Kerajaan Aceh Zaman Sultan Iskandar Muda by Denys Lombard
Denys Lombard’s book is his dissertation from a historical perspective on mentality. This book explored the history of Sultan Iskandar Muda when he became the Sultan of the Aceh Darussalam kingdom. This work primarily uses the reports of foreign migrants who had stopped in Aceh at that time. Therefore, when you read this work, you will feel the value of objectivity because it was written by European scholars from the experience of Europeans themselves.
However, this work is entirely different from the works of Dutch scholars, for example, Snouck Hurgronje, who stated that there was no triumph of Aceh in the 16th and 17th centuries AD. Lombard even proved, on the contrary, that historical facts about Sultan Iskandar Muda were actual. In addition, Lombard’s work shows Aceh from what happened “inside” the palace, rather than from “outside” the palace.
This book describes the cosmopolitan situation of the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam. The governance of Aceh is neatly arranged, which can also be read in the Adat Aceh script. The role of Sultan Iskandar Muda, who adheres to the rules of the Aceh kingdom, has narrowed foreign influence in the Melaka Strait. Thus, every foreigner from East Asia, South Asia, and Europe must obey what is contained in the Adat Aceh.
Lombard’s work also introduces local sources containing the history of Aceh and the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam. Scholars have acknowledged and studied this on local sources, namely Bustan al-Salatin, Hikayat Aceh, and Adat Aceh. In these sources, it is stated how the Acehnese built the palace system at that time. The maritime and military power of the Aceh Darussalam Kingdom has become an essential record in the history of defense and security in the archipelago.
Lombard also presented how the fiscal/financial system was practiced by the government of the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam. Tax rules are also applied very regularly and systematically. Actors from the royal apparatus also played an essential role in collecting taxes, especially from foreigners arriving in Aceh waters.
Lombard even said: “It was Iskandar the Younger who succeeded in formulating such a policy and carrying it out well during the 30 years he was on the throne.” He can also bring order to society through Islamic law based on ahl al-sunnah wa al-jama’ah. Religious groups are given a role as part of the reproduction of knowledge, especially in Islamic studies.
In addition, Lombard also narrated how Sultan Iskandar Muda ascended the throne. Since the arrival of the Portuguese in 1511, the Aceh kingdom has indeed been unstable. Royal intrigue has always been influenced by the attitude and character of the “rich man.” When he was imprisoned in prison, he was even able to escape the snares of death until he finally succeeded in repelling his enemy. Sultan Iskandar’s military experience and knowledge are unquestionable.
In this case, it can be read, for example, in Hikayat Malem Dagang, where it tells how the efforts of the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam to dispel the Portuguese. Sultan Iskandar Muda stepped down from his throne to lead the war against the Portuguese. The peak and historical facts of Aceh against the Portuguese can be seen in the Melaka region in Malaysia. Many Aceh fighters’ graves there can still be seen clearly. Even the tomb of Sheikh Samsuddin al-Sumatrani, a colleague of Sheikh Hamzah Fansuri, can be visited this day.
Therefore, it is not surprising when Lombard explained the strength of Sultan Iskandar Muda’s war fleet. The story of the conquest of the Kingdom of Aceh begins with Aru and the Malay Peninsula. It was even mentioned that 900 elephants became the war fleet of the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam. They were trained for war.
Lombard based his data on eyewitness accounts who saw how elephants were trained as part of a war fleet. Through this military power, Sultan Iskandar Muda conquered several countries in Sumatra, to Aru and Melaka. This influence was then responded to by the Malay Kingdom in the Malay Peninsula. This is the early history of the glorious Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam in Rantau Melayu.
The Implementation of trade politics is by controlling trading activities down to the grassroots. So that foreign parties are not arbitrary with the people of Aceh when they trade in the territory of the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam. To support this, Sultan Iskandar Muda issued the currency of the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam. Finally, trading activities are not carried out through barter but like a modern economic system through gold currency.
Several researchers later found these gold pieces, which sometimes read the words of monotheism and the names of the Sultan of Aceh, who once led the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam. Various nations come to Aceh to carry out economic activities, Lombard’s study is presented. Nations outside, such as India, Siam, Turkey, and European nations, came, including Java.
Lombard also noted how the development of Islamic culture was produced during the Iskandar Muda Sultanate. Aspects of Sufism in constitutional politics at that time were undeniable. Almost all places in Banda Aceh are colored with the term Sufi. Lombard showed that Sultan Iskandar Muda could carry out the role of Islamic religious values. Scholars then describe the process of democratization in the kingdom of Aceh Darussalam in a Sufism frame.
The palace celebrates every Islamic celebration on a large scale. The people are involved in every palace agenda to honor major holidays in Islamic religious celebrations. It can be said that the aspect of Islamic intellectual awakening in Aceh emerged during the era of Sultan Iskandar Muda. Lombard also referred to local works produced by Acehnese writers at that time. The Sultan gave considerable space to intellectual production.
Other information produced by Lombard is the biography of Sultan Iskandar Muda and the Acehnese kings who had been Sultans of the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam. Lombard also provided a chronological list of significant events that occurred in Aceh. So that this work can be used as a historical reference in the archipelago. These are some of the contents of Lombard’s book, which is the most comprehensive work on the History of the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam in the era of the Iskandar Muda Sultanate.
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