Legendary Figures of Jambi’s Past

We’ve written considerably about Orang Kayo Hitam, as well as the person who is believed by many to have been his father (Datuk Paduka Berhala). While searching the internet we happened upon a blog that had a little more information about those two characters, which proved to be quite interesting. We are very disappointed, however, because we have no way of determining where the blogger obtained their information.

Having translated over 58 legends from Jambi, as well as digging up a lot of additional information about Jambi’s legendary past, we thought we would include what the above mentioned blogger wrote, with a few modifications to make it link with some of our other articles on our blog.

It is said that Orang Kayo Hitam’s real name was Sayid Ahmad Khamil. Via legends, it’s also said that his father laid the foundation for the Jambi Sultanate, and that man was to have been a descendant of a person who originated from Persia, but who had lived in Malacca (all undocumented information). This man, who was to have been Orang Kayo Hitam’s father has been given multiple names. It’s obvious that much of the information about these two character’s past is mere legends, and people down through the years have added to their stories. These are the names that have been given to Datuk Paduka Berhala:

  1. Sayid Ahmad Tajjudin
  2. Datuk Paduka Berhala
  3. Ahmad Salim
  4. Ahmad Barus I
  5. Ahmad Barus II
  6. Slamet Barus II
  7. Ahmad Qadir
  8. Datuk Putih
  9. Panglima Alang Daik Hitam

From the blogger referenced above, it is said that this man was born born circa 1465 in Pasai, Aceh, and grew up in Malacca. Another name of Sayid Ahmad Tajjudin was Panglima Alang Daik Hitam, a military appellation given by Malacca Sultanate. He was son of Shaikh Sultan Arifin Saiyid Ismail from Baghdad and had lineage to Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, a famous Islamic preacher (it must be remembered that this information is all undocumented–oral history/legend). Shaikh Sultan Arifin Saiyid Ismail married a daughter of Malacca nobility, named Syarifah Siti Maimunah when he was staying in Malacca to preach Islam. When he was 20, Sayid Ahmad Tajjudin was given task of preaching in southern Sumatera along with his cousin. Since Malacca fell to the Portuguese in 1511, the seized sultanate caused most of royal family and Islamic preachers to flee to safer territories to northern Peninsula or Johor and Sumatera.

In 1513, Sayid Ahmad Tajjudin was also displaced from Malacca, it is said that he and his cousin sailed to southern Sumatera but their ship wrecked near an isle called Pulau Berhala (idol island). He used the isle to continue his preaching duty, as well as spreading Islam to the mainland. He was said to have established Islam in the area that today is the eastern part of the Jambi Province (Tanjung Jabung Barat Regency and Tanjung Jabung Timur Regency). Later, this community was said to have extended its influence throughout the area and the Jambi Sultanate had its beginning.

Another confused folklore about Datuk Paduka Berhala is that he is often referred to as Orang Kayo Hitam. But with two separate tombs, one for each individual, means there definitely was two distinctly different people, or one of them is a fake (which some people have implied). This would also frustrate the already complicated legends about the two wives the men were to have had; Selaras Pinang Masak and Mayang Mangurai.

Below are a few links to some of the other articles we’ve written about these two individuals.

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