Friday, 24 September 2021 | 21:53 WIB

The Sasak Tribe of Lombok Island in Nusa Tenggara

The Sasak Tribe of Lombok Island in Nusa Tenggara (wikimedia)

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - The Sasak tribe is one of the tribes that live in Lombok Island, and speak Sasak language. Most Sasak tribes are Muslims. What is unique and special is its very strong religious practice. Prayer is a solid foundation for them, and must be made solid by the Sasak people.

The Islamic community of Sasak is somewhat different from Muslim communities in general, as the Sasak tribe practices Wetu Telu Islam, but only about 1% practice such worship. There are also some Sasak people who embrace pre-Islamic beliefs called Sasak Boda.

Origin of Sasak

The word Sasak comes from the word sak sak, meaning one one. The word sak is also used by some Dayak tribes on the island of Borneo to say one. The famous Sasak people make fabrics by weaving. The tribe views that their women can be called adults and ready to marry if they are already good at weaving.

 Weaving in the Sasak language is Sèsèk. The word sèsèk comes from the word ketak, sesek or saksak. Sèsèk is done by inserting the thread one by one (sak sak), then the thread is stifled or pressed to tightness and solid to become fabric by hitting the loom.

The unique sound that sounded when the loom is being hit sounds like a sak sak and only done twice. That is the origin of the word sasak which is then taken as the name of the tribe on the island of Lombok.

The Sasak people who originally inhabited the island of Lombok used Sasak as the language of the day. Sasak language is very close to the language of the tribes of Samawa, Bima and even Sulawesi, especially Southeast Sulawesi who speak Tolaki.


The origin of the name Sasak probably comes from the word sak-sak which means boat. In Kertagama Country Book, the word Sasak is mentioned to be one with Lombok Island, Lombok Sasak Mirah Adhi. In the oral tradition of local residents the word sasak is believed to derive from the word "sa'-saq" which means the one.

While Lombok comes from Lomboq, which means straight. Unlike East Flores people, Lombok is the same as chili. So if combined Sa' Saq Lomboq word means something straight. Many also translate it as a straight path.

Mirah Sasak Adi Lombok is one of the excerpts of Kakawin Nagarakretagama (Desawarnana), a book that contains the power and government of the kingdom of Majapahit, written by Mpu Prapanca. The word "lombok" in kawi means straight or honest, "Mirah" means gem, "sasak" means reality and "adi" means the good or the main. So Lombok Mirah Sasak Adi means honesty is a gem of a good reality.

Kidnapping the Bride

The customs of the Sasak tribe can be witnessed at the wedding reception. If a woman wants to be wed by a man, then the woman must be taken away to the man’s family home. This is known as merarik or kidnapping.

The way is simple enough, the idol girl does not need to tell her parents. If you want to get married, the girl is taken. But do not forget the rules, kidnapping a woman and running away is usually done by bringing some relatives or friends.

The man’s relatives who participate in the kidnap are also accompanists of the wedding procession. And the girl should not be taken directly to the man's house, but should be entrusted to the man’s  relatives.

Marrying a woman by asking permission from her parents, also known as redaq, is more honorable than kidnapping a woman without prior notice, but such a process is very rarely found because the Sasak people's habit is more dominant in kidnapping to avoid the wedding from being hampered by unwanted things such as disapproval or limited money for the wedding, since redaq process typically costs more than kidnapping a woman without permission.

In the process of kidnapping the woman, after a day's stay the male relatives sent a messenger to the women's family as a notice that her daughter was kidnapped and is now in a safe place that is kept secret from the woman’s family. Nyelabar is the local language for the notice, and it is done by male relatives, but the parent's of the man are not allowed to participate.

A group of nyelabar consists of more than 5 people and is obliged to wear custom dress. The entourage can not directly come to the woman’s family home. The entourage must first asked for permission from Kliang or local elders as tribute to them.

The entourage is not allowed to enter the woman’s house. They sit cross-legged in the front yard. A messenger from the group who is also a spokesperson will give notice and plans to marry the girl who was kidnapped.