting accounts of Hussein's death on the battlefield at Kerbala, where he and his followers made a desperate last stand against the armies of the Caliph Yazid, whom Shi'ites view as an oppressor.


2. Iran:

Iran was plunged into crises on the holy day of Ashura yesterday as the intense clashes and protests in Iranian cities ranging from Tehran and Isfahan to Shiraz broke out. In Tehran, large protest groups objecting the growing intolerance and suppression of the current government for political dissidents chanted "death to Khamenei" and did not abide by the official warnings. According to various opposition Web sites, security forces opened fire on crowd, killing at least 10 protesters and wounding a hundred ones. A thick smoke from fire and tear gas covered most parts of Tehran. "We were on Kolaj bridge and people started attacking. The security forces began shooting at people," said one witness, Muhammad, an economics student.
(From Monday, 28 December 2009

Related articles:
1. Shia Islam,
2. Day of Ashura,
3., where you can see some pictures.
5. - To mark the final day of the Shiite Muslim festival of Ashura, boys and men in Kabul flayed their backs with chains and razor blades.
6. Karbala,
7. "Karbala - When Skies Wept Blood", a documentary film by www.redtears.; a trailer of the film can be seen from youtube.
8. The lesson of Karbala , by Murtaza Razvi,

Note to readers:
Please read the blog article with an open mind, the article is for knowledge on global events and understanding of other people and their lives. The article is to be neutral and non-political, non-religion bias. Let this knowledge enrich our life and understanding more about fellow human being. Thank you.


Iran(ایران] or formerly known as Persia
Iran is formerly Persia, one of the early civilization in human history, its civilization and culture has influenced and enriched many countries of the world. Persia, the ancient country that you have read so much in history, but known too little of its modern country, Iran.

Personally I have met three Iranian in my life when we were able to talk freely about their lives and their country. One was at Mt Nebo, Jordan(جبل نيبو‎, Jabal Nibu) where I met one nun from Iran, a kind and gentle woman, standing in front of the mountain where Mosses looked at the land of milk and honey, the promised land. I always remember her, because she is the first nun that I met from an Islamic country. Another incident was in Kuantan, when a young Iranian man asked me to take him to see a church, talking with him, he want to see how the life of Christian in Malaysia. He said most of people in middle east are cousins and from Abraham, the Abraham people. I did not meet him again, and do not know his purpose of the visit to Malaysia. The last Iranian I met was a businessman, in China where he talk about the business opportunities and economy ; he gave me a business card, but I had lost it. Later, one of my office mates visited Iran, and I listen to her story of Iran, a beautiful country. The country where I wish to visit one day...... and I still remember the sweet Iranian dates I ate during Ramadan.

Map of Iran

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Iran (ایران), officially the Islamic Republic of Iran is a country in Western Asia. The name Iran has been in use natively and came into international use from 1935, before which the country was known internationally as Persia. Both "Persia" and "Iran" are used interchangeably in cultural context; however, Iran is the name used officially in political context. The name Iran is a cognate of Aryan, and means "Land of the Aryans".

The 18th largest country in the world in terms of area at 1,648,195 km², Iran has a population of over 70 million. It is a country of special geostrategic significance due to its central location in Eurasia. Iran is bordered on the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. As Iran is a littoral state of the Caspian Sea, which is an inland sea and condominium, Kazakhstan and Russia are also Iran's direct neighbors to the north. Iran is bordered on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, on the west by Iraq and on the northwest by Turkey.

Tehran is the capital, the country's largest city and the political, cultural, commercial and industrial center of the nation. Iran is a regional power, and holds an important position in international energy security and world economy as a result of its large reserves of petroleum and natural gas.

Iran is a diverse country consisting of people of many religions and ethnic backgrounds cemented by the Persian culture. The majority of the population speaks the Persian language, which is also the official language of the country, as well as other Iranian languages or dialects. Turkic languages and dialects (most importantly Azeri) are spoken in different areas in Iran. Additionally, Arabic is spoken in the southwestern parts of the country.

The main ethnic groups in Iran are Persians (65 percent), Azeris (16 percent), Kurds (7 percent), Lurs (6 percent),Arabs (2 percent), Baluchi (2 percent), Turkmens (1 percent), Turkic tribal groups such as the Qashqai (1 percent), and non-Persian, non-Turkic groups such as Armenians, Assyrians, and Georgians (less than 1 percent). Persian, the official language, is spoken as a mother tongue by at least 65 percent of the population and as a second language by a large proportion of the remaining 35 percent. Other languages in use are Azeri and Turkic dialects, Kurdish, Luri, Arabic, and Baluchi.

Religion in Iran is dominated by the Twelver Shi'a branch of Islam, which is the official state religion and to which about 89% of Iranians belong. About 9% of Iranians belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, mainly Kurds and Iran's Balochi Sunni. The remaining 2% are non-Muslim religious minorities, including Bahá'ís, Mandeans, Hindus, Yezidis, Yarsanis, Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians. The latter three minority religions are officially recognized and protected, and have reserved seats in the Majlis (Parliament). However the Bahá'í Faith, Iran's largest religious minority, is not officially recognized, and has been persecuted during its existence in Iran. Since the 1979 revolution the persecution of Bahá'ís has increased with executions, the denial of civil rights and liberties, and the denial of access to higher education and employment.

Iran is home to one of the world's oldest continuous major civilizations, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 7000 BC. The first Iranian dynasty formed during the Elamite kingdom in 2800 BC. The Iranian Medes unified Iran into an empire in 625 BC.They were succeeded by three Iranian Empires, the Achaemenids, Parthians and Sassanids, which governed Iran for more than 1000 years. Iranian post-Islamic dynasties and empires expanded the Persian language and culture throughout the Iranian plateau. Early Iranian dynasties which re-asserted Iranian independence included the Tahirids, Saffarids, Samanids and Buyids.

The blossoming of Persian literature, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, mathematics and art became major elements of Muslim civilization and started with the Saffarids and Samanids. Iran was once again reunified as an independent state in 1501 by the Safavid dynasty—who promoted Twelver Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in the history of Islam. "Persia's Constitutional Revolution" established the nation's first parliament in 1906, within a constitutional monarchy. Iran officially became an Islamic republic on 1 April 1979, following the Iranian Revolution, when after the ruling Shah was forced into exile.

Iran is a founding member of the UN, NAM, OIC and OPEC. The political system of Iran, based on the 1979 Constitution, comprises several intricately connected governing bodies. The highest state authority is the Supreme Leader. Shia Islam is the official religion and Persian is the official language.

Iran is divided into thirty provinces (ostān), each governed by an appointed governor (استاندار, ostāndār). The provinces are divided into counties (shahrestān), and subdivided into districts (bakhsh) and sub-districts (dehestān). Their major cities are:

1. Tehran, with a population of 7,705,036, is the largest city in Iran and is the Capital. Tehran is home to around 11% of Iran's population. Tehran, like many big cities, suffers from severe air pollution. It is the hub of the country's communication and transport network.

2. Mashhad, with a population of 2,410,800, is the second largest Iranian city and the centre of the province of Razavi Khorasan. Mashhad is one of the holiest Shi'a cities in the world as it is the site of the Imam Reza shrine. It is the centre of tourism in Iran and between 15 and 20 million pilgrims go to the Imam Reza's shrine every year.

3. Isfahan (population 1,583,609), which is the capital of Isfahan Province. The Naghsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The city contains a wide variety of Islamic architectural sites ranging from the eleventh to the 19th century. The growth of the suburban area around the city has turned Isfahan into Iran's second most populous metropolitan area (3,430,353).

Iran ranks seventh among countries in the world with the most archeological architectural ruins and attractions from antiquity as recognized by UNESCO. Fifteen of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites are creations of Iranian architecture and the mausoleum of Maussollos was identified as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Iran hosts one of the largest refugee populations in the world, with more than one million refugees, mostly from Afghanistan and Iraq. Since 2006, Iranian officials have been working with the UNHCR and Afghan officials for their repatriation. According to estimates, between two and three million Iranian citizens have emigrated to other countries, mostly since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Persia, a beautiful ancient country, with beautiful history....a great ancient nation and civilization. The wonder of the wonders......

Iran, a "new country" where few people know.......a place seems far away....

The upload of this video(by Nima Abmangol)from youtube, I may not understand the Persian language but the Iranian song, with traditional instruments (including "daff"),in which, the singer Iraj Bastami, who is away from home, explains how he yearns for his homeland. Should be a great song when it tell you about the love of the mother land. The song is by Jalaledin Mohammadi.

Iran, Persia, a beautiful country; her history, her geography, her people... the country that played vital role in the past...the country that is able to be good global citizen... the country that many people want to see, it will be great for tourism.

Not only Iraj Bastami want to return to his motherland; many people want to visit Iran/Persia......

Related articles:

1. Iran,
4. Iran Daily,
5. SalamIran, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ottawa, Canada;
6. Iran Travel Guide,

Cham People & Malaysia

Early Cham people in Malaysia

Vietnam's April 1999 census showed 63,146 Muslims. Over 77% lived in the Southeast Region, with 34% in Ninh Thuan Province, 24% in Binh Thuan Province, and 9% in Ho Chi Minh City; another 22% lived in the Mekong River Delta region, primarily in An Giang Province. Only 1% of Muslims lived in other regions of the country.

There are 3 types of Muslims in Vietnam, (1)The Champa Muslims(người Chăm or người Chàm), (2)Muslim due to intermarriage between Vietnamese and other Muslims and (3) Muslim conversion. The majority of Muslims in Vietnam are Cham people.

Champa Kingdom(from 7th century to 1832)
The kingdom of Champa(占城,又称占婆、占波)was found in the 2nd century and lasted until the 17th century. Champa at times included the modern Vietnamese provinces of Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi, Bình Định, Phú Yên, Khánh Hòa, Ninh Thuận, and Bình Thuận. Though Cham territory included the mountainous zones west of the coastal plain and (at times) extended into present-day Laos, for the most part the Cham remained a seafaring people dedicated to trade, and maintained few settlements of any size away from the coast. The people is of Malayo-Polynesian stock with indianised culture. When Islam came, few Champa people adopted it. However, some time between 1607 and 1676, the king of Champa became Muslim thus precipitating most of his people to enter Islam also.

Historical Champa consisted of up to five principalities: 1. Indrapura ("City of Indra"),2.Amaravati ,3.Vijaya, 4.Kauthara, and 5.Panduranga.

Throughout the century, the Champa provinces were slowly annexed one by one until finally, by the 17th century they were completely absorbed by the Ðai Viet (vietnamese). Thereafter began a gradual decline under pressure from Đại Việt, the Vietnamese polity centered in the region of modern Hanoi. In 1471, Viet troops sacked the northern Cham capital of Vijaya, and in 1697 the southern principality of Panduranga became a vassal of the Vietnamese emperor. In 1832, the Vietnamese emperor Minh Mang(明命,1791-1841; born Nguyễn Phúc Đảm 阮福膽, also known as Nguyễn Phúc Kiểu 阮福晈; he was the second emperor of the Nguyễn Dynasty of Vietnam, reigning from 14 February 1820 until 20 January 1841) annexed the remaining Cham territories. Panduranga, present-day Phan Rang in Ninh Thuận Province, was the last of the Cham territories to be annexed by the Vietnamese.

During the reign of Minh Mang, the Champa were severly persecuted. As a consequence, the last Champa Muslim king, Pô Chien, decided to gather his people (those on the mainland) and migrated south to Cambodia. Whereas those on the coastline, they migrated to Trengganu (Malaysia). The area where the king and the mainlanders settled is still known to this day as Kompong Cham. They were not concentrated in one area but were scattered along the Mekong river in Vietnam, forming 13 villages along it. Throughout the years, their children were sent to Kelantan (Malaysia) to learn Qur'an and Islamic studies. Once studies were completed, these children then return home to teach others in these 13 villages. Also, another factor which helps them to preserve the true teaching of Islam was the interaction between them and the Malaysian Muslim traders who sailed through the Mekong river.

Not all the Champa Muslims migrated with the king. A group stayed behind in Nha Trang, Phan Rang, Phan Rí, and Phan Thiªt provinces (Central Vietnam). With their increasing isolation with other Muslims, they began to mix Islam with Buddhism, Hindism and Bà La Môn . Hence, their descendants became lost to the true teachings of Islam. In 1959, these descendants came into contact with the Champa Muslims in Châu Ðoc (one of the 13 villages in South Vietnam) and also with the Muslims community in Saigon (Ho Chí Minh city). The Muslim community in Saigon, mainly consisted of Indians, Pakistanis, Malaysians, Indonesians and Arabs. As a result of this interaction, the descendants who had lost Islam began to return to true Islam.
After April 30th 1975, while the majority of Vietnamese Muslims remain in Vietnam under the communist regime, a sizable number of them managed to escape to other countries. The majority of them settled in America, France, Malaysia, India, Canada and a handful in Australia.

(i) Trade between Champa and Malacca
During a stop at Pulo Ubi near the Gulf of Siam on 13 May 1687, William Dampier, the English traveler, met a vessel of Champa origin anchored on the eastern side of the island. The vessel carried rice and lacquer and was on its way to Malacca. All forty crew members were Chams. They carried broad swords, lances, and some guns. Dampier wrote that the Chams were actively involved in trade with the Dutch at Malacca. The Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals) mentions the presence of Chams in Malacca during the reigns of the Malay sultans. They were known to be political refugees who had arrived in Malacca after 1471. They were well received by the rulers of Malacca, who appointed some Cham noblemen to official positions in the court. In highlighting the Cham presence in Malacca, Marrison draws attention to the fact that the Chams probably contributed to the racial admixture of the Malays of the Peninsula and hence some Cham influences may have survived in Malay cultural tradition. Malacca was a destination in the post-1471 Cham diaspora, mainly due to ethno-cultural considerations.

(ii)Cham and Islam
While the rulers of Malacca had converted to Islam in 1414, Islam had not yet made major inroads into Champa. Islam would later become important, however, in the strong connection between the Chams and the Malays. By the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, it would be the main factor in rallying Malay help for the Chams in resisting Vietnamese domination. Chams only converted to Islam in the seventeenth century, almost three centuries after the Malays. But Islam was introduced into Champa at an earlier, undetermined date. Maspero stated that some Chams may have converted to Islam as early as the era of Sung dynasty China. Two Kufic inscriptions found in what was southern Champa are dated around 1030 CE and there is some indication of a Muslim community in Champa in the tenth century.

(iii)Cham and Kelantan
While Kelantan has been known as the serambi Mekah (gateway to Mecca) since the fall of Malacca in 1511, this title does not necessarily mean that religious practice was like that of the present day, when religion is paramount in the lives of the Kelantanese. Po Rome’s presence in Kelantan a few years prior to his ascension to the throne of Champa was likely an attempt to learn broadly about Malay culture, including the powerful Malay magic and the new Islamic religion. Instead of being the main concern of Po Rome, Islam was part of the wider Malay culture that he and other Chams were hoping to learn about in order to rekindle their ethnic and cultural links with the Malay world.

People-to-people relations between the Chams and the Malays were not confined to religious activities. It is likely that the Chams had been frequenting Kelantan for many centuries. Several place names there, such as Pengkalan Chepa and Kampung Chepa, suggest close ties between the two peoples and wide acceptance on the part of the Malays. There were costume and textile names associated with Champa, for example, tanjak Chepa (headdress), sutra Chepa (silk), and kain Chepa (cloth). Chepa is used to describe one type of keris (dagger). There was padi Chepa (Champa paddy) and sanggul Chepa (a hair decoration). It is believed that a mosque in Kampung Laut was built by Cham sailors who frequented Kelantan. And according to the Hikayat Kelantan (Kelantan Annals), the ancestors of Long Yunus, the founder of the present-day Kelantan sultanate, originated in a state known as Kebayat Negara or Kembayat Negara, which is believed to be Champa.

Cham movement to the Malay Peninsula seemed to be frequent and even lasting. As early as the late fifteenth century, a Cham colony was established at Malacca. While most of the colony’s inhabitants were merchants, it began as a sanctuary for Cham refugees. In 1594, the king of Champa sent a military force to assist the Sultan of Johore to fight against the Portuguese in Malacca. While no explanation was given for the Cham king’s action, it is likely that it was influenced by the common Malay identity and possibly common Islamic faith of the rulers of Champa and their Malay counterparts.

According to the Babad Kelantan (Kelantan Annals), a Cham prince arrived in Kelantan in the mid-seventeenth century who was known as Nik Mustafa. After residing in Kelantan for many years, he returned to Champa and was made king, reigning with the title of Sultan Abdul Hamid. Another Cham ruler who is believed to have been Muslim was Po Rome’s son, Po Saut (1660–1692), the last ruler of independent Champa.

The Cham classic entitled Nai Mai Mang Makah (The Princess from Kelantan) tells the story of a princess from Kelantan who was trying to convert the Cham king to Islam. The event was not dated. Po Dharma and Gerard Moussay are of the opinion that the event took place between the 1693 fall of Champa and the 1771 Tayson rebellion. Manguin suggests that Malay migration into Champa played its part in influencing the people to convert to Islam. Accordingly, the Chams were also influenced by the Malays to adhere to the Sunni Shafie sect and, like the Malays, they also kept traces of Shi’ite devotion. However, Manguin also believed that Malay migration to Champa was much more restricted, especially after Champa was absorbed by Vietnam.

French missionary sources mention that during the thirty years prior to the fall of Champa to the Nguyen in 1693, there were many Malay scribes and missionaries in the court of Champa. Their main task was to propagate the Islam faith to the Chams. It is likely that these Malays became involved in the Cham struggle against Vietnamese encroachment into Cham territories, resulting in several anti-Vietnamese movements. In this regard, the Chams clearly invoked their Malay-Islamic identity in trying to enlist help against the Vietnamese.

(iv)Malay- Islamic Aids to Cham Resistance
Between the establishment of Nguyen rule over Champa in 1693 and the final annihilation of the Cham political entity in 1835, the Chams made many attempts to break away from Vietnamese rule. These normally took the form of armed revolts. Among the major Cham revolts were those of 1693, 1728, 1796, and 1832-34.

The Cham resistance of 1796 control was led by a Malay nobleman named Tuan Phaow. He is believed to have been from Kelantan, as he told his Cham followers that he was from Mecca (Kelantan). His followers consisted mainly of Chams from Binh Thuan and from Cambodia (giving rise to the suggestion that he was from Cambodia), as well as Malays. Tuan Phaow’s resistance had a religious dimension. In order to legitimize his actions, Tuan Phaow claimed to have been sent by God to help the Chams resist the Vietnamese. Tuan Phaow’s forces were up against Nguyen Anh (Gia Long, founder of the Nguyen Dynasty). Despite putting up strong resistance for almost two years, Tuan Phaow’s forces were cornered and defeated by the Nguyen army working in league with a pro-Nguyen Cham ruler. Tuan Phaow reportedly escaped to Mecca. This resistance movement was the first clear indication that Cham resistance had a strong Malay connection. It also shows the Islamic religious dimension becoming a common rallying call.

The 1832 Cham revolt took place as a reaction against Emperor Ming Mang’s harsh oppression of the Chams in reprisal for their support of Ming Mang’s viceroys in Gia Dinh in the south. Viceroy Le Van Duyet had refused to accept orders from Hue since 1728. After Duyet passed away in 1832, he was succeeded by his adopted son, Le Van Khoi, who continued to resist the Nguyen court. Ming Mang’s army carried out a series of oppressive activities against the Cham population in Binh Thuan to punish them for supporting Le Van Duyet and Le Van Khoi. In this conflict, the Malay-Cham connection is again evident in the form of Malay leadership. The Chams were led by a Islamic clergyman from Cambodia named Katip (Khatib) Sumat, who had spent many years studying Islam in Kelantan. Apparently, upon hearing that Champa was under attack by the Nguyen army, Katip Sumat immediately returned. Arriving in Binh Thuan in 1833, he was accompanied by a large force of Malays and Chams from Kelantan. Katip Sumat led the Chams in a series of guerrilla attacks against the Nguyen army. Apart from fighting for the survival of Champa, Katip Sumat invoked the Islamic bond in rallying Malay and Cham support for the cause. In some ways this turned the Cham struggle against the Vietnamese into a form of religious war. The Katip Sumat-led resistance, however, was defeated by the Nguyen army.

Katip Sumat’s Malay contingent did not consist only of volunteers. It is believed that they were sent by Sultan Muhamad I of Kelantan (1800-1837), who raised an army to accompany Katip Sumat to Champa. According to Po Dharma, the underlying factors were the Sultan’s acknowledgement that he and the ruler of Champa shared the same lineage (descendants of Po Rome) and of the need to preserve Islamic unity.

(vi)Cham - Malay linkage after French Occupation 1835
With the end of 1835 revolt, Cham links with the external world were also considerably reduced. This situation persisted until the second half of the nineteenth century, when Binh Thuan and five other provinces in the south were ceded to the French by the Nguyen at the end of the Franco-Vietnamese War of 1858-1861. The advent of French colonization of Vietnam actually ended Nguyen attempts to wipe out the Chams. The breakdown of the Nguyen administrative apparatus in the face of greater French control over the provinces saw the rekindling of ancient Cham aspirations to exert Cham identity. Efforts to re-establish traditional external linkages, including those with the Malay states, played an important role. This is evident from reports of religious teachers (ulama) from the Malay Peninsula who frequented the former land of Champa during the final years of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth. Like their predecessors, many of these visitors stayed for long durations in the former Champa as well as among the Chams in Cambodia. They married local Cham women and had children. Several of these families remained in the former Champa and in Cambodia, cementing relationships established in earlier centuries.

(extract from Vietnam-Champa Relations and the Malay-Islam Regional Network in the 17th–19th Centuries, by Danny Wong Tze Ken)

Cham People and Acheh

Aceh's origins are unquestionably Cham, as the Champa king Syah Pau Kubah sent his son Syah Pau Ling to rule over Aceh when the capital Vijaya (Champa) in 1471 AD, was sacked by the Vietnamese. Acehnese is the only other non-Chamic language in the 11 language Aceh-Chamic languages group.(source: Acheh Sultanate, wikipedia)

Cham people in Malaysia

The Champa Kingdom had long established trading ties with both the present-day Malaya, Pattani, Aceh as well as Java since the 4th Century. Multiple wars also broke out between the Kingdom of Champa with Java. Migration was simply inevitable. The Chams were Hindus. Some still are today, but many are now Muslim. Malaysia has some Cham immigrants and the link between the Chams and the Malaysian state of Kelantan is an old one.

From the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 until 1993, the Malaysian government took in no fewer than 7,000 Muslim Cham refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia, making them the only group out of the tens of thousands of Vietnamese refugees who passed through Malaysia to be accepted and settled. Though the official explanation was based on humanitarian considerations, the truth lies with Malay-Cham connections based on common Malay and Islamic identity(source:Danny Wong).

From June 1975 to 1988 about 10,722 refugees of Malay Cham ancestry have entered Malaysia and were placed in refugee camps in Kemumin, Pengkalan Chepa, Kota Bahru, Kelantan. The camp was later renamed Taman Putra, Kemumin ... The refugee camp in Kemumin was administered by PERKIM. The refugees were placed in the camps for 2 years and during that time they were given classes on Islamic education, the Malay language and culture and the Malaysian way of life. Their health was also tended to. In early 1977, nearly 4/5ths of the refugees were allowed out of the camps to work in plantations and to engage in businesses. They were given visitor passes which was a temporary document enabling them to look for work and live temporarily in Malaysia. Many of the refugees, after they have left the refugee camp, lived and worked in Kelantan especially in Kota Bahru. Many of them also looked for work and opportunities in other states in Malaysia such as Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Melaka and Johor. Their children are allowed to study in schools; colleges and many of them are studying in higher institutions of learning. The Malay Cham refugees have integrated well with Malaysia and most Malaysians regard them as Malays. After 25 years of living in Malaysia, many of them have become citizens of Malaysia. Today, there are about 25,000 Malay Chams in Malaysia including those who are born here. The Malaysian government views the Chams as not just Chams but "Malay Chams". The Malay Muslim identity of the Chams of Cambodia guaranteed their entry into Malaysia and assisted their integration into Malaysian society. The Muslim identity of the Chams has reaped advantages for their community.(extract from Understanding the Cham identity in mainland Southeast Asia: contending views(2006))

Being consider as Malay, Malaysian constitution recognizes the Cham rights to Malaysian citizenship and their Bumiputra status. The laws of Malaysia defines a Melayu as a person who practices Islam and Malay cultures, speaks Bahasa Melayu and whose ancestors are Melayu, under article 160 of the Federal Constitution. Bumiputera or Bumiputra is a Malay term widely used in Malaysia, embracing indigenous people of the Malay Archipelago. The term comes from the Sanskrit word bhumiputra, which can be translated literally as "son of earth" .In the 1970s the government implemented economic policies designed to favour Bumiputra in Malaysia, and Cham people is considered as Bumiputra Malay.

Related articles:

1. Vietnam-Champa Relations and the Malay-Islam Regional Network in the 17th–19th Centuries, by Danny Wong Tze Ken, Associate professor in the Department of History, University of Malaya.
3. Understanding the Cham identity in mainland Southeast Asia: contending views(2006), SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, publication Date: 01-OCT-06
4. The Historical Place of Acehnese: The Known and the Unknown(2007),by Graham Thurgood, California State University, Chico, USA, First International Conference of Aceh and Indian Ocean Studies,
5. Cham Muslims of the Mekong Delta: place and mobility in the cosmopolitan(2007), by Philip Taylor, NUS Press.
6. Champa,
7. Research on Cham History in Malaysia(, by DANNY WONG TZE-KEN,