Malay Manuscripts Are Intellectual Heritage

Topics: Malay language, Muhammad, Malaysia Pages: 8 (2102 words) Published: December 16, 2012

Malay manuscripts are intellectual heritage of the past that are recognized as national heritage documents. Malay manuscripts here are defined as hand written works, produced around the 14th century until the early 20th century. The knowledge preserved inn these Malay manuscripts reflect the richness of the knowledge and glory of Malay civilization. Malay manuscript is the epitome of Malay scholars’ scholarship in ancient times. The writing and production activities of manuscript in various subjects to bequeath their science and knowledge about something for the next Malay generation. Among the areas of Malay manuscripts writing is often highlighted as areas consisting of religious knowledge fluently, fiqh, tasawuf, character and history while in the local Malay traditions such as story, culture and medicine.

Manuscript is the name given to hand-written copy writing. While the script used is Jawi. The Jawi script was adapted from the 30 letters of Arabic and 5 letters of Persian to form words in Malay. The material used to write Malay manuscripts is a pen, ink and paper. Pen used by the Malays authors were made ​​from the trunk of a tree fern frond. Tree fern is a kind of family tree ferns are large and mostly grows in forests, especially in cold areas such as the highlands. The tree fern frond taken and cleaned before being cut to size and pen required by the author. To produce neat Jawi writing, pen angle cuts should be done carefully so as not to break easily and can be used for a long time. Besides pens, other materials needed are ink to write. There are several materials used as ink as found by other researchers Malay manuscripts. Often the ink used by the Malay writer is black. Materials to produce ink consists of materials from natural resources that are in the Malay community life such as; soot, charcoal and ink squid.

Another important basic material needed to write is the paper. In writing of Malay manuscripts, paper used is not like that paper available today. Paper in the Malay world in deluang call made ​​from layers of mulberry bark like a crushed up flat after lining of the bark is soaked until soft. This paper has a texture and durable. Apart from deluang paper, other materials used for writing is like: wood, palm leaves and palm leaves. The surface of each material used for writing in ink and pen should be smooth and not too offensive because it would interfere with writing and handwriting produced unclear and difficult to read. Besides deluang paper, paper imported from foreign countries, particularly from the West, such as: the Netherlands, France and England. This import papers mostly marked with its own known trademark as watermark….. [pic]

Picture 1: Manuscripts were written on the board


Picture 2: The manuscripts written on palm leaves


Manuscripts are recognized as the nation's intellectual heritage, records of the thoughts of past society. For the benefit of the nobility, historical tales which chronicle the histories of kings, race and country were composed. And as entertainment and to pass the time, hikayats and syairs were created. To help in the administration of the country, treatises on laws and regulations were written. Numerous religious texts were also composed to propagate Islam. Treatises on medicines, advice and amulet were also written to serve as guides. In short, a variety of topics on all aspects of life in Malay society are preserved in thousands of manuscripts.


Hikayats are products of classical Malay literature. Generally, the name of the authors and the dates the hikayats are composed are unknown. The hikayats contain elements of magic, bravery and the heroic of extraordinary warriors. The author also describes the beauty of the princesses, the strength of the warriors, innumerable armies as well as magical animals and things. In the...
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