Amongst the local inhabitants of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Tanduk Alam is known as a prominent Islamic scholar who was originally from Palembang, South Sumatra, but most of his time was spent in the Land of Banggai, Central Sulawesi.
There was a time the king of Banggai asked for help from him to release the royal Princess who was kidnapped by the Tobelo troops in the island of Sagu. Would he successfully release the Princess from the Tobelo people? Here is the story…!
Long time ago in Palembang, South Sumatra, a place where is assumed of being the central administrative government of Srivijaya Empire, there was a prominent Islamic scholar named Hasan Tanduk Alam. He once sailed across the sea, leaving Palembang for the Land of Banggai in Central Sulawesi, in terms of establishing economic link and disseminating the Islamic teachings there. However, the voyage was stopped in the Land of Sea-Sea before arriving at Banggai.
In the early years of settling in Sea-Sea, Tanduk Alam earned his living from serving as a gold miner as well as a goldsmith. While grappling with gold mining and bullion matter, he spent most of the time to spread the Islamic teachings to the local inhabitants living in Sea-Sea. For that reason, he was famous as either a goldsmith or an Islamic ulema.
For such popularity, the name Tanduk Alam then was known by the royal family of Banggai Kingdom. Banggai Kingdom, at that time, was headed by a king named Adi Cokro. To run the monarch government, King Adi Cokro got assisted by four basalo (ministers).
One day, the royal family of Banggai Kingdom got panic following the missing of the royal Princess. At a moment’s notice, the king summoned all the royal troops to seek for the Princess. Unfortunately, all the efforts ended in failure. The only thing they knew that the Princess was kidnapped by the Tobelo troops settling in the island of Sagu. In addition, the Tobelo troops were the minions of King Ternate who was eager to occupy the Kingdom of Banggai.
Knowing the fact, King Adi Cokro convened the four basalo for a meeting.
“O… My basalo, sure you have known the current situation in our kingdom! Therefore I summoned you to gather in this room. I want you all to make an attack to Sagu Island to release my daughter. But you have to notice, do not hurt the commoners. Defeat the rebellions and take my daughter back!”
All the four basalo then moved to the island of Sagu. With some royal troops, the sailed across the sea leading to Sagu Island with hope to find the Princess and get her back. Unfortunately, their effort was a mere failure since the number of Tobelo royal troop was bigger than the Banggai’s. Luckily the four basalo were alive; hence they could get back to the kingdom to report the result.
“Pardon us, the Majesty! We have failed to bring the Princess back. The Tobelo royal troops were greater in quantities than ours, so we didn’t want to take the worse risk if we kept moving forward,” a basalo reported to the king.
The king woke up from the throne and walked back and forth. It appeared that the king was thinking the solution for such. Then all of sudden, a basalo interrupted, “How about discussing the problem with Tanduk Alam, the Majesty? I heard a lot about him. And most of our people know about his magical and talismanic power?”
“If so, get him to be here!” the king responded to the basalo.
“Alright, the Majesty!”
Te four basalo then went to the Land of Sea-Sea. In this occasion, they wished they could meet Tanduk Alam for delivering the king’s order. They met at Tanduk ALam’s house. Some small talks happened as the four basalo sent the king’s order. Tanduk Alam and the four basalo then moved to the palace, and met the king.
“The Majesty, I’ve been here to meet your order,” Tanduk Alam said.
“Oo…Tanduk Alam, sure you have known about the recent situation in our kingdom. My daughter was seized by the Tobelo troops upon order from the King Ternate,”
“Yes, I have known about it, the Majesty. Are you sure that the Tobelo troops grab her to the island of Sagu?”
“Yes, she is now with the Tobelo in the island of Sagu. Now, I beg your help to release my daughter,”
“With all of my heart, the Majesty, I will do the things I can do to serve the kingdom. But I have a request, the Majesty,”
“What is it, Tanduk Alam? Tell me!” the king asked.
“Do not send a number of royal troops to accompany me in releasing the Princess. I just want to avoid the fall of victims for this mission,” Tanduk Alam’s remarks.
“Alright if that so, but let me order the four basalo to accompany you,”
In the following day, Tanduk Alam and the four basalo sailed across the sea, moving forwards to the island of Sagu. While sailing, they discussed the strategy to release the Princess.
“Just hold yourself still while I am releasing the Princess. Do not make any crowd when we reach the island,” Tanduk Alam said to the four basalo.
“But how will we enter the island? Almost all the areas have been under guarded by a number of Tobelo troops, indeed,” a basalo asked.
“So let me go there alone, and you just stay here!” Tanduk Alam replied.
“That’s so much dangerous for you!”
“Nope! With the help of Allah, I am sure I would be able to release the Princess,”
In the mid of a night, they reached the island. Tanduk Alam then moved closer to the island. He tiptoed towards the island then sit with the legs crossed, praying to God. Suddenly, Tanduk Alam was gone miraculously. He was invisible at the time; thus could enter the Tobelo troops barrack in safe.
The four basalo just waited and saw from the ship, keeping an eye just in case there would be a sudden attack from the Tobelo troops. Tanduk Alam alone had been in front of the prison where the Princess was. All the Tobelo troops were sleeping as well as the Princess. Gently he opened the door of a room where the Princess was. He moved to the Princess, and the Princess was awakened, shocked.
“Who are you?!” the Princess asked at a moment’s notice.
“I’m here to save you, just keep silent or they will be awakened!” Tanduk Alam said.
“Is that true?”
“Yes, it is. King Adi Cokro is your father, isn’t he? He asked me to release you,”
“But, how do we escape away from this place?”
“Now, just follow my order. Sit down and close your eyes! We’re going to escape away in safe. I promise!” Tanduk Alam ordered the Princess and recited some prayers to make them invisible.
Suddenly, they had been in the ship. The four basalo were shocked to know Tanduk Alam had been in the ship, along with the Princess in safe.
“Come on! We have to sail back to the kingdom, now!” Tanduk Alam ordered the four basalo.
“Alright! Let’s move!”
When the sun was going to rise, Tanduk Alam, the Princess, and the four basalo had arrived at the kingdom’s harbour. They were welcomed by the local inhabitants who missed their Princess who was known as wise, smiling, and very open to the commoners.
They went to the palace and were welcomed by the king.
“Thank you so much for helping me, Tanduk Alam. Is there any thing you want from me, Tanduk Alam? The king thanked Tanduk Alam.
“If you don’t mind, let me have a land here. I would like to use it as the Sago and Durian plantations. I wish that would be beneficial not only for me, but also for all the people here,” Tanduk Alam delivered his wish.
“If that so, I would order the royal troops to open a new land for you, tomorrow,” the king said.
A land nearby the royal palace of Banggai Kingdom was bestowed upon Tanduk Alam by King Adi Cokro. That was the return from the king to him upon the help he had made to the kingdom.
The land was then functioned as a sago and durian plantations by Tanduk Alam. Several years later, he had his first harvest time. His economic welfare got improved, but he still endeavoured in spreading the Islamic teachings.
The local people followed Tanduk Alam. They deliberately opened some new lands to plant it with durian or sago. With guide from Tanduk Alam on how to plant durian and sago, the local people could also empower their economic welfare. While teaching the local inhabitants to manage durian or sago plantation, Tanduk Alam also taught them the Islamic teachings. Consequently, a number of the Banggai people turned to Islam; hence now Islam is the most widely embraced religion in Central Sulawesi, especially in Sea-Sea and Tano Bonunungan.
And here is the story about Tanduk Alam and his effort in disseminating the Islamic teachings in Banggai, Central Sulawesi. To commemorate his merit, the local people buried his deceased body precisely in the back of the royal palace of Banggai Kingdom.
The above story is categorized a legend with some moral messages that can be derived. One the messages delivered through the story is that kindness will be rewarded with the unpredictably greater kindness. This is seen from the figure of Tanduk Alam. As he was a figure who kept conducting good deeds to all people, he got no problem in releasing the Princess of Banggai Kingdom. As well, he served the entire his life for disseminating Islam; thus his life got ease too. This is almost the same as what the Tunjuk Ajar Melayu (Effendy: 2006) says through a pantun below:
Wahai ananda dengarlah manat
Tulus dan ikhlas jadikan azimat
Berkorban menolong sesama umat
Semoga hidupmu beroleh rahmat
Wahai ananda dengarlah pesan
Tulus dan ikhlas jadikan pakaian
Rela dan taba dalam berkorban
Supaa hidupmu diberkahi Tuhan.