Faculty Research Seminar: Han Hsien Liew

Please join us on Feb 18, 2021 at 4:00 pm AZT for our monthly virtual Faculty Research Seminar Series. This month topic will be on "Alexander the Great in Malay Islamic Kingship" by ASU professor, Dr. Han Hsien Liew. 

Date: Thursday, Feb 18, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.

Link to Join:  https://asu.zoom.us/j/81596564346

Abstract

This presentation explores how the representation of Alexander the Great evolved from the Perso-Arabic Islamic literary tradition to the epics and chronicles of the Malay Islamic world. It focuses particularly on the Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals), a work composed between the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries to chronicle the Malay sultanate of Melaka. Although the Sejarah Melayu displays an awareness of the Perso-Arabic image of Alexander as a just and wise Muslim ruler, it places more emphasis on his role as a genealogical fount of future Malay sultans. In the absence of a sacred lineage that could be traced back to the family of the Prophet Muhammad, the Alexandrian lineage became a means of connecting the Malay sultans to a sacred Islamic heritage that can be traced to the Qur’an. This appeal to the lineage of Alexander speaks to the transmission of ideas across the Indian Ocean in the post-classical age of Islam as well as to the gradual crystallization of a Malay identity that was increasingly defined in relation to Islam.