TĀJ AL-SALĀṬIN, a book in the genre of Mirror for Princes written in Malay by Boḵāri Jawhari (fl. early 17th cent.). It is based on the patterns of the Persian andarz genre in Persian literature, was highly influential in subsequent Malay Islamic literature. Aside from Nur-al-Din Rāniri’s (d. 1658) similar work, Bostān al-salāṭin, Tāj al-salāṭin can be considered the most influential example of Persianized andarz literature in the Malay-Indonesian world (on Rāniri, see also SOUTHEAST ASIA i. AND SOUTHEAST ASIA ii.).

Author and contents. Almost nothing is known about the author, and even the reading of his name is uncertain; “Jawhari of Bukhara” and “Boḵāri of Johore” (Johore is a state in the south of the Malay Peninsula) are two options that have been suggested. Based on the contents of the text, the author certainly seems to have been a Sunni Muslim. Tāj al-salāṭin was either written or translated into Malay at about 1603 in the sultanate of Acheh (Atchin) in northern Sumatra, Indonesia. It appears to have had as its origin a Persian work, probably composed in India, since internal evidence suggests that the author was knowledgeable of Persian poetry (Iskandar, pp. 108-10). Tāj al-salāṭin is a work designed with the aim of advising future kings and their executive officers (e.g., viziers, judges) on statecraft, how to rule best their subjects and to lead a decent life in accordance with the stipulations of Islamic ethics (aḵlāq). The book is arranged in twenty-four chapters, dealing with the role of viziers, royal justice, and the sacred authority of kings (for an Eng. tr. of the table of contents, see Harun Mat Piah et al., pp. 436-38). The author praises not only Muslim rulers of the past such as the second caliph ʿOmar b. al-Ḵaṭṭāb (r. 634-44) and the ʿAbbasid Hārun al-Rašid (r. 786-809), but also the Sasanian king Ḵosrow I Anōšarvān (r. 531-79). Tāj al-salāṭin is very similar in its arrangement of topics to earlier exemplary Persian Mirrors of Princes, such as Abu Ḥāmed Ḡazāli’s Naṣiḥat al-moluk, and especially to Ḵᵛāja Neẓām-al-Molk’s Siar al-moluk (Bosworth; Bowen [Bosworth]; Lambton, 1954; idem, 1955; Marcinkowski, 2002; Abdul Samad). It also mentions by name other Persian works of the andarz literature, most prominently Aḵlāq-e moḥseni by Ḥosayn Wāʿeẓ Kāšefi (d. 1504 or 1505).

Since the 17th century, Tāj al-salāṭin enjoyed great popularity in the Malay world among royalties and commoners alike (in the case of Malaysia, to a certain extend, even until the present time). In the early 19th century, at the time of the beginnings of British colonial activities in the Malay world, Sultan Hoṣayn Shah of Singapore, although facing financial difficulties, is said to have rejected a suggestion by Sir Stamford Raffles (1781-1826) of the English East India Company (q.v.) that he should engage in trade. The rejection is said to have been based on the advice in the Tāj al-salāṭin (Piah et al., p. 438).

Manuscripts and editions. Khalid M. Hussain published an edition in Romanized script of the manuscript in the Leiden University Library (micro-card no. LUB.D 625, Codex Orientalis 3053; see Wieringa, p. 487; for a discussion of other MSS, see Hussain’s introd., pp. xi ff.), supplemented in a few instances by comparisons to the lithographed edition of 1879. There are some egregious inconsistencies in Hussein’s transliteration. His edition contains quotations from the Qurʾān, Hadith, and other Arabic and Persian sources in Arabic script, a few of which are also transcribed. Chapter and verse numbers have been indicated for Qurʾānic quotations.

Tāj al-salāṭin is said to have been translated into Javanese (Piah et al., p. 438). Already in 1827, Roorda van Eysinga produced a Malay text in Jawi script with parallel Dutch translation.



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March 20, 2009

(M. Ismail Marcinkowski)

Originally Published: April 20, 2009

Last Updated: April 20, 2009