Is there a Malaysian version of Islam?

Hj Ramlee Dua, Kadayan Journal  



 Below is part of an ilmu

or baca-baca, in Kadayan dialect, as many people would call it in Sabah.

Eh engkau Jin Basrun

Aku tahu asal mula mu jadi

Asal mu dai matahai’ hidup

Yang api inda ba asap, asap inda ba api

Yang angin inda ba ambun, ambun inda ba angin

Jikalau kahandak Basrun, kambalikan kapada Basrun

Jikalau kahandak mambang dewa dewa, kambalikan kapada mambang dewa dewa

Jikalau kahandak jin, iblis, syaitan, kambalikan kapada jin, iblis, syaitan

Jikalau kahandak umat Muhammad yang buuk hatinya kapada ku, kambalikan kapada umat Muhammad yang buuk hatinya kapada ku…


The intention of the recital is to exact revenge or to return any curse that has been inflicted on anyone. According to those in the know, this has to be recited over a bucket of water and then poured over the person so inflicted. I wrote this down when it was recited to me by an old uncle who has since passed away.

Another below was passed to me by another long-dead uncle who told me that he learnt it from the late Datuk Hj Dun Banir, a Bisaya from Beaufort who was a member of the Sabah Legislative Assembly for many years. Incidentally, he was the father of Datuk Hajjah Azizah, who is currently a Sabah cabinet minister.

Tik manang, tik manang, tik manang

Manang Allah, manang Muhammad

Aku yang dimanangkan oleh Allah.

The idea of the above recital is to ensure victory. In the case of the late Datuk Hj Dun, victory in elections.

I have written down many of these utterances, known also as kata. They are fascinating but at the same time disturbing, for they occupied pivotal roles of in the lives of Malays. I believe they are prevalent throughout the Malay Archipelago. I am sure the Bugis of Sulawesi, the Javanese, the Minangs and others have their own ilmu. But is this a correct Islamic practice?

Several years ago, I watched a program on RTM 1 where a university professor claimed that it would be extremely difficult to extricate Malays from believing in magic, pawangs, bomohs and other supernatural beliefs. From my own experience, I would tend to agree with this.

I have not made an in-depth study on how Malays (or other peoples of the Archipelago) came to evolve these beliefs and why they continue to use them over the centuries. If there are readers who can offer some explanation, it would be welcome.

From what I can gather, the belief in Islam, Allah, Muhammad and the angels seemed prevalent, even if it involved black practices. In all the recitals I have heard or written down, Allah and Muhammad are always mentioned.

Aku didalam kandang kandil

Didalam cahaya kalimah Allah

Allah akan nyawaku

Muhammad akan tubuhku.

Obviously none of the examples are very Koranic. However, I am yet to hear universal condemnation of these types of knowledge either from Ulamaks or from the government. (Even those connected to the government seemed to be very much involved, the case of Mona Fandey comes to mind).

I wonder if Muslims in Riyadh, Damascus, Istanbul, Marrakesh, Sarajevo, and Mumbai have evolved their own versions of Islamic beliefs?

Have we made mistakes somewhere? Obviously I am just scratching the surface of these kinds of ilmu. Well-known bomohs and pawangs probably know much more. But exactly what place it has in Islam in Malaysia, I have no clue.

In my previous posting regarding the understanding of Allah amongst Malays/Muslims, many comments were made. Someone even called me a maggi mee ulamak. Let it be known that I am not an ulamak, but I would like to hear opinions from those who claim to know about Islam on this matter.

I would venture to suggest that most Malays who emerged from the rural, semi-rural or urban areas have had parents or grandparents who were believers in these types of ilmu. What has changed today?

When Malays object to the use of ALLAH by other religions, how do they themselves come to terms with the use of ALLAH and the Prophet Muhammad in these types of ilmu?


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s