Traits of Islamic orientation of the Malays in feudal society

Essay by shahir77College, UndergraduateA-, August 2013

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MLL 219e

Islam and the Malays

(TMA01 - July 2013 Presentation)

Mohamed Shahir Bin Mohamed Jailani (H1310278))

Question 1 (Total 100 marks)

In less than 1500 words, discuss three traits of Islamic orientation of the Malays in feudal society and examine to what extent do they exist in contemporary Malay society.

In your answer, you are encouraged to utilise Malay classical texts such as Sejarah Melayu, Babat Tanah Jawi, Hikayat Abdullah, and Hikayat Hang Tuah; to analyze Malay films (past and present), and to conduct field research

Islam reached the shore on the Malay Archipelago in the 13th century through the traders from India and Arab countries, when the Malays had long adopted the sultanate system. Islam quickly set it roots in the hearts and minds of the Malays and Islam's teachings become synonym to the Malay's way of lives until today. Such is the influence of Islam on Malays cultural, social, economic and political system that it is often regarded by internal and external society that Malay is Islam and vice versa.

Islam system is not feudalism as it does not practise class system. The authoritarian Malay rulers interpreted and manipulated Islam and used it to strengthen their legitimacy and widen their power. Thus, it emerged feudal Islam among the Malay society. In fact, Sultans became the symbols of Islam although some of them are not religious or unknowledgeable of Islam. During colonial era, rulers of the Malay society's powers were virtually relinquished except for the customary and religious matters. It was instilled in the mindset of the Malays that the rulers are religious symbol and represents Islam. Henceforth, performing service to the ruler is equivalent to a service to God.

The traits of servility and submission to the ruler's absolute powers, obsession with power and authority...