Religion and Beliefs
This study examines the traditional manuscript passed down through generation by the Cham Bani, one of the state recognized “Muslim” groups living in the south-central part of Vietnam. The region has been known as the focal area of Panduranga, the last territories of Champa. According to some previous historical studies, the presence of Islam became evident in Champa after the sixteenth century, although it was the seventeenth century when the Champa king of this region embraced Islam. It has been said that the people of this area were encouraged to converted to Islam after this event, however, the details of this transition have not yet been investigated.
The author, in conjunction with the local scholars, has conducted a series of surveys regarding religious practices and traditional manuscripts of the Cham Bani in order to interpret the aspects of the introduction of Islamic elements into the local society. This study focuses on the religious book called Patar, the manuscript that is believed to be the source of the religious thought, as a part of a series of these studies.
In the presentation, the author first present outlines of the Cham society in the region, and second, introduces the religious manuscripts of the Cham Bani and their users in the society. Then, the author describes and elucidates the contents of Patar to the extent possible, and to examine why they preserve and learn the old manuscript in the local context.