In Search of a Just Leader in Islamic Perspective: An Analysis of Traditional Malay Literature from the Perspective of Adab

  •  Muhd Norizam Jamian    
  •  Shaiful Bahri Md Radzi    


This paper discusses the functions of traditional Malay literature as a platform for the formation of human civilisation to create a just leader in fulfilling his responsibility as a caliph of Allah on earth. Justice in Islam means to put something in the exact, right and proper position in all aspects of human life. Justice becomes one of the important pillars in human life, especially for a leader. The data of this study involves the edited texts of traditional Malay literature, consisting of a variety of genres produced or copied from the 15th to 19th century, namely Hikayat Maharaja Ali, Hikayat Raja Pasai, Taj al-Salatin, Bustan al-Salatin, Thamarat al-Muhimmah, Hikayat Abu Syahmah, Hikayat Raja Jumjumah and Hikayat Ibrahim ibn Adham. This study explores and analyzes the texts of traditional Malay literature by using an adab approach based on the Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas (2001) frame work. As an adab literature, this study demonstrates that the works of traditional Malay literature could assume as a major role in forming the just leader. Traditional Malay literary works serve as planters of noble manners to create a balanced human both mentally and physically. Elements of justice presented through the traditional Malay literary works have become guidelines for audience in seeking for a guided relationship both with their Creator (hablumminaLLah) and fellow human beings (hablumminannas) as well as explicating the divine purpose of every living human being in this world – to become His vicegerent and servant. Every leader has to implement this dual role with just and balanced. As His servants, the leader needs to obey all His commandments and use their wisdom to guide their lives. As His vicegerent, the just leader needs to perform their duties and responsibilities with trust, and fairness in resolving the problems and sentencing.

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