The Myth and Reality of Rukiye Hanim in the Context of Turkish Malay Relations (1864-1904)


The present article investigates the identity, partial biography, and relations of Rukiye Hanim. She is recognized as the grandmother of three significant families who have been playing distinguished roles in politics and academics in Malaysia. Rukiye Hanim with her sister Hatice Hanim are believed to have been presented as concubines by Babussaade, the Palace in Constantinople, to Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor in the closing decades of the 19th century. It is significant here to pin down that this article grew out of some concerns upon the discourse argued by circles around the relations of Rukiye Hanim. The present writers urge that the established discourse creates an imagined memory, explicitly or implicitly, borrowing the concept from Benedict Anderson, related to this lady. This article will provide some details on the concubine, Rukiye Hanim who seems to be the main actor to set aright imagined misconceptions. This research relies on primary data particularly from oral information of the living descendants of Rukiye Hanim. Besides, the present writers conduct comparative understanding of the secondary sources to re-examine the mainstream discourse upon Rukiye Hanim written in Turkish, Malay and English languages. This research found that the concubines are not connected organically with the Ottoman Palace family, they are instead commoners and members of other nations. This sensational imagination has turned out to be a sort of historical fact structured by certain groups, both in Turkey and Malaysia, and it has been functionalized to establish historically the relations between modern Turkey and Malaysia.


Rukiye Hanim Ottoman State Johor Sultanate Concubine Historical Imagination