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Syair (Jawi: شعير) is a form of traditional Malay poetry that made up of four-line stanzas or quatrains. The syair can be a narrative poem, a didactic poem, or a poem used to convey ideas on religion or philosophy, or even one to describe historical event.

In contrast to pantun form, the syair conveys a continuous idea from one stanza to the next, maintains a unity of idea from the first line to the last line in each stanza, and each stanza is rhymed a-a-a-a-a.


The word Syair is derived from the Arabic word shi’r, a term that covers all genres of Arabic/Islamic poetry. However, the Malay form which goes by the name syair is somewhat different and not modelled on Arabic poetry or on any of the genres of Arabo-Persian poetry.[1]


The earliest known record of syair was from the work of Hamzah Fansuri, a famous Malay poet in the 17th century.


  1. ^ Stefan Sperl & C. Shackle (1996). Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa: Classical Traditions and Modern Meanings (Studies in Arabic Literature). Brill. p. 363. ISBN 978-90-04-10452-5.