Famous Person in Jambi’s History

C. & C. at the grave of Datuk Sintai.

In the City of Jambi, on the north side of the Batanghari River, there is an area that is famously referred to as “Sebarang” (the other side… of the river). In Jambi newspapers it’s common to see that area referred to with its abbreviation: “Sekoja” (Sebarang Kota Jambi—the other side of the river from the City of Jambi).

Located in this area of Jambi is the grave of a famous Islamic missionary (pendakwah) who was said to have arrived from China during the 1600s. The man’s name was Datuk Sintai, and his grave is located in the city’s district (kecamatan) named Pelayangan, and specifically in the sub-district (kelurahan) Mudung Laut. The exact location of the grave can be found by clicking on this link.

Headstone of Datuk Sintai

Information about Datuk Sintai has all been transmitted orally over hundreds of years, and that being the case, the history of this man is sketchy, and the few remaining bits of information about him are vague and impossible to confirm.

The below info was obtained from those who live in the community surrounding the grave:

  • Datuk Sintai had 12 children. One of his daughters (Nyai Resih binti Sintai) is said to have married a famous Arab immigrant, who, like Datuk Sintai, was also an Islamic missionary. His name was Sayid Husin Bin Ahmad Baragbah. That man was also known as “Tuanku Keramat Tambak.” The location of Sayid Husin bin Ahmad Baragbah’s grave can be found by clicking this link. It is said that he passed away in the year 1760. We also made a video of the graveyard where his remains rest. Information about that graveyard, and a link to that video can be obtained by clicking this link.

    Some people have told us that the famous Jambi batik design called “Kapal Sanggat” was the ship Datuk Sintai came from China to Jambi on. Other legends tell a different story.

  • When it was asked why Sayid Husin bin Ahmad Baragbah was more famous as an Islamic missionary than Datuk Sintai, it was said that it was because Sayid Husin bin Ahmad Baragbah wasn’t of Chinese descent, like Datuk Sintai. It was also said that Sayid Husin bin Ahmad Baragbah was an immigrant from Arabia, who’s singular purpose in Jambi was to spread Islam. Sayid Husin bin Ahmad Baragbah also directly descended from Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. Those with that unique lineage are given greater honor and respect and carry the title “Sayid.” It is also said that he was very educated in the Islamic religion.
  • The grave of Datuk Sintai is believed to have supernatural powers, that if one would pray at the grave, specifically to Datuk Sintai, their prayers will be miraculously answered. Graves such as these are said to contain keramat. The grave of Sayid Husin bin Ahmad Baragbah is also believed to contain keramat, and people frequently go there to pray.
  • It is said that the home of Datuk Sintai was located close to where his grave is now located. Remnants of that structure are no longer visible.
  • Residents have indicated that in various areas around the grave, the property of Datuk Sintai has been buried. It is said that he didn’t want to leave his property to his children, so his valuables were all buried at the same time he was.