Zheng He, or better known by the Indonesian people as Ceng Ho or Sam Po Kong is a Chinese person who has an important role in the spread of Islam in Indonesia. He along with his crew across the ocean by ship measuring 144 meters came to visit the kingdom of Majapahit in Java in the 1405. The ship he brought even larger in size in comparison with the ship brought by Columbus to America in 1492 of only 33 meters.
Zheng He was a Muslim eunuch who became a confidant of the Yongle Emperor of China (ruling years 1403-1424), the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty. His real name is Ma He, also known as Ma Sanbao (馬 三 保) / Sam Po Bo, came from Yunnan province. When the Ming army conquered Yunnan, Zheng was arrested and then made eunuchs. He was a Hui tribes, tribes that are physically similar to the Han, but Muslim. Zheng He is a seaman who represented the Emperor Ming in China to travel to the West Ocean (Indian) because the emperor Zhu Di has drawn up guidelines for diplomatic as “agreement with foreign countries” so that the political influence of the Ming Empire expanded.
Remarkably, the cruise many months to China, after the first Bali, Radhana impressed to see the devotion Zheng He perform salat, until finally he was compelled to become Muslim and then decided to recite the phrase recognition of God and His Prophet Muhammad.
Zheng He visited in Indonesia for about seven times. When at Ocean Pasai, he gave a giant bell “Cakra Donya” to the Sultan of Aceh, which is now stored in the museum in Banda Aceh.
In 1415, Zheng He docked at Muara teak (Cirebon), and presented some unique souvenirs of China to the Sultan of Cirebon. One legacy, a plate that reads the verse Kasepuhan Chair still stored in Cirebon.
Never in his journey through the Java Sea, Wang Jinghong (the second in the fleet of Zheng He) was seriously ill. Wang finally fell on the beach Simongan, Semarang, and settled there. One proof of the legacy include Sam Po Kong Temple (Stone House) and the statue called “Mbah Ledakar Juragan Dampo Awang Sam Po Kong”.
In 1424, Emperor Yongle died. His successor, Hongxi Emperor (reigned 1424-1425 year, decided to reduce the influence of eunuchs in the royal court. Cheng Ho did the expedition again during the reign of Xuande Emperor (reigned 1426-1435). One theory is that Admiral Zheng He died in 1433. It may have happened during or shortly after the seventh voyage. Another belief is that Zheng He continued as the defender of Nanjing, dying in 1435. In 1985, a Muslim-style tomb was built in Nanjing on the site of an earlier horseshoe-shape grave; it contains his clothes and headgear as his body was buried at sea.