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Aḥmad Khaṭīb (Minangkabau)

(894 words)

Author(s): Kaptein, Nico
Aḥmad Khaṭīb of Minangkabau (1860–1916) was a prominent scholar of Islam of Sumatran origin, active in Mecca from the last decade of the nineteenth century until his death. He was considered the most knowledgeable teacher of his day in the Jāwī community in Mecca, a term used for Southeast Asians who come to the Holy City for devotional purposes or study. Aḥmad Khaṭīb was also known for his hostile attitude towards the Dutch. He was born in Kota Gedang, Minangkabau (West Sumatra), in 1860. His grandfather ʿAbdallāh had migrated from the Ḥijāz to West Sumatra to trade…
Date: 2021-07-19

ʿAbd al-Ṣamad al-Palimbānī

(1,015 words)

Author(s): Kaptein, Nico
ʿAbd al-Ṣamad al-Palimbānī (d. after 1203/1788) was a scholar of Islam, who, as his nisba indicates, originated from the city of Palembang in South Sumatra, but he spent most of his life in Mecca. Born at the beginning of the twelfth/eighteenth century, he formed an important link in the chain of transmission of Islamic learning from Mecca to Southeast Asia. He is known mainly for his mystical works, in which he combines the mysticism of al-Ghazālī with that of Ibn ʿArabī, and for inciting Muslims in the Netherlands East Indies to undertake jihād against the Dutch colonisers. Apart from wha…
Date: 2021-07-19

al-Imām

(830 words)

Author(s): Kaptein, Nico
Al-Imām (“The leader”) was the first journal in Southeast Asia to take up and spread the ideas of Cairo-based Sunnī reformists, as voiced in their journal al-Manār (1889–1940). It was published in Malay, in Arabic script, in Singapore from 1906 until 1908. The journal was established by several members of the cosmopolitan Muslim community in Singapore, all of whom were familiar with the new reformist interpretations of Islam by Muḥammad ʿAbduh (c. 1849–1905) and his followers. Al-Imām’s first editor was Shaykh Muḥammad Ṭāhir b. Jalāl al-Dīn (1869–1956). He was born in W…
Date: 2021-07-19

al-Munīr

(747 words)

Author(s): Kaptein, Nico
Al-Munīr (Ar., The Radiant) was the first indigenous periodical to disseminate the ideas of the Cairo-based Muslim reformists in the Netherlands East Indies and therefore played a vital role in the rise of modern understandings of Islam at the expense of traditional forms of Islam in the East Indies. As a channel for transferring reformist ideas from the Middle East to Southeast Asia it had been preceded by the Singapore-based journal al-Imām, which was established 1906 and closed in 1908. Al-Munīr was published twice monthly in Padang, in Minangkabau, West Sumatra, from 19…
Date: 2022-08-02

Dahlan, Haji Ahmad

(1,053 words)

Author(s): Kaptein, Nico
Kyai Haji Ahmad Dahlan (1868–1923) was a Javanese religious official attached to the Yogyakarta sultanate, who founded the reformist Muhammadiyah movement in Yogyakarta in 1912. He was born in the kauman, the quarter for devout Muslims near the Great Mosque, in the royal city of the sultanate of Yogyakarta, into a family of the upper class of the sultanate’s religious apparatus. At birth he was given the name Muhammad Darwish. His father, Kyai Haji Abu Bakar bin Kyai Mas Sulaiman, was a religious scholar (Javanese kyai), who worked as a preacher (Jav. ketib) of the royal palace, and hi…
Date: 2021-07-19

Nawawī al-Bantanī

(803 words)

Author(s): Kaptein, Nico
Muḥammad Nawawī b. ʿUmar al-Jāwī al-Bantanī (1813–97), known in present-day Indonesia as Nawawi Banten, was born in Tanara, in the province of Banten in West Java, into a religious family. He received his early religious education from his father, who was the penghulu (head) of the local mosque, and continued his education with other Javanese Muslim teachers. In 1828 he went to Mecca to perform the pilgrimage and continue his studies. Three years later he paid a short visit to his home country but soon returned to Mecca, where he spent …
Date: 2021-07-19

Sayyid ʿUthmān ibn ʿAqīl ibn Yaḥyā l-ʿAlawī

(461 words)

Author(s): Kaptein, Nico J.G.
Sayyid ʿUthmān Date of Birth: 1 December 1822 Place of Birth: Batavia, the Netherlands East Indies Date of Death: 18 January 1914 Place of Death: Batavia BiographySayyid ʿUthmān was born in Batavia. He studied in the Arabian Peninsula from 1841 to 1862 under various scholars, including the Meccan scholar Aḥmad Daḥlān. After his return to the Netherlands East Indies in 1862, His prolific preaching and writing brought him to prominence as a scholar of Islam. He printed his works on his own lithographic press from 1869 onwa…

Aḥmad ibn Zaynī Daḥlān

(308 words)

Author(s): Kaptein, Nico J.G.
Date of Birth: 1816 Place of Birth: Mecca Date of Death: 1886 Place of Death: Medina BiographyAḥmad Daḥlān was born into a family of  sayyids (descendants of the Prophet Muḥammad) in Mecca and started teaching there in 1848. The Ottoman authorities in the Hejaz appointed him to the rank of Mufti of the Shāfiʿī school of law in 1865. In addition, he held the position of chief scholar ( shaykh al-ʿulamāʾ) in the Holy City, and in this capacity he was one of the most prestigious scholars in the Muslim world of his day. He was very active as a writer and published on traditional topics, suc…

 Al-tuffāḥa l-wardiyya min riyāḍ al-sharīʿa l-muḥammadiyya

(406 words)

Author(s): Kaptein, Nico J.G.
‘The pink apples from the gardens of the Muḥammadan sharīʿa’ Sayyid ʿUthmān Date: December 1880 Original Language: Arabic DescriptionThe  Al-tuffāḥa l-wardiyya was printed by Sayyid ʿUthmān himself on his own lithographic press. It comprises 56 pages. It is of particular interest because it was written  before he entered the service of the colonial administration in 1889, and therefore demonstrates that his motivation in writing favourably of the Dutch was not just in appeasement to his European superiors. Al-tuffāḥa l-wardiyya is an edifying work that, in line with th…

 Muhimmāt al-nafāʾis fī bayān asʾilat al-ḥādith

(546 words)

Author(s): Kaptein, Nico J.G.
‘The precious gems dealing with the explanation of current topics’ Aḥmad ibn Zaynī Daḥlān Date: 1892 Original Language: Arabic DescriptionA number of fatwas issued by Aḥmad Daḥlān and other scholars dealing with the colonial presence of the Dutch in the Netherlands East Indies are brought together in this bilingual compilation (the Arabic original and its Malay rendering) made by an unknown compiler. The individual fatwas are not dated, but those by Daḥlān necessarily date from before 1886, the year of his death. A key text is a brief fatwa in which Daḥlān is asked about the…

Seasons

(580 words)

Author(s): Kaptein, Nico J.G.
Each of the four divisions of the year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter), marked by particular weather patterns and daylight hours. Arabia, the cradle of Islam, has different seasons, notably a suffocatingly hot summer, while in the higher places it can be bitterly cold during the winter. In spring and autumn many days ¶ are mild. There is no word for season in the Qurʾān. The word mawsim (pl. mawāsim) occurs in ḥadīth (see ḥadīth and the qurʾān ) in the sense of market or fair, mostly combined with a pilgrimage (q.v.; ḥajj) to a sanctuary, like those held in various places in pre-I…