The Maqam of Sultan Tengah

Mount Santubong rises out of the South China Sea a lone mountain.  Two rivers meet the sea on either side, a narrow isthmus of land between them.  Mount Santubong has its own weather, with clouds cresting, writhing or settling around the peaks most days regardless of what the day brings the flat swamps beyond.  No wonder fairy […]

Review: Ottoman Age of Exploration

By Giancarlo Casale. The Ottomans were very active throughout the Indian Ocean world during the 1500s despite having no access to or knowledge of the area at the beginning of the century.  The author shows their exploration of the Indian Ocean is closely analogous to the activities of the Portuguese in same period. The most […]

Review: Crusades through Arab Eyes

by Amin Maalouf  Not only did our troops not shrink from eating dead Turks and Saracens; they also ate dogs! Documentation of rampant cannibalism among the Franj comes from the Franj themselves, but the historical accounts from Arab witnesses are what makes this book so enjoyable: the cannibalism, the elective surgery by battle-axe, the trials-by-ordeal,all […]

Habib Nuh Al-Habshi

By Abu Muhammad of Bahrus Shofa. Photography & English translation by Bin Gregory Productions It is related that Kiyai Agung Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah as-Suhaimi BaShaiban made a regular daily  practice of reading the mawlid of the Holy Prophet s.a.w., but now and again he would miss a day.  One night, he had a dream, and in […]

Raffles: Invasion of Java

Raffles & the British Invasion of Java by Tim Hannigan The book covers a fascinating, obscure moment in colonial history: the launching of Stamford Raffles’ career with the five-year invasion of Java. Those five years are rich with material that Hannigan presents with a fresh eye, sensitive to the Javanese side of the story. The […]