Little is known about the early years of Kelantan history. Some records and notes kept by the European and the Chinese people snap only parts of Kelantan’s picture in the past. They tell us about the origin of Kelantan as an administered land. Below are the aforementioned brief records:
1. According to the records of Claudius Ptolemy, the Greek geographer and astronomer, in his book Geography of Eastern Asia written in the second century, there are three locations laid in the East shore of Semenanjung Melayu (Malay Peninsula): “Kole Polis”, “Primula”, and “Tharra”.
2. G.E. Gerini, an Italian researcher, said that “Kole Polis” located in Kelantan. He contended that the name of Kelantan is derived from two combined words: “Kolo” and “Thana” or “Tanah” to become “Kolathana”, “Kolamtanah”, or “Kolantan”.
3. The Chinese writings, since the 6th century, have mentioned Kelantan in various ways. In the Liang Kingdom period (502-557 A.D), the Chinese said “Tann-Tann”, referring to Kelantan. While in the period of Sung Kingdom (960-1279 A.D), Kelantan was called as “Chi-lan-chau” or “Chi-lan-tan”. In the early 17th century, the Chinese said “Ko-lan-tan”, or “Ku-lan-tan”, all of which refer to Kelantan.
4. Besides “Tan-Tan” or “Tann-Tann”, there is a land often mentioned by the Chinese, namely “Chit-tu”, meaning Negeri Tanah Merah (The Red Land). It was associated with Negeri Kelantan.
Many geographers, based on topographic and geographic consideration, contended that Chit-tu (Tanah Merah) or Raktamrittika was the Kelantan. A European historian, Paul Wheatley, was in line with the premise that Chit-tu was located in Kelantan. He based his statement on the early years of Raktamrittika Kingdom history, established by King Gautama in the 6th century. The King was the son of King Kalahtana. Chit-tu once was one of the Funan Kingdom’s colonies. Kelantan, in 1225 A.D, had ever been under the authority of Crivijaya Kingdom.
Historically, in 1411 A.D. (814 H) Negeri Kelantan was ruled by the first King named King Kumar. Some historians still have wider debate over the genealogy of King Kumar. There is only one record confirming the King Kumar’s relations with one of the Chinese Kings. For example, in 1412 A.D, it is stated that King Kumar had ever received gifts included silk and diplomatic letters from a Chinese King
King Kumar, who passed away in 1418 A.D, was succeeded by Sultan Iskandar Shah, the grandson of King Culan. According to the manuscript of Sejarah Melayu (Malay History), Culan was the King of Negeri Ganggayu or Klang Kio, located in the upper course of Johor River. Another reference, Ringakasan Cetera Kelantan (Summary of Kelantan History) written by Nik Mahmud Ismail, revealed another opinion saying that King Culan was the King of Negeri Perak. Up to now, still not found yet the sufficient data confirming what kinds of relation between King Kumar and Sultan Iskandar Shah. In addition, there is no sufficient evidence explaining the way Islam came to the land of Kelantan, considering that the second ruler, Sultan Iskandar Shah, had embraced Islam.
After Sultan Iskandar passed away in 1465 A.D, the Kelantan was leaded by Sultan Mansur Shah. There are three versions of premises confirming the cognation of Sultan Mansur Shah with Sultan Iskandar Shah. The first version, cited from “Sejarah Melayu”, mentioned that Sultan Mansur Shah was the son of Sultan Iskandar Shah’s cousin. The second version, from “Ringkasan Cetera Kelantan”, contended that Sultan Mansur Shah was the son of Sultan Iskandar Shah. The last version, “Sejarah Negeri-Negeri Melayu” (History of Malay Kingdoms) written by Haji Muhammad Sidi Haji Muhd. Rasyid, mentioned that Sultan Mansur Shah was the cousin of Sultan Iskandar Shah.
The Kelantan Sultanate entered its golden age during the period of Sultan Mansur Shah, especially in terms of its economic growth, depending largely on the agricultural sector. The Kelantan’s prestige was heard to the Malacca Sultanate, ruled then by Sultan Mahmud Shah. In 1477 A.D., he ordered the armed troops to attack the Kelantan Sultanate. Sultan Mansur Shah, at the time, had three sons: Raja Gombak, Unang Kening who married later on to Sultan Mahmud Shah, and Cubak. Sultan Mahmud Shah and Unang Kening had three sons, namely Raja Mah (daughter), Raja Muzaffar (son), and Raja Dewi (daughter). Raja Muzaffar who was born in 1505 A.D., became the Sultan Perak I with title Muzaffar Shah (1528-1540 A.D.). Raja Gombak replaced his father, Sultan Mansur Shah, who passed away in 1526 A.D., as the forth Sultan Kelantan, bearing the title Sultan Gombak (1526-1584 M).
In 1548 A.D, Raja Ahmad, bearing the title of Sultan Ahmad, replaced the position of Sultan Gombak, who passed away, as the next Sultan. Sultan Ahmad, the grandson of Sultan Gombak, married to Cik Banun, the youngest daughter of Kelantan Nobleman Seri Nara Diraja. They had a daughter named Cik Wan Kembang. When Sultan Ahmad passed away in 1588 A.D., Cik Wan Kembang had been four years old. Therefore, Raja Hussin, the son of Raja Umar bearing the title of Sultan Ala Jalla Abdul Jalil Shah (King Johor, 1580-1597 A.D.), was asked to come to Kelantan to be the next (the sixth) Sultan of Kelantan with title Sultan Hussin. However, another source reveals that the coronation of Sultan Hussin was not proposed by then Kelantan administration. By then, in the 16th century, the Kelantan was one of the colonies of Johor.
After Raja Hussin passed away in 1610 A.D., Cik Wan Kembang had reached the mature age and been installed as the seventh Sultan of Kelantan (1610-1663 A.D.). She was the first female Sultan in Kelantan. When she ruled the Sultanate, he settled in Mount Chinta Wangsa, Ulu Kelantan, located about 40 kilometers to the South East of Kuala Krai. The strategic location of the central Sultanate lured the domestic merchantmen and foreign traders to visit Kelantan, boosting its economic growth.
During the period of Cik Wan Kembang, a small kingdom, named Jembal, had established in the North-east part of Kelantan. The Jembal Kingdom was ruled by Raja Sakti (1638 A.D). He was the foster child of Raja Bersiung Kedah. Raja Sakti died in 1649 A.D., and be replaced by his son, Raja Loyor. Cik Wan Kembang established close relation with the Jembal Kingdom especially with Raja Loyor. She, even, had adopted Princess Saadong, the daughter of Raja Loyor, as her foster daughter. After Cik Wan Kembang died in 1663 A.D., the Kelantan Sultanate was no longer ruled by the offspring of Sultan Iskandar Shah. The Kelantan’s ruler also no longer used Sultan, but King to name the higher position. The Kelantan afterwards was ruled by the Kings of Jembal.
Regarding Princess Saadong, the foster daughter of Cik Wan Kembang, she married to King Abdullah, her cousin, after being persuaded by Cik Wan. They lived in Tegayong City (Tanah Serendah Sekebun Bunga Cherang Tegayong), and then moved to Jelasin City in Mahligai Region. She had ever been kidnapped by Commander of Siam named Phraya Decho to be brought to Narai Maharaja Siam (1656-1688 A.D.). The reason for kidnapping is still unknown. When going back to Kelantan, Princess Saadong had several arguments with her husband. King Abdullah died of puncture of hair bun’s Saadong. It was done unintentionally. Afterwards, Princess Saadong installed King Abdul Rahim, King Abdullah’s brother, as the Sultan in Mahligai City.
Not much literature confirm the ruling period of King Loyor. He passed away in 1675 A.D. He was replaced by his brother, Temanggung Umar, bearing the title King Umar (1675-1719 A.D.). He had five sons, namely Raja Kecil Sulung, Raja Ngah with title Raja Hudang, Raja Nah, Raja Sakti, and Raja Pah. Being left by King Umar in 1719 A.D., Long Besar or Long Bahar was installed as the next King in Jembal (1719-1733 A.D.). This installation was proposed by the oldest daughter of King Umar, Raja Kecil Sulung. Long Bahar was the son of Raja Petani (Wan Daim) who bore the title of Datuk Pengkalan Tua. He had ever made a journey to the Kelantan Sultanate, together with his father. Long Bahar married to Raja Pah, the daughter of Sultan Omar.
Long Bahar passed away in 1733 A.D. His position was replaced by his son, Long Sulaiman or Wan Anom Long Nik, bearing the title of Mas Kelantan. Long Sulaiman had three sons namely Long Yunus, Tuan Dewi, and Tuan Kembang. The last married to Long Deraman, the son of Tuan Senik Getting who ruled Legeh region. In 1756 A.D., a mysterious war broke out, aiming at overthrowing Long Sulaiman, who was murdered in the war. His position was then replaced by his cousin, Long Pendak as Raja Kubang Labu. Whereas his brother, Long Muhammad, was installed as Raja Muda.
In 1758 A.D., Long Pendak passed away, murdered by Long Deraman for taking revenge. Long Pendak was accused of killing his own wife and Long Deraman’s brother named Tengku Tengah. Long Muhammad, then, replaced the Sultan Position, becoming the King in Kubang Labu City. During his period, some wars and conflicts broke out between Long Muhammad, who was assisted by Long Deraman, and Long Yunus, who was assisted by Long Gaffar, prince of King Reman in Hulu Perak. In 1762 A.D., both Long Muhammad and Long Deraman were killed in a fierce war. Finally, Long Yunus gained the full control of Kubang Labu Kingdom. As a reward, Long Yunus appointed Long Gaffar as Perdana Menteri (Prime Minister) in Kelantan who ruled from Jeram to Pasir Tumbuh.
Long Yunus took the lead of Kelantan Sultanate between 1775 A.D and 1794 A.D. He was famous for his great capability in unifying the whole territory of Kelantan, which was once separated from the central Sultanate. He could make them submit to the one governmental system.
2. Sultans of Kelantan
Below are the Sultans who had ever ruled the Kelantan Sultanate. The list is codified systematically according to the tenure of each Sultan:
1. King Kumar (1411-1418 A.D)
2. Sultan Iskandar (1418-1465 A.D)
3. Sultan Mansur Shah (1465-1526 A.D)
4. Sultan Gombak (1526-1584 A.D)
5. Sultan Ahmad (1584-1588 A.D)
6. Sultan Hussin (1588-1610 A.D)
7. Cik Wan Kembang (1610-1663 A.D)
8. Raja Loyor (1649-1675 A.D)
9. Raja Umar (1675-1719 A.D)
10. Long Besar or Long Bahar (1719-1733 A.D)
11. Long Sulaiman (1733-1756 A.D)
12. Long Pendak (1756-1758 A.D)
13. Long Muhammad (1758-1762 A.D)
14. Long Gaffar (1762-1775 A.D)
15. Long Yunus (1775-1794 A.D)
16. Sultan Muhammad (1794-1839 A.D)
17. Sultan Muhammad II or Sultan Mulut Merah (1839-1886 A.D)
18. Sultan Muhammad III (1886-1900 A.D)
19. Sultan Muhammad IV or Long Senik bin (son of) Long Kundur (1900-1920 A.D)
20. Sultan Ismail (1920-1944 A.D)
21. Sultan Ibrahim (1944-1960 A.D)
22. Sultan Yahya Petra (1960-1979 A.D)
23. Sultan Ismail Petra (1979 A.D - now)
3. Sultanate Period
The Kelantan Sultanate have existed for about six centuries. During that period, Kelantan had experienced the political cleavage, beginning from the period of Cik Wan Kembang (1610-1663 A.D). The separation commenced when Jembal Kingdom proclaimed its independence from the Kelantan. By then, Kelantan was gradually overwhelmed with the wave of Patani wanderers who migrated from their region. The migrant could dominate the government in the period of Long Bahar. Long Yunus, the 15th ruler, could finally restore the Kelantan Sultanate’s power and made it as a unified territory.
In the history of modern Malaysia, the Kelantan Sultanate is one of the 14 Negeri (States) under the federation of Malaysia Kingdom. Kelantan is also called as Negeri Kelantan Darul Iman, which is ruled now by Sultan Ismail Petra (Since 1979 A.D)
4. Sultane Territory
The territory of Kelantan Sultanate covered the below region: Gua Musang (8,177 km2), Kuala Krai (2,277 km2), Jeli (1,318 km2), Tanah Merah (880 km2), Pasir Mas (569 km2), Machang (527 km2), Pasir Puteh (424 km2), Kota Bharu (394 km2), Bachok (279 km2), and Tumpat (177 km2). The Kelantan Sultanate located North-East of Semenanjung Malaysia (Malay peninsula), facing directly the South China Sea, bordered by Southern Thailand.
5. Sultanate Structure
The structure of Kelantan Sultanate was inherited from the traditional Malay political system, in which the Sultan held the highest authority of Sultanate mandate. In administering the government, he was assisted by three clusters of Sultan assistants, namely:
1. Cluster of Sultan’s relatives; they are the offspring of the Sultan.
2. Cluster of noblemen; Those people bore title syed, nik, and wan.
3. Cluster of commoners who hold high position in the Kelantan sultanate.
Their main job was to do all of their responsibilities and to carried out the direct order of Sultan. Their responsibilities included the palace’s custom affairs, administration, financial, legal, security, and foreign relations. One of the main jobs for the cluster of Sultan’s relatives is to install the Sultan who will rule the Sultanate.
The above structure was effectively stipulated at the end of the 18th century, during the period of Long Yunus (1775-1794 A.D). He appointed his sons as such: Long Ismail (as Raja Muda), Long Jenal (as Treasurer), Long Tan (as Temenggung). His close friend, Long Ghafar, was appointed as Mangkubumi and Panglima Perang (Commander) bearing the title Tengku Sri Maharaja Perdana Menteri. Besides, there were other for positions: Raja Bukit Pancor (assumed by Long Yunus bin Long Yunus), Tengku Kota (assumed by Long Muda or Tuan Dagang bin Long Yunus), and Dato’ Kaya Hulubalang (assumed by son of Penghulu Adas).
In the period of Sultan Muhammad the Second, or Sultan Mulut Merah (1839-1886 A.D), the then political structure experienced slight change with some additional positions and new titles, like below:
1. Sultan (Tuan Senik Mulut Merah)
2. Sultan Dewa (Tuan Senik Kota or Tuan Senik Penambang-baharu)
3. Hakim/Judge(Syed Jaafar-baharu)
4. Mufti/Religious Adviser (Tuan Abdul Rahman Muda bin Wan Othman-baharu)
5. Kadi/ (no sufficient data)
6. Perdana Menteri/Prime Minister (Engku Limbat bin Long Jaafar)
7. Pembantu Menteri Besar/Deputy of Prime Minister (Nik Abdul Majid atau Wan Abdul Majid bin Wan Yusuf bersama Nik Yahya)
8. Juru Tulis Diraja (the palace writer) or Setiausaha Sultan (Wan Abdul Kadir)
9. Ketua Istiadat (Head of customary affair) with the title of Dato Megat Mahkota
The Gate in the Balai Besar Palace.
In 1845 A.D, the above political system was changed along with the initiation of Jamaah Ahli Mensyuarat (Discussion team), whose members come from Sultanate officials. The major change was effective after the establishment of Bandar Kota Bharu (City) and Istana Balai Besar (Palace) in 1844 A.D. Below are the job desk for each positions:
1. Financial affairs, administered by:
1. Bendahara (treasurer) (conferred with Tengku before his name if the treasurer is one of Sultan’s offspring)
2. Seri Maharaja (conferred with Tengku before his name if the treasurer is one of Sultan’s offspring)
3. Seri Pakerma Raja
4. Seri Akar Raja
2. Military affairs, managed by:
1. Temenggung Aria Pahlawan
2. Seri Nara Diraja
3. Laksamana (Admiral)
4. Seri Kelana Diraja
3. Political affairs, administered by:
1. Seri Paduka Raja
2. Seri Amar Diraja
3. Seri Setia Diraja
4. Seri Diraja
4. Foreign affairs, run by:
1. Biji Sura
2. Biji Wangsa
3. Lela Utama
4. Lela Negara
5. Domestic affairs, arranged by:
1. Kaya Perba
2. Kaya Pahlawan
3. Kaya Hulubalang
4. Kaya Perwira
6. Administrative affairs (in palace), run by:
1. Seri Rakna Diraja
2. Bentara Guna
3. Penghulu Balai
7. Legal affairs, arranged by:
1. Senior Judge (borne by Hakim)
2. Kadi (responsible for Islamic law/Shariah affairs)
3. Hakim (Responsible for non-Shariah affairs)
8. Sultan Consultants:
1. Tengku Bendahara (similar to treasurer)
2. Tengku Temenggung
3. Seri Paduka
The person who would replace the incumbent Sultan bore the title Raja Muda (literally means the Young King). In the Sultan Muhammad the fourth’s administration (Long Senik bin Long Kundur 1900-1920 A.D), 1911 in exact time, the title of “Raja Kelantan” was given to the candidate Sultan. But in 1944 A.D., by the suggestion of some advisers, the title was no longer used. It was so since many people assumed that the candidate would take the Sultanate’s responsibilities in the absence of Sultan when going abroad. The people thought that Raja Kelantan (Candidate) and Sultan Kelantan (The incumbent Sultan) were the same. Tengku Ibrahim, bearing the title Raja Kelantan, ascended the throne of kelantan Sultanate in June 1944 A.D. The title for the candidate was changed to the previous title: Raja Muda.
6. Socio-cultural Life
According to the 2005 census of central government, the total population of Kelantan Darul Iman amounted about 1,373,173 people, consisting of: Gua Musang (80,167), Kuala Krai (97,836), Jeli (38,185), Tanah Merah (108,228), Pasir Mas (172,692), Machang (82,653), Pasir Puteh (111,001), Kota Bharu (425,294), Bachok (116,128), Tumpat (140,989). The Malay, about 95%, constitutes the biggest majority of Kelantan population, while the rests place the second, the third etc, namely Chinese (3,8%), Indian (0,3%), and others (0,9%). Islam is embraced by most of Kelantan citizens, for about 95 % of total population. Buddha ranks the second (4,4%), Christianity and Hindu the third (0,2% respectively), and other religion (0,2%).
Agriculture and industry are the main livelihood of Kelantan population. In terms of agriculture, the population rely mostly on the sap, oil palm, and paddy. The wood industry, especially round timber, and plywood is the main revenue of Kelantan.
The Kelantan Sultanate had strong relation economically and politically with the Patani Sultanate. Geographically, the two sultanates are very close. In terms of culture, Kelantan adopted a multicultural system, combinative of Malay, Islam, and Siam culture. Among the form of acculturation are folk games of Dikir barat, Main Puteri, Mak Yong, and other. Mak Yong, specifically, is influenced by the culture of Siam, Dikir Barat is largely adopted from Islam, and the Main Puteri came from Hindu-Siam culture. Another unique feature of Kelantan Sultanate is the gastronomic culture, different from Malay cuisine, such as Budu food.
• Hamid, Rogayah A. and Mariyam Salim, Kesultanan Melayu Kelantan, (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 2006).
• “Kelantan”, in http://ms.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelantan, retrieved at January 17th 2008.
• “Kota Bharu”, in http://sklaloh.kelantan.edu.my/kotabharu.htm, retrieved at January 26th 2008.
• “Sejarah Kelantan”, in http://ms.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sejarah_Kelantan, retrieved at Januariy 17th 2008.
• “Sultan-Sultan Kelantan”, in http://www.ppak.kelantan.edu.my/kelantan/kerajaan, retrieved at January 24th 2008.
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