Definition of Hikayat: Characteristics, Types, Forms and Examples

Definition of Hikayat – Indonesia besides being rich in culture and race, is also rich in literary works. There are various types of literary works that have been used since time immemorial which have made various platforms for the talents of writers and artists. This diversity makes us realize that Indonesia is a country that is no less interesting than other countries.

Currently there are many types of original Indonesian literature that are of high quality and are loved by many walks of life. Various types of literary works, writing or drama or film, have their respective fans.

From every type of literary work, there are various genres. In each genre itself there are still various types of writing that make it a new type of literary work. So it can be concluded that there are many terms and types in the literary work itself.

One of the works of Indonesian literature is the saga. Many of us are very familiar with the types of fiction and non-fiction literary works. However, not many people know that this saga is a work of fiction that has its own uniqueness.

Definition of Saga

Ever heard of a saga? Maybe at first glance the term saga sounds familiar. Literally saga has the same meaning as memento. Which has the intention of a work that becomes a memory or as a history of the thoughts of the poet to others.

Whereas in Arabic hikayat comes from hikayah which means story, fairy tale or story. This saga is a fairy tale that is generally told in Malay. The theme raised in this saga literary work generally tells about the heroism or greatness of someone with their miracles and miracles.

The settings in the stories written in the saga are mostly ancient settings such as kingdom stories. So that saga is also referred to as old prose which is commonly found in Malay and is rarely found today.

This old prose is like fairy tales filled with miracles and miracles of a person. Judging from the narrative which is only based on the imagination of the author in his fictional world, this saga is categorized as a fictional story whose story is only fantasy. So that its appearance is only as entertainment.

Like other fictional stories, intrinsically the saga also has the same elements. In one story the saga has elements in the form of plot, theme, characterization, point of view, setting and message.

The saga most commonly found is in the Malay language, it is possible that there are several saga written in other languages. One example of a saga that Readers can find in the book The Story of the Hikayat Sahabat Rasul Vol 1 Abu Hurairah The Father of the Little Cat below.

Story Features

Some of the features of the story are as follows:

1. Using Classical Malay

Like prose and other old writings that in the background describe stories in ancient times. The use of language and the choice of diction in this saga literary work also uses classical language.

The saga that is most often found is in the Malay language. So the Malay language used in the saga is also classified as classical Malay which is rarely used today. So that the saga will look unique and increasingly have high artistic value.

2. Kingdom theme

The plots and backgrounds taken for the stories in the saga most often have a royal theme. With a classic language style that adds an ‘old’ feel that is still attractive and has different ethnic values.

The Hikayat Sounds book by Taufik Ikram Jamil consists of various collections of short stories worked on from various angles that you can get at Gramedia!


3. Static

The saga is a static or fixed literary work. During the writing and depiction of the stories in the saga, there are not many changes that are different from other saga, or saga from other countries. The story that is lifted, the intrinsic elements and everything in the saga are similar to one another.

4. Traditional

Saga literary works whose theme selection is never far from the story of the kingdom are also inseparable from all of its elements. Every content in the saga always carries the traditions and culture of the people of its time.

All traditions are well described in the stories that are made into saga. In addition, the saga is also full of meaning and mandate that can be emulated. Most of the conflicts in the saga depict good triumphing over evil.

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5. Educational in nature

Even though its presence only comes from the imagination of the poet, it does not rule out the possibility that the saga has a good message that can be used as learning by its readers. This saga whose true author is unknown has many elements that educate us to do good, be tolerant of others, respect each other, love fellow human beings and many other values ​​of life contained therein.

Saga Type

This old prose generally has historical, religious, biographical, epic, folklore themes with all the elements of miracles and miracles. The diversity of stories in the saga makes this prose divided into various types seen from two aspects. The type of saga is seen from a historical perspective and in terms of the contents of the story.

1. Historical

Most of the types of saga are found in Malay, but there are several other languages ​​that are also included in the saga. This happens because the saga itself originates from several countries with different languages, religious and historical backgrounds.

a. Malay

This Malay saga generally has religious elements, namely the religion of Islam. Some examples of saga stories originating from Malay are Hikayat Hang Tuah, Hikayat Indra Bangsawan, Hikayat Malim Deman and Hikayat Si Miskin.

b. Java

Javanese culture has many varieties and types influenced by Islam and Hinduism. So it is no longer surprising if the stories told have similar characteristics, characters, plot as those in India and Arabia. The existence of two cultural mixtures from two different religions gave birth to a new culture.

This saga originating from Java has a lot of influence from Hinduism which is then adapted to Javanese society, which is predominantly Muslim. Some examples of saga literary works originating from Javanese influence are the Hikayat Panji Semirang, Hikayat Cekel Weneng Pati and Hikayat Indera Jaya which are taken from the Anglingdarma story.

c. India

This Indian saga has many religious elements derived from Hinduism. Stories with Hindu nuances are generally based on two main stories, namely the stories of Sri Rama and Mattabbhroto.

Over time, these two main stories developed into the Tale of the Five Pandavas, which we often hear in wayang characters in Java.

Some examples of Indian saga inspired by Hindu religious values ​​are the Hikayat of the Pandhawa War taken from the Mahabarata story, the Hikayat Sri Rama taken from the Ramayana story and the Hikayat Bayan Budiman.

d. Arab-Persian

In Arabic and Persian the majority of the religions adopted by the people are Islam. So, do not be surprised if most of the stories that appear there also have Islamic themes and have Islamic values.

Some of the saga that comes from the influence of Arabic-Persian culture is the Hikayat One Thousand and One Nights, the Hikayat Bachtiar and also the Hikayat Amir Hamzah who is known as one of the heroes of Islam.

2. Fill

Other types of saga that can be seen based on the content or story are divided into several stories.

a. History

Historical saga often tells about other historical figures or events. This story is indeed just a fiction of the poet’s imagination but is often associated with historical stories that have happened at one time.

Or simply based on an event in history. For example in a war, a historical event or a historical figure that actually existed in the real world. But the core of the story is still just the imagination of the story master.

Events related to travel stories exploring unique tourist destinations that are rarely known to the public are also one of those discussed in the TEMPO Series: Hikayat 45 Lakes of Indonesia below.


b. Biography

This biographical story usually focuses on one main character. The main character may or may not be taken from a real character. But overall the storyline just tells everything about the character.

For example, such as the background of a public figure who is considered a hero, his life story, all his conflicts and all the miraculous events that happened to him.

c. Religion

Most of these religious saga tell about a religious figure, one of the events in the history of that religion, or simply the values ​​taught in a religion. As explained earlier, there are many saga that carry religious stories from both Islam, Hinduism and a mixture of the two.

Even though the average saga is not real, it still includes religious values ​​or religious teachings to educate listeners like the book Hikayat Auliya below.

The purpose of the saga as entertainment and encouragement is an interesting way to convey religious teachings, as is often told by religious leaders.

d. Incident

The saga also tells of a major event that did occur, although in its depiction it is beautified with miracles and miracles. The goal, apart from being entertaining, can be encouragement at a party or fighting spirit.

e. Story

Saga sometimes also tells stories of romance romance. Sometimes these saga still have a historical background. However, fictional romance is also often found in several saga and one of them is the Saga of Malin Kundang which you can read in the book by Gin Subiharso below which is complemented by other interesting stories.

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Story Form

This saga, which originates from a mixture of cultures, presents many types and forms. The form of the saga is seen from the way it is depicted.

1. Folklore Saga

This folklore saga is a saga that is humorously illustrated. In general, the core story of this saga tells of the origin of a place or object. One example of this saga is the Saga of Rhang Manyang.

2. Romance

As the name implies, this romance saga is a saga that tells about love stories and household stories. One example of this saga is the Hikayat Putroe Gambak Meuh.

3. Epics

Epic is a form of saga that tells about the heroism of a person. One example of an epic is the Hikayat Prang Kompeuni.

4. Tambeh

This tambeh saga is a saga that tells the guidelines of life so that the story contains many messages that can be learned. One example of this saga is Tambek Tujoh Blah.

5. Chara

This chara saga is a form of saga that focuses on a commendable figure. So that this character is included in the type of biographical saga. One example of this saga is the Hiyaken Tujoh Hikayat.

Story Example

There are many types and forms of saga that have existed since ancient times. Some of them are quite famous and their stories are still widely known by the public today, namely the Tale of the Five Pandavas and the Tale of the Thousand and One Nights. In Indonesia, these tales do not only exist in Java.

In Aceh it is also known for having many works of saga which were quite famous at its time. Most of the saga originating from Aceh is in the form of poetry. One example of a tale originating from Aceh is the Tale of Prang Sabi, the Tale of the Kings of Pasai, the Tale of Prang Peuringgi and many others.

Hikayat Aceh This is also included in the Hikayat category written in Malay. Apart from the other Aceh Hikayat written in Malay, namely:

  1. Abdullah story
  2. The story of Abu Nawas
  3. The Tale of Bayan Budiman
  4. The story of Amir Hamzah
  5. The story of Hang Tuah
  6. Banjar Saga
  7. Indraputra saga
  8. The story of Iskandar Zulkarnain
  9. The story of Kalila and Daminah
  10. Tale of the Young Captain
  11. The story of the Javanese Pandavas
  12. The Tale of the Kings of Pasai
  13. The Tale of Panji Semirang
  14. Tale of Panca Tanderan

There are many other saga written in Malay, below are some examples of saga with explanations.

1. Saga of Prang Sabi

This Prang Sabi saga tells of the jihad of a hero. This saga belongs to two forms, namely epic and tambeh. The story of Prang Sabi in epic type describes the events of the war that took place in Aceh. With all the heroism, might and courage of the characters.

Meanwhile, Hikayat Prang Sabi Tambeh focuses more on advice written by religious leaders to carry out jihad and uphold religion. The saga of Prang Sabi Tambeh was first presented in the form of an adaptation of Abdul Samad Al-Falimbani’s treatise written in 1834, which was 40 years before the Aceh war. The first saga about the Sabi War is entitled Saga of Prang Sabi written by Teungku Chik Pante Kulu.

2. The Tale of the Kings of Pasai

This saga was written in Malay. The contents tell about the first Islamic kings in Samudra-Pasai who are now located in Aceh. This saga briefly tells the story of Merah Silu who was dreaming of meeting the Prophet Muhammad.

In his dream, the Prophet Muhammad converted to Islam Merah Silu. Then after the incident, Merah Silu was the first sultan in the kingdom of Pasai with the Islamic name Malik al-Saleh.

3. Tale of Bayan Budiman 

This saga is a framed story taken from India, namely Sukasaptati, then adapted into Persian culture. This saga tells of a parrot that reminds someone when they want to do something negative. So according to the title, this shadow bird is given the nickname Bayan Budiman.

4. Abdullah’s story

This saga is included in the type of biographical saga because it tells a story about a character named Abdullah. This literary work written in the mid-19th century tells about Abdullah bin Abdulkadir Munsyi who was a figure who was born into an educated family.

He is of Arab, Yemeni descent. Abdullah’s ancestors were religious teachers who lived in India. Abdullah also has a Tamil wife who later moved to Malacca together.

Abdullah’s father was a resource person for a British expert on the Malay language. This person even once wrote the book History of Sumatra (History of Sumatra), which is a reference for many historians today. This Abdullah saga tells many interesting things about Malacca and Singapore.