Persianate Aspects of the Malay-Indonesian World: Rare Manuscripts

by Majid Daneshgar

Persianate Aspects of the Malay-Indonesian World: Rare Manuscripts

by Majid Daneshgar | on 25 May, 2022

Like other geographical zones, the Persianate world was an inclusive world, interacting with other non-Muslim communities, enriching its multiculturalism and increasing its influence. A number of studies have shown the influence of Persian culture and elements across Southeast Asia. Archaeological examinations have proved the existence and widespread use of pre-Islamic and early Islamic Persian Sassanian materials in Southeast Asia, particularly in Siam (Thailand) (e.g., Setudeh Nejad 1995). Historical archives demonstrate the contribution of Persian merchants, statesmen and religious figures to Cham’s and Siam’s social and cultural contexts in the 16th and 17th centuries (e.g., Marcikowski 1998). More detailed studies on the role of the Persian language in Southeast Asian trading administration (Peacock 2018, Khazeni 2018) and literature has been done (e.g., Morrison 1955; Bausani 1968; Brakel 1975), which may allow us to consider whether Persian was a part of the lingua franca in Thailand, Arakan, Burma, Aceh and Malacca from the 15th to the 19th century. To find a proper answer for such questions, we first need to gather more materials, the content of which may affect the discourse. Per se, this study, which is part of a larger project, aims to continue this enquiry and follow up on earlier literature, to see to what extent Malays were familiar with the Persian language, literature and even music. This study pays particular attention to Malay-Indonesian manuscripts which have not been examined [thoroughly] so far.

About the speaker:

Majid Daneshgar is Lecturer and Researcher of Islamic, Central and Southeast Asian Studies at the Oriental Studies Department, University of Freiburg. He is an alumnus of the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), and was also the Marie Curie Fellow of the European Union, and the George Grey Scholar of the Auckland Libraries. Majid has taught courses on Islamic StudiesIslam in Southeast Asia, Religion and Science at the University of Freiburg, Germany, University of Otago and Otago Medical School, New Zealand, and University of Malaya, Malaysia. Among his publications, two monographs Studying the Qur’an in the Muslim Academy (Oxford University Press, 2020) and Tantawi Jawhari and the Qur’an (Routledge, 2018), and three edited volumes, Deconstructing Islamic Studies (Ilex and Harvard University Center for Hellenic Studies, 2020), Islamic Studies Today: Essays in Honor of Andrew Rippin  (Brill, 2017), and The Qur’an in the Malay-Indonesian World (Routledge, 2016). He has published a number of articles on Persian-Malay, such among others as: “A Very Old Malay Islamic Manuscript” (Indonesian and the Malay World 2022); “Shaving the Prophet” (Der Islam 2021), “Indonesian Manuscripts in Iran” (Indonesian and the Malay World 2021), and “An Old Persian-Malay Anthology of Poems” (Dabir Journal 2020). He also compiled and edited the catalogue of Islamic manuscripts throughout New Zealand from 2017-2019.



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