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MALAY AND INDONESIAN LITERATURE. Ever since the emergence of the Srivijaya empire on the east coast of Sumatra around 700 CE, the Malay language has played a dual role in Southeast Asia. It has first been the language of alam Melayu, the Malay world-the coastal areas around the Strait of Malacca, the South China Sea, and the Java Sea whose common narrative traditions, religious practices, and rituals make them the heartland of a distinctly Malay culture. Malay has also been the language of communication in Southeast Asia among people of different cultures, not only for natives of the archipelago but also for travelers from

India, China, and the Middle East. Traders and travelers, preachers and monks, administrators and soldiers have used Malay (or Malay pidgins and Creoles) as their second language; they also wrote in it, often to escape from local tradition and create something novel.

Malay has thus been both a vehicle of ideas and concepts that originated in the Malay heartland and a language associated with novel ideas introduced by travelers and migrants. This duality, or even ambivalence, has made Malay a dynamic language with an undefined and open identity. Actively supported by Dutch and British administrators in colonial times, it has become the national language of the Republic of Indonesia where it is called (Bahasa Indonesia) and the kingdom of Malaysia (under the name Bahasa Malaysia) as well as of the Republic of Singapore and the Sultanate of Brunei.

Literacy and Orality. The first evidence of Malay writing is in inscriptions found on the Malay Peninsula and on the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra. Written in a script that originated in southern India, these short texts are an amalgam of older form of Malay and Sanskrit, suggesting a predominant presence of Hinduism and Buddhism in Southeast Asia. With the arrival of Islam in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when it was introduced by merchants and priests from India and China, the Arab/Persian script called Jawi was adapted for writing Malay. Jawi is still widely used in some parts of the Malay heartland.

Islam was readily accepted by the local population, who were attracted by its notions of equality and democracy. Neither did local rulers hesitate to adopt the new religion; they saw in its rituals and philosophy a novel way to support their authority and easily assimilated the idea that the ruler is God’s shadow on earth and a “perfect man”-a concept developed in the Muslim kingdoms of southern Asia (see Milner, 1983).

With its strong focus on the scriptures, Islam must have stimulated the respect for writing and thus the production of manuscripts (naskah) and letters (surat). Owing to the scarcity of surviving materials, however, it is impossible to determine how widespread literacy really was in the Malay heartland and neighboring regions before the advent of printing and nationalism. It was a highly valued commodity in court circles, often supplied by relative outsiders including Arabs, Indians, and Chinese. Within Islamic educational institutions (the madrasah, pondok, and pesantren) literacy may have been more common, which at times made the scholars an aggressive alternative to the political and cultural authority of the courts over the local population. In general, literacy remained a relative rarity until the end of the nineteenth century (see Amin Sweeney, A Full Hearing, Berkeley, 1987).

In a context that was so strongly organized by orally transmitted knowledge, the term “literature” is an unfortunate one; not until 193o had Malay itself assimilated the words sastra, sastera, and kesusastraan to refer to intentionally fictional texts. Before that, words like karangan, tulisan, gambar, and surat were used to refer to various genres of writing; ceritera, kisah, pantun, and riwayat were common terms for orally transmitted stories.

Since its introduction into Southeast Asia, Islaminspired writing has always remained closely associated with Malay; it was considered the best language in which to read and write about the Qur’an, tradition, law, and knowledge. In the twentieth century a corollary argument has often been proposed in the Malay heartland: Malay is associated with Islam, and therefore every Malay-speaking person should be a good Muslim. In Indonesia, where Malay is the second language for much of the population, this statement has never been accepted as self-evident; not all people who use Malay (or “Indonesian”) feel obliged to be staunch defenders of Islam. In modern literary life, discussions are conducted along similar lines of differentiation: the assumption that a Malay author has to work from an explicit Islamic stance is generally accepted in Malaysia, but this has rarely been the case in Indonesia.

Prelude to Modernity. The fifteenth-century Sultanate of Malacca is usually seen as the Islamic heir of the empire of Srivijaya. Malacca’s authority was brought to an end by European colonialists in 1511; in the memory of people in the Malay heartland it remained the period of greatest Malay glory, sanctified and described in many narratives. Materials from the days of Malacca are rare and none of its writings have been preserved. Contemporary reports of European visitors picture Malacca as an international city with a great sphere of influence; no doubt the activities developed under the aegis of its Muslim rulers had great impact on cultural life in Southeast Asia as a whole and on the Malay heartland in particular. At the fall of Malacca in 1511, Islam was strongly established on the coasts around the Java Sea and the Straits of Malacca. Religious and juridical treatises (kitab) and tales of the prophets (hikayat), partly translations from Arabic and Persian originals and partly adaptations to local ideas, left a strongly Islamic stamp on Malay culture. Islamic ideas have since taken a central position in Malay intellectual life and writing.

The oldest known Malay texts of some length originate from the Sultanate of Aceh on the north coast of Sumatra, where Malay played an important role in administration, trade, and culture alongside the local Acehnese language. A vivid intellectual life existed there in the first half of the seventeenth century; this is particularly manifest in its the religious writings, which find their climax in the works of Nuruddin ar-Raniri (Nfir al-Din al-Raniri), Samsuddin al-Sumatrani (Shams alDin al-Sumatrani), and Hamzah Pansuri (Hamzah Fansuri). The most authoritative Islamic scribe was arRaniri, born and raised in Rander in Gujarat, India; he came to the archipelago with a great knowledge of Persian and Arabic texts and propagated this knowledge in the numerous texts he wrote in his somewhat idiosyncratic Malay. Ar-Raniri stayed at the court of Aceh between 1637 and 1644, long enough to ensure that his writings would have a lasting influence on Malay Islamic thinking. Some of his texts are still consulted today in Malaysian and Indonesian religious schools. The best known of his works is Sirat al-mustakim (Al-sirat almustaqim). Mention should also be made of the Bustan as-Salatin (Bustan al-Salatin), an encyclopedic compendium of seven volumes in which the history of the world is presented following Persian models, with numerous references to works from the Islamic heartland.

Ar-Raniri is usually viewed as an orthodox mystic who apparently met with great resistance and even hostility among local intellectuals. In religious treatises like Hujjat as-siddik li-daf as-zindik (Hujjat al-siddiq li-daf al-zindiq) and Tibyan fi ma’rifat al-adyan (Al-tibyan fi ma’rifat al-adyan) written in a mixture of Malay and Arabic, he tried in particular to refute the writings of the Wujudiyah movement. The leaders of this movement had developed an erudite philosophy the essence of which was the claim that man’s being and God’s being, the world and God, are identical. The most respected author of theological texts in defense of the Wujudiyah was Samsuddin al-Sumatrani (d. 1630), who tried to bring Islamic teachings about the seven grades of being (as developed by authors like Ibn al-‘Arabi and `Abd alQadir al-Jilani) into accordance with local religious notions (see C. A. O. van Nieuwenhuijze, Samsu ‘l-din van pasai, Leiden, 1945)

In literary terms, ar-Raniri’s greatest opponent was Hamzah Pansuri, whom he accused of having heretical ideas close to those of Samsuddin. Hamzah Pansuri expressed his ideas about God and the world in a mathematically constructed form of written poetry called syair; he appears to have had a rather random knowledge of Persian and Arabic writings, which he very ably incorporated into his own work. It has not been determined whether Hamzah invented this genre of poetry or merely perfected a form already known in Malay. Using images, metaphors, and similes that were novel at the time, his syair had a far-reaching effect on Malay literature. Syair became a generally accepted form that-at least after Hamzah Pansuri’s experiments-could be used for every possible topic; it was to remain very popular among all Malay speakers until the late twentieth century. Poems like Syair dagang and Syair burung pingai, which are attributed to him, have remained a source of inspiration; even after syair as a form lost its authority, the echoes of Hamzah can be found in the modern Malay poetry of both Indonesia and Malaysia. The question whether Hamzah was a heretic and his work deserved to be burnt (as it was as a result of Raniri’s endeavors) need not concern us here (see Naguib alAttas, 1970; and G. W. J. Drewes and L. Brakel, The Poems of Hamzah Fansuri, Leiden, 1987). Discussions between scholars like ar-Raniri, who defended so-called orthodox mysticism on the basis of al-Ghazall’s work, and those who tried to combine mystical notions from the Islamic heartland with local ideas and rituals, remained a source of tension in Islamic circles. To what degree and at what pace should foreign elements be accepted and assimilated into Malay writing?

Malay authors in the tradition of ar-Raniri and Hamzah often appear to have a more or less solid knowledge of Persian and Arabic texts; they translated and adapted many narratives (hikayat) and treatises (kitab) that in turn had a far-reaching impact on Malay culture. Many prose works elaborate and explain stories from the Qur’an, are for instance the Hikayat anbiya and Hikayat jumjumah; others are tales about the Prophet (Hikayat nur Muhammad and Hikayat Nabi bercukur) or about his contemporaries (Hikayat Raja Khandak, Hikayat Amir Hamzah, and Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiyyah). Most of these hikayat are anonymous, and in this they joined the existing Malay tradition transmitted in an uneasy mixture of oral and written forms. Hikayat became as familiar in the archipelago as its more serious counterpart, called kitab and including theological works in the strict sense of the word, dealing with the law and other religious topics. Unlike hikayat, kitab were usually attributed to specific authors. At courts and schools, these Islamic writings must have been appreciated as exemplary texts for behavior and thinking. A prime example is the seventeenth-century text Taj us-Salatin (Taj alSalatin), a 1603 adaptation of a Persian text in which the prerogatives of rulers and the correct behavior of human beings are described (see P. P. Roorda van Eysinga, De Kroon aller koningen van Bocharie van Djohore naar een oud Maleisch handschrift vertaald, Batavia, 1827).

Texts of both genres were copied again and again, the kitdb more meticulously than the hikayat owing to their differences in content and function. To the enjoyment and edification of all they were distributed over the archipelago, giving a new impetus to the knowledge of Malay. Toward the end of the nineteenth century many of them were lithographed and printed in the Malay heartland. In this process of writing and copying, reading and reciting, the narratives that had been inspired by Indian and Javanese examples and local traditions were gradually pushed to the margin; the same was happening to the orally transmitted tales, which in the days of Malacca must still have played a prominent role in shaping the central values of the Malay-speaking world.

After Aceh, other authoritative centers of Muslim writing in Malay emerged and disappeared in the archipelago-Palembang, Banjarmasin, Patani, Trengganu, and Riau. A few of the authors and texts that traveled through the archipelago in the company of hikayat, constantly restating the configuration of Malay cultural life were Abdul Samad al-Palembani, who wrote, most notably, Hidayat as-Salikin (Hidayat al-Salikin), Sair asSalikin (Sayr al-Salikin), and Bidayat al-hikayat (Bidayat al-hidayah, strongly based on work by al-Ghazali); Kemas Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Palembani, author of Hikayat Syaik Muhammad Samman; and Daud ibn Abdullah al-Patani, who wrote Ghayar al-Tallab al-murid marifat (see Drewes, 1977). In new editions, many of these older kitab are still being consulted in religious schools.

Arguably the center of religious writing in Malay with the most lasting radiance was Penyengat, a small island in the Riau Archipelago where the prestigious family of the vice-rulers of Riau-Lingga had its residence in the nineteenth century. In particular, Raja Ali Haji (181o1874) should be mentioned. Inspired by Dutch and British examples, he wrote a Malay grammar (Bustan alKatibin) and a dictionary of Malay (Pengetahuan Bahasa) based on Arabic models; at the same time he inspired members of his family, female as well as male, to write. His contacts with Dutch scholars enabled him to have some of his texts printed. Print being the key to modernity, Raja Ali Haji can be seen as one of the first modern Muslim authors in Malay; his example was taken up by his descendants, who set up a publishing house on the island.

Modernity. In the course of the nineteenth century contacts between Southeast Asia and the Middle East, most importantly Mecca and Cairo, were intensified owing to the introduction of steamboats, the telegraph, and printing techniques. In the shadow of developments in the Middle East where intellectuals like Muhammad `Abduh and Muhammad Rashid Rida propagated a moral and religious reformation of Islam, tensions and discussions in the British-controlled peninsula and the Dutch Indies took a new shape (Roff, 1967). Until now the relationship between individual and God and between man’s being and God’s being had been the predominant subject of discussion and writing, but subsequent discussion focused on the question of to what extent Islamic law and the Qur’an and hadith could and should be directly applied in everyday life, and to what extent local customs should be permitted.

In the Malay heartland, this conflict between modern Islamic responses to the intrusions of the British and more traditional Islamic practice syncretized with local customs and beliefs is usually presented in terms of the conflict between the kaum muda (the reformists, literally “the group of the young”) and the kaum tua (the traditionalists, literally “the group of the old”). Printed materials were to play an important role in this conflict. As in so many other parts of the Muslim world, the kaum muda were far better equipped than their opponents to take control over modernity; in the first half of the twentieth century they made very effective use of printing to persuade their fellow-believers to hold more strictly to the rules and regulations of Islam and at the same time to be more open to Western innovations, if only to withstand the West’s power-and even better, to keep it at bay.

The first modern author, Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir Munsyi (1796-1854), had died before the conflict between the kaum muda and the kaum tua took serious form in Southeast Asia. Born in Malacca of mixed Arabic and Indian descent, Abdullah was a pious Muslim and a great admirer of British achievements. His autobiography, Hikayat Abdullah (Singapore, 1849) shows him to be fully aware of the possibilities western culture had to offer to the Muslim people of the Malay-speaking and -writing world, and nowhere did he hide his contempt for what he considered the unwillingness of Malays to be more open to the outer world. Abdullah had made himself familiar with printing techniques by working for Christian missionaries, but he did not succeed in convincing Malays of its usefulness. It was another fifty years before Malay literates more carefully read Abdullah’s book and took his plea for printing seriously. In the meantime, people of Chinese, Indian, European, and Arab descent who felt only thinly connected with the Malay heritage had become the main initiators of innovation and modernization in the urban areas of Singapore, Penang, Batavia, and Surabaya. These were places on the margin of the Malay heartland, to be followed only much later by those who saw themselves as the “real” Malays.

Another pioneer in publishing was Syed Syeikh Ahmad al-Hadi, an intellectual of Arab descent who had been given a religious education in Penyengat and Mecca before settling in the peninsula. With some religious friends he published the journal Al-imam (1906-1 909), mouthpiece of the kaum muda, in Singapore; later he established his own printing press, Jelutung Press, in Penang, where he published his first novel. Setia Asyik kepada Maksyuknya atau Shafik Afandi dengan Faridah Hanom (1926/27) is a Malay adaptation of an Egyptian novel in which Muslim ideas about modernity are carefully explored and propagated. Faridah Hanom was not the first novel to appear in the Malay heartland, yet it was of exemplary importance in the fictional literature (sastra) that emerged; subsequent novelists like Ahmad Rashid Talu (Iakah Salmah?, 1928) took inspiration from both its content and its form in realistic novels and novelettes in which the Malays were pictured as lacking moral strength and were urged to develop more religious fervor.

Malay prose authors in the peninsula experimented on the model of English and Dutch Indies examples and presented the teachings of Islam as the appropriate moral and ethical frame of reference for their protagonists and readers alike. From that perspective, it is justifiable to call all modern Malay literature produced in the peninsula “Islamic literature”——a point that was explored in great depth in the Islamic reorientation (dakwa) of the 1970s and 1980s (see Judith Nagata, The Reflowering of Malaysian Islam: Modern Religious Radicals and their Roots, Vancouver, 1984). Many of the modern authors in the Malay heartland had a Muslim upbringing; at least they appreciated the fact that being a Malay meant being a Muslim, and sooner or later every Malay had to come to terms with Islam. Islam thus became a strong catalyst to nationalism once the writings of the kaum muda and their descendants made the growing number of literate Malays aware of the fact that non-Islamic Chinese and Indian immigrants on the peninsula were gaining control over economic life and pushing the children of the soil (bumiputra) into the countryside. The statement that Malayness should be identical with Islam was an almost inevitable consequence of this growing self-awareness; only a few intellectuals had the courage to question and challenge this.

Different Concepts of Islamic Literature. Literacy in the Malay-speaking world as a whole increased owing to colonial programs of education, and so did the demand for reading materials. In the British-controlled areas the kaum muda competed with the kaum tua as well as with secularists to gain the upper hand in cultural and literary life. In the Dutch Indies, Islam was hardly a theme at all in the literature that came into being in the twentieth century.

Politically speaking, the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea were the main boundaries between the Dutch Indies and the British Malay States (and Straits Settlements). Culturally speaking, however, they were inland seas within the Malay world, over which continuous migrations back and forth were taking place. This explains, for instance, why many of the leading authors and journalists in present-day Malaysia are of Sumatran descent. Parallel to the ambivalent position of Malay, at once the language of the heartland and the language of novelties, two traditions were taking shape in the centers of political and economic authority-in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Medan on one hand, and in Jakarta and Surabaya on the other. Authors who saw themselves as part of the Malay heartland with its distinct heritage tried to explore their “Malay-ness” by way of Islam; others, more secularly oriented and as much tied to their local heritage and Western culture, preferred following Western examples to combining their writings with Muslim teachings.

In the Malay States and Straits Settlements and later in Malaysia, a well-defined cultural policy was a very important tool for the Malays in constructing a national and unifying culture on Malay terms. In the 1950s and 1960s “Malay power” was the predominant slogan in enforcing Malay ideas and values on the new state and its national ideology. In the 1970s and 1980s Malay authors reformulated their stance; more than ever, they emphasized the importance of Islam as the essential element of Malay culture and to this end the Islamic part of the Malay heritage was retrieved and strengthened. A wide variety of Islam-inspired organizations succeeded in uniting Malays under an Islamic banner. The Malay intelligentsia discussed how to reach their readers with sastra Islam (Islamic literature), a kind of writing that was to contain Islamic values, project Islamic concepts, and be created by pious Muslims with pure hearts.

The discussions between Shahnon Ahmad, undisputedly the most respected prose author of the second half of the century, and the literary critic and scholar Kassim Ahmad are generally considered exemplary for the problems and questions involved in defining sastra Islam. The task of a Muslim author, according to Shahnon, is to discover the order that God has created in this world, to acquire insight in his truth, his beauty, and his will, and then to use it as the main force in creating literature. This is only possible and conceivable if one carefully follows the Qur’an, the hadiths, and the law. Writing literature, claim Shahnon and his followers, is a form of `ibadah, a religious duty; neither “art for art’s sake” nor “art for society” (two slogans with which everybody literate in the Malay world had become familiar in the 1950s) should be the maxim, but rather “art because of God” (seni karena Allah); such art could only be made when the heart was pure and all rituals were appropriately performed. The objections of Kassim Ahmad to Shahnon’s views can be summarized in two main points. First, living as a good Muslim and trying to fathom God’s design does not suffice; those who try to shape and defend sastra Islam should be more explicit about the rules, concepts, sources, principles, devices, and prescriptions that are to regulate the writing of works of art-and that may be impossible without smothering the vitality of the act of creation. Second, Muslim authors too readily disregard literature written by non-Muslims: there are many literary works not written by Muslims that still contain values useful for the Muslim community and for humanity in general. Such considerations led Shafie Abu Bakar, another prominent discussant, to suggest that it may be best not to attempt an exact definition of what sastra Islam is and is not; perhaps writing with a pure heart and pious intentions could suffice after all. It is obvious that such discussions are not merely about literature and its required qualities; they also have to do with politics in that they are yet another effort to strengthen the position of the Malays and their culture within the multiracial society of Malaysia. This explains the heat and intensity of the debates.

The concept of Islamic literature is not only disputed, of course, but also explicitly tested in works of prose and poetry scattered through all sorts of periodicals and journals with a wide and varied readership. The most highly regarded works of prose and poetry have occasionally been collected; notable anthologies of short stories include Tuhan, bagaimana akan Kucari-Mu (1979) and Sebuah lampu antik (1983). Among novels, Muhamad Ahkhir by Anas K. Hadimaja (1984), and Al-Syiqaq I (1985) and Tok Guru (1988) by Shahnon Ahmad are often named as interesting examples of sastra Islam. At least as influential as this prose is the poetry that emerged in the late 1970s; popular poems can be found in the anthology Tuhan, kita begitu dekat by Hamzah Hamdani (1984) and in collections of individual poets, for example Manifesto by Suhor Antarsaudara (1976), Cahaya by Ashaari Muhammad (1977), and `Ayn by Kemala (1983). The prose works of sastra Islam usually focus on a protagonist who after a deep crisis repents and becomes a devout and good Muslim; the poetry is usually more concerned with the question of the relationship between God and the individual-in the tradition of Hamzah Pansuri and Amir Hamzah, it is often couched in monologues addressed by the author to God in deep and painful striving toward self-definition.

In Indonesia, authors who explicitly claim to find inspiration in Islamic teachings and experiences have played a less prominent role in shaping the canon of the national literature. Before World War II, Islam was not supposed to play any role in the government-censored cultural life in which sastra came into being; activities in Islamic circles were mainly restricted to editing and printing older texts and to writing new kitdb-like treatises. Islam was only a marginal theme (if it was a theme at all) in the literary work published in Batavia. The secularists in control were of the opinion that religious experiences were a personal, not a societal matter. Two exceptions should be made, Amir Hamzah and Hamka, and it is no coincidence that both are from Sumatra. The poet Amir Hamzah (1911-1946), a Malay prince from the east coast of Sumatra, found his inspiration in his Malay heritage, using metaphors and similes that circle around his personal search for God and strongly echo Hamzah Pansuri’s poems. Caught between tradition and modernity, his poems (collected in Njanji soenji, 1937, and Boeah Rindoe, 1941 are still discussed and recited in Malaysia as well as in Indonesia. An even more intermediate figure is Hamka (1908-1981), who grew up in reformist circles in Sumatra and became a leading religious teacher. His numerous books on religious affairs seem in form and content like continuations of the kitdb of Malay heritage, but he also took part in the emerging literary life with novels like Di bawah lingkungan Ka’bah (1938) and Merantau ke Deli (1939) These novels focus on Islamic questions; they are still widely read in the Malay world, and in Malaysia they are now seen as early manifestations of the sastra Islam. [See the biography of Hamka.]

In the first period of Indonesian independence between 1945 and 1965, Muslim intellectuals were given ample opportunity to formulate their ideas about literature. They formed a number of organizations that were more or less directly affiliated with political parties, but the various Muslim organizations never succeeded in taking a central place in the literary scene of Jakarta and beyond. In the last years of the so-called Old Order, they were increasingly criticized by communists and nationalists for not being wholehearted supporters of President Sukarno’s efforts to construct a national culture. This criticism came to a climax in 1962 when Hamka, already a revered and respected religious leader, was accused of plagiarism. Opponents claimed that his novel Tenggelamnya Kapal van der Wijck (originally published in 1938) was a shameless translation of an Egyptian novel by Manfaluthi (who had himself taken a novel by the French author A. Carre for his model). Hamka had acted within a tradition of adaptation and translation going back to Raniri and beyond, but this was not much appreciated by his enemies, who found his defense as lukewarm as his support for the national non-Islamic culture Sukarno envisaged.

In the early years of the New Order adherence to religion was strongly advocated by the new government as an effective antidote to the banned communist movement. Once more, Islam was given ample opportunity to develop a higher profile in the literary scene. Islamic thinking in Indonesia never took on the intense forms that are so characteristic of the Malaysian situation; in general intellectuals, critics, and authors remained aloof from the dogmatic teachings that began to be propagated in the Malay heartland. This moderation was most dramatically shown in the famous case of Langit makin mendung, a short story written by Ki Panji Kusmin and published in the literary journal Sastra in 1968. Muslims considered the story blasphemous because it depicts Muhammad and God as human beings. Eventually H. B. Jassin, the editor of the journal and himself a good Muslim, was brought to court, and after a muchpublicized trial the case eventually ended undecided. The Muslims who were invited to support the accusations of blasphemy, Hamka among them, were unable to present their accusations in a unified and convincing manner. As it turned out, many leading Muslim intellectuals were of the opinion that artistic freedom should be respected and that religious life was a personal affair that should not pervade public life.

In spite of this defeat, Islam has gradually taken a more prominent place in Indonesian literary life, concurrent with the expanding role Islam is playing in political and cultural life as a whole. As in Malaysia, the traditional dichotomy between poetry and prose seems relevant. In the shadow of Amir Hamzah, poets like D. Zawawi Imron (Nenekmoyangku airmata, Jakarta, 1985), Emha Ainun Nadjib (99 untuk Tuhanku, Bandung, 1983), and Sutarji Calzoum Bachri (O amuk kapak, Jakarta, 1981) continue to explore the relationship between the individual and God in terms of personal emotions and experiences in a lyrical tone and language that easily lends itself to public recitation. As in Malaysia, Islam-inspired poetry by both famous and unknown poets can be found in many newspapers and journals. The oral element in modern poetry is further explored in public poetry readings where poems are sung and recited in dramalike fashion (the so-called bazanji are a good example of these performances). As for prose, short stories and novels explicitly inspired by Islam and the Qur’an play only a very limited role in modern Indonesian literature. In this connection the work of short story writers like Muhammad Diponegoro, Jamil Suherman, and in particular Danarto (Adam ma’rifat, 1982) should be mentioned; it is to be expected that with the resurgence of Islamic values, the number of authors who try their hand at this particular kind of literature will grow.

Indonesian literature as a whole is generally appreciated as being more challenging, sophisticated, and playful than the rather predictable and rigid prose and poetry of Malaysia, an evaluation usually extended to work considered a manifestation of sastra Islam. The intensity is of a different kind, so to speak, the irony and ambiguities of the margin being substituted for the grimness of the heartland. The relevant essays of A. A. Navis, another Indonesian author who was once accused of blasphemy, are a fine illustration of the gap that grew between the margin and the heartland in the conceptualization of sastra Islam. An author should never follow rules and regulations, Navis claims; on the contrary, set rules and regulations should be seen as problems, and it is the task of an author to challenge and question readers’ opinions rather than to confirm them.

Present Situation. In this Indonesian plea for sastra Islam as a subversive element lies its main difference from Malaysian literature as a whole, and this difference can be explained largely from the position literature plays in these two states. In Malaysia literature is primarily regarded as a tool in the creation of a national culture and, in a wider sense, in the political struggle; it is supposed to strengthen the position of the Malays vis-a-vis the other groups in a multiracial society, and authors feel intensely involved in societal developments. In Indonesia literature is given only a very marginal social role, and this very marginality offers authors the freedom to experiment. The language is the same; function and intent, however, are different, as they circle around different points of reference. There is irony in the fact that the work of Indonesian authors on the margin is often taken by Malaysian authors in the heartland as exemplary, rather than the other way around. Tensions between the Malay heartland and the margins of “Malay-ness” remain, as does the ambivalent role of the Malay language. Islam has filled the gap of these tensions again and again.

[See also Islam, article on Islam in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Abdullah, Munshi. The Hikayat Abdullah (1849). Translated by A. H. Hill. Kuala Lumpur, 1970.

Drewes, G. W. J. Directions for Travellers on the Mystic Path. The Hague, 1977.

Hamka. Tenggelamnya kapal van der Wijck dalam polemik. Jakarta, 1963.

Ismail Hamid. The Malay Islamic Hikayat. Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia, 1983.

Jassin, Hans B. Polemik: Suatu pembahasan sastera dan kebebasan mencipta berhadepan dengan undang z dan agama. Kuala Lumpur, 1972. Kratz, Ernst U. “Islamic Attitudes toward Modern Malay Literature.” In Cultural Contact and Textual Interpretation, edited by C. D. Grijns and S. O. Robson. Dordrecht, 1986.

Maimunah Mohd and Ungku Tahir. Modern Malay Literary Culture: A Historical Perspective. Singapore, 1987.

Milner, A. C. “Islam and the Muslim State.” In Islam in South-East Asia, edited by M. B. Hooker, pp. 23-49. Leiden, 1983.

Naguib al-Attas, Syed. The Mysticism of Hamzah Fansuri. Kuala Lumpur, 1970.

Roff, William R. The Origins of Malay Nationalism. New Haven, 1967.

Shahnon Ahmad. Kesusasteraan dan Etika Islam. Malakka, 1981.

HENDRIK M. J. MAIER

MALAYSIA. The Malay Peninsula before the imposition of British rule in the late nineteenth century was made up of traditional Malay states under the control of hereditary Malay sultans. In these states Islam, which spread to this part of the world during the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, was already strongly established at all levels of society. Aspects of Islamic law were observed to varying degrees, although elements of preIslamic culture were still prevalent among the people as a whole. Among the sacral powers of the Malay rulers was responsibility for the defense and good governance of Islam as the state religion. In some states, such as Johore-Riau, Malacca, Kelantan, and Trengganu, certain rulers were well known for their patronage of Islamic religious learning and scholarship.

The role of the religious scholar was essentially that of faithfully preserving, transmitting, translating, and commenting on the classical Arabic texts from Mecca that he had learned, mastered, and to a large extent memorized. The intellectual tradition and paradigm of religious taqlid (faithful preservation and imitation of traditional opinions regarded as authoritative and orthodox) that was nurtured in the Malay kingdoms prior to the twentieth century had roots in the intellectual environment of Mecca in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The inclination toward tasawwuf (Islamic mysticism) and popularity of Sufi tariqahs (brotherhoods) among the Malays was due to the widespread influence of Sufi-oriented Muslim preachers and scholars-hence the preeminent position of al-Ghazali’s thought in the Malay-Indonesian archipelago. Owing to the unifying and integrating thrust of al-Ghazali’s intellectual contributions, many great figures of Islamic learning in the Malay states from the seventeenth century through the nineteenth pursued a tradition of Islamic learning in which fiqh (jurisprudence), tasawwuf, and kalam (theology) were integrated.

What formal education existed during the early part of the nineteenth century for the Malay community was purely Islamic religious education revolving around the reading and memorization of the Qur’an and the learning of basic religious rituals such as prayer, fasting, zakat, and the hajj. The mosque was the only site of such education until the emergence of the pondok (private residential religious seminary) in the late nineteenth century and the madrasah (school) in the beginning of the twentieth century.

The Muslim states of the Malay Peninsula outside the three Straits Settlements (the island of Penang acquired in 1786, the island of Singapore in 1819, and Melaka [Melacca] in 1824) remained free from British interference until the latter part of the nineteenth century. The Pangkor Treaty of 1874 signaled the imposition of British rule on the Malay states of the peninsula. It provided for the appointment of a British resident to the Malay state; it was incumbent upon the Malay ruler or sultan to ask for his advice and act upon it in all matters “other than those touching Malay Religion and Custom.” This led to the creation of a new religio-legal bureaucracy subservient to the royal palace and subordinate to the traditional Malay elites close to the palace. This bureaucratization of Islam served to strengthen the control of the Malay sultan and the secular traditional elite over the religious life of the people.

Perceiving British rule as essentially one of kafir dominance supported by Christian evangelism, the Malay religious leaders and scholars generally adopted a hostile attitude toward western culture. Consequently they mobilized their resources to strengthen and defend the Islamic identity of the masses by building their own pondoks and madrasahs with independent curricula and financial resources. Except in areas where the spirit of jihad against British colonialism or Siamese expansionism in the north was generated by a few prominent religious scholars around the turn of the century, an attitude of resignation and submission to British rule prevailed among both the Malay rulers and the masses.

The beginning of the twentieth century witnessed the emergence of an Islamic reformist (islah) movement that began to criticize the socioeconomic backwardness and religious conservatism of traditional Malay society of the time. This new socioreligious activism began when several religious scholars studying in the Middle East came under the powerful influence of the revivalist and reformist ideas of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Muhammad `Abduh at the close of the nineteenth century; others were earlier exposed to the puritanical teachings of the Wahhabi movement. The leader of the Malay reformist movement, Shaykh Tahir Jalal al-Din (18691957), a student of `Abduh, founded Al-imam in 1906, the first periodical to spread the message of Islamic reformism in the Malay-Indonesian archipelago. From their base in Singapore and later in Penang, the reformers pioneered the establishment of modern Islamic schools (madrasahs) whose curriculum differed radically from the pondok system with the introduction of several modern subjects and a new method of learning and teaching religion. This modernization of religious education and the spread of reformist writings and thought through the new media of magazines and newspapers had far-reaching social and political consequences.

The religious bureaucracy and the traditional `ulama’ were used to some religious practices regarded by the reformists as bid’ah (unlawful innovation), and they tolerated some degree of accommodation with local traditions that were perceived by the reformists as khurdfdt (superstitions and accretions). They opposed the views and activities of the reformists, popularly called Kaum Muda (the Young Group). The call for greater exercise of independent religious reasoning (ijtihad) with direct reference to the Qur’an and the sunnah and less reliance on a single madhhab (legal sect) was strongly resisted by the traditionalists, who came to be known as Kaum Tua (the Old Group). In their efforts to rouse the Malay community from its intellectual slumber and socioeconomic inferiority to the immigrant non-Muslim communities in the urban centers, the reformists also came to criticize and challenge the political order of the British colonialists. Indeed, the seeds of Malay nationalist consciousness were sown by the reformists. However, the fruits of their labor were to be reaped by the next elite who emerged from the new schools, as well as by the scions of aristocratic families who led the anticolonial struggle in the 1940s and 1950s. Seriously inhibited by British colonial policy coupled with opposition from both the traditionalists and Malay secular elites, Islamic reformism in British Malaya was unable to become an effective social force.

The Japanese interregnum during World War II, though traumatic for the masses, did not seriously alter the position of Islam among the Malays. The Islamic reformist spirit was suppressed while Malay nationalist sentiments were gathering momentum. Postwar Malay nationalism of a conservative orientation saw the foundation of the United Malay Nationalist Organization (UMNO) in 1946. The British formed the Federation of Malaya in 1948 after its Malayan Union proposal was rejected by the Malays. They arrested both the radical Malay nationalist leaders and the proponents of an Islamic political party, Hizbul Muslimin, which was banned a few months after its formation in 1948. The

Pan-Malayan Islamic Party (Partai Islam Se-Malaysia, better known as PAS) originally developed from the defection of the `ulama’ faction in UMNO in 1951 and became a registered political party in 1955. Its emergence marked another turning point in the development of Islamic thought in the Malay states. The idea of establishing an Islamic state in British Malaya was propagated and articulated for the first time as mainstream Malay nationalists in UMNO pressed for the independence of the country from British rule. The British granted independence to the Federation of Malaya in 1957, with Singapore becoming a separate colony, and thus began the era of parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. In 1963 Malaysia came into being, with the inclusion of Singapore (until mid-1965) and the two Bornean states of Sabah and Sarawak.

The total population of Malaysia in mid-1990 was estimated to be 17,755,900, compared with 13,764,352 in mid-1980. According to 1990 estimates, the Muslim Malays in peninsular Malaysia constituted 58 percent of the total population, the Chinese 31 percent, and the Indians io percent. The 198o census put Muslims at 53 percent, Buddhists at 17.3 percent, Confucians, Taoists, and traditional Chinese believers at 11.6 percent, Christians at 8.6 percent, and Hindus at 7 percent.

Although the position of Islam as the official religion of post-independence Malaysia-with the Malay rulers of each state serving as the guardians of Islamic religion and Malay custom-was guaranteed in the constitution, only some aspects of the life of the Muslim community and the nation were influenced by Islamic values and norms. The government under the leadership of Tunku Abdul Rahman with the support of the British was committed to a secularistic vision of the new nation and vigorously opposed the Islamic political struggle and ideals. As such, it came under strong attack from the PAS and Islamically oriented Malay organizations. Five years after the 1969 racial riots, the PAS joined the coalition government of the National Front. As a result, the government under the second prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdul Razak, established the Islamic Centre, which formed an important part of the Islamic Religious Affairs section of the Prime Minister’s department. Tun Abdul Razak’s government gave increased attention to the educational, social, and economic development of the Malay Muslims to accommodate the demands coming from PAS within the government and from the da`wah movement outside it.

The assertive and generally anti-establishment da’wah (Islamic proselytization) movement emerged in the 1970s through the activities of youth organizations in secular educational institutions, including PKPIM and ABIM (the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia, established in 19’71). It represented a new phase in Islamic thought and action, but its vision of Islam as a complete and holistic way of life was in fact a continuation and elaboration of earlier reformist and revivalist movements in the Middle East and Pakistan. Complementing the Islamic political movement in the country, the youthled da’wah organizations pressed for the greater application of Islamic laws and values in national life and articulated the holistic Islamic perspective of social, economic, and spiritual development. While the scope of Islamic religiosity was widened to embrace all aspects of human life, the intensity of religious life was simultaneously emphasized by da’wah proponents. Thus the form and content of Islamic life were noticeably affected. The government under Tun Hussein Onn at first viewed the new phenomenon negatively and was extremely wary of the political effect of assertive, Malay-dominated da’wah on the multiracial nation and its own political strength. One of the central government’s responses was to initiate its own da’wah-oriented institutions and activities under the aegis of the Islamic Centre and in cooperation with government-linked Muslim missionary organizations such as PERKIM, USIA in Sabah, and BINA in Sarawak. The Ministry of Education was also progressively improving and upgrading the teaching of Islam in the schools; it established the Faculty of Islamic Studies in the National University of Malaysia in 1970, opening up new opportunities for Islamically committed graduates to work in the civil service.

The resurgence of the holistic Islamic consciousness spearheaded by the da’wah movement, with its call for Islamic alternatives, continued to influence the Malay community as well as the state authorities. It reached a high point around 1979-1982 with the victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran. The demand for the establishment of more Islamic institutions in the country was raised by several organizations in national seminars and international conferences held in Malaysia. The government under Tun Hussein Onn’s premiership made some concessions and decided to conduct a feasibility study for the establishment of an Islamic bank in Malaysia; when Dr. Mahathir Mohamed became prime minister in 1981, this was one of the projects that received his immediate attention.

Under Mahathir’s leadership the government took a more conciliatory and positive approach toward the demands of the da’wah movement. PAS had been forced to leave the National Front coalition government in 1977 and had continued its struggle for complete implementation of the shari`ah and the establishment of an Islamic state in Malaysia as an opposition party. It regarded Mahathir’s Islamic initiatives and efforts as “cosmetic islamization” aimed at undermining the influence of the Islamic party. Anwar Ibrahim, the charismatic leader of ABIM and an articulate spokesman of nonpartisan da’wah in the 1970s, decided to support Mahathir by joining his government in 1982 in order to achieve his Islamic objectives from within the administration. Anwar Ibrahim’s support gave a new lease on life to Mahathir’s Islamic initiatives. The creation of the Islamic Bank and the establishment of the International Islamic University in 1983, followed by the that of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization in 1987, were the immediate results of Anwar’s direct involvement in Mahathir’s administration.

Under Mahathir the islamization process in Malaysia entered yet another important new phase. This included the institutionalization of concrete Islamic programs within the government; the inculcation of Islamic values in the administration; the encouragement of Islamic intellectual discourse in government departments and institutions of higher learning; the reform of national education by incorporating Islamic perspectives and values; the initiation of changes in the legal system to facilitate the growth and expansion of Islamic shari ah court administration; the removal of glaringly un-Islamic practices from the official ceremonies of government departments; finding ways and means to cease the practice of charging interest on government loans to Muslims; and the establishment of an Islamic insurance company, an Institute of Islamic Understanding (1992), and interestfree banking facilities in conventional commercial banks (1993). In foreign relations the Mahathir administration strengthened its pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel policy. It became more vocal and consistently critical of the superpowers.

The widening scope of Islamic consciousness outside the government framework also affected the world of Malay literature and journalism, which had formerly been under the influence of socialist as well as secular humanist trends. The urgency for an Islamic paradigm in economics and other social sciences in the universities was articulated in the late 1970s and 1980s as part of a new realization among Muslim intellectual circles world wide. Thus the mission for the “islamization of human knowledge” came into being, and the International Islamic University, Malaysia, was entrusted with pursuing it without any government obstruction. [See International Islamic University at Kuala Lumpur.] Meanwhile, the ABIM leadership decided to change its approach of sloganeering and Islamic rhetoric to one of “problem-solving” and “corrective participation” in cooperation with the government. The emphasis on solving immediate social problems and direct involvement in community development seemed to be the order of the day in the early 1990s. All the major Islamic da`wah organizations, such as ABIM, Darul Arqam, and JIM (Jamaah Islah Malaysia, established in 1991), have embarked on active educational programs for preschool, primary, and secondary school children nationwide.

PAS, as an opposition party, and some Islamic factions continued to dwell on the ideal of an Islamic state, the abolition of secularism, and the complete implementation of the shari`ah, including that of capital punishment (hudud) in the state of Kelantan. The Muslim community in the 1990s, however, is confronted with many new issues, such as efficient management of big businesses, increasing whitecollar crime, environmental degradation, serious drug abuse, AIDS, the plight of Muslim female workers in factories, widespread corruption and fraud, negative influences of the electronic media, and increased interreligious dialogue. As Malaysia moves toward the goal of becoming an industrialized nation by the year 2020, the place of ethics and spiritual values in an industrial society will certainly become more crucial. Several Muslim leaders and Islamic groups are beginning to realize that the challenges of industrializing Malaysia are far too numerous and complex to be handled by any one group or party. The future demands greater unity, cooperation, and interdependence among all groups within the Muslim community.

[See also ABIM; Dar ul Arqam; Da’wah, article on Modern Usage; Madrasah; Malay and Indonesian Literature; Partai Islam Se-Malaysia; PERKIM; United Malays National Organization; and the biography of Ibrahim.]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ahmad Ibrahim, ed. Readings on Islam in Southeast Asia. Singapore, 1985.

Bastin, John, and Robin W. Winks. Malaysia: Selected Historical Readings. Kuala Lumpur, 1966.

Deliar Noer. The Modernist Muslim Movement in Indonesia 1900-1942. Singapore, 1973.

Funston, John. Malay Politics in Malaysia: A Study of United Malays National Organization and Party Islam. Kuala Lumpur, 1980. Holt, P. M., ed. The Cambridge History of Islam. Vol. 2. Cambridge, 1970. Chapters 2 and 3 are extremely useful.

Hooker, M. B., ed. Islam in South-East Asia. Leiden, 1983.

Lyon, M. L. “The Dakwah Movment in Malaysia,” Review of Indonesian and Malayan Affairs 13.2 (1979).

Mauzy, D. K., and R. S. Milne. “The Mahathir Administration in Malaysia: Discipline Through Islam.” Pacific Affairs 56.4 (Winter 1983-1984): 617-648.

Means, G. P. “The Role of Islam in the Political Development of Malaysia.” Comparative Politics 1 (1969): 264-284.

Mohd, Nor bin Ngah. Kitab Jawi: Islamic Thought of the Malay Muslim Scholars. Singapore, 1982.

Morais, J. V. Anwar Ibrahim: Resolute in Leadership. Kuala Lumpur, 1983.

Muhammad Kamal Hassan. “The Response of Muslim Youth Organizations to Political Change: HMI in Indonesia and ABIM in Malaysia.” In Islam and the Political Economy of Meaning, edited by W. R. Roff, pp. 18o-196. New York, 1987.

Muhammad Kamal Hassan. Moral and Ethical Issues in Human Resource Development: Old Problems and New Challenges. Kuala Lumpur, 1993

Naguib al-Attas, Syed Muhammad. Some Aspects of Sufism as Understood and Practised among the Malays. Singapore, 1963.

Naguib al-Attas, Syed Muhammad. Preliminary Statement of a General Theory of the Islamization of the Malay-Indonesian Archipelago. Kuala Lumpur, 1969.

Revival of Islam in Malaysia: The Role of ABIM. Kuala Lumpur, n.d. Roff, W. R. The Origins of Malay Nationalism. Kuala Lumpur, 1967. Snouck Hurgronje, Christiaan. Mekka in the Latter Part of the Nineteenth Century. Leiden and London, 1931.

M. KAMAL HASSAN

MALAY AND INDONESIAN LITERATURE. Ever since the emergence of the Srivijaya empire on the east coast of Sumatra around 700 CE, the Malay language has played a dual role in Southeast Asia. It has first been the language of alam Melayu, the Malay world-the coastal areas around the Strait of Malacca, the South China Sea, and the Java Sea whose common narrative traditions, religious practices, and rituals make them the heartland of a distinctly Malay culture. Malay has also been the language of communication in Southeast Asia among people of different cultures, not only for natives of the archipelago but also for travelers from

India, China, and the Middle East. Traders and travelers, preachers and monks, administrators and soldiers have used Malay (or Malay pidgins and Creoles) as their second language; they also wrote in it, often to escape from local tradition and create something novel.

Malay has thus been both a vehicle of ideas and concepts that originated in the Malay heartland and a language associated with novel ideas introduced by travelers and migrants. This duality, or even ambivalence, has made Malay a dynamic language with an undefined and open identity. Actively supported by Dutch and British administrators in colonial times, it has become the national language of the Republic of Indonesia where it is called (Bahasa Indonesia) and the kingdom of Malaysia (under the name Bahasa Malaysia) as well as of the Republic of Singapore and the Sultanate of Brunei.

Literacy and Orality. The first evidence of Malay writing is in inscriptions found on the Malay Peninsula and on the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra. Written in a script that originated in southern India, these short texts are an amalgam of older form of Malay and Sanskrit, suggesting a predominant presence of Hinduism and Buddhism in Southeast Asia. With the arrival of Islam in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when it was introduced by merchants and priests from India and China, the Arab/Persian script called Jawi was adapted for writing Malay. Jawi is still widely used in some parts of the Malay heartland.

Islam was readily accepted by the local population, who were attracted by its notions of equality and democracy. Neither did local rulers hesitate to adopt the new religion; they saw in its rituals and philosophy a novel way to support their authority and easily assimilated the idea that the ruler is God’s shadow on earth and a “perfect man”-a concept developed in the Muslim kingdoms of southern Asia (see Milner, 1983).

With its strong focus on the scriptures, Islam must have stimulated the respect for writing and thus the production of manuscripts (naskah) and letters (surat). Owing to the scarcity of surviving materials, however, it is impossible to determine how widespread literacy really was in the Malay heartland and neighboring regions before the advent of printing and nationalism. It was a highly valued commodity in court circles, often supplied by relative outsiders including Arabs, Indians, and Chinese. Within Islamic educational institutions (the madrasah, pondok, and pesantren) literacy may have been more common, which at times made the scholars an aggressive alternative to the political and cultural authority of the courts over the local population. In general, literacy remained a relative rarity until the end of the nineteenth century (see Amin Sweeney, A Full Hearing, Berkeley, 1987).

In a context that was so strongly organized by orally transmitted knowledge, the term “literature” is an unfortunate one; not until 193o had Malay itself assimilated the words sastra, sastera, and kesusastraan to refer to intentionally fictional texts. Before that, words like karangan, tulisan, gambar, and surat were used to refer to various genres of writing; ceritera, kisah, pantun, and riwayat were common terms for orally transmitted stories.

Since its introduction into Southeast Asia, Islaminspired writing has always remained closely associated with Malay; it was considered the best language in which to read and write about the Qur’an, tradition, law, and knowledge. In the twentieth century a corollary argument has often been proposed in the Malay heartland: Malay is associated with Islam, and therefore every Malay-speaking person should be a good Muslim. In Indonesia, where Malay is the second language for much of the population, this statement has never been accepted as self-evident; not all people who use Malay (or “Indonesian”) feel obliged to be staunch defenders of Islam. In modern literary life, discussions are conducted along similar lines of differentiation: the assumption that a Malay author has to work from an explicit Islamic stance is generally accepted in Malaysia, but this has rarely been the case in Indonesia.

Prelude to Modernity. The fifteenth-century Sultanate of Malacca is usually seen as the Islamic heir of the empire of Srivijaya. Malacca’s authority was brought to an end by European colonialists in 1511; in the memory of people in the Malay heartland it remained the period of greatest Malay glory, sanctified and described in many narratives. Materials from the days of Malacca are rare and none of its writings have been preserved. Contemporary reports of European visitors picture Malacca as an international city with a great sphere of influence; no doubt the activities developed under the aegis of its Muslim rulers had great impact on cultural life in Southeast Asia as a whole and on the Malay heartland in particular. At the fall of Malacca in 1511, Islam was strongly established on the coasts around the Java Sea and the Straits of Malacca. Religious and juridical treatises (kitab) and tales of the prophets (hikayat), partly translations from Arabic and Persian originals and partly adaptations to local ideas, left a strongly Islamic stamp on Malay culture. Islamic ideas have since taken a central position in Malay intellectual life and writing.

The oldest known Malay texts of some length originate from the Sultanate of Aceh on the north coast of Sumatra, where Malay played an important role in administration, trade, and culture alongside the local Acehnese language. A vivid intellectual life existed there in the first half of the seventeenth century; this is particularly manifest in its the religious writings, which find their climax in the works of Nuruddin ar-Raniri (Nfir al-Din al-Raniri), Samsuddin al-Sumatrani (Shams alDin al-Sumatrani), and Hamzah Pansuri (Hamzah Fansuri). The most authoritative Islamic scribe was arRaniri, born and raised in Rander in Gujarat, India; he came to the archipelago with a great knowledge of Persian and Arabic texts and propagated this knowledge in the numerous texts he wrote in his somewhat idiosyncratic Malay. Ar-Raniri stayed at the court of Aceh between 1637 and 1644, long enough to ensure that his writings would have a lasting influence on Malay Islamic thinking. Some of his texts are still consulted today in Malaysian and Indonesian religious schools. The best known of his works is Sirat al-mustakim (Al-sirat almustaqim). Mention should also be made of the Bustan as-Salatin (Bustan al-Salatin), an encyclopedic compendium of seven volumes in which the history of the world is presented following Persian models, with numerous references to works from the Islamic heartland.

Ar-Raniri is usually viewed as an orthodox mystic who apparently met with great resistance and even hostility among local intellectuals. In religious treatises like Hujjat as-siddik li-daf as-zindik (Hujjat al-siddiq li-daf al-zindiq) and Tibyan fi ma’rifat al-adyan (Al-tibyan fi ma’rifat al-adyan) written in a mixture of Malay and Arabic, he tried in particular to refute the writings of the Wujudiyah movement. The leaders of this movement had developed an erudite philosophy the essence of which was the claim that man’s being and God’s being, the world and God, are identical. The most respected author of theological texts in defense of the Wujudiyah was Samsuddin al-Sumatrani (d. 1630), who tried to bring Islamic teachings about the seven grades of being (as developed by authors like Ibn al-‘Arabi and `Abd alQadir al-Jilani) into accordance with local religious notions (see C. A. O. van Nieuwenhuijze, Samsu ‘l-din van pasai, Leiden, 1945)

In literary terms, ar-Raniri’s greatest opponent was Hamzah Pansuri, whom he accused of having heretical ideas close to those of Samsuddin. Hamzah Pansuri expressed his ideas about God and the world in a mathematically constructed form of written poetry called syair; he appears to have had a rather random knowledge of Persian and Arabic writings, which he very ably incorporated into his own work. It has not been determined whether Hamzah invented this genre of poetry or merely perfected a form already known in Malay. Using images, metaphors, and similes that were novel at the time, his syair had a far-reaching effect on Malay literature. Syair became a generally accepted form that-at least after Hamzah Pansuri’s experiments-could be used for every possible topic; it was to remain very popular among all Malay speakers until the late twentieth century. Poems like Syair dagang and Syair burung pingai, which are attributed to him, have remained a source of inspiration; even after syair as a form lost its authority, the echoes of Hamzah can be found in the modern Malay poetry of both Indonesia and Malaysia. The question whether Hamzah was a heretic and his work deserved to be burnt (as it was as a result of Raniri’s endeavors) need not concern us here (see Naguib alAttas, 1970; and G. W. J. Drewes and L. Brakel, The Poems of Hamzah Fansuri, Leiden, 1987). Discussions between scholars like ar-Raniri, who defended so-called orthodox mysticism on the basis of al-Ghazall’s work, and those who tried to combine mystical notions from the Islamic heartland with local ideas and rituals, remained a source of tension in Islamic circles. To what degree and at what pace should foreign elements be accepted and assimilated into Malay writing?

Malay authors in the tradition of ar-Raniri and Hamzah often appear to have a more or less solid knowledge of Persian and Arabic texts; they translated and adapted many narratives (hikayat) and treatises (kitab) that in turn had a far-reaching impact on Malay culture. Many prose works elaborate and explain stories from the Qur’an, are for instance the Hikayat anbiya and Hikayat jumjumah; others are tales about the Prophet (Hikayat nur Muhammad and Hikayat Nabi bercukur) or about his contemporaries (Hikayat Raja Khandak, Hikayat Amir Hamzah, and Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiyyah). Most of these hikayat are anonymous, and in this they joined the existing Malay tradition transmitted in an uneasy mixture of oral and written forms. Hikayat became as familiar in the archipelago as its more serious counterpart, called kitab and including theological works in the strict sense of the word, dealing with the law and other religious topics. Unlike hikayat, kitab were usually attributed to specific authors. At courts and schools, these Islamic writings must have been appreciated as exemplary texts for behavior and thinking. A prime example is the seventeenth-century text Taj us-Salatin (Taj alSalatin), a 1603 adaptation of a Persian text in which the prerogatives of rulers and the correct behavior of human beings are described (see P. P. Roorda van Eysinga, De Kroon aller koningen van Bocharie van Djohore naar een oud Maleisch handschrift vertaald, Batavia, 1827).

Texts of both genres were copied again and again, the kitdb more meticulously than the hikayat owing to their differences in content and function. To the enjoyment and edification of all they were distributed over the archipelago, giving a new impetus to the knowledge of Malay. Toward the end of the nineteenth century many of them were lithographed and printed in the Malay heartland. In this process of writing and copying, reading and reciting, the narratives that had been inspired by Indian and Javanese examples and local traditions were gradually pushed to the margin; the same was happening to the orally transmitted tales, which in the days of Malacca must still have played a prominent role in shaping the central values of the Malay-speaking world.

After Aceh, other authoritative centers of Muslim writing in Malay emerged and disappeared in the archipelago-Palembang, Banjarmasin, Patani, Trengganu, and Riau. A few of the authors and texts that traveled through the archipelago in the company of hikayat, constantly restating the configuration of Malay cultural life were Abdul Samad al-Palembani, who wrote, most notably, Hidayat as-Salikin (Hidayat al-Salikin), Sair asSalikin (Sayr al-Salikin), and Bidayat al-hikayat (Bidayat al-hidayah, strongly based on work by al-Ghazali); Kemas Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Palembani, author of Hikayat Syaik Muhammad Samman; and Daud ibn Abdullah al-Patani, who wrote Ghayar al-Tallab al-murid marifat (see Drewes, 1977). In new editions, many of these older kitab are still being consulted in religious schools.

Arguably the center of religious writing in Malay with the most lasting radiance was Penyengat, a small island in the Riau Archipelago where the prestigious family of the vice-rulers of Riau-Lingga had its residence in the nineteenth century. In particular, Raja Ali Haji (181o1874) should be mentioned. Inspired by Dutch and British examples, he wrote a Malay grammar (Bustan alKatibin) and a dictionary of Malay (Pengetahuan Bahasa) based on Arabic models; at the same time he inspired members of his family, female as well as male, to write. His contacts with Dutch scholars enabled him to have some of his texts printed. Print being the key to modernity, Raja Ali Haji can be seen as one of the first modern Muslim authors in Malay; his example was taken up by his descendants, who set up a publishing house on the island.

Modernity. In the course of the nineteenth century contacts between Southeast Asia and the Middle East, most importantly Mecca and Cairo, were intensified owing to the introduction of steamboats, the telegraph, and printing techniques. In the shadow of developments in the Middle East where intellectuals like Muhammad `Abduh and Muhammad Rashid Rida propagated a moral and religious reformation of Islam, tensions and discussions in the British-controlled peninsula and the Dutch Indies took a new shape (Roff, 1967). Until now the relationship between individual and God and between man’s being and God’s being had been the predominant subject of discussion and writing, but subsequent discussion focused on the question of to what extent Islamic law and the Qur’an and hadith could and should be directly applied in everyday life, and to what extent local customs should be permitted.

In the Malay heartland, this conflict between modern Islamic responses to the intrusions of the British and more traditional Islamic practice syncretized with local customs and beliefs is usually presented in terms of the conflict between the kaum muda (the reformists, literally “the group of the young”) and the kaum tua (the traditionalists, literally “the group of the old”). Printed materials were to play an important role in this conflict. As in so many other parts of the Muslim world, the kaum muda were far better equipped than their opponents to take control over modernity; in the first half of the twentieth century they made very effective use of printing to persuade their fellow-believers to hold more strictly to the rules and regulations of Islam and at the same time to be more open to Western innovations, if only to withstand the West’s power-and even better, to keep it at bay.

The first modern author, Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir Munsyi (1796-1854), had died before the conflict between the kaum muda and the kaum tua took serious form in Southeast Asia. Born in Malacca of mixed Arabic and Indian descent, Abdullah was a pious Muslim and a great admirer of British achievements. His autobiography, Hikayat Abdullah (Singapore, 1849) shows him to be fully aware of the possibilities western culture had to offer to the Muslim people of the Malay-speaking and -writing world, and nowhere did he hide his contempt for what he considered the unwillingness of Malays to be more open to the outer world. Abdullah had made himself familiar with printing techniques by working for Christian missionaries, but he did not succeed in convincing Malays of its usefulness. It was another fifty years before Malay literates more carefully read Abdullah’s book and took his plea for printing seriously. In the meantime, people of Chinese, Indian, European, and Arab descent who felt only thinly connected with the Malay heritage had become the main initiators of innovation and modernization in the urban areas of Singapore, Penang, Batavia, and Surabaya. These were places on the margin of the Malay heartland, to be followed only much later by those who saw themselves as the “real” Malays.

Another pioneer in publishing was Syed Syeikh Ahmad al-Hadi, an intellectual of Arab descent who had been given a religious education in Penyengat and Mecca before settling in the peninsula. With some religious friends he published the journal Al-imam (1906-1 909), mouthpiece of the kaum muda, in Singapore; later he established his own printing press, Jelutung Press, in Penang, where he published his first novel. Setia Asyik kepada Maksyuknya atau Shafik Afandi dengan Faridah Hanom (1926/27) is a Malay adaptation of an Egyptian novel in which Muslim ideas about modernity are carefully explored and propagated. Faridah Hanom was not the first novel to appear in the Malay heartland, yet it was of exemplary importance in the fictional literature (sastra) that emerged; subsequent novelists like Ahmad Rashid Talu (Iakah Salmah?, 1928) took inspiration from both its content and its form in realistic novels and novelettes in which the Malays were pictured as lacking moral strength and were urged to develop more religious fervor.

Malay prose authors in the peninsula experimented on the model of English and Dutch Indies examples and presented the teachings of Islam as the appropriate moral and ethical frame of reference for their protagonists and readers alike. From that perspective, it is justifiable to call all modern Malay literature produced in the peninsula “Islamic literature”——a point that was explored in great depth in the Islamic reorientation (dakwa) of the 1970s and 1980s (see Judith Nagata, The Reflowering of Malaysian Islam: Modern Religious Radicals and their Roots, Vancouver, 1984). Many of the modern authors in the Malay heartland had a Muslim upbringing; at least they appreciated the fact that being a Malay meant being a Muslim, and sooner or later every Malay had to come to terms with Islam. Islam thus became a strong catalyst to nationalism once the writings of the kaum muda and their descendants made the growing number of literate Malays aware of the fact that non-Islamic Chinese and Indian immigrants on the peninsula were gaining control over economic life and pushing the children of the soil (bumiputra) into the countryside. The statement that Malayness should be identical with Islam was an almost inevitable consequence of this growing self-awareness; only a few intellectuals had the courage to question and challenge this.

Different Concepts of Islamic Literature. Literacy in the Malay-speaking world as a whole increased owing to colonial programs of education, and so did the demand for reading materials. In the British-controlled areas the kaum muda competed with the kaum tua as well as with secularists to gain the upper hand in cultural and literary life. In the Dutch Indies, Islam was hardly a theme at all in the literature that came into being in the twentieth century.

Politically speaking, the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea were the main boundaries between the Dutch Indies and the British Malay States (and Straits Settlements). Culturally speaking, however, they were inland seas within the Malay world, over which continuous migrations back and forth were taking place. This explains, for instance, why many of the leading authors and journalists in present-day Malaysia are of Sumatran descent. Parallel to the ambivalent position of Malay, at once the language of the heartland and the language of novelties, two traditions were taking shape in the centers of political and economic authority-in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Medan on one hand, and in Jakarta and Surabaya on the other. Authors who saw themselves as part of the Malay heartland with its distinct heritage tried to explore their “Malay-ness” by way of Islam; others, more secularly oriented and as much tied to their local heritage and Western culture, preferred following Western examples to combining their writings with Muslim teachings.

In the Malay States and Straits Settlements and later in Malaysia, a well-defined cultural policy was a very important tool for the Malays in constructing a national and unifying culture on Malay terms. In the 1950s and 1960s “Malay power” was the predominant slogan in enforcing Malay ideas and values on the new state and its national ideology. In the 1970s and 1980s Malay authors reformulated their stance; more than ever, they emphasized the importance of Islam as the essential element of Malay culture and to this end the Islamic part of the Malay heritage was retrieved and strengthened. A wide variety of Islam-inspired organizations succeeded in uniting Malays under an Islamic banner. The Malay intelligentsia discussed how to reach their readers with sastra Islam (Islamic literature), a kind of writing that was to contain Islamic values, project Islamic concepts, and be created by pious Muslims with pure hearts.

The discussions between Shahnon Ahmad, undisputedly the most respected prose author of the second half of the century, and the literary critic and scholar Kassim Ahmad are generally considered exemplary for the problems and questions involved in defining sastra Islam. The task of a Muslim author, according to Shahnon, is to discover the order that God has created in this world, to acquire insight in his truth, his beauty, and his will, and then to use it as the main force in creating literature. This is only possible and conceivable if one carefully follows the Qur’an, the hadiths, and the law. Writing literature, claim Shahnon and his followers, is a form of `ibadah, a religious duty; neither “art for art’s sake” nor “art for society” (two slogans with which everybody literate in the Malay world had become familiar in the 1950s) should be the maxim, but rather “art because of God” (seni karena Allah); such art could only be made when the heart was pure and all rituals were appropriately performed. The objections of Kassim Ahmad to Shahnon’s views can be summarized in two main points. First, living as a good Muslim and trying to fathom God’s design does not suffice; those who try to shape and defend sastra Islam should be more explicit about the rules, concepts, sources, principles, devices, and prescriptions that are to regulate the writing of works of art-and that may be impossible without smothering the vitality of the act of creation. Second, Muslim authors too readily disregard literature written by non-Muslims: there are many literary works not written by Muslims that still contain values useful for the Muslim community and for humanity in general. Such considerations led Shafie Abu Bakar, another prominent discussant, to suggest that it may be best not to attempt an exact definition of what sastra Islam is and is not; perhaps writing with a pure heart and pious intentions could suffice after all. It is obvious that such discussions are not merely about literature and its required qualities; they also have to do with politics in that they are yet another effort to strengthen the position of the Malays and their culture within the multiracial society of Malaysia. This explains the heat and intensity of the debates.

The concept of Islamic literature is not only disputed, of course, but also explicitly tested in works of prose and poetry scattered through all sorts of periodicals and journals with a wide and varied readership. The most highly regarded works of prose and poetry have occasionally been collected; notable anthologies of short stories include Tuhan, bagaimana akan Kucari-Mu (1979) and Sebuah lampu antik (1983). Among novels, Muhamad Ahkhir by Anas K. Hadimaja (1984), and Al-Syiqaq I (1985) and Tok Guru (1988) by Shahnon Ahmad are often named as interesting examples of sastra Islam. At least as influential as this prose is the poetry that emerged in the late 1970s; popular poems can be found in the anthology Tuhan, kita begitu dekat by Hamzah Hamdani (1984) and in collections of individual poets, for example Manifesto by Suhor Antarsaudara (1976), Cahaya by Ashaari Muhammad (1977), and `Ayn by Kemala (1983). The prose works of sastra Islam usually focus on a protagonist who after a deep crisis repents and becomes a devout and good Muslim; the poetry is usually more concerned with the question of the relationship between God and the individual-in the tradition of Hamzah Pansuri and Amir Hamzah, it is often couched in monologues addressed by the author to God in deep and painful striving toward self-definition.

In Indonesia, authors who explicitly claim to find inspiration in Islamic teachings and experiences have played a less prominent role in shaping the canon of the national literature. Before World War II, Islam was not supposed to play any role in the government-censored cultural life in which sastra came into being; activities in Islamic circles were mainly restricted to editing and printing older texts and to writing new kitdb-like treatises. Islam was only a marginal theme (if it was a theme at all) in the literary work published in Batavia. The secularists in control were of the opinion that religious experiences were a personal, not a societal matter. Two exceptions should be made, Amir Hamzah and Hamka, and it is no coincidence that both are from Sumatra. The poet Amir Hamzah (1911-1946), a Malay prince from the east coast of Sumatra, found his inspiration in his Malay heritage, using metaphors and similes that circle around his personal search for God and strongly echo Hamzah Pansuri’s poems. Caught between tradition and modernity, his poems (collected in Njanji soenji, 1937, and Boeah Rindoe, 1941 are still discussed and recited in Malaysia as well as in Indonesia. An even more intermediate figure is Hamka (1908-1981), who grew up in reformist circles in Sumatra and became a leading religious teacher. His numerous books on religious affairs seem in form and content like continuations of the kitdb of Malay heritage, but he also took part in the emerging literary life with novels like Di bawah lingkungan Ka’bah (1938) and Merantau ke Deli (1939) These novels focus on Islamic questions; they are still widely read in the Malay world, and in Malaysia they are now seen as early manifestations of the sastra Islam. [See the biography of Hamka.]

In the first period of Indonesian independence between 1945 and 1965, Muslim intellectuals were given ample opportunity to formulate their ideas about literature. They formed a number of organizations that were more or less directly affiliated with political parties, but the various Muslim organizations never succeeded in taking a central place in the literary scene of Jakarta and beyond. In the last years of the so-called Old Order, they were increasingly criticized by communists and nationalists for not being wholehearted supporters of President Sukarno’s efforts to construct a national culture. This criticism came to a climax in 1962 when Hamka, already a revered and respected religious leader, was accused of plagiarism. Opponents claimed that his novel Tenggelamnya Kapal van der Wijck (originally published in 1938) was a shameless translation of an Egyptian novel by Manfaluthi (who had himself taken a novel by the French author A. Carre for his model). Hamka had acted within a tradition of adaptation and translation going back to Raniri and beyond, but this was not much appreciated by his enemies, who found his defense as lukewarm as his support for the national non-Islamic culture Sukarno envisaged.

In the early years of the New Order adherence to religion was strongly advocated by the new government as an effective antidote to the banned communist movement. Once more, Islam was given ample opportunity to develop a higher profile in the literary scene. Islamic thinking in Indonesia never took on the intense forms that are so characteristic of the Malaysian situation; in general intellectuals, critics, and authors remained aloof from the dogmatic teachings that began to be propagated in the Malay heartland. This moderation was most dramatically shown in the famous case of Langit makin mendung, a short story written by Ki Panji Kusmin and published in the literary journal Sastra in 1968. Muslims considered the story blasphemous because it depicts Muhammad and God as human beings. Eventually H. B. Jassin, the editor of the journal and himself a good Muslim, was brought to court, and after a muchpublicized trial the case eventually ended undecided. The Muslims who were invited to support the accusations of blasphemy, Hamka among them, were unable to present their accusations in a unified and convincing manner. As it turned out, many leading Muslim intellectuals were of the opinion that artistic freedom should be respected and that religious life was a personal affair that should not pervade public life.

In spite of this defeat, Islam has gradually taken a more prominent place in Indonesian literary life, concurrent with the expanding role Islam is playing in political and cultural life as a whole. As in Malaysia, the traditional dichotomy between poetry and prose seems relevant. In the shadow of Amir Hamzah, poets like D. Zawawi Imron (Nenekmoyangku airmata, Jakarta, 1985), Emha Ainun Nadjib (99 untuk Tuhanku, Bandung, 1983), and Sutarji Calzoum Bachri (O amuk kapak, Jakarta, 1981) continue to explore the relationship between the individual and God in terms of personal emotions and experiences in a lyrical tone and language that easily lends itself to public recitation. As in Malaysia, Islam-inspired poetry by both famous and unknown poets can be found in many newspapers and journals. The oral element in modern poetry is further explored in public poetry readings where poems are sung and recited in dramalike fashion (the so-called bazanji are a good example of these performances). As for prose, short stories and novels explicitly inspired by Islam and the Qur’an play only a very limited role in modern Indonesian literature. In this connection the work of short story writers like Muhammad Diponegoro, Jamil Suherman, and in particular Danarto (Adam ma’rifat, 1982) should be mentioned; it is to be expected that with the resurgence of Islamic values, the number of authors who try their hand at this particular kind of literature will grow.

Indonesian literature as a whole is generally appreciated as being more challenging, sophisticated, and playful than the rather predictable and rigid prose and poetry of Malaysia, an evaluation usually extended to work considered a manifestation of sastra Islam. The intensity is of a different kind, so to speak, the irony and ambiguities of the margin being substituted for the grimness of the heartland. The relevant essays of A. A. Navis, another Indonesian author who was once accused of blasphemy, are a fine illustration of the gap that grew between the margin and the heartland in the conceptualization of sastra Islam. An author should never follow rules and regulations, Navis claims; on the contrary, set rules and regulations should be seen as problems, and it is the task of an author to challenge and question readers’ opinions rather than to confirm them.

Present Situation. In this Indonesian plea for sastra Islam as a subversive element lies its main difference from Malaysian literature as a whole, and this difference can be explained largely from the position literature plays in these two states. In Malaysia literature is primarily regarded as a tool in the creation of a national culture and, in a wider sense, in the political struggle; it is supposed to strengthen the position of the Malays vis-a-vis the other groups in a multiracial society, and authors feel intensely involved in societal developments. In Indonesia literature is given only a very marginal social role, and this very marginality offers authors the freedom to experiment. The language is the same; function and intent, however, are different, as they circle around different points of reference. There is irony in the fact that the work of Indonesian authors on the margin is often taken by Malaysian authors in the heartland as exemplary, rather than the other way around. Tensions between the Malay heartland and the margins of “Malay-ness” remain, as does the ambivalent role of the Malay language. Islam has filled the gap of these tensions again and again.

[See also Islam, article on Islam in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Abdullah, Munshi. The Hikayat Abdullah (1849). Translated by A. H. Hill. Kuala Lumpur, 1970.

Drewes, G. W. J. Directions for Travellers on the Mystic Path. The Hague, 1977.

Hamka. Tenggelamnya kapal van der Wijck dalam polemik. Jakarta, 1963.

Ismail Hamid. The Malay Islamic Hikayat. Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia, 1983.

Jassin, Hans B. Polemik: Suatu pembahasan sastera dan kebebasan mencipta berhadepan dengan undang z dan agama. Kuala Lumpur, 1972. Kratz, Ernst U. “Islamic Attitudes toward Modern Malay Literature.” In Cultural Contact and Textual Interpretation, edited by C. D. Grijns and S. O. Robson. Dordrecht, 1986.

Maimunah Mohd and Ungku Tahir. Modern Malay Literary Culture: A Historical Perspective. Singapore, 1987.

Milner, A. C. “Islam and the Muslim State.” In Islam in South-East Asia, edited by M. B. Hooker, pp. 23-49. Leiden, 1983.

Naguib al-Attas, Syed. The Mysticism of Hamzah Fansuri. Kuala Lumpur, 1970.

Roff, William R. The Origins of Malay Nationalism. New Haven, 1967.

Shahnon Ahmad. Kesusasteraan dan Etika Islam. Malakka, 1981.

HENDRIK M. J. MAIER

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/malay-indonesian-literature/
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