Mandailings in Peninsular Malaysia
Padri War (1816-1833) and subsequent Dutch control
over western Sumatra were the main causes of the Mandailing migration
to 19th century Peninsula Malaysia. The Mandailings were actively
involved in the Padri War as commanders and soldiers. The Mandailing
homelands were directly affected by the ravages of war.
Spears belonging to the Lubis
Clan from Tamiang,
decorated with fallen enemies hair.
The Padri, commonly associated with Islamic revivalism
in Minangkabau during the early decades of the 19th century, have
been described as the "Sumatrans counterpart of the Wahabis"
of the Hijaz (Saudi Arabia today). The origin of the term Padri,
is ascribed to the Portuguese word, "padre", due to
the long flowing robes worn. The Padri were also called "Kaum
Putih" (White Party) as they wore white robes while their
pro-adat enemy were called "Kaum Hitam" (Black Party),
refering to the dark indigo colour of their costumes.
Two famous Padri leaders were Tuanku Rao and
Tuanku Tambusai. Tuanku Rao hailed from Huta Godang or Tano Godang
in Mandailing Julu (Upper Mandailing). According to Tuanku Imam
Bonjol's diary, his mother was a Rao woman. Before he was appointed
Imam Besar of Rao with the title Tuanku Rao, he was known as Pakih
Muhammad. The term "Rao", the Minang equivalent of Rawa,
refers to the southern frontier (rantau) of the Minangkabau.
Tuanku Tambusai, nicknamed Si Harimau Paderi
(The Paderi Tiger), took his grandfather's name of Hamonangan
Harahap upon his customary installation. Tuanku Tambusai was the
overlord of 'Tambuse', another name for the village of Dalu-Dalu,
a stronghold of the Paderi on the Batang Lubu in Rokan, East Sumatra.
Tuanku Tambusai had a fort called "Benteng Tujuh Lapis (The
Seven Layered Fort) in Dalu-Dalu, described by Dutch accounts
as one of the most well fortified native forts. Tuanku Tambusai's
fort in Dalu-Dalu fell in December 1838 to a combined Dutch onslaught
consisting of Mandailing, Bugis and Madura troops.
Some people believe Tuanku Tambusai escaped and
fled to Melaka and died there. F.M. Schnitger, author of Forgotten
Kingdoms in Sumatra (first published in 1939), discounted the
possibility of Tuanku Tambusai's flight and subsequent demise
in Melaka. "It was said that at the last assault, he had
fled in a proa (perahu). They never heard of him again, so that
it is supposed he died during his escape. Others maintain that
he fled to Melaka and died there. There is no reason for accepting
this as the truth." (Melaka at the time referred to the peninsular
However, it seems that Tuanku Tambusai relocated
to Sungai Ujong (Seremban today). The descendants of Tuanku Tambusai,
who now live in Seremban, still retain his regalia and belongings
which include a Qur'an, sword and rompi (vest) with Arabic inscriptions.
Tuanku Tambusai was also known by other nicknames
such as Ompu Bangun, Ompu Cangangya, Ompu Sidoguran, Ompu Baku
and others. His Arabic name was Pakih Saleh and upon his return
from Makkah where he was exposed to the Wahabbi teachings, he
became known as Hadji Muhammad Saleh. He was credited to have
spread the teachings of Islam in Padang Lawas, Padang Bolak, Angkola
Sipirok and Mandailing itself. Tuanku Tambusai was declared a
"Pahlawan Nasional" (National Hero) by an Indonesian
decree in August 1995.
to 'The Mandailings in Peninsular