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Through trading activities the Malays had been, from time immemorial, as familiar with the region now known as the "Middle East" as they had been with India and China. To the Malays, however, until recently they did not have any specific word for the Islamic heartland, that is, the lands predominantly inhabited by Persian, Arab, and Turk. The earliest and probably the nearest equivalent for the name "Middle East" known by the Malays would perhaps be the phrase used in Sejarah Melayu which refers to the region as part of the "Negeri di Atas Angin" (The Land Above the Wind or The Lands to The Windward of the Southwest Monsoon), while Melaka was described as among the "Negeri di bawah Angin" (The Lands Below the Wind or The Lands to the
Windward of the Northeast Monsoon).'