Muhammad Yusuf b. Ahmad (1868-1933)

Popular Name(s): Tok Kenali

Origin:

Location(s):

Biographical Details: b. 1868, Kampung Kenali, Kubang Kerian, four miles from Kota Bharu. His father was a peasant farmer and died when he was 5 years old, after which he was cared for by his maternal grandfather, Che Salih (Tok Leh), who became his first teacher on how to recite al-Qur’an.  d. Sunday, 19 Nov 1933.

To continue his education in Kota Bharu, he walked four miles twice a day, everyday, so that he could attend sessions at Masjid Kota Bharu. He eventually went to Mecca in 1886, where he became Shaykh Ahmad al-Fatani’s star student. The latter took him to Cairo in 1903 to take note of Islamic education at al-Azhar, during which time he studied with Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abduh. He returned to Kelantan in 1908 and opened Pondok Tok Kenali, which was flourishing by 1910. In 1915, he moved to Kota Bharu, where he taught at Masjid Kota Bharu and at Pondok Kubang Pasu. He was a founding figure within the Majlis Ugama Islam Kelantan. In 1920, he returned to Kampung Kenali, where he continued teaching and supposedly drew as many as 300 students at a time from the peninsula, Indonesia (especially Sumatra), Patani, and Cambodia.

Teachers:

  1. Che Salih (Tok Leh)
  2. Haji Wan ‘Isma’il (Kota Bharu), whose son Nik Mahmud later became chief minister of the state.
  3. Haji ‘Ibrahim, at a pondok in Sungai Budur, Kota Bharu.
  4. Tok Wan ‘Ali Kutan (1837-1913), Kota Bharu
  5. Tuan Tabal (1840-93/4)
  6. Shaykh Nik Mat Kecik Patani (1844-1915)
  7. Haji Ahmad b. ‘Abd al-Karim al-Kalantani (fl. 1857-66)
  8. Tuan Guru Haji Ta’ib (known as Tuan Padang), who was from Padang, Sumatra, in Kota Bharu.
  9. Shaykh Ahmad b. Muhammad Zayn al-Fatani (1856-1908)
  10. Sayyid Muhammad Yusuf al-Nabhani (Beirut)
  11. He was taken by Shaykh Ahmad b. Muhammad Zayn al-Fatani to Egypt in 1903, to take note of Islamic education at al-Azhar and at other institutions in Cairo. While he was there, he studied with Shaykh Muhammad Abduh.

Students:

  1. Tuan Guru Haji ‘Abd Allah Tahir b. Haji Ahmad (1897-1961), founded Pondok Ahmadiyya, at Bunut Payong, Kota Bharu, in 1931.
  2. Tuan Guru Shaykh ‘Othman Jalal al-Din al-Kalantani (1867-1952), founded Madrasah Manabi‘ al-‘Ulum wa Matali‘an-Nujum, at Bukit Mertajam, Seberang Prai, Province Wellesley, in 1934; wrote Tasrif al-‘Arf.
  3. Tuan Guru Haji ‘Ali Salah al-Din b. Awang (1888-1968), founded Madrasah al-Falah, at Pulau Pisang, near Kota Bharu; co-translated a work with Haji As’ad b. Haji Da’ud (see below); wrote al-Durus al-Kenaliyyat al-Ibtida‘iyyah and other works.
  4. Haji As‘ad b. Haji Daud (1886-1941), co-translator with Tuan Guru Haji ‘Ali Salah al-Din b. Awang (see above) of the jurisprudential work of al-Umm by Imam al-Shafi‘i which was very influential in the development of religious education in Kelantan.
  5. Haji Ya‘qub Gajah Mati (1895-1956)
  6. Shaykh Muhammad ‘Idris al-Marbawi, who composed several well-known and influential Arabic-Malay dictionaries.
  7. Haji Ahmad b. ‘Isma’il, principal editor of al-Hedayah (1923-6), and later founder and editor of al-Hikmah (1934-41), translator and adaptor of numerous works from Arabic.
  8. Haji Hassan b. Haji Yunos (1907-aft. 1974), from Muar, later graduated with distinction from al-Azhar University in Cairo, becoming Assistant Mufti of Johor in 1940 and later Mufti.
  9. Haji Ahmad Mahir b. Haji ‘Isma’il (1910-68), Mufti of Kelantan (1951-68).
  10. Tok Pulau ‘Ubi (c. 1887-1957)
  11. Tok Lata (d. 1956)
  12. Haji Ahmad Batu Tiga (c. 1899-1978)

Writing(s):

References:

  1. Abdullah, Haji Wan Mohd. Shaghir. “Tuan Guru Tok Kenali Bersama Guru ke Mesir Permasalahan Khilafiah dan Sanggahan Kitab Mujarrab sebagai Karyanya,” Dakwah 14 (Dec 1991): 48-51.
  2. Salleh, Abdullah al-Qari b. Haji. Detik-detik Sejarah Hidup Tuk Kenali. Kuala Lumpur: al-Hidayah Publishers, 2006.
  3. ________. “To’ Kenali: His Life and Influence,” in Kelantan: Religion, Society and Politics in a Malay State, ed. William R. Roff, 87-100. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1974.
  4. Yacob, Yusoff Zaky. “Tok Kenali (1870-1933),” in Tokoh-tokoh Ulama’ Semenanjung Melayu, vol. 1, 3rd ed., 255-66. Kota Bharu: Majlis Ugama Islam dan Adat Istiadat Melayu Kelantan, 2001.
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