Al-marhum Nam Tunku Patis Batang & his son
Al-marhum Nam Tunku Patis Batang
Story of Nakhoda Nan Intan
Masjid Jamek Batu Uban is said to be the oldest mosque in Penang. It was built in 1734, pre-dating the establishment of George Town in 1786 by Captain Francis Light. The mosque began as a surau (prayer hall), erected by Haji Mohammed Saleh, popularly known as Nakhoda Intan Nam Tunku Patis Batang, a Muslim leader from Kampung Buadi in Payakumbuh, in the highlands of West Sumatra.
Who was Haji Mohammed Saleh?
He was the founder of my father's and his forefathers' families. I am his 10th generation. He was a great ship's captain and was known as Nakhoda Nan Intan (the brilliant ship's captain or the precious ship's captain atau yang dimuliakan).
We have to remember that most Malays sailed westward but Nakhoda Nan Intan did a different thing - he sailed eastward, from Sumatra to the west coast of peninsular Malaya, arriving first at Singapore, then Malacca and finally Penang.
He married 5 wives. He first married a wife at his village in Payakumbuh, a wife in Deli, a wife in Singapore, a wife in Malacca, and a wife in Penang.
Thus, Nakhoda Nan Intan had opened 3 settlements at 3 locations in Malaya and these began as the pre-Straits Settlements - before the arrival of the Europeans.
It was he that opened Malaya and Singapore, firstly for religion, and secondly for trade. It should be remembered that Nakhoda Nan Intan's descendants were never interested in making money but stayed close to the mosques that Nakhoda had constructed for the Muslim people.
There were no rich and famous people among Nakhoda Nan Intan's numerous descendants. They lived humbly and that is a trademark of Nakhoda Nan Intan. They stick to very rigid rules of the religion that people cannot keep up with and find them difficult. They are serious with religion and they do not mix religion with cultural practices. This is their trademark. As far as I know, they shun from fun, frolic and merriment and stick to a strict life - a very regimented life. They don't normally get along well with people because they were strict with the religion - so very strict, no dolak-daleh, and get straight to the point.
They spoke with a lot of respect and they had great respect for their elders; they called their ladies Inchek as a mark of high respect. Even my father addressed his mother as Inchek. They spoke a good bangsawan language, not the usual marketplace Malay (bahasa Melayu pasar) that we often speak, even at home. They were serious people, not the usual Malay people we often find today, a very rare breed indeed.
There were a lot of things that Nakhoda Nan Intan taught his descendants - one of which is to fear Allah SWT and the other is 100% honesty. Establishing prayer (performing solat), trustworthy and honesty were attributes taught for generations. Quran learning began in childhood at age 6 onward. The Quran teachers were often ladies, and they taught Quran to children, for as long as they lived, and as a livelihood.
And that's how we still have Islam in the 3 Straits Settlements till today. That's as far as I know and can say about Nakhoda Nan Intan and his people. I am the 10th generation, and it is very difficult to break the traditions of seriousness because it is ingrained. Everything is taken seriously and nothing is a laughing matter or a joke. Nakhoda Nan Intan and his people didn't joke like we do nowadays. My father never joked! It was like having Hitler in our home - much feared. Everything was held accountable. That's their style - Nakhoda Nan Intan's style. Shrewd? I don't know but that was Nakhoda Nan Intan and his people that I know.
Who was Al-Marhum Nam Tunku Patis Batang?
That is an inherited royal title. He is the father of Nakhoda Nan Intan. Probably the 6th child or something. My father had never said he was descended from any Tunku people or nobility, and he didn't like 'sembah-sembah' and he didn't 'sembah' anyone and just avoided all things that had 'sembah' except sembahyang Esa (ie solat).
I really don't know but the dressing style tells me that he might have some bangsawan link-up. They dressed very well and really looked bangsawan or pendekar Melayu type. That reminds me of the story of Hang Tuah.
My father had many keris (tuah) and that sort of governed him and the pendekar thing probably made him the 'general' persona he was. My brother said some of the keris my father inherited had to be returned (to Payakumbuh and elsewhere) so that my father had control of his own life.
My father left me one keris which I keep in my clothes cupboard. Keris is 'hard' (keras) so I keep in a 'soft' (ringan) place, so the energies embedded balanced up and I won't expect to see a keris flying at me. It will probably come to me for defence when I'm attacked or something.
I don't practise black magic nor do I have genies (jin and kadam). A lot of people asked me whether I had inherited the genies of my forefathers. I have not and not that I know of. A lot of people tell me that these genies can be transferred to me without my knowing - like saka. Well, I don't know because I am not that superstitious.
I can focus energies and get into a trance and do a lot of things but that is acquired, not inherited.
I can feel a lot of vibes at different places and wherever I go or am with someone. I can feel the aura of others.
I can sniff the rain and smell chlorine vapours when the rain is nearing.
The last ESP was the tsunami of 2004 - where all the wind chimes and mobiles in my house shook so hard that I said to myself - a great calamity is going to happen. That was about 10 am or 11 am; the tsunami occurred that very afternoon.
I also think Nakhoda Nan Intan also had such an ESP/premonition/instinct.
People always say I am different from the people around me. I always ask myself, why don't they study Nakhoda Nan Intan?
I am his blood descendant, and if he had willed and read doa for his zuriat, I don't see anything strange. Aren't we all asked to read prayers for our descendants? Especially that part on Qurrata 'akyun and also a high degree of intelligence?
I think those were the substances of Nakhoda Nan Intan. How could he have arrived here if he had not known how to sail a ship (bahtera)? He was a royalty, a prince, and lived in the palace, in the highlands in Sumatra before coming here. There are no seas in the highlands.
How could he have attracted that many people (to fill a ship) to come to an uninhabited place - practically jungles and uninhabitable? Who would ever want to follow a man to an unknown and undiscovered place? Only Sufi people dare to do this. That's why I feel he was a Sufi disciple and a Sufi master. A Sufi master can easily bring along his followers to open new places and spread Islam. A normal Muslim man cannot do something of this magnitude.
Traders only come to trade and make money. Nakhoda Nan Intan was not a seeker of fortune. He was not a money maker or money spinner. None of his descendants are involved with creating money or wealth creation.
As far as I know, and as my father reminded me, they avoid 3 professions - the judiciary (lawyer, judge, and related posts), the banking activities (anything that deals with money, usury and related) and the entertainment industry (songs, singing, night clubs, dancing, cabaret, and related). They cukup jaga and pantang these 3 professions. I too avoid such activities.
So what is there left? Teaching profession! So I safely became a lecturer and now I am a professor. I have abide by Nakhoda Nan Intan and his principles, the rules of my father, his forefathers, and the rules according to Syari'ah. We therefore lead very strict lives as Muslims.