Sarawak’s very own relic hunters
By Patricia Hului
YOUR FIRST edition of Twilight or the first smartphone gadget that ever came out on the market may just be ordinary, even outdated items by today’s standards, but imagine if they were still intact 1,000 years in the future and were one of the few copies of their kind left in existence?
Some people are really fascinated by relics and would search high and low for them.
One of those people is Mohammed Sufian Mohidin, one of the founders of Sarawak Nusantara Relic Association, and his major findings so far have been Islamic relics.
“Before this, we went on our own in search of the old al-Quran. The experts we met along the way advised us to start an association,” he said.
Officially founded on Apr 30 this year, the association held its first exhibition ‘IIC: Our Story’ at Boulevard Shopping Mall on May 15.
“Our goal this year is to go to every mosque and raise funds in order to bring back the oldest al-Quran in Sarawak,”
The al-Quran he was referring to is the 1000 year-old al-Quran Imam Syafie’e.
“Our source told us it is somewhere in the country,” he said.
Although still in its infancy, Sarawak Nusantara Relic Association had an impressive display of relics that day.
Among the relics exhibited by the association were al-Quran, Kitab Tauhid, Kitab Fiqih, Kitab Shorof/Tasfir and Kitab Berjanji.
A very rare lithographed al-Quran from Southeast Asia was one of the features of the exhibition.
Believed to be from the 1800s, the Quran was published using the lithography method, a process where the actual handwritten script is transferred to paper.
Another precious relic displayed was an undated Kitab Tauhid, a Malay manuscript on the fundamentals of Tauhid, thesis and literature on Allah and how one must believe in Allah, His angels, books, prophets and judgment day (akhirah).
The Kitab Tauhid was estimated to be from the 18th century based on the watermark on the paper showing a partial ProPatria, a watermark used by papermakers back in that era.
Sufian also shared about the association’s other relics which were not exhibited: “We have Kitab Jawa that tells a story of Mahabratha. We are also collecting keris and sumpit.”
He said that the association had a blowpipe around 600 years old, in which through research they found out the blowpipe may belong to headhunters from the Philippines.
“The headhunters from Philippines allegedly were defeated by the Dayak of Sarawak who then brought it back to Sarawak,” he said.
Sarawak Nusantara Relic Association is working closely with relics experts from Indonesia, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak.
Sufian stated the association is hoping by 2020 Sarawak will be on the map for being the greatest treasure trove of the world.
They also advice those who are interested in relics to get in touch with their association.
The group currently has 12 members and they are hoping more Sarawakians will come forward to join them.
About Sarawak Nusantara Relic Association
The association focuses on collecting artifacts and sharing them with society and expanding future knowledge.
It is their vision to foster participation and collaboration towards relic studies and conservation, thus synergising Sarawak’s relics with Sarawak’s socio-economic growth.
The group is also aimed to enrich Sarawak with ancient and rare collection of Nusantara’s (The Asian/Malay archipelago) greatest treasures and tracing the origins and lineage of Malay history.
Check out the association’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sarawakrelic