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Al-Imam Magazine

Among the publications that have shaped the minds of the Malays for many generations was the Al-Imam (The Leader) magazine founded in 1905.

Influenced by the Al-Manar magazine published by Mohammed ‘Abduh and Rashid Rida, the editors of Al-Imam (Sayyid Shaikh Al-Hadi and Sheikh Tahir Jalaluddin, among others) saw the magazine as a means by which Malay society could be cleansed of the superstitions and intellectual backwardness that had stifled independent thinking. Al-Imam was to be a platform to “remind the forgetful, to arouse the slumber, to guide those that have been led astray and to give voice to the wise.” Continue reading “Al-Imam Magazine” »


Dua Iktibar Peristiwa Hijrah bagi Pekerja Muslim

Setiap awal Muharram, kita diperingatkan dengan sebuah peristiwa yang sangat bersejarah di dalam kehidupan Nabi junjungan kita, Muhammad saw dan sahabatnya. Digelar dari masa ke semasa sebagai “Hijrah”, perjalanan yang panjang dan berbahaya dari Makkah ke Madinah adalah satu titik perubahan bagi umat Islam di waktu itu dan generasi seterusnya. Seorang pemikir Islam yang unggul, Haji Abdul Malik Abdul Karim Amrullah di dalam karya agungnya, Sejarah Umat Islam, membayangkan peristiwa hijrah sebagai

“penghidupan yang baru. Di sanalah terdapat keteguhan dan kekuatan. Di sanalah mulai didirikan Negara yang beliau cita-citakan itu, Negara Islam, Negara Tauhid.”

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Why do we need to take Radicals seriously? Part 1

On 18th September 2015, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore hosted a discussion session relating to my recent book entitled Radicals: Resistance and Protest in Colonial Malaya. There were close to thirty attendees consisting of students, lecturers and members of the public.

I was fortunate to have had Associate Professor, Timothy P. Barnard from the History Department to give his insightful reflections on my book. Tim is an expert on the history of the Malay World, whose writings span across topics such as the social history of the Bugis, Malay films or more specifically, P. Ramlee films and the environmental history of Singapore. An award winning teacher and a gentle soul, Tim has been supportive of my own work since I was just an undergrad. He was my supervisor, seeing through my Honours and Masters theses, and patiently listening to my sharing with him about family life and juggling with many children. Tim wrote a number of letters of recommendation for my applications to scholarships and fellowships. I guess it is every student’s dream to have a supervisor in the likes of Tim who is, at once, a good friend and a source of motivation.

Continue reading “Why do we need to take Radicals seriously? Part 1” »


Islamic Education in the Malay World: A History for Our Time Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Using the trading kingdoms of Sumatra as their strategic base, the scholars and graduates of the pondoks established a whole network of similar institutions in other parts of the Malay World. Among the places that established Islamic centers of education of international standing were Patani, Malacca, Kelantan, Trengganu, Mindanao, Lombok, Banten and Makassar. By the mid-15th century, Patani had already caught up with Sumatra into becoming the new center of Islamic education in the Malay World. Students came from all over the Muslim World to study with the Tok Gurus (Sages) whose mastery of the Arabic language was superb. The first pondok was built by a well-known ulama by name of Wan Mustafa (also known as Wan Pa) at the Yarang district in Patani.

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Islamic Education in the Malay World: A History for Our Time Part 1

Published in the Vizier Magazine, Issue 16, June 2014

Muslims of today tend to have their eyes fixed on the centers of Islamic education in the Arab World in their endeavour to pursue Islamic studies. This is unsurprising given the fact the Al-Azhar, the University of Madinah, the Muslim colleges that populate modern-day Syria, Sudan, Yemen and Morocco are sites by which generations of students and scholars have spent the prime of their lives to satisfy their thirst and appetites for religious knowledge.

What have so often been neglected, if not forgotten, are the many other reputable hubs of Islamic learning elsewhere that have produced equally notable scholars and intellectuals. Studies of the Muslim communities in Africa, Central Asia, Russia, the Balkans and the Malay World have shown us that there exist thousands of centers of Islamic education that have maintained their presence and traditions for hundreds of years. These were places where men and women from all over world converged to study about Islam – its laws, history, philosophy and other branches of knowledge at the feet of the erudite.

Continue reading “Islamic Education in the Malay World: A History for Our Time Part 1” »