Dr Azhar Ibrahim is the Deputy Head and a lecturer at the Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore (NUS).
Dr Azhar’s area of studies include the sociology of literature, theology and sociology, cultural discourse, Islamic thoughts and ethics, as well as an interest in literary criticism and the development of Malay-Indonesian intellectualism.
Apart from Sulalatus Salatin (Sejarah Melayu), there are Malay texts that made direct and indirect inferences to the political culture and social life of the Melakan society. Many of these texts are not strictly historical or literary narratives in classification, yet the two styles of thinking are well weaved into the writing traditions of the Malays in the pre-colonial era. It will be interesting when texts like Undang-Undang Melaka, Adat Raja-Raja Melayu, and Hikayat Hang Tuah could provide insights into the socio-cultural life of Melaka, apart from its political life, in which conventional historiography pays attention to it. It is imperative to analyse how these texts can tell us about the 15th century Melaka, the recurrent themes inasmuch as some absences or silenced, especially when compared to exogenous sources. These post-Melaka texts in some ways could be seen as socio-economic and cultural documents that encapsulate the memories of Melaka, one of the most powerful Malay polity in history. The reconstruction of Melakan cultural history could well be an important source for understanding Melaka’s position in the Malay world, both real and imagined.