Journal article

Islam and malay kingship

AC Milner

Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society | Published : 1981


Islam is often seen as playing only a minor role in pre-colonial Malay political life. J. M. Gullick, for instance, in his seminal work Indigenous political systems of Western Malaya concludes that Islam “was not to any significant extent a ‘state religion’”. The “chaplains of the more devout Sultans and chiefs”, he explains, “never attained any collective importance in the political system owing to the lack of organization”; there were “no Kathis (Muslim judges and registrars) until the era of British protection”; and no evidence exists that “Islamic legal doctrine” was “effective law”?

University of Melbourne Researchers

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