Tuesday, December 25, 2007


بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Firman Allah SWT di dalam Surah An-Nisa Ayat 91 yang bermaksud,

Kamu akan mendapati yang lain, yang menghendaki untuk aman daripada kamu, dan aman daripada kaum mereka. Setiap kali mereka dikembalikan kepada pertikaian, mereka digulingkan di dalamnya. Jika mereka tidak berundur daripada kamu, dan tidak melemparkan perdamaian kepada kamu, dan tidak menahan tangan-tangan mereka, maka ambillah mereka, dan bunuhlah mereka di mana sahaja kamu menjumpai mereka; terhadap mereka, Kami memberi kamu satu kuasa yang nyata. (Ye will find others who desire that they should have security from you, and security from their own folk. So often as they are returned to hostility they are plunged therein. If they keep not aloof from you nor offer you peace nor hold their hands, then take them and kill them wherever ye find them. Against such We have given you clear warrant.) - Surah An-Nisa Ayat 91

Google Earth Image of the Island of Borneo

Remnants of our pasts / roots (cont…….)

Before I proceed any further, I just would like to give the readers a brief overview of Borneo Island which is the “ancestral land” of the Kadayan people. I assume Borneo Island is our ancestral land because there are no written historical documents to suggest otherwise. There were some theories that the Kadayan people were originated from Javanese Island and some said from Sumatra, Indonesia. Both theories were not substantiated accordingly and therefore my assumption that Borneo Island is our ancestral land still stand until proven otherwise.

At this moment in time, I consider the Sultanate State of Brunei as special due to the fact that the Kadayan people recorded history begun in the State, thus the history of the Sultanate State of Brunei is expanded in this article.

Depicted below are the key facts of Borneo Island: -

Key Facts of Borneo Island

1. National Geographic website
2. Asean Focus website
3. Islamic World.Net
4. Asian Development Bank Institute

Approximate area : 287,000 square miles
Political regions : Kalimantan (Indonesia), Sabah & Sarawak (Malaysia) and Negara
Brunei Darussalam
Highest peak : Mt Kinabalu (13,455 ft) in the State of Sabah, Malaysia
Indigenous people : More than 400 tribes (non-Malay (non-Muslim) and Malay (Muslim))
Non-Malay : Dayak and its sub-tribes, Kadazan / Dusun and its sub-tribes
Malay : Indigenous people of Kalimantan, Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei Malay origin. Kadayan ethnic is in this group.

Historical facts:

15th Century : Arrival of Islam followed by the arrival of emissaries of Spain
and Portugal
17th Century : Arrival of the Dutch and British

The arrival of Islam to Indonesia was recorded in history as early as 1281 A.D. when Chinese Chronicles record an embassy led by two Muslims from Jambi or Melayu Sumatra to the Mongol court. In the Malay Peninsula, the first physical evidence of the arrival of Islam was found at a spot twenty miles up the Terengganu River. There, a stone inscribed with Arabic letters has been found, dating as far back as 1386 A.D. or probably 1326 A.D.

The arrival of Islam at the Moroland was in the year 1210 AC, that is more than three centuries before the arrival of Christianity brought by Ferdinand Magellan (a Portuguese who was then working for Spain) to the region in the year 1521 AC. The arrival of Islam to Mindanao and Sulu is most probably was the result of the missionary activities of Arab traders and teachers or sufis who came along the trade routes, and this is agreed by most of the historians. The participation of some Muslims from the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent is also admitted. This kind of spreading the Islam also occurs in other Muslim Sultanate such as Malayan Peninsula, Indonesia and Borneo. Philippines is famous with its Muslim Sultanates, they are, the Sultanate of Sulu embracing Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Palawan and the neighbouring islands the Sultanate of Mindanao where most of the Muslims are now living.

The Sultanate State of Brunei was a small cog in the early Southeast trading networks but well enough known to figure in the records of the major states. The Brunei ruler seems to have converted to Islam in the middle of the 15th century when he married a daughter of the ruler of Melaka (now Malacca in Peninsular Malaysia). The Portuguese conquest of Melaka in 1511 closed it to Muslim traders, forcing them to look elsewhere. Brief history of Brunei is as follows: -

Timeline (Brunei History)

1987: Brunei joins ASEAN
1984: Brunei becomes a sovereign state
1962: State of Emergency declared after first and only elections held
1959: Self government
1920: Oil and natural gas was discovered
1888: Britain declares Brunei a protectorate
1839: James Brooke arrives and becomes the Governor and "White Rajah" of Sarawak (then part of Brunei)
18th century: Brunei's area of economic and political influence gradually declined
16th and 17th centuries: Brunei becomes a major regional Kingdom extending to southern Philippines, Sabah and Sarawak
1521: Magellan visits a flourishing trading community linked to Southeast Asia and China
14th century: Brunei claimed as part of the Majapahit Empire
6th - 9th centuries: Kingdom of Puni on northwest coast of Kalimantan paying tribute to China

The Ancestral Land of Kadayan People

Which part of Borneo Island was the ancestral land of Kadayan? This is a tough simple question to answer. The most probable locations are the Sultanate State of Brunei, Kutai Karta Negara (Eastern Kalimantan) or Banjarmasin (South Kalimantan). My justifications for the assumptions are as follows: -

The Sultanate State of Brunei

• Majority of Kadayan people now are found in the Sultanate State of Brunei. Similarity in dialects between Brunei Malay and Kadayan are most notable and therefore their coexistence was not a coincidence. If Kadayan people were “brought” by the Sultan of Brunei (as suggested by many)from other parts of Borneo or from Java or Sumatra or from other places of the region for that matter to the Sultanate State of Brunei, how do we explain the similarities of the Kadayan dialect with that of Brunei Malay? Is it evolutionary or assimilation process? Not likely, the reason is simply that the known traditional Kadayan people settlement was never together with that of Brunei Malay, even to this date. This may suggest that the Kadayan people are native inhabitants of the Sultanate State of Brunei;

• There are reports mentioning that amongst the indigenous people of Kutai, one of them shares about 90% dialect similarities with that of Kadayan people. If the report is true, how do we explain such similarities? The probable reason are the origin of Kadayan people were from Kutai or the other possibility is that the Kadayan people were taken to Kutai by the Sultan of Brunei as “gift” to the Sultan of Kutai then, because the Kadayan people were well known for their courage and bravery. Kadayan people were born warriors;

Banjar Community during breaking of fast

• The other possibility is that the origin of Kadayan was from South Kalimantan. This theory is supported by dialect similarities between Banjar people and the Kadayan people. It is not known what are the percentile similarities between the two dialects but I presume it is not that high.

We have a few Banjar families in our village and as a matter of fact my wife is a Banjar herself, I don’t seem to understand their dialect very well. There are of course a few Banjar words such as “batian, bakamih, sabuting, paloi, etc.” which are similar to our Kadayan dialect. Such similarities to me do not provide sufficient justification to suggest that the Kadayan people were from Banjarmasin because there are more similarities in our dialect with Bahasa Melayu than with Banjar dialect. If the Banjar theory is applied here, there is also a possibility that the Kadayan people were from Peninsula Malaysia. Such similarities to me are the characteristic of the various languages and dialects spoken by races and ethnic groups of the Malay Archipelago.

To be continued…….

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