The Sasak people (Sasak script: ᬲᬸᬓᬸ​ᬲᬲᬓ᭄; Jawi: سوكو ساساك ) are an ethnic group who live on the island of Lombok and speak the Sasak language. The word Sasak comes from the word sak sak, which means one to one. The word sak is also used by some Dayak tribes on the island of Kalimantan to say one. The Sasak people are known to be good at making cloth by weaving. In the past, every woman would be said to be an adult and ready to settle down if she was good at weaving. Weaving in the language of the Sasak people is Sèsèk.
The word sèsèk comes from the word tightness, tightness or tightness. Sèsèk is done by inserting the threads one by one (sak sak), then the threads are squeezed or pressed together until they are tight and dense to form a cloth by striking the loom. The unique sound that is heard when hitting the loom even then sounds like the sound of a sag and is 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. According to an Oral Source, who said that Lombok was once covered with wilderness, the Dictionary Compilation Team for the Center for Language Development and Development: Sasak means bamboo reeds or wood assembled together. Whereas in the Negarakertagama (Decawanana) Book: Sasak and Lombok it is explained that West Lombok is called Lombok Mirah and East Lombok is called Sasak Adi.

The Sasak tribe who originally inhabited the island of Lombok used the Sasak language as their daily language. The Sasak language is very close to the languages of the Samawa (Sumbawa) and Balinese tribes.

There is a possibility that the origin of the name Sasak came from the word sak-sak, which means “boat”. In the Nagarakretagama, the word Sasak is mentioned together as one with Lombok Island, namely Lombok Sasak Mirah Adhi. According to local tradition, it is believed that the word Sasak came from sa’-saq which means “the one”. Followed by the word Lombok which originates from the word Lomboq, meaning “straight”. Hence by combining the words together Sa’-saq Lombok, it means “something that’s straight”.

Other translations also includes “a straight road”. Lombok Sasak Mirah Adhi is taken from the Nagarakretagama (Desawarnana) literature, a scripture written by Mpu Prapanca that records the power and rule of the Majapahit kingdom. The word Lombok in Kawi means “straight” or “honest”, Mirah means “gem”, Sasak means “statement”, and Adhi means “something that’s good” or “utmost”. Therefore Lombok Sasak Mirah Adhi means “honesty is the gem that states out goodness”.


Little is known about Sasak history except that Lombok was placed under direct rule of the Majapahit prime Minister, patih Gajah Mada. Islam arrived into the area around the 15th century.

The Sasaks converted to Islam between the late 16th century to early 17th century under the influence of Pangeran Prapen (Sunan Prapen), the son of Raden Paku (Sunan Giri) or Sunan Giri himself and the Muslim Makassarese, frequently mixing basic Islamic beliefs with Hindu-Buddhist beliefs, thus creating the Wetu Telu religion.

Lombok was conquered by the Gelgel Balinese kingdom in the early 16th century, thus bringing a large population of Balinese to Lombok. The Balinese population of Lombok today is about 300,000, 10–15% of Lombok’s population. The Balinese have also strongly influenced the Wetu Telu religion of Lombok.


The Sasak language is an Austronesian language that belongs to the group of Indonesian type language. Specifically, Sasak belongs to the languages of Western Indonesia which also means it is closely related to the languages of Java and Bali.

There are also a number of Sasak dialect in various regions such as Kuto-Kute (North Sasak), Meno-Mene (Central Sasak), Meriak-Meriku (Central South Sasak), Ngeno-Ngene (Central East Sasak, Central West Sasak), Ngeto-Ngete (Northeast Sasak) and so on.


According to the Babad Lombok, an account of the history of the Sasak people, they were first introduced to Islam by Sunan Prapen, who invaded Lombok and forced much of the people to convert to Islam. This conversion was only nominal, and as soon as he left most converted back to Hinduism. Upon hearing this Prapen returned to Lombok with the support of the Raden of Sumuliya and the Raden of Salut and succeeded.

It was observed that a part of the people fled into the mountains, now called the Bodhas, while the rest were subjected to Muslim rule and converted. This record is supported by anthropological observations, such as the fact that the Bodhas point to central plain villages as their homeland, and make pilgrimage there.

Most of the Sasaks today are adherents of the Lima Waktu version of Islam. Lima Waktu or Five Times signifies the five daily prayers which Muslims are required to do. The term Lima Waktu is used to distinguish them from the Sasaks who are practitioners of Wetu Telu or Three Symbols who only pray three times a day. Orthodox Islamic teachers generally instruct adherents to pray five times a day.

A small minority of Sasaks called the Bodha (estimated population: 8,000) are mainly found in the village of Bentek and on the slopes of Gunung Rinjani. They are totally untouched by Islamic influence and worship animistic gods, incorporating some Hindu and Buddhist influences in their rituals and religious vocabulary. This group of Sasak, due in part to the name of their tribe, are recognized as Buddhists by the Indonesian government.


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