Tun Sri Lanang



Tun Sri (or Seri) Lanang is largely credited as the author of the Sulalat al-Salatin (Genealogy of Kings), popularly known as the Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals).1 He was a bendahara (prime minister) to the sultan of Johor at a time when the Johor sultanate was under attack by the Portuguese and the Acehnese.2 Tun Sri Lanang’s real name was Tun Muhammad. His official title, bestowed by the sultan, was Bendahara Paduka Raja (Bendahara Paduka Raja III, Bendahara XIV, Johor).3

Background
Tun Sri Lanang was the bendahara to Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah III of Johor, a descendant of the Melaka sultans.4 The Melaka kingdom, which had been the centre of the Malay world in the 15th and early 16th centuries, fell to the Portuguese in 1511. With this defeat, the last sultan of Melaka, Sultan Mahmud, fled Melaka with his family and supporters. They took refuge in several places including Bintan.5

Sultan Mahmud died in Kampar (in today’s Perak) in 1528. He was succeeded by his son, who took on the title Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II. The new sultan established the Johor sultanate that same year. However, the Johor sultanate faced attacks by the Portuguese from Melaka and Acehnese from Sumatra, causing the sultan to be on the run frequently.6

Tun Sri Lanang was an aristocrat of the Johor sultanate, born and bred within the istana (palace) grounds of Johor Lama (Old Johor).7 During his lifetime, the Johor sultanate was still under threat from its enemies, which caused the capital of the Johor court to move from one place to another.8 In 1612, Tun Sri Lanang was commissioned to write the Sulalat al-Salatin by Raja Abdullah of Johor.9

In 1613, Sultan Iskandar Muda of Aceh destroyed Batu Sawar, Johor. The ruler of Johor, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah III, was then captured and brought to Aceh together with his family and top officials including Bendahara Tun Sri Lanang.10 Upon his release, Tun Sri Lanang resumed his writing to set out the descent of Malay rajas and to laud the splendour, greatness and superiority of the Melaka sultanate till 1615 when Aceh attacked Johor again.11 Titled Sulalat al-Salatin (“Genealogy of Kings” in Arabic),12 this work became popularly known as the Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals).13 It was seen as the Johor court’s attempt to invoke past glories of a mythical golden age in the face of repeated invasions.14

Tun Sri Lanang wrote the Sejarah Melayu between February 1614 and January 1615 during his imprisonment in Pasai on the northeastern coast of Aceh.15

Sulalat al-Salatin (Sejarah Melayu)
The Sulalat al-Salatin traces the genealogy of the Melaka kings, including Sri Tri Buana, who founded Singapore in the late 13th century, and his descendants who ruled Singapore for generations. Sultan Iskandar Shah was the last ruler of Singapore. After being attacked by the Javanese, he fled Singapore and founded Melaka in around 1400.16

Authorship
As Tun Sri Lanang’s name was not mentioned in the many versions of the Sulalat al-Salatin, there have been claims that he was not the author but had worked on previous writings. He was instead more of a compiler and editor.17 According to some historians, the original text of Sejarah Melayu was likely written in the 16th century, and modified by the Johor court in 1612, as commissioned by Raja Abdullah, the younger brother of Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah III.18


Death
It was believed that Tun Sri Lanang died as a prisoner-of-war in Aceh, but new evidence suggests otherwise.19 Sultan Iskandar Muda, who invaded Batu Sawar, was said to have appointed Tun Sri Lanang as the raja of Samalanga, Aceh.20 Under his reign, Samalanga became the centre of Islam in eastern Aceh. His tomb is said to be at Lancok, Samalanga, Aceh.21

Tun Sri Lanang’s family members were also given important positions in court. Some of his descendants returned to Johor and assumed high ranks, and became part of the ancestry of the Terengganu, Pahang and Johor sultanates.22



Author
Marsita Omar



References
1. Liaw, Y. F. (2013). A history of classical Malay literature. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, pp. 354–355. (Call no.: RSEA 899.2809 LIA); Wain, A. The date and authorship of Raffles MS 18 (The Sejarah Melayu), p. 2. Retrieved from Academia.edu website: https://www.academia.edu/9661957/The_Date_and_Authorship_of_Raffles_MS_18_The_Sejarah_Melayu_; Linehan, W. (1933, December). Source of the Malacca, Johore and Pahang genealogies in the Bustan-Al-Salatin. Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 2(2)(117), p. 144. Retrieved from JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg
2. Abdullah Zakaria bin Ghazali. (1994). Kesultanan Johor, 1528–1885. In Abdullah Zakaria bin Ghazali & Zainal Abidin Borhan (Eds.), Johor: Dahulu dan sekarang (pp. 19–32). Kuala Lumpur: Persatuan Muzium Malaysia, pp. 21–22. (Call no.: Malay R 959.5119 JOH)
3. Leyden, J. (2001). John Leyden’s Malay annals. Malaysia: MBRAS, p. B1. (Call no.: RSING 959.51 JOH); Shaharom Husain. (1959). Tun Seri Lanang: Riwayat hidup dan sandiwara. Singapura: Pustaka Melayu, p. 2. (Call no.: Malay RCLOS M899.2305 SHA)
4. Abdullah Zakaria bin Ghazali. (1994). Kesultanan Johor, 1528–1885. In Abdullah Zakaria bin Ghazali & Zainal Abidin Borhan (Eds.), Johor: Dahulu dan sekarang (pp. 19–32). Kuala Lumpur: Persatuan Muzium Malaysia, pp. 19–22. (Call no.: Malay R 959.5119 JOH); Shaharom Husain. (1959). Tun Seri Lanang: Riwayat hidup dan sandiwaraSingapura: Pustaka Melayu, pp. 2–3. (Call no.: Malay RCLOS M899.2305 SHA)
5. Abdullah Zakaria bin Ghazali. (1994). Kesultanan Johor, 1528–1885. In Abdullah Zakaria bin Ghazali & Zainal Abidin Borhan (Eds.), Johor: Dahulu dan sekarang (pp. 19–32). Kuala Lumpur: Persatuan Muzium Malaysia, p. 19. (Call no.: Malay R 959.5119 JOH)
6. Abdullah Zakaria bin Ghazali. (1994). Kesultanan Johor, 1528–1885. In Abdullah Zakaria bin Ghazali & Zainal Abidin Borhan (Eds.), Johor: Dahulu dan sekarang (pp. 19–32). Kuala Lumpur: Persatuan Muzium Malaysia, pp. 19–20. (Call no.: Malay R 959.5119 JOH)
7. Shaharom Husain. (1959). Tun Seri Lanang: Riwayat hidup dan sandiwara. Singapura: Pustaka Melayu, p. 1. (Call no.: Malay RCLOS M899.2305 SHA)
8. Abdullah Zakaria bin Ghazali. (1994). Kesultanan Johor, 1528–1885. In Abdullah Zakaria bin Ghazali & Zainal Abidin Borhan (Eds.), Johor: Dahulu dan sekarang (pp. 19–32. Kuala Lumpur: Persatuan Muzium Malaysia, pp. 19–22. (Call no.: Malay R 959.5119 JOH)
9. Andaya, L. Y. (2008). Leaves of the same tree: Trade and ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka. Honolulu: University of Hawai Press, pp. 126. (Call no.: RSEA 305.80095951 AND)
10. Abdullah Zakaria bin Ghazali. (1994). Kesultanan Johor, 1528–1885. In Abdullah Zakaria bin Ghazali & Zainal Abidin Borhan (Eds.), Johor: Dahulu dan sekarang (pp. 19–32). Kuala Lumpur: Persatuan Muzium Malaysia, p. 22. (Call no.: Malay R 959.5119 JOH); Shaharom Husain. (1959). Tun Seri Lanang: Riwayat hidup dan sandiwara. Singapura: Pustaka Melayu, pp. 2–3. (Call no.: Malay RCLOS M899.2305 SHA)
11. Andaya, L. Y. (2008). Leaves of the same tree: Trade and ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka. Honolulu: University of Hawai Press, pp. 126–127. (Call no.: RSEA 305.80095951 AND)
12. Chamber-Loir, H. (2005, April). The Sulalat al-Salatin as political myth. Indonesia, (79), 131–160, pp. 131, 133. Retrieved from JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg
13. Shaharom Husain. (1959). Tun Seri Lanang: Riwayat hidup dan sandiwara. Singapura: Pustaka Melayu, pp. 3–6. (Call no.: Malay RCLOS M899.2305 SHA)
14. Shaharom Husain. (1959). Tun Seri Lanang: Riwayat hidup dan sandiwara. Singapura: Pustaka Melayu, p. 2. (Call no.: Malay RCLOS M899.2305 SHA); Abdullah Zakaria bin Ghazali. (1994). Kesultanan Johor, 1528–1885. In Abdullah Zakaria bin Ghazali & Zainal Abidin Borhan (Eds.), Johor: Dahulu dan sekarang (pp. 19–32). Kuala Lumpur: Persatuan Muzium Malaysia, pp. 19–22. (Call no.: Malay R 959.5119 JOH)
15. M. Adli Abdullah. (n.d.). Tun Sri Lanang: Permata Melayu di negeri Aceh [Blog post]. Retrieved 2017, July 15 from Aceh stories website: http://acehstories.blogspot.sg/2011/05/tun-sri-lanang-permata-melayu-di-negeri.html
16. Miksic, J. N., & Low, C.-A. M. G. (Eds.). (2004). Early Singapore, 1300s–1819: Evidence in maps, text and artefacts. Singapore: Singapore History Museum, pp. 121. (Call no.: RSING 959.5703 EAR-[HIS]); Miksic, J. N., & Goh, G. Y. (2017). Ancient Southeast Asia. London: Routledge, p. 530. (Call no.: RSEA 959.01 MIK)
17. Shaharom Husain. (1959). Tun Seri Lanang: Riwayat hidup dan sandiwara. Singapura: Pustaka Melayu, pp. 3–4. (Call no.: Malay RCLOS M899.2305 SHA); Siti Hawa Haji Salleh. (2010). Malay literature of the 19th century. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Institut Terjemahan Negara Malaysia Berhad, p. 25. (Call no.: RSEA 899.2809034 SIT)
18. Shaharom Husain. (1959). Tun Seri Lanang: Riwayat hidup dan sandiwara. Singapura: Pustaka Melayu, pp. 3–4. (Call no.: Malay RCLOS M899.2305 SHA); Liaw, Y. F. (2013). A history of classical Malay literature. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, p. 355. (Call no.: RSEA 899.2809 LIA)
19. Shaharom Husain. (1959). Tun Seri Lanang: Riwayat hidup dan sandiwara. Singapura: Pustaka Melayu, p. 3. (Call no.: Malay RCLOS M899.2305 SHA)
20. Johari Talib, Maharam Mamat, Maznah Ibrahim. (2017). Tun Seri Lanang: dari Istana batu sawar ke naggaroe Acheh Darussalam. Jurnal Melayu, 16(1), 32–47. pp. 33, 36, 39. Retrieved from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia website: journalarticle.ukm.my/10402/1/18103-51378-1-SM.pdf
21. M. Adli Abdullah. (n.d.). Tun Sri Lanang: Permata Melayu di negeri Aceh [Blogpost]. Retrieved 2017, July 15 from Aceh Stories website: http://acehstories.blogspot.sg/2011/05/tun-sri-lanang-permata-melayu-di-negeri.html
22. M. Adli Abdullah. (n.d.). Tun Sri Lanang: Permata Melayu di negeri Aceh [Blogpost]. Retrieved 2017, July 15 from Aceh Stories website: http://acehstories.blogspot.sg/2011/05/tun-sri-lanang-permata-melayu-di-negeri.html



The information in this article is valid as at 21 November 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Authors, Malay--16th century
Writers
Language and literature>>Rhetoric>>Authorship
Malaya--History
History>>Asia>>Southeast Asia>>Malaysia
Personalities>>Biographies>>Authors