Saturday, March 31, 2007

He Who Showed the Path


27/7/1916 — 8/6/1999

al-Ustāz Tāha as-Suhaimī

al-Ustāz Tāha as-Suhaimī al-Ustāz Tāha as-Suhaimī

al-Marhūm al-Ustāz as-Sayyid as-Shaykh
Muhammad Tāha Ibn Muhammad Fadhlallāh
as-Suhaimī Bā ‘Alawī

Al-Marhūm al-Ustāz Tāha as-Suhaimī is a direct descendant of the beloved Prophet (S) through the Bā Shaiban family , a branch of the illustrious Bā ‘Alawī of Hadramawt. He was born on a Thursday, the 27th of July, in the year 1916 C.E. [26 Ramadān 1334 H.].

His blessed lineage is as such:

Muhammad Tāha ibn [son of] Muhammad Fadhlallāh ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abdallāh ibn ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahīm ibn ‘Abd al-Karīm ibn Muhyi-ad-Dīn ibn Nūr ad-Dīn ibn ‘Abd ar-Razzāq al-Madāni ibn Hasan ibn ‘Alī ibn Ahmad ibn Abū Bakr Bā Shaibān ibn Muhammad Asādallāh ibn Hasan at-Turābi ibn ‘Alī ibn Muhammad al-Faqīh al-Muqaddam ibn ‘Alī ibn Muhammad Sāhib al-Mirbāt ibn ‘Alī Khali’ ibn ‘Alawī ath-Thāni ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Alawī al-Awwal ibn ‘Ubaidullāh ibn Ahmad al-Muhājir ibn ‘Isā ar-Rūmi ibn Muhammad an-Nāqib ibn ‘Alī al-‘Uraidhī ibn Ja’far as-Sādiq ibn Muhammad al-Bāqir ibn ‘Alī Zain al-‘Abidīn ibn al-Husain as-Sibt ibn ‘Alī and Fātimah az-Zahrā’ bint [daughter of] Prophet Muhammad, The Messenger of God (may Allāh bless them all and grant them peace).

Ustāz Tāha as-Suhaimī received his early education at the Raffles Institution in Singapore, and later from the Kulliyyah al-’Attās in Johor, Malaysia, which his father, Shaykh Muhammad Fadhlallāh as-Suhaimī—an ‘alim well-versed in the Sharī’ah—helped establish and acted as its Dean [mudīr]. After graduation, Ustāz Tāha proceeded to the Al-Azhār University in Cairo, Egypt to further his studies.

When he was in Egypt, he visited the tomb of Shaykh Ahmad al-Badawī 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, Ustāz Tāha as-Suhaimī soon discovered that his grandfather, Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdāllah as-Suhaimī, a Saint of the highest degree, founded a Tarīqah in which the recitation of Al-Awrād al-Muhammadiyyah is the main practice. He then proceeded to Klang, Malaysia, where his uncle, Shaykh Muhammad Khairāllah as-Suhaimī—a great Sūfi—was entrusted to guide the disciples of this Tarīqah, 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 Tarīqah, he returned to Singapore and was appointed as a lecturer at the Ngee Ann College and the first president of the local Sharī’ah Court.

During the 1960’s, it was well-known amongst the Muslim Community in Singapore that the Tarīqah al-Muhammadiyyah had a form of martial art known as the Pencak Silat Sunda affiliated to it. During the racial riots in Singapore, Ustāz Tāha 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, Ustāz Tāha 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 Ustāz Tāha’s late father and he left his eldest son— Ustāz Tāha —in charge of the Madrasah when he departed from this world. May Allāh bless his soul.

In Singapore, Ustāz Tāha 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 Sūfi 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.

Ustāz Tāha will always be remembered as the main propagator of the Tarīqah al-Muhammadiyyah. 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 found 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.

Here are some of the books that he authored:

In the Malay Language

  1. Hakikat Syirik [The True Meaning of Heresy]
  2. Haji dan ‘Umrah [Hajj and ‘Umrah]
  3. ‘Ilmu Tauhid [The Science of Tawhid]
  4. Qadha’ dan Qadar [Qadha’ and Qadar]
  5. Kitab Fiqh [The Book of Fiqh]
  6. Kitab Puasa [The Book of Fasting]
  7. Bukti-bukti Kebenaran Al-Qur’an [Proofs Concerning the Validity of the Qur’an]
  8. Tafsir Yasin [Commentary of the Surah Yasin]
  9. Manaqib Shaykh Muhammad Bin ‘Abdullah as-Suhaimi [Biography of his grandfather]

In the English Language

  1. Has the Bible Been Altered?
  2. Is the Bible Reliable?
  3. Muhammad Foretold in the Earlier Scriptures

And many more.

Al-Marhūm al- Ustāz Tāha as-Suhaimī died at the age of 83, on a Tuesday, the 8th of June, in the year 1999 C.E. [26 Safar 1420 H.].

May Allāh bless his soul and grant us benefit from his knowledge, lights and secrets.