Debunking Prevailing Scholarly Views Pertaining to the Apostasy of Alleged Descendants of Shaykh Yusuf of Makassar (1)

Najma Moosa
* University of the Western Cape, South Africa

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14421/ajis.2020.581.103-170

Abstract


This article focuses on the controversial issue of apostasy pertaining to the alleged family of Shaykh Yusuf of Makassar, the Indonesian pioneer of Islam in colonial South Africa, after his demise at the Cape in the late 17th century during a period of Dutch occupation of both countries. It is reported in local and international historical and scholarly sources that the second generation grandchildren of this political exile and learned Islamic scholar converted from Islam to Christianity at the Cape and thereafter entered into marriages with Christian spouses. Their mother is alleged to have been the Shaykh’s daughter, Zytie Sara Marouff (alias Care Sale), and their father, the Rajah or King of Tambora (alias Abulbasi Sultan), a fellow exiled countryman. The marriage between the Rajah and Zytie is alleged to have taken place shortly after his arrival at the Cape in 1698 but before the death of Shaykh Yusuf in 1699. The conversions are recorded to have taken place within two decades of the Shaykh’s death and shortly after the death of their father, the Rajah, in 1719; both averted death sentences but died during exile at the Cape. The main aim of this article is to critically analyse these sources, which contain both conflicting information, and whose authors express ambivalent views, in an attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding their conversion and the marriage of their parents. Although some local Muslim religious authorities (ulama) at the Cape are aware of these conversions, many are not. In fact, these conversions were overlooked in a publication on the very topic. Local Muslims have therefore not been fully apprised by them of this aspect of their history because the topic is understandably also a sensitive one. The aim of this article is therefore not to dispute these facts or even that these conversions may have been a voluntary exercise and a consequence of freedom of choice. Although an analysis of some of the policies of the then Dutch colonial government which were enforced at the Cape (for example, those pertaining to interracial and interreligious marriages amidst limited religious freedom) are referred to, this article highlights that socio-economic reasons (poverty) and practical expediency (marriage) may indeed have precipitated such conversions. A detailed critical analysis, including of the Islamic law (Shari’a) pertaining to freedom of religion and apostasy, is unfortunately beyond the scope of this article due to space constraints.
[Artikel ini membahas kontroversi pindah agama pada keluarga Syekh Yusus Makassar selepas diasingkan di Afrika Selatan pada masa kolonial Belanda akhir abad 17. Menurut sumber lokal dan tulisan sarjana internasional menyatakan bahwa generasi kedua keturunan Syekh Yusuf telah memeluk Kristen serta menikah dengan pasangan Kristen. Cucu yang dimaksud adalah anak dari putri Syekh Yusuf, Zytie Sara Marouff, yang menikah dengan Raja Tambora yang juga ikut dalam pengasingan di Cape Town. Pernikahan itu diperkirakan terjadi setelah rombongan tiba di Cape Town tahun 1698 dan sebelum wafatnya Syekh Yusuf tahun 1699. Sedangkan konversi agama yang terjadi sekitar dua dekade setelah wafatnya Syekh Yusuf dan selepas wafat ayah mereka Raja Tambora tahun 1719. Fokus utama artikel ini adalah mengkritisi sumber-sumber informasi yang bertentangan dan pandangan-pandangan para penulis yang ambivalen dalam rangka memperjelas misteri mengenai konversi dan pernikahan kedua orang tua mereka. Walaupun ulama lokal di Cape Town menyadari tentang konversi tersebut, namun sebagian besar tidak memperdulikannya. Sayangnya konversi ini dilihat berlebihan dalam berbagai tulisan. Lagipula penduduk muslim setempat tidak menjelaskan informasi hal ini pada catatan sejarah mereka karena dipahami sebagai hal yang sensitif. Oleh karena itu, artikel ini tidak bermaksud untuk memperdebatkan atau bahkan menguji fakta mengenai konversi agama yang memang bagian dari hak kebebasan beragama. Walaupun artikel membahas pelaksanaan kebijakan kolonial Belanda (misal pembatasan pernikahan antar ras dan antar agama ditengah pembatasan kebebasan beragama), artikel ini juga membahas sekilas soal kemiskinan dan praktik kebijaksanaan pernikahan dalam mengendapkan persoalan konversi. Namun karena keterbatasan halaman maka artikel ini tidak membahas persoalan hukum Islam mengenai kebebasan beragama dan pindah agama.]


Keywords


apostasy; Ulama; Dutch colonial government; Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC)

Full Text:

PDF

References


Ajam, M.T., “Hajee Sulaiman Shah Mohamed: A South African Philanthropist (d. 1929)”, Journal for Islamic Studies, vol. 10, 1990, pp. 68–76.

“Areca nut”, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Areca_nut&oldid=968036123, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Assim, Usang M. and Julia Sloth-Nielsen, “Islamic Kafalah as an Alternative Care Option for Children Deprived of a Family Environment”, African Human Rights Law Journal (AHRLJ), vol. 14, no. 2, 2014, pp. 322–45.

Azra, Azyumardi, The Origins of Islamic Reformism in Southeast Asia: Networks of Malay-Indonesian and Middle Eastern ‘Ulama’ in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2004.

“Batak: people”, Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Batak, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Bedaux, J.B., “The Portraits of Simon van der Stel, First Governor of the Cape”, Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics, vol. 17, 1988, pp. 1–18.

Bradlow, Muhammad ’Adil, “Imperialism, State Formation and the Establishment of a Muslim Community at the Cape of Good Hope, 1770-1840: A Study in Urban Resistance”, Master Thesis, Cape Town: University of Cape Town, 1988.

Colvin, Ian D., Romance of Empire South Africa, London: Caxton Pub. Co, 1909.

Dangor, Suleman Essop, “A Critical Biography of Shaykh Yusuf”, Master Thesis, Durban, South Africa: University of KwaZulu-Natal, 1981.

----, Shaykh Yusuf of Makassar, Durban: Iqra Publishers, 1994.

----, Shaykh Yusuf of Makassar, 3rd edition, Durban: Digniti, 2019.

Davids, Achmat, The Mosques of Bo-Kaap: A Social History of Islam at the Cape, Cape Town: South African Institute of Arabic and Islamic Research, 1980.

Donald Tick, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/donald.tick/about, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Du Plessis, I.D., The Cape Malays: History, Religion, Traditions, Folk Tales: The Malay Quarter, 3rd. edition, Cape Town: A. A. Balkema, 1972.

“Dutch East India Company (DEIC)/VOC”, South African History Online, https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/dutch-east-india-company-deicvoc, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

“Ebook Precis of the archives of the Cape of Good Hope (Volume 17) by Cape of Good Hope (South Africa)”, ebooksread, http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/cape-of-good-hope-south-africa-archives/precis-of-the-archives-of-the-cape-of-good-hope-volume-17-ala.shtml, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Ebrahim, Mogamat Hoosain, “The Transformation in the Management and Traditions of Hajj at the Cape”, PhD. Dissertation, Durban, South Africa: University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2007.

Gauteng correspondent, “Descendants of Shaikh Yusuf of Makassar on Goodwill Visit to SA”, Muslim Views, 23 Jun 2017.

Graham, Duncan, “‘Bandit Saints of Java’: Where Islam meets Local History”, The Jakarta Post, 15 Mar 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2019/03/14/bandit-saints-of-java-where-islam-meets-local-history.html, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Greyling, Christeman Joel Andries, “Schech Yusuf, the Founder of Islam in South Africa”, Religion in Southern Africa, vol. 1, no. 1, 1980, pp. 9–22.

----, “Die Invloed van Strominge in die Islam op die Jesusbeskouing van die Suid-Afrikaanse Moslems”, PhD. Dissertation, Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch University, 1976.

Haan, Frederik de, Priangan: De Preanger-Regentschappen onder het Nederlandsch Bestuur tot 1811, vol. 3, Batavia: Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen, 1912.

Hamid, Abu, Syekh Yusuf Makassar: Seorang Ulama, Sufi dan Pejuang, Jakarta: Yayasan Obor Indonesia, 1994.

Haron, Muhammed, “Three Centuries of NGK Mission amongst Cape Muslims: 1652–1952”, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, vol. 19, no. 1, 1999, pp. 115–23 [https://doi.org/10.1080/13602009908716428 ].

Hoge, J., “The Family of the Rajah of Tambora at the Cape”, Africana Notes and News, vol. IX, no. 1, 1951.

Jaffer, Mansoor (ed.), Guide to the Kramats of the Western Cape, 3rd edition, Cape Town: Cape Mazaar Kramat Society, 2010.

Jappie, Saarah, “Between Makassars: Site, Story, and the Transoceanic Afterlives of Shaykh Yusuf of Makassar”, PhD. Dissertation, Princeton, N.J: Princeton University, 2018.

Jeffreys, M.K., “The Malay Tombs of the Holy Circle – VI: The Kramat at Zandvliet, Faure, Part 2: Sheik Joseph at the Cape”, The Cape Naturalist, vol. 1, no. 6, 1939, pp. 195–199.

Jeppie, Shamil, “Commemorations and Identities: The 1994 Tercentenary of Islam in South Africa”, in Islam and the Question of Minorities, ed. by Tamara Sonn, Atlanta, Ga: Scholars Press, 1996, pp. 73–91.

Kamedien, M.G., “Raja of Tambora & Joseph at Macassar”, rootsweb, 6 Nov 2001, https://lists.rootsweb.com/hyperkitty/list/south-africa@rootsweb.com/thread/11320360/, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

“Legacy of Slavery: Heritage of Slavery”, Iziko Museums of South Africa, https://slavery.iziko.org.za/legacyofslavery, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Leibbrandt, H.C.V., Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope: Letters Received, 1695-1708, Cape Town: W.A. Richards & Sons, 1896, http://archive.org/details/precisofarchives00cape_3, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

----, Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope: Letters Despatched, 1696-1708, Cape Town: W. A. Richards & sons, 1896, http://archive.org/details/precisofarchives00cape_1, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

----, Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope: The Defence of Willem Adriaan van der Stel, Cape Town: W. A. Richards & sons, 1897, http://archive.org/details/precisofarchives00leib, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

----, Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope: Requesten (Memorials) 1715-1806, vol. 2, Cape Town: Cape Times, 1905.

Liebenberg, Helena, Introduction to the Resolutions of Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town: TANAP.

Loos, Jackie, Echoes of Slavery: Voices from South Africa’s Past, Cape Town: David Philip, 2004.

Lubis, Nabilah, “Min A‘lāmi Indūnīsīya: al-Shaykh Yūsuf al-Makassarī (1626-1699)”, Studia Islamika, vol. 1, no. 3, 1994 [https://doi.org/10.15408/sdi.v1i3.852 ].

Mahida, Ebrahim Mahomed, History of Muslims in South Africa: A Chronology, Durban: Arabic Study Circle, 1993.

Marewo, N., “Tambora dan Strategi Politik Kepentingan Eropa”, Radar Sumbawa, 19 Apr 2015.

“Maria Dorothea Sultania”, Ancestry, https://www.ancestry.com/genealogy/records/maria-dorothea-sultania-24-3bxwhqf, accessed 22 May 2019.

Melletpt, “The Story of the First Two ‘Coloured’ Governors at the Cape – Simon & Willem”, Camissa People, 17 May 2016, https://camissapeople.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/the-story-of-the-first-two-coloured-governors-at-the-cape-simon-willem/, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Moosa, Ebrahim, “Descendants of Sheikh Yusuf visit Johannesburg”, Radio Islam, 27 Apr 2017, https://www.radioislam.org.za/a/descendants-of-sheikh-yusuf-visit-johannesburg/, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Moosa, Najma, “The Dissolution of a Muslim Marriage by Divorce”, in The Law of Divorce and Dissolution of Life Partnerships in South Africa, ed. by Jacqueline Heaton, Cape Town: Juta & Co Ltd, 2014.

Moosa, Najma and Muneer Abduroaf, “Implications of the Official Designation of Muslim Clergy as Authorised Civil Marriage Officers for Muslim Polygynous, Interfaith and Same-Sex Marriages in South Africa”, in The International Survey of Family Law, ed. by Fareda. Banda and Margareta F. Brinig, Bristol: LexisNexis, 2017.

Morton, Shafiq, From the Spice Islands to Cape Town: The Life and Times of Tuan Guru, South Africa: National Awqaf Foundation of South Africa, 2018.

“Name Index - 8”, First Fifty Years: A Project Collating Cape of Good Hope Records, http://www.e-family.co.za/ffy/i8.htm#s2408, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Plug, C., “Valentijn, François (geography)”, S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science, http://www.s2a3.org.za/bio/Biograph_final.php?serial=2901, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Quinn, George, “Where History Meets Pilgrimage: The Graves of Sheikh Yusuf Al-Maqassari and Prince Dipanagara in Madura”, Journal of Indonesian Islam, vol. 3, no. 2, 2009, pp. 249–66 [https://doi.org/10.15642/JIIS.2009.3.2.249-266 ].

Resolutions of the Council of Policy of Cape of Good Hope Cape Town Archives Repository, South Africa, Reference code: C, 1694, http://databases.tanap.net/cgh/make_pdf.cfm?artikelid=21548, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

----, no. C. 27, 1710, http://databases.tanap.net/cgh/make_pdf.cfm?artikelid=21548, accessed 25 May 2019.

----, no. C. 49, 1719, http://databases.tanap.net/cgh/make_pdf.cfm?artikelid=22182, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Robertson, Delia, “Rajah of Tambora Albubasi Sultan”, First Fifty Years: A Project Collating Cape of Good Hope Records, 2014, http://www.e-family.co.za/ffy/g10/p10838.htm, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Roux, Schalk W. le, “Die Kramat van Sjeg Yusuf, Faure”, Kramat of Sheikh Yusuf, 2013, https://www.artefacts.co.za/main/Buildings/bldgframes.php?bldgid=10977, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Sahib, Musdalifah, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Makassary: His Life Story as a National Hero from Gowa, South Sulawesi to Cape Town South Africa, and a Reformer in Islamic Mystic World, Ciputat: Orbit Publishing, 2017.

Salie, Ebrahim, History, Contestations and Commemorations: Shaykh Yusuf al-Makassārī and His Holy Shrine (Kramat) at Faure Eerste River, in Cape Town, South Africa: 1694-1994 (Parts I & II), 2015, https://www.academia.edu/33898816/HISTORY_CONTESTATIONS_AND_COMMEMORATIONS_SHAYKH_YUSUF_AL-MAKASS%C4%80R%C4%AA_AND_HIS_HOLY_SHRINE_KRAMAT_AT_FAURE_EERSTE_RIVER_IN_CAPE_TOWN_SOUTH_AFRICA_1694-1994._PARTS_I_and_II_, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Samuelson, Meg, “Orienting the Cape: A ‘white’ Woman Writing Islam in South Africa”, Social Dynamics, vol. 37, no. 3, 2011, pp. 363–78 [https://doi.org/10.1080/02533952.2011.655034 ].

“Sheik Yusuf (1626 - 1699)”, The Presidency, http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/national-orders/recipient/sheik-yusuf-1626-1699, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

“Simon van der Stel”, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Simon_van_der_Stel&oldid=954229072, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

“Sitina Asia Dorothea (Sultan) van den Bosch (1703-1741)”, WikiTree Family Tree, https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Sultan-13, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

“Slavery and Emancipation of Slaves”, South African History Online, https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/slavery-and-emancipation-slaves, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Sleigh, Daniel, “Die Buiteposte van die V.O.C. aan die Grens van die Kaapse Nedersetting, 1652-1707”, Master Thesis, Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch University, 1982.

----, Die Buiteposte: VOC-buiteposte onder Kaapse bestuur 1652-1795, Pretoria: Haum, 1993.

South African Government, The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

Taylor, Jean Gelman, Indonesia: Peoples and Histories, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2003.

Tayob, Abdulkader I., Islam in South Africa: Mosques, Imams, and Sermons, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2009.

The Dutch East India Company’s Shipping between the Netherlands and Asia 1595-1795, 2 Feb 2015, http://resources.huygens.knaw.nl/das/detailVoyage/96909, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Upham, Mansell George, “At War with Society...Did God hear? The Curious Baptism in 1705 of a ‘Hottentot’ Infant Named Ismael”, Capensis, vol. 4, 2000, pp. 29–51.

Valentijn, François, Description of the Cape of Good Hope with the Matters Concerning it, Amsterdam 1726, ed. by Petrus Serton and E.H. Raidt, Cape Town: Van Riebeeck Society, 1971.

----, “Beschryvinge van de Kaap der Goede Hoope. Deel I”, DBNL, 1971, https://www.dbnl.org/tekst/vale003besc01_01/vale003besc01_01_0005.php#338%20(, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Van Rensburg, André M., “Shaykh Yusuf’s Familia”, Familia, vol. 39, no. 4, 2002, pp. 195–204.

----, “The Enigma of Shaykh Yusuf’s Place of Burial”, Quarterly Bulletin of the National Library of South Africa., vol. 57, no. 2, 2003, pp. 70–85.

“Van Tambora Rajah”, South Africa’s Stamouers, https://www.stamouers.com/stamouers/surnames-v-z/562-van-tambora-rajah, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Villette, Francesca, “31 Kramats Considered for Heritage Status”, IOL, 3 May 2019, https://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/news/31-kramats-considered-for-heritage-status-22404699, accessed 31 Mar 2020.

Ward, Kerry, Networks of Empire: Forced Migration in the Dutch East India Company, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

----, “Southeast Asian Migrants”, in Cape Town Between East and West: Social Identities in a Dutch Colonial Town, ed. by Nigel Worden, Cape Town: Jacana Media, 2012.

“Willem Adriaan van der Stel”, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Willem_Adriaan_van_der_Stel&oldid=951526567, accessed 31 Mar 2020.






Copyright (c) 2020 Najma Moosa

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.