Malay Literature: Volume 24 Number 1 June 2011

June 1, 2011


Mohd. Faizal Haji Musa


Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (ASWARA)

Kejawen (Javanese Sufism) and Perennial Philosophy in Kuntowijoyo’s Khotbah di Atas Bukit

Abstract Khotbah di Atas Bukit (Sermon on a Hill) by Kuntowijoyo was written to foreground transcendental principles, in accordance with the Theory of Transcendental Literature. Transcendental principles are brought to the fore and applied in this work through the use of symbolism. Kuntowijoyo uses a local subject for enquiry, kejawen (Javanese sufism), to address issues of faith and tauhid (Islamic Monotheism or the Oneness of Allah). However, there is some ambiguity in the text which could affect the aspects of tauhid discussed. In presenting the teachings of Sufism, Kuntowijoyo may in the process be misunderstood and consequently considered to subscribe to global theology where tauhid is simplified and religions “combined”. Khotbah di Atas Bukit is a complex work to read because of the overuse of symbolism aimed at obscuring meaning. This kind of symbolism needs to be explained, particularly to readers who have little knowledge of sufism. It is this that makes Khotbah di Atas Bukit a specialized work for a specialized readership.

Keywords: Islamic literature, Islam kejawen, sufism, perennial philosophy, Islamic leadership, tauhid,  Kuntowijoyo, pluralism, mysticism, Transcendental Literature, myth, global religion, orthodox Muslims (the faithful)

 Dr. Mawar Shafei


Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Tradition in the Novels of Anwar Ridhwan and Putu Wijaya

Abstract This paper is the result of a comparative study carried out on the novels of Anwar Ridhwan and Putu Wijaya, writers who represent Malaysian and Indonesian authorship respectively. This study focuses on the inclination of both writers to dignify “tradition” in their work. What is meant by the framework of “tradition” is that both writers source their materials mainly from traditional texts in order to construct the structure of the novels which is the object of our attention. Specifically, the novel Hari-hari Terakhir Seorang Seniman (Anwar Ridhwan) makes references to the romance “Si Gembang” or “Teluk Bidung Kota Lama” while the novel Perang (Putu Wijaya), to the classical text the Mahabharata. Aside that, “tradition” as is presented by the writers in the novels under study, has been identified to take account of the concept of tradition which is the authorship ideology of both writers – Anwar Ridhwan with his concept “kampung halaman Melayu” (Malay hometown), Putu Wijaya with his concept “desa-kala-patra” (found in the Balinese tradition). These “traditions” are anchored in their experimental works which appear to be defying convention; a predilection that clearly is in line with the authorial rhythm of these outstanding writers. The study conducted employs the intertextual framework as well as dialogism advanced by Mikhail Bakhtin and Julia Kristeva; a framework for observing authorship processes that is directed towards the effectiveness of creation theory. The study finds that both writers conform to the cultural traditions of their people, are clearly appreciative of these traditions, perform meaning inversions in the novels examined (the hypertext) which are not evident in the pre-existing text (the hypotext).

Keywords: Anwar Ridhwan, Putu Wijaya, the novel Hari-hari Terakhir Seorang Seniman, the novel Perang, intertextuality, tradition

 Vladimir Braginsky


School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London

Light, Sound and Frangrance: The Impact of Sufism on the Aesthetics of Traditional Malay Literature

Abstract Sufi ideas exerted a great influence on nearly every aspect of traditional Malay literature of the late 16th to the 17th century. Not only Malay literary practice of that age owed much to the Sufi inspiration, equally important is the fact that Sufism brought to life a pre-modern Malay literary theory including, inter alia, fundamental concepts of literary aesthetics. On the basis of a poem by Hamzah Fansuri and Sufi allegories Hikayat Inderaputera and Hikayat Si Burung Pingai the article investigates the Sufi doctrine of imagination as a particular world all of its own, the “aesthetics of light” expressed through specific illumination of portrayed events and “lighting effects”, and the “aesthetics of ecstasy” communicated through acoustic and olfactory images. By embodying these aesthetics in the “flesh and blood” of literary works, their creators not only managed to reveal Sufi doctrines with more clarity and beauty, but also let their audience experience them both intellectually and emotionally.

Keywords: Sufism, traditional Malay Literature, Hikayat Inderaputera, Hikayat Si burung Pingai, literary aesthetics, aesthetics of light, lighting effect

 Hajar Che Man


School of Humanities,

Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Reviewing the Short Story Anthologies of Zurinah Hassan: Convention Versus Innovation

Abstract This discussion will focus on two anthologies produced by Zurinah Hassan entitled Meneruskan Perjalanan (The Continuation of the Journey) (1987) and Menjelang Pemilihan (As the Selection Dawns) (2004). The study will examine the issues of convention and invention that are evident in her short stories. The discussion will thus be divided into two parts. The first relates to convention in terms of the parallelism and acquiescence or obedience of Zurinah Hassan in cultivating issues or conflicts that can be extracted from short stories in both anthologies. The second relates to the context of invention and refers to the discoveries in her written work which have escaped or become free from conventional characteristics. In other words, her creativity has achieved a new level and is not tied down to conventional rules. The results of this study will assess Zurinah Hassan’s development and the transformation of her talent of authorship that is evident from its creativity, imagination, illusion and fantasy. The existence of improvisation or growth in knowledge, discipline and knowledge of assistance and her experiences in cultivating current issues are also evident. Furthermore, women’s issues are highlighted through the short story genre to be shared especially with other women and with readers in general.

Keywords: Conventional laws, creativity, invention, imagination, illusion, fantasy and genre

 A. Wahab Ali


Muhammad Yusof Ahmad: A Pioneer of Modern Malay Fiction

Abstract This is a study on Muhammad Yusof Ahmad, a pioneer in modern Malay fiction. To explore his contributions, this study focuses on his modern process of creativity, specifically on his formal realism fictions such as his short stories and novelette as we know today. This study is approached via the writer’s biography and linking it to his era, and traditional and western education which had shaped his creative abilities. His main works entitled “Percintaan Lady Brazil”, “Zaman Sari” and “Mencari Isteri” were selected as samples for analysis. This study revealed that Muhammad Yusof’s creativity was based on his own experiences in life. The structure of his stories depicted story structure of his traditional literature and new element of realism made its way in to his structure due to his exposure to western literature. His works were targeted for the new generations, significantly the Malay teachers. His works were early attempts of formal realism in the world of modern Malay literature.

Keywords: Muhammad Yusof Ahmad, Malay literature, Malay fiction, Majalah Guru.

 Nur Lailatul Akma binti Zainal Abidin


Kamariah Kamarudin

Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication

Universiti Putra Malaysia

The Concept of Tazkiyah Al-Nafs in the Female Character in the Novel The Missin G Piece

Abstract This study aims to analyse the elements of tazkiyah al-nafs (purification of the soul) in the novel The Missing Piece: Part One and Part Two. In general, character studies discuss three important aspects, one of which is the spiritual. In this study, the researcher will lay emphasis on the message of spirituality depicted by the author through the female character in the novel. This spiritual message can be traced in the elements of spiritual purification (tazkiyah al-nafs). In the novel The Missing Piece, elements of tazkiyah al-nafs will be classified in terms of two relationships; the relationship of humans with Allah (habl min Allah) and the relationship of human beings with one another (habl min al-nas). Based on this concept of tazkiyah al-nafs, the female character in the novel The Missing Piece in both parts one and two, can be seen to convey a number of spiritual messages that make up aspects of female personality in Islam. This includes aspects of aqidah (creed) and ibadah (worship) in line with spiritual concepts and suggestions for the process of the purification of the soul (tazkiyah al-nafs). The potential of women authors in the field of Islamic spirituality needs to be given attention, apart from emphasizing moral issues and the quality of female characters. This can also be seen as an effort to elevate women’s writing to be on par with the men’s; it can, in fact, make women’s writing a guide for the formation of an exceptional ummah (Islamic community).

Keywords: Tazkiyah al-nafs, female characters, women’s writing, relationship of humans with Allah, relationship of humans with one another

 Ahmad Murad Merican


Department of Management and Humanities

Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS Malaysia

Occidentalism in the Malay World: The West Through the Eyes of Abdullah Munshi

Abstract This article is about how the West was imagined, described and reproduced by Abdullah Munshi. Thus far we have encountered descriptions of the non-Western world by the West, which includes that of the Malays by European travellers, scientists and colonial scholar-administrators. It is thus also critical to appraise knowledge of the Occident from the Other and an ambivalent self such as in the person Abdullah Munshi. Abdullah’s writings were journalistic and sociological in nature. The production of his writings under conditions of early colonialism has not been sufficiently studied from the perspective of Self and the Other, Western and non-Western. As such, this article is significantly the first of such studies on Malay intellectual history. Abdullah’s autobiography, the Hikayat Abdullah, is used to identify a form of Malay Occidentalism. In a sense, this article plays a cataloguing role indicating the scope and character of the Malay imagination of the West. It presents part of the larger study aimed at developing a framework on Malay attitudes and representations of Europe and Western civilization.

Keywords: Colonialism, occidentalism, orientalism, other, printing, self