Adat (Jawi: عادة) refers to local regional customs and tradition not derived from Islam in the North Caucasus, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. This meaning of adat is used in Chechnya, Dagestan, Tajikistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and among Muslims in the southern Philippines.
In Indonesian-Malay culture it is the set of cultural norms, values, customs and practices found among specific ethnic groups in Indonesia, the southern Philippines and Malaysia. For instance pakaian adat, or adat clothes, refers to the traditional clothing of a specific people.
Adat include the set of local and traditional laws and dispute resolution systems by which society was regulated. In older Malay language, adat refers to the customary laws, the unwritten traditional code regulating social, political, and economical as well as maritime laws.
Two kinds of Malay adat laws were developed before the 15th century:
- Adat Perpateh was developed as a matrilineal kinship structure from early time by the Minangkabau people in Sumatra and Negri Sembilan.
- The office of the sea admiral or under Adat Temenggong originated bilaterally based on territorial social units. Both adat forms were significantly transformed by Islamic and later European legal systems during the later colonial times.
During the inter-maritime contact prior to the 15th century, Chinese vessels (wooden junks) came and had established the basic draft form for the original development in the adat Temenggong maritime laws. The Malacca sultanate had the office of the sea admiral or the Office of the Temenggung.
- No Money, No Honey: A study of street traders and prostitutes in Jakarta by Alison Murray. Oxford University Press, 1992. Glossary page xi
- The New Encyclopædia Britannica Vol 1 (15th edition) page 82 for quoted resources and further research on this topic
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