Sat

27

Apr

2013

Traditional Malay Literature after ~1550AD: C. Key Authors

Unlike the prior list of works, this is 1) a chronological list; and 2) it is not in the form of a table. By key authors I take it to mean key named authors either for multiple works.

 

(Groups F and I in the overview post)

1. Hamzah Fansuri (d. early decades of the 17th c.) -- "greatest Malay Sufi poet and prose writer;" "stood at the cradle of Malay learned religio-mystical literature (kitab);" "created syair (as a genre);" "a founder of literature." He belonged to the Qadiriyah Sufi order and his prose / poetry were influenced by classical Persian Sufi poets. His main works are

a. Syarab al-asyikin, Asrar al-arifin, Al-muntahi -- a kitab trilogy for 3 levels of Sufi audience. The first and third works have Javanese translation; the second work were arranged as a self-commentary on 15 syair quatrains (bait) which are possibly the first example of syair. 

b. Syairs -- might have been collected later on in Ruba'i, included allegorical syairs (Group L) using images of bird and fish for Sufi-didactic purpose. Disciples include Hasan Fansuri and Abd al-Jamal. Syair Bahr an-Nisa ('Poem of the Sea of Women') also believed to be written by a contemporary in Hamzah's circle. Within Hamazh's circle of influence probably included Syamsuddin of Pasai (d. 1630) -- by whom 5-6 prose and syair works are listed by Braginsky, including a commentary discovered in 1960s-70s on Hamzah's Ruba'i

 

2. Nuruddin ar-Raniri (in Aceh from 1637-1644) -- a Gujarati who wrote at least 10 Malay kitab works, including Bustan as-salatin which is a a mixed chronicle and mirror for princes, and is "probably the most voluminous work in classical Malay literature with the most extant manuscripts" (though none include the whole work). The work also influenced later Riau historiography. He wrote other works on jurisprudence, and also polemical writings against the position of Sufism of Ibn 'Arabi's followers ('Wujudiyah'). 

 

3. Abd ar-Rauf of Singkel (1615-1693) -- 10 prose / syair works mentioned by Braginsky. He was a head of Syattariyah Sufi order. He was important in rendering the Arabic Tafsir al-Jalalayn into Malay with title Tarjuman al-mustafid, which as the earliest Malay tafsir also contained the first complete translation of the Qur'an into Malay. His disciples include Mansur and Daud Rumi, the latter augmented the Tarjuman with more passages from other Arabic commentaries.

 

The above were all active in Aceh.

 

4. Abd as-Samad (fl. 2H-18th c.) -- kitab author with 2 works and 2 translations of al-Ghazali mentioned by Braginsky. Abd as-Samad was originally from Palembang, and was preceded by Syihabuddin of the prior generation (author of a Risalat which is a Muslim credo) and an older contemporary Kemas Fakhruddin. However, Abd as-Samad moved and settled in Mecca after 1760s, where he wrote most of his works.

 

5. Daud ibn Abdullah al-Fatani (1740s - 1840s) -- "most prolific kitab writer in the history of Malay religio-mystical literature" with about 50 treatises written from Mecca

 

6. Raja Ali Haji and his family (fl. 1840s - 1870s in Riau) -- Braginsky mentioned at least 2 prose history works by Raja Ali Haji, the more important being Tuhfat an-nafis ('Precious gift') which according to Winstedt is "the most important historical writing after Sejarah Melayu"; Braginsky classified this as the 4th stage of Malay historiography and this work the "crown of Buginese-centric historiography". In this work he was the first Malay author who listed his sources and sometimes gave critical assessment of them. He or his younger sister Saleha wrote Syair Sultan Abd al-Muluk in 1846 which has 5 extant manuscripts, lithographed 25 times between 1867-1920, and had Sundanese poetic adaptation. Raja Ali Haji's daughter wrote the Syair Kumbang Mengindra; while his son's (Raja Hasan's) Syair Burung with 12 manuscripts made it to the prior short list. Raja Ali Haji's two daughters Safiah and Raja Kalzum - together with his stepbrother Raja Daud - were also authors of Syairs. 

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