The Early History of Pulau Besar
In the early history Pulau Besar inhabated by ‘orang laut/orang selat ‘ (a tribes of traditional fishermen society) before the arrival of Parameswara's (The 1st Ruler of Melaka and founder The Sultanate of Melaka after confessed Islam) around year 1400ad. During the ruling era of Kesultanan Melaka (Sultanate of Melaka), Pulau Besar ran as lounge for merchants to seek food, firewood and clean water supply and waiting for a turn to anchor in Melaka Port. Ma Huan, an assistant of Admiral Cheng Ho in his book Ying Yai Sheng Lan (1451 acknowledged this fact. According to Ma Huan, Pulau Besar being called as Water Island @ Wu Shu by Chinese traders. China seafarers would anchored in “Wu Shu” for rest and obtain supplies from “orang laut/orang selat that reside here.
Pulau Besar or “Wu Shu”, became a focus for trader ships even before the existence of Melaka centre of governance. Commercial vessels stop here to seek water supply and firewood before continue voyage to their destinations. And the arrival of Sultanul Ariffin Sheikh Ismail, Pulau Besar also become the focus centre all over Malay Archipelago because it was inhabited by many “ulama” or theologian that with their role to expand and spreading Islamic Religion in this region.
Pulau Besar also being noted as a launch attack centre for Malay people that try to confiscate Melaka from Portuguese after The Fall’s of Malay Sultanate Government's in Melaka.
Pulau Besar as Islamic Preaching Centre In Malay Archipelago Cluster
It was believed, Pulau Besar since inhabited by orang selat/orang laut around year 1400 (before the establishment of Malay Government of Melaka) play a role as clean water supply centre to fishermen and traders that go through Straits of Malacca. This is based on the existence of old well that estimated to be aged more than hundreds of years around Pulau Besar coast and the position of the wells that only a few metres from the coast. Pulau Besar alleged have of hundred well, however mostly already covered and could not be used any more.
Because of the its position (only a few kilometres from Melaka Port) there are traders, travellers and preacher that had been keen to stayed in this island. Among them is Sheikh Ismail that called Sultanul Ariffin's and was claimed by local population as a descendant of Rasulullah (PBUH) from his grandson (Hassan bin Ali). Together with his followers, they determined in Pulau Besar and constructed a small settlement to distribute and spreading Islamic teachings.
Apart from Sheikh Ismail, the delegation included Syeikh Yusuf as Sidiq. He was a high notable knowledge master’s of Sufi and also memorizing thousands of hadis Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Unascertained about his birth year. However he is among theologian that participated in Sheikh Ismail's delegation. He is also a teacher to Sheikh Ismail.
Before the Islamisation, Melaka population are believed to understanding and practicing Hindu-Budha or an animisme believer. This was because the 1st Melaka Ruler which namely Parameswara is a Hindu believer. According to Sullatus Sallitin or Malay History 1612 by Tun Sri Lanang (Bendahara of Johore), Parameswara get a dream about an arrival of Islamic traders in Melaka Port. Once they arrived, they will do something (prayers) by the sea shore. Parameswara then commanded his Bendahara (Chief Minister) and a team waiting by the sea shore to establishing whether the dream that experienced by the ruler really happened. With the Allah The Almighty power, The Rulers’ dream comes true and this bring to the Islamisation of Melaka Government and also a beginning of a Sultanate of Melaka.
Despite a various version on theory about the arrival of Islam to Malay Archipelango, a matter like this cannot be avoided because the writer and history researcher in the past, usually wrote something based on to understanding (mind), those who a very limited. However, most Islamic history researcher agreed that the arrival of Islam and Islamic propagation to Malay Archipelango through Islamic mysticism (tasawwuf) that through the glory and sanctity character by the past missionaries which is closed with tradition and custom of the polite and very respectfull Malay People.
Unlike the teaching method and arrival Christian to this region that go through war process and force, which it seen very contrary with Malay nature. Hence, even though Malay Archipelango are colonized hundred of years by Christian Invaders, it was unable for them to change and converted Malay People to professed Christian.
Because Pulau Besar already well-known as as clean water supply centre among trader and traveller, thus it have emerged as place that most strategic for Muslim preachers to introduce and spreading the teachings of Islam.
After the formation of Melaka Sultanate and achieve the glorious era, Pulau Besar continue to be a focus to trader ships to seek water supply and firewood before continue their voyage to next destination. Gradually, Pulau Besar is not only known as clean water supply centre, it also known as place to learn and deepen religious knowledge after this island inhabited by many Islamic preacher.