The Batu Bersurat Terengganu (“Inscribed Stone of Terengganu”) was listed as one of the United Nation’s Memory of The World, a UNESCO’s program to preserve valuable heritage archive worldwide. The stone was found by a gold and tin mining Arab trader, Syed Hussin Ghulam al-Bukhari, in 1903 in Kampung Buluh, a village 3km from the town of Kuala Berang. The locals had actually discovered the stone 15 years earlier when a flash flood revealed the stone which was jutting out of the Sungai Tersat riverbank. The locals carried the stone to their mosque and used it as a platform to perform ablutions. It was at the mosque that Syed Hussin ‘discovered’ the inscribed stone. While he was washing his feet to prepare for midday prayers, he noticed the stone he was standing on is inscribed with Jawi words. With curiosity, he presented the stone to the Sultan of Terengganu after obtaining the permission of the village leader to do so.
The Sultan could not find anyone who was able to solve the mystery of the inscription on the stone. The Sultan then placed the stone in the fort of Bukit Puteri before a British colonial official sent the stone over to Raffles Museum for examination in year 1922. A photograph of the stone was sent to London and only then were the ‘mysterious’ inscriptions deciphered.
The writing on the stone was revealed to be a proclamation issued by a Sri Paduka Tuan of Terengganu for his subjects to spread and uphold Islam. The inscription on the stone provides 10 basic laws for their guidance. The date inscribed on the stone was month of Rejab, 702H or year 1303 AD.
The Inscribed Stone of Terengganu is important as an evidence of the acceptance of Islam by a local ruler, a testimony to the spread of Islam, an insight to the life of the people of the era and Islamic culture under a set of religious laws. The Jawi inscription on the stone is believed to be the oldest Jawi writing found in Malaysia. The discovery also refutes the earlier claim of “Islam started on the western side of Peninsular Malaysia, Melaka” when Islamic principality in fact had existed in Terengganu almost 100 years before Melaka was found.
Today, the replica of the stone is placed in two locations – a memorial in Kampung Buluh, Kuala Berang and a mammoth replica at Ladang Roundabout in Kuala Terengganu. The original stone is displayed at the State Museum of Terengganu.
Map State Museum of Terengganu
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