|House of Bendahara|
The black flag of the Bendaharas
|Founded||Late 17th century|
|Founder||Tun Habib Abdul Majid|
|Current head||Pahang: Abdullah of Pahang|
Terengganu: Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu
|Cadet branches||House of Temenggong|
The Bendahara dynasty is a Malay dynasty, the line of the Bendahara, or grand viziers of Melaka and Johor Sultanates. Founded by Tun Habib Abdul Majid, the Bendahara of the Old Johor Empire, it is the royal house of several Malay monarchies, and branches currently reign in Pahang through the descendants of Abdul Jalil Shah IV, and in Terengganu through the descendants of Zainal Abidin I.
The family were originally members of aristocracy that forged strong marriage relations with the family of the ruling Sultans since the times of Melaka Sultanate. The ascendancy of the family as a royal house began in the late 17th century, when the last ruler of Johor from Melaka dynasty, Mahmud Shah II died without a male heir.
In classical Melaka and Johor Sultanates, a Bendahara was the most important and highest administrative position, serving as the chief of all ministers. As an adviser to the Sultan, a Bendahara was appointed by the Sultan and dismissible only by the Sultan himself. The position is hereditary and candidates were selected from the male descendants of the Bendahara family. The most notable of the Bendaharas was Tun Perak of Melaka Sultanate, who excelled in both war and diplomacy. Another notable Bendahara was Tun Sri Lanang of Johor Sultanate who was an important figure in the compilation of the Malay Annals.
The consolidation of Bendahara rule in the Johor Empire originated from the late 17th century, under Tun Habib Abdul Majid. When Mahmud Shah II died in 1699 without a male heir, Bendahara Tun Abdul Jalil, the eldest son of Tun Habib Abdul Majid, became the next Sultan of Johor and assumed the title Abdul Jalil Shah IV. His appointment was accepted by Johor chiefs based on the understanding that the Bendaharas would succeed to the throne if the Sultan died without heirs. During his reign, the eastern state of Pahang was established as a special province of the Bendahara family and ruled directly by the successive Bendaharas of the empire.
In 1717, Zainal Abidin, the younger brother of the Abdul Jalil Shah IV, established control over the eastern state of Terengganu with the title of Maharaja. He secured recognition as the first Sultan of Trengganu from his nephew Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah of Johor in 1725. Meanwhile, in Pahang, a self-rule was established during the reign of Tun Abdul Majid when the state's status was changed from a tanah pegangan (a fief) to tanah kurnia ('granted land'), thus the ruling Bendahara acquired the title Raja ('king') in Pahang. The allegiance of the Raja Bendahara to the Sultan however, continued, though it weakened in time.
The dismemberment of Johor Empire
During the reign of Mahmud Shah III, the great grandson of Abdul Jalil IV, the Johor Empire at that time was approaching its dismemberment, with Sultan's power effectively reduced to the capital in Daik, Lingga. While the rest of the empire was administered by three powerful ministers, the Bendahara in Pahang, the Temenggong in Johor and Singapore, and the Yamtuan Muda in Riau. After the death of Mahmud Shah III, the empire became further irrevocably divided when a succession dispute among his two sons, gave rise to two centers of power, one in Riau-Lingga, under Abdul Rahman Muazzam Shah who was supported by the Bugis nobility and the Dutch, and the other in Johor mainland, under Hussein Shah who was supported by the Temenggung family and the British.
On March 17, 1824, the Dutch and the British concluded the Anglo-Dutch Treaty, whereby it was agreed that Singapore and the Peninsula should be the British sphere of influence, while the Dutch confined themselves to the islands south of Singapore. The signing of the Treaty further undermined the cohesion of the Johor Empire and contributed to the emergence of Pahang, Johor and Riau-Lingga as independent states. The breakaway Riau-Lingga Sultanate would exist as a Dutch protectorate until 1911, when it was abolished by the Dutch colonial administration. In Pahang Kingdom, the fourth Raja Bendahara, Tun Ali formally renounced his allegiance to the Sultan of Johor and became independent ruler of Pahang in 1853. Meanwhile, in Johor, Hussein Shah and his son Ali were reduced to puppet monarchs and played a minimal role in the administrative affairs of the state, which gradually came under the charge of the Temenggong and the British.
In 1855, Sultan Ali ceded the sovereignty rights of Johor (except Kesang in Muar) to Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim, in exchange for a formal recognition as the "Sultan of Johor" by the British and a monthly allowance. Following the secession of Johor, Sultan Ali was granted administrative charge over Muar until his death in 1877, and in most administrative matters, was often styled as the "Sultan of Muar".
The current ruling house of Bendahara are the patrilineal descendants of the Hadhrami al-Aydrus clan, an offshoot of Ba 'Alawi sada, that trace their lineage to al-Imam Ahmad al-Muhajir bin Isa ar-Rumi, a descendant of Shia imam Ja'far as-Sadiq, who in turn, a direct descendant of Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. In the late 16th century, a descendant of the al-Aydrus clan, Abdullah ibn Shaykh al-Aydarus was among the earliest Arab settlers who served a religious leader in Aceh. The sultan of Aceh at that time, Alauddin Mansur Syah, who is the patrilineal descendant of the Melaka-Perak ruling house, persuaded Abdullah to marry his daughter, and his son Sayyid Zaynal Abidin was born out of this union. Abdullah's son Zaynal Abidin also became a religious leader and migrated to Johor, where he married Tun Kaishi, the granddaughter of Tun Sri Lanang by his son, Tun Jenal. It was from this union, the father of Tun Habib Abdul Majid was born. Therefore, in addition to the Hadhrami descent, the modern Bendahara dynasty are also the matrilineal descendants of the old Bendahara lineage and the old Melaka ruling house.
- B.S.M - Bendahara Seri Maharaja
- B.S.N.D - Bendahara Seri Nara Diraja
- B.S.R - Bendahara Sewa Raja
- B.P.R - Bendahara Paduka Raja
- B.P.T - Bendahara Paduka Tuan
- B.P.M - Bendahara Paduka Maharaja
- T.P.T - Temenggung Paduka Tuan
- T.S.M - Temenggung Seri Maharaja
- T.P.R - Temenggung Paduka Raja
|House of Bendahara|
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