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Islam in Southeast Asia: Online collections of digitized Islamic manuscripts

Muslim Southeast Asia refers to those areas of Southeast Asia that have significant populations of Muslims.

Islamic Manuscripts


COLLECTIONS

Online collections of digitized Islamic manuscripts in Southeast Asia and Oceania

Malaysia

  • MyManuskrip (Digital Library of Malay Manuscripts)

“.MyManuskrip or Digital Library of Malay Manuscript enables repositories within Malaysia and those outside to participate in building and offering manuscript content as well as outputs of manuscript research such as articles, reports, theses and links to relevant sites. As such, repositories, cultural and national heritage centers, manuscript libraries and museums are invited to share and provide access to their manuscript contents and expert knowledge concerning Malay scriptorium.

We now have 4 collections and more than 179 titles of manuscripts in our archive.”

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Manuscripts

University of Malaysia Manuscripts

 

Riau manuscripts: the gateway to the Malay intellectual world

http://eap.bl.uk/database/overview_item.a4d?catId=238117;r=30836

http://eap.bl.uk/database/overview_project.a4d?projID=EAP153;r=41

http://eap.bl.uk/database/results.a4d?projID=EAP153;r=41

"There are small collections of documents in the Riau Archipelago, which may throw new light on our appreciation of the wider Malay-Muslim world. However, these collections are in private hands, have not had the benefit of professional archival care, and are being cannabilised for commercial sale by antique hunters. There is a strong possibility of these documents being lost forever if this situation continues unchecked...The Riau Archipelago spreads over a vast geographic area in the triangle between Sumatra, Singapore and the Borneo . During the nineteenth century the area was part of the Dutch East Indies and considered to be the core area of Malay language and culture, and the heir to the legendary port/state of Malacca. In their endeavour to standardize the Malay language, Dutch officials collected manuscripts from the archipelago; these manuscripts became the basis for a standard grammar and dictionary of the Malay language. This collection process not only resulted in several large repositories of Malay manuscripts, but also kindled a renaissance of Malay writing at the court of Riau and beyond. The remnants of this manuscript and book culture can still be found in private collections of books and manuscripts scattered throughout the region...This [Endangered Archives Programme] project aims to preserve through digitisation and list private collections of documents for future generations to enhance possibilities to gain a better understanding of Malay intellectual history. The preservation of these documents is important for the people who own them, as well as as for scholars who want to study the dissemination of ideas throughout the Malay World."


Indonesia

Manuscripts from the island of Ambon (Central Moluccas, Indonesia)

http://eap.bl.uk/database/overview_project.a4d?projID=EAP276;r=41

http://eap.bl.uk/database/results.a4d?projID=EAP276

"During the [Endangered Archives Programme] project, eleven villages were visited on the islands of Ambon and Haruku. 182 manuscripts were digitised from the villages of Hila, Hitu Lama, Hitu Messeng, Kaitetu, Morella and Seith in Ambon, and Kabau and Pelalu on the islands of Haruku, held by 12 owners or keepers.

The manuscripts contain a wide variety of subjects, such as genealogies, epic tales, poetry, Alquran, prayers, sermons, and official documents. Most of the Ambon manuscripts are in the form of rotulus (vertical rolls) kept in a protective sheath of bamboo; the paper is mostly European,while in some cases dluwang or native paper or blank paper is used. Languages used in the texts are Arabic, an Ambon dialect of Malay, and Dutch. Writing systems used are Arabic, Jawi (Arabic-Malay scripts) and Latin.

The Ambon manuscripts which have been digitised remain with their original owners. The digital copies have been deposited with the National Library of the Republic of Indonesia (PNRI), Library of the University of Indonesia, the British Library and with the manuscript owners. The project has helped to raise awareness amongst local people of the importance of preserving the cultural legacy inherited from their ancestors."

Acehnese manuscripts from Pidie and Aceh Besar regencies (Aceh, Indonesia)

http://eap.bl.uk/database/overview_project.a4d?projID=EAP229;r=41

http://eap.bl.uk/database/overview_project.a4d?projID=EAP329;r=41

"This project is a continuation of the previous pilot project which surveyed and located Acehnese manuscripts privately held by collectors in Pidie and Aceh Besar regencies. The pilot project identified and listed 405 manuscripts with 46,029 pages in total, written between the 17th and 20th centuries.

These important and vulnerable manuscripts are to be found in Pidie and Aceh Besar regencies. The content of the manuscripts is a part of Acehnese history with regards to lifestyle, the kingdom of Aceh, and the war against colonialism. They also relate to Islamic knowledge and Islamic mysticism (Sufism) and its order. However, the manuscripts are highly endangered. They are not kept in the best of conditions to aide their preservation, mainly through lack of knowledge and resources. They are often attacked by insects and some of them have been corroded by the ink used or have water damage. Conflicts and natural disasters in Aceh have also had a bad effect on the manuscripts.

To preserve them from destruction and further decay, immediate action must be taken for their preservation. One of the best actions that is the most urgent to perform is to digitise them to prevent the total loss of this cultural heritage.

The pilot project won the confidence of the collectors to preserve their manuscripts through digitisation and they understand the reason and the benefit of copying them. This major project will establish complete digital copies and lists of the manuscripts that will be useful for the owners and future scholars. Digital copies will be deposited with the Aceh Information and Documentation Centre, the National Library of Indonesia and the British Library. A printed copy of their manuscript will be given to each owner."

Manuscripts of the Legacy of the Sultanate of Buton, South-Eastern Sulawesi Province, Indonesia

http://eap.bl.uk/database/results.a4d?projID=EAP212

http://eap.bl.uk/database/overview_project.a4d?projID=EAP212;r=6270

"This [Endangered Archives Programme] project will conduct an inventory survey of around 830 Butonese manuscripts from eight private collections held in Bau-Bau, Maligano, and Kendari, and will search for other families owning manuscripts in the insular region of the former Butonese Sultanate, which is now included in the territory of South-Eastern Sulawesi Province, Indonesia....The Butonese manuscripts are mostly written on European paper in the Arabic and Wolio languages using Jawi - Wolio script. A few others were written in the Buginese and Dutch languages using the respective scripts. These manuscripts were written and copied between the 17th and the 20th centuries. Their contents are manifold, among them are legends, genealogies, various correspondence (such as official letters, contract letters, personal letters), and accounts of traditional ceremonies. Other manuscripts contain Islamic teaching and Sufism, Islamic mysticism, Arabic grammar, Al-Qur'an, language, traditional maritime knowledge of sea navigation, chronicles, Butonese traditional laws (such as taxation, customary law, maritime law, Islamic law), traditional medicine, and divination manuals (astrology, prognosis, and interpretation of dreams). These documents are important sources for the study of language, literature, local Islam, traditional political history, culture and society in Indonesia...This project will produce a written survey report and digital samples of selected manuscripts from the eight collections that have been identified. Since this is a pilot project, not all manuscripts will be photographed at this stage. Agreements will be drawn up with their owners for complete filming in the future. Other collections will also be located and permission sought to photograph their manuscripts at a later stage. If permission is obtained, it is hoped this pilot project will lead to the development of a major research project for digitising these Butonese manuscripts, conducting training for the owners of the collections and local staff working in relevant institutions in South-Eastern Sulawesi Province, in order to preserve the manuscripts from total destruction and help save them for the future."

Cirebon manuscripts (West Java, Indonesia)

http://eap.bl.uk/database/overview_project.a4d?projID=EAP211;r=41

http://eap.bl.uk/database/results.a4d?projID=EAP211;r=41

"Cirebon was one of the important Islamic Sultanates in Java, together with Demak and Banten, and had been a centre for Islamic learning and the dissemination of Islamic teachings in West Java. Cirebon was also considered to be one of the cultural centres in the Indonesian archipelago, which can be seen in its manuscripts. These Cirebon manuscripts will contribute towards the understanding of Islamic intellectual and cultural heritages, and will help to reconstruct how Islam spread in West Java in the period of the 15th century to the first half of the 20th century...They include Qur'an and religious manuscripts, the story of puppet shadow (wayang), genealogy of Cirebon sultans, traditional healings, literatures, Cirebon traditional chronicles, Javanese Islamic mysticism written as poetry (Suluk), divining manuals, and manuscripts of talismans. The majority of them are physically in quite a fragile condition. This [Endangered Archives Programme] project will cover the whole area of the former Cirebon Sultanate (including Kasepuhan, Kanoman, Kacirebonan, and Kaprabon), Pengguron and Sanggar, starting in those where the manuscript conditions are precarious...The project succeeded in digitising 176 manuscripts, 17,361 pages. The manuscripts were held at the Sultanate Library and private collections. The manuscripts consist of: Quran and religious credo traditional healings, literatures, Cirebon traditional cronicles, Javanese Islamic mysticism, the story of puppets shadows, and the geneology of Cirebon Sultans. Digital copies have been deposited with the National Library of the Republic of Indonesia, the British Library, the Library of PPIM UIN (the State Islamic University), and Museum Istiqlal."

Minangkabau's manuscript collections in Suraus (West Sumatra, Indonesia)

http://eap.bl.uk/database/overview_project.a4d?projID=EAP144;r=12623

"The main aim of the project is to digitise 250 manuscripts from five suraus in West Sumatra. These manuscripts contain various texts such as Al-Qur'an, Al-Qur'an Translation (Tafsir), Tasawuf, Fiqh, Agiography (The Stories of the Saints), Arabic Grammar, Minangkabau Laws, Kaba, Hikayat, Nazam, Azimat, Letters and Medicine which hold important information for Minangkabau culture and Islamic history. They will contribute greatly to the study of Islam, Tasawuf, Traditional Laws, Language, Literature, Culture, and Medicine in Indonesia.

The manuscripts are mostly written on European papers, some are written on traditional paper (Daluang) in the Arabic, Malay and/or Minangkabau language using Arabic or Perso-Arabic letters. They were written and copied in the 18 th and 19 th centuries. Some are now seriously neglected and decaying, the inks are washed out, pages are ripped apart and rotten. It is made worse by the fact that they are not kept in proper conditions and are piled up in rooms or above the ceiling in suraus together with other material.

Surau Lubuk Ipuh, Pariaman has 70 manuscripts with approximately 14,000 pages in total; Surau Bintungan Tinggi, Pariaman has 30 manuscripts with approximately 6,000 pages overall; Surau Pariangan, Batusangkar has 70 manuscripts with 14,000 pages in total; Surau Malalo, Solok has 50 manuscripts with 10,000 pages overall and Surau Tanjung, Pesisir Selatan has 30 manuscripts with a total of 6,000 pages."

Manuscripts from five suraus in West Sumatra 

http://eap.bl.uk/database/overview_project.a4d?projID=EAP144;r=41

"These manuscripts contain various texts such as Al-Qur'an, Al-Qur'an Translation (Tafsir), Tasawuf, Fiqh, Agiography (The Stories of the Saints), Arabic Grammar, Minangkabau Laws, Kaba, Hikayat, Nazam, Azimat, Letters and Medicine which hold important information for Minangkabau culture and Islamic history. They will contribute greatly to the study of Islam, Tasawuf, Traditional Laws, Language, Literature, Culture, and Medicine in Indonesia.

The manuscripts are mostly written on European papers, some are written on traditional paper (Daluang) in the Arabic, Malay and/or Minangkabau language using Arabic or Perso-Arabic letters. They were written and copied in the 18 th and 19 th centuries. Some are now seriously neglected and decaying, the inks are washed out, pages are ripped apart and rotten. It is made worse by the fact that they are not kept in proper conditions and are piled up in rooms or above the ceiling in suraus together with other material.

Surau Lubuk Ipuh, Pariaman has 70 manuscripts with approximately 14,000 pages in total; Surau Bintungan Tinggi, Pariaman has 30 manuscripts with approximately 6,000 pages overall; Surau Pariangan, Batusangkar has 70 manuscripts with 14,000 pages in total; Surau Malalo, Solok has 50 manuscripts with 10,000 pages overall and Surau Tanjung, Pesisir Selatan has 30 manuscripts with a total of 6,000 pages." 

Islamic manuscripts of Indonesian Pondok Pesantren

http://eap.bl.uk/database/overview_project.a4d?projID=EAP061;r=41

"Pondok Pesantren are traditional Islamic schools that since their establishment have become centres for Islamic learning and the dissemination of Islamic knowledge in Indonesia, where Islamic knowledge is taught formally and Islamic values are practised daily. Their role as institutions of Islamic learning and centres for the dissemination of Islamic teaching in Indonesia can be clearly seen from their manuscripts...This [Endangered Archives Programme] project was successful in digitising manuscript collections in three Pondok Pesantren: Pondok Pesantren Langitan, Tuban, established in 1852 by KH. Muhammad Nur; Pondok Pesantren Tarbiyyah al-Thalabah, Keranji, established in 1898 by KH Musthofa; and Pondok Pesantren Tegalsari, Jetis Ponorogo, established in the 18th century by Kyai Mohammed Besari."