Fadhilatul Ustaz Muhd. Taha as-Suhaimi
(27/7/1916 to 8/6/1999)
Al-Marhum al-Ustaz Taha as-Suhaimi is a direct descendant of the beloved Prophet (S) through the Ba Shaiban family, a branch of the illustrious Bani 'Alawi of Hadramawt. He was born on a Thursday, the 27th of July, in the year 1916 C.E. [26 Ramadan 1334 H.].
He received his early education at the Raffles Institution in Singapore, and later from the Kulliyah al-'Attas in Johor, Malaysia, which his father, Shaykh Muhammad Fadhlallah as-Suhaimi - an 'alim well-versed in the Shari'ah - helped establish and acted as its Dean [mudir].
After graduating from the College, he pursued his study at Al-Azhar University, Egypt to further his studies. When he was in Egypt, he visited the tomb of Shaykh Ahmad al-Badawi in Tanta. There, he received a clear instruction to sincerely seek knowledge and not certification. Due to that experience, he studied in Egypt for a period of approximately 8 years before returning back to Singapore, filled with the knowledge of various exoteric religious sciences and without any certification whatsoever.
Back home, Ustaz Taha as-Suhaimi soon discovered that his grandfather, Shaykh Muhammad Ibn 'Abdallah as-Suhaimi, a great Saint of God, founded a Tariqah in which the recitation of al-Awrad al-Muhammadiyah is its main practice. He then proceeded to Klang, Malaysia, where his uncle, Shaykh Muhammad Khairullah as-Suhaimi - a great Sufi - was entrusted to guide the disciples of this Tariqah, lived.
He received intense spiritual training from his uncle in Klang where he entered seclusion ['uzlah] for a period of approximately 6 months. After attaining a station in which he was granted the permission to guide people on and towards this Tariqah, he returned to Singapore and was appointed as a lecturer at the Ngee Ann College and the first president of the local Shari'ah Court.
He was instrumental in sustaining Madrasah Al-Ma'arif Al-Islamiah financially, through a traveling company he setup. Some of the profits from the company was channeled to the Madrasah's fund. He also donated the profits from his books to the Madrasah. Apart from his activities at the Madrasah, he was also active in the now defunt Masjid Ma'rof. He also prepared scripts for religious programmes at Singapore Radio, and taught religious subjects at his house. He was well known as a tariqat syeikh and a martial arts exponent. Among his published books are:
1) Hakikat Syirik
2) Haji dan Umrah
4) Qadha' dan Qadar
5) Kitab Fiqh
6) Kitab Puasa
7) Bukti-bukti Kebenaran Al-Quran
8) Has the Bible been Altered
9) Muhammad Foretold in Earlier Scriptures.
During the 1960's, it was well-known amongst the Muslim Community in Singapore that the Tariqah al-Muhammadiyah had a form of martial art known as the Pencak Silat Sunda affiliated to it. During the racial riots in Singapore, Ustaz Taha faced a sudden increase in the numbers of disciples who sought protection from the upsurge of violence which left a black mark in Singapore's history. The protection which was granted by God through the means of this martial art was so effective that the number of disciples reached tens of thousands.
Now, the Singapore Government required the registration of a license for any association which includes martial arts as its practice. Due to this, Ustaz Taha established the Singapore Islamic and Pencak Silat Association known as PERIPENSIS, which had its location near the Madrasah al-Ma'arif in Ipoh Lane. This Madrasah was also established by Ustaz Taha's late father and he left his eldest son - Ustaz Taha - in charge of the Madrasah when he departed from this world. May Allah bless his soul.
In Singapore, Ustaz Taha was famous for being a very active debator when it comes to shedding light on Tasawwuf and the flaws of Christianity. He even authored a few books in English concerning Christianity which, I dare say, equals the work of the late Ahmed Deedat. Due to his magnificent understanding of the various religious sciences, courage, wisdom and powerful command of both the English and the Arabic Language, he was always granted success by God when he defended the validity of issues such as Tawassul and Tabarruk. Other Sufi Orders in Singapore even approached him to defend their beliefs whenever they were bombarded with accusations of heresy among certain scholars of the local Muslim Community.
Ustaz Taha will always be remembered as the main propagator of the Tariqah al-Muhammadiyah. He will always be remembered as an extremely patient man who believes that it is impossible for Muslims to lie. I've observed him thoroughly each time I met him and found that all his speech and actions were in concordance with the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (S). He lived a life of simplicity and austerity even though he was actually wealthy. He distributed his wealth to the Madrasah al-Ma'arif, PERIPENSIS and to those he deemed needy. He ate very little everyday and his wardrobe consists of only two long shirts which he wore when in public. I have personally seen him alone at night, near the confines of the Madrasah dressed in a shirt which was full of patches. During his lessons, he will, almost always, explain certain concepts of religion in terms of science and otherwise. His logic was undeniably concrete and with it, he will enlighten his students who sometimes find it difficult to understand certain concepts and practices of religion.
There was no doubt that his father and himself played a very important role in the building and strengthening of the Muslim Community in Singapore.
He died on Tuesday, 8 June 1999 / 23 Safar 1420, at the age of 83 years old. May Allah bless his soul and grant us benefit from his knowledge, lights and secrets. Amin.....al-Fatihah.
(source: Ustaz Ahmad Harith Suhaimi, Ustaz Taha's son and also input from Shaikh Abdul Khafid from Singapore)