The Precious Gift


Translated by Virginia Matheson Hooker
2012. ITBM.
Hardcover, 28.7cm x 21.1cm, 576 pages
ISBN 9789830689630


  • This book is about the continuity of the Malayan history after the fall of Malacca Sultanate and the history of Johor-Riau Sultanate. It also features the stories of the culture, the highness and prosperity of Johor Sultanate trades along with the experience of the people around the Malay Archipelago before and after the arrival of European powers. The writing of this great work was started by Raja Haji Ahmad and completed by his son, Raja Ali Haji. Given their privileged position among the royal family, both figures combined their talent and experience to produce a unique history of the Malay race.
  • In terms of chronology and geography, the historical concept of The Precious Gift is far deeper and wider compared to other great works regarding the Malayan history.  The concept and scope of The Precious Gift use the planning techniques and delivering narratives that are philosophical, and Raja Haji Ali’s historiography methods show a new synthesis between the Malay culture with the Islamic scholarship. The Precious Gift is said to be a masterpiece because of its language style and contents that are easy to be read.
  • The contribution of Raja Ali Haji towards the Malay intellectual tradition is extraordinary. His approach to his work is truly professional to the point that six Tuhfat al-Nafis manuscripts managed to be found and rewritten by hand. Virginia Matheson Hooker refers to Raja Ali Haji’s work as the “chronicle of great history” and the “eternal record” of the Johor-Riau Sultanate. According to Datuk Zainal Abidin Abdul Wahid, it is not ideal if a historian who is writing about the Malay history, especially regarding Johor, Riau and Selangor, to not refer to this work.
  • The Precious Gift is the second book in the list of Siri Karya Agung Melayu published by ITBM after the publishing of The Epic of Hang Tuah in 2011. The publication of this book allows the prospect of studying and propagate civilization that was achieved in literary records in order for the world to recognize the history of old Malaya.
Weight 2200 g
Dimensions 28.7 × 21.1 × 4.4 cm