ABUYA ASHAARI MUHAMMAD: The Most Miraculous Leader of His Time

I present this book to the whole of Malaysia
A Land which God has ennobled with the resurgence of Islam
On your bosom
God and His Messenger have showered love
You have become a beautiful, peaceful and serene country
Albeit your multi-racial character
The loveliest in comparison with other ASEAN nations
Neither because of money
Nor for your citizens’ intelligence
But because on your physique
God has given life to His Envoy
Who bears the status of a reformer
A precursor of now veritable Imam al-Mahdi
His honour bestows Malaysia with its glory
The tsunami could not pulverize it
The devil is rendered helpless
God’s enemies, stupefied and frustrated
All forms of obstacles and barriers
Have been attempted in vain
Beloved Malaysia, ‘The Second Medina’
You have been chosen to recreate history
The Final Prophet, in the hands of his brother
Whom he called the Youth of Bani Tamim
To whom the Messenger of Allah arrives at and speaks to
Revealing guidance and news
On Malaysian soil
They plan the second resurgence
Without departure from the Quran and the Sunnah
In fact this is God’s Way
Of implementing the Quran and the Sunnah
For Malaysia to emerge as an Islamic state


One day the Messenger of Allah (PBUH: peace be upon him) asked his companions: “Which of God’s creatures possess the most amazing iman (faith)?”

“The Angels,” answered his companions.

“How would the Angels not have faith in Allah when they are always close to Him,” replied the Messenger in disagreement.

“The prophets,” answered the other companions.

“How would the prophets not have faith when words of God are revealed unto them?” the Messenger disagreed.

“We - your companions?” the companions suggested.

“How would you not have faith when I am always amidst you?” retorted the Messenger.

Finally the Messenger decreed: “The creatures with the most amazing iman are those who live after me. They have never met me but they declare faith in me. They love me more than they love their children and elders. They are my Ikhwan (Brothers). They read the Quran and are faithful to all its contents.”
(Related by Abu Ya’la)

“O Abu Bakr,” the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) asked, “Do you not long for my Ikhwan since they also love you because you are my companion?”
(Related by Ibnu Hajar Asqalani)

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) continued: “Good tidings for those who meet and declare faith in me. And sevenfold good tidings for those who declare faith in me but have never met me.”
(Related by Ahmad)

Let it be known to you, that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) longs for a tha’ifah (group) from amongst his ummah near the end of time; an ummah whose morals are akin to the prophets’ and who remain steadfast to the ways of the siddiqin (righteous). They are the strange ones among the general Muslim population.



Who is moving this hand to write. Write for us, O God, about someone because of whom we have reverted to care about You and pay attention to You. All this while, we have never heeded Your existence even though we believe in You, O God.

He has undergone numerous hardships in struggling to make us really feel we possess You, O Allah, O God. He says, acquiring God is the secret of happiness. In fact, for human beings, God is everything. Who acquires God will gain everything he needs in life. God is the supreme love, who has showered upon the mankind He created the greatest love. Whoever endeavours to reciprocate His love, will become a person to whom being poor or rich is just the same. Praised or vilified, he is unperturbed. Once he loves God, he no longer relies upon wealth and eulogies. He is not worried by poverty and humiliation. He fears only the censure from God, for fear of losing God. He no longer depends on the pride and pleasures of the world.

O Allah, he has divested loneliness in our lives, for now we possess God. We no longer fear our future for now we have God as a medium to hope for and to rely upon. Whatever suffering we go through hardly a problem for us, since we feel that it is by the Wisdom and Justice of God.
God plays a very important role in life. You are someone we could always talk to, a meaningful companion. You have become our target and priority in life, just as You taught us in our prayer, “That life and death is for none other than God, Ruler of the universe.”

He, O Allah, has successfully taught us to exalt You, until all other things are minute by comparison. Consequently our present lives are very much different from our past lives. Our thinking and emotional systems have undergone complete changes, for our core belief has been concentrated to God. Our belief had previously been based on ideologies, capitalism, politics, money and other worldly matters. We had never included God as our asset.

O God, we did not plan whatever systemic changes in ourselves. You have destined those changes to have occurred at the hands of Abuya Ashaari Muhammad. He is the father and mother of Muslims, not biologically, but spiritually. Biological parents beget, raise, feed, clothe and school their offspring. At school, he takes over the parental role to the human mind and spirit. He is the second parent to humans. He raises the human soul such that it is competent to undertake spiritual tasks. When a person comes to him, he enlightens the person’s soul by giving him God. The previously dormant soul is rejuvenated. The person’s biological parents were incapable of reviving an inactive soul. Only the spiritual parent knows how to do it. Such is the spiritual human that God has sent to the world.

O Allah, You realize that Abuya Ashaari Muhammad is every human’s need. You sent him to this world or such a mission. Allow us then to introduce him to Malaysia and the world. We are breaching Your trust if we hide him. Whereas by knowing him, men will gain God and be able to love and fear God.

O God, do open the path for him to be known. And teach us about him, for we are still ignorant about him. You are the One who knows him most, for You created him and allowed all sorts of miraculous happenings to take place in his life. In particular, he has the extraordinary capacity to intimately relate to You and to connect the hearts of others with God.

In this age, one is proud enough to be able to be close to the Prime Minister – deemed a remarkable achievement. What more if one can be close to Allah, the Emperor of the world and the Hereafter, Owner of the heavens and lands, Paradise and Hell. It is too astonishing a feat to be put into words. What strength does he possess such that he can accomplish such a feat?

Finally, if there is reward for this effort, O God, I plead that You grant it to Abuya, as an honorarium for his invaluably good deeds to us. Spread also the reward to all those who have done good to us, our parents and Muslim all over, whether still alive or not.

O Allah, please accept this effort as our servile worship to You. Do support us, for without Your support, this book will be capable of nothing for only You have effect on events. I seek from You o God, it is only to You that I utter my hopes. Please protect me so that I am shielded from pride and narcissism, with the outcome of this book. Ensure, O Allah, that my heart feels unworthy of this bounty. I fear of failing Your test, and failing to gain Your acceptance and love. And I fear of being thrown into the Hellfire which You have prepared! Amen.


Abuya Ashaari Muhammad is a Malaysian citizen with a very different life story from the others. Reading his biography, you will derive something beneficial for your life as well. Until today, his life has been full of lessons and guidance from Allah. Without the grace of Allah, none of those episodes would have taken place.
Let me list down 50 reasons why I say so:

1. One day in the 1980s, in Lembah Pantai mosque, Universiti Malaya, an elderly man in his eighties fell into Abuya’s lap after Isya’ prayers. People had filled in the mosque to listen to a lecture about to be given by Abuya Ashaari Muhammad. The elderly man was Embah Mahmud, who hailed from Johor.
With tears flowing down his cheek, he said, “I’ve been waiting and searching for you for 60 years. With God’s grace, now we’ve met.” His tears wet Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s shirt. The Embah said further, “When I was 20 years old, I was once in Embah Agung’s (Syeikh Suhaimi) function. He tapped my behind while uttering, “My struggle will be continued by somebody by the name of Ashaari bin Muhammad. You will soon meet him, Mud.”
Embah Mahmud continued, “I noted down what I heard then (the 1920s) and I wanted to prove it. Now it has been proven.”

2. On the day Abuya Ashaari Muhammad was born, his father dreamt of competing in a swimming race at sea against his newborn son. The son swiftly crossed the sea, leaving him behind. When the dream was related to his teacher, Kiyai Syahid, the Kiyai proclaimed, “Your son has a future. I name him Ashaari bin Muhammad.” (During registration, the name was spelt ‘Asaari bin Mohamad’).

3. At the age of 5 (in 1942), Abuya Ashaari Muhammad already had the desire to struggle for Islam and detested unIslamic practices. His residence was, nevertheless, far into the interior jungles in Pilin, Negeri Sembilan. It was the time of Japanese rule over Malaya. The environment was not logically conducive to desires to struggle for Islam, especially for a five-year old kid.

4. He was born from parents who both practised the tariqah founded by Syeikh Muhammad bin Abdullah as-Suhaimi. His paternal grandfather hailed from Yaman, of Bani Tamim blood. Coming from a lineage of awliya (saints), small wonder his heart and soul had loved Islam since his childhood.

5. Since his primary school days, without anybody’s urge, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad liked to wear a songkok (a Malay headgear). As he approached adolescence and adulthood, he never took off his turban wherever, whenever and with whomsoever he was.

6. At 13 years old, he was already a tariqah practitioner. He was initiated into the sufi order by his uncle, Syeikh (Lebai) Ibrahim, a pious and religious teacher in Pilin. So pious was Syeikh Ibrahim, that when the village hosted marriage feasts with dances such as ronggeng and joget, he would disappear from Pilin for one week, for fear of God’s wrath befalling the entire village. He refused to be part of the wrongdoing.

7. Abuya’s father, Muhammad bin Idris, was an English-educated customs officer whose character was that of an ulama. He studied under Kiyai Syahid, whose status was of a caliph in the Muhammadiah tariqah led by Sayyidi Syeikh Suhaimi. He was never indebted, never visited a hospital, and never spoke English despite his command of the language and being employed in the colonial administration. During childhood, in Segambut, the schoolboy Muhammad had an extraordinary experience. He was pronounced dead thrice, but on each occasion, as his body was shrouded and being ritually prepared for burial, he regained consciousness.

8. In 1954, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad moved from Segambut, Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Klang, Selangor. He stayed in the customs quarters with his father and stepmother. Abuya Ashaari Muhammad chose religious education at Maahad Hishamuddin, Klang, 7 miles from Kuala Klang, at a time when offspring of customs officers were known to enter English schools in Klang.

9. At 18, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad was asked to become a religious teacher in the customs madrasah, where he taught for 2 years. His father did not allow wages to be given to him.
10. In 1958-68, he joined the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS).He was also active in Jamiah Dakwatul Islamiyah for 4 years, in Ikhwan (Malaysia) for a year, in Jamaat Tabligh for a year, and was together with Anwar Ibrahim in ABIM, also for a year. He felt that all those Islamic organizations were unsuitable to his thought and emotions, so he left them all.

11. He visited various religious boarding schools (pondoks in Malaysia, pesantrens in Indonesia) in search of what he yearned, but to no avail.
12. During his youth, he researched into books about the Islamic struggle towards the end of time (when Muslims were distant from the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)). Abuya Ashaari Muhammad discovered 2 significant facts about the Islamic struggle:
a. Islam will reclaim its glory before the world ends.
b. The leader of such a resurgence will be Imam al-Mahdi, who inherits the character and struggle of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH).

13. Altogether, 9 teachers tutored him in the essentials of the Quran, Hadith and Arabic, as will be related in chapter 5. In his quest for knowledge, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad sought extra tutorials from his teachers. One of his tuition classes took place at 12 am. His tutor was the school inspector, Ustaz Haji Hakim Azhari, a well-known ulama of his time. The classes continued for 2 years.

14. To reach his school and tuition classes, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad cycled to and fro 7 miles per journey. If he returned home after morning school, he had to cycle the same distance for the second consecutive time. So he frequently rested at the mosque. He spent night time with his friends and straight went to school in the morning.

15. He was close to and loved by his stepmother, Zabedah. Abuya Ashaari Muhammad was called ‘Bedah’s maiden’ by the womenfolk in his residential customs quarters, because he was always willing to do household chores such as cooking, cleaning and ironing every morning. Before going to the prayer house to call out azan, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad would boil water first. Upon return from prayers, he prepares his beverage and then leaves for school. He often sleeps at the prayer house. Although there were girls of similar age with Abuya Ashaari Muhammad, his shyness overcame him and he never spoke with them. This attitude gained him their respect.

16. Although a son of a customs officer with a relatively comfortable living, his father trained him to feel poor outside.His monthly pocket money was only RM3.00. He maintained just two pairs of clothes and forsook teaching wages on the insistence of his father. Having been accustomed to poverty and hardship, Abuya endured incoming tribulations and became creative in the road to success.

17. Whilst active with PAS in Tanjung Karang, together with other members, he established an adult school, an Arabic school, a restaurant, a mini market and a bakery, whose bread was marketed to 17 places. Since such development was not in tandem with PAS’s central leadership, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad never received the necessary support he ought to have got.

18. He moved to teach in Dato’ Keramat, Kuala Lumpur. In Kuala Lumpur, he formed 17 PAS branches. At 27, he was appointed executive committee member of PAS’s Ulama Council and PAS Selangor.

19. At 31, he emerged as leader of Darul Arqam, after having searched in vain for the leader whom he sought and understood. His true alternative was Islam ala-Arqam, which promotes the Quranic and Sunnah system of life. This Islam would reclaim its Second Glory, led by Imam al-Mahdi. He hoped to found such a movement.

20. In his research via conversations with teachers and through an in-depth study of books, he found that Imam al-Mahdi was a man whom Allah temporarily ‘hid’ from public and material life, to be made to reappear in the manner of the Prophet Jesus (PBUH) ids made to re-emerge from his occultation. To Abuya Ashaari Muhammad, Imam a-Mahdi, whose name and parents’ name resemble those of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), is the sole personality able to Islamize the world in the example of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and the Rightly-Guided Caliphs. Without Imam al-Mahdi, no leader in the Islamic world has the capacity for such gigantic tasks.

21. He led Darul Arqam for 25 continuous years, without any change of leader. This is since his congregation has no elections and annual meetings. It not votes but hearts of his followers which legitimizes his leadership. No changeover of leadership occurs because none of his followers or students is willing or is capable of replacing him. Those who have tried to challenge his leadership, such as Akhbar Anang, Mokhtar Yaakob and Halim Abbas, effect their own downfall by doing so.

22. It has been destined by Allah SWT that Darul Arqam was destroyed by the government using the mechanism of the Internal Security Act (ISA). Abuya Ashaari Muhammad offered no challenge against the clampdown, but instead gave his cooperation. He was utterly convinced that God would test fighters for truth before granting them victory. Trials are intended to pardon past sins. Those who challenge the truth will ultimately be punished. 10 years after, Abuya was released from the ISA. In the meantime, under the auspices of a holding company - Rufaqa’ Corporation Sdn. Bhd., Abuya’s new congregation has become much better than Darul Arqam. The company was built during the time of Abuya Ashaari Muhammad detention under the Restricted Residence Order. ISA proved to be not as draconian as people imagined, for Abuya was allowed to revive his business organization. In fact, Abuya thanks the ISA, by whose process Abuya’s struggle has emerged faster. 10 years under ISA’s wings is not a significant loss for Abuya, for Allah has repaid the endurance by transforming Malaysia into an Islam Hadhari state.

23. Some former followers of Abuya Ashaari Muhammad have turned against Abuya ever since the banning of Darul Arqam. They wish to harm Abuya, but the opposite has occurred. Observers say, “Allah is with Abuya whenever his enemies attempt to destroy Abuya and his struggle. On the contrary, they spell out their own destruction, to the extent that they are incapable of feeding themselves.”

24. Those opponents actually wanted to erect a new congregation by pinching Abuya’s followers. The fact of the matter is that, such a task is beyond their capability. As Abuya’s congregation expands, they clash among themselves. Even their household affairs encounter numerous troubles, particularly polygamous marriages whose internal peace they could not maintain as when they were with Abuya.

25. Even further bewildering to Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s foes, at the time when they are incapable of erecting anything of repute, Abuya’s congregation continues to expand beyond Malaysian borders. Ironically, nobody hinders them from establishing anything. God’s will has truly taken place, man’s deeds are indeed powerless in effecting anything.

26. The reality of Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s mortal life is that he does not strive hard for it. Already 68 years old, he intermittently falls ill. He has no personal home, personal savings in the bank, personal property and personal vehicle. His activity revolves around transmitting thoughts and ideas and worshipping. Yet, his personal, family and congregational life seems so sumptuous. His standard of living approaches that of kings and sultans in the world. Allah reserves such bounties for those who are full-time in His way.

27. Under the ISA detention, the possibility of his congregation reviving was extremely slim. Yet, it did. Following his release from the ISA, God destined Abuya Ashaari Muhammad to contract serious illness, which would logically dampen his influence. As a matter of fact, to the amazement of observers, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s influence expanded here and abroad. This truly proves it is God’s will that gives effect, not human volition.

28. Dr. A. Tasman Ya’cub, lecturer at the Da’wah Faculty, State Institute of Islamic Studies (IAIN: Institut Agama Islam Negeri) Imam Bonjol, Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia, in March 2006 gained his Ph.D through his thesis Dakwah Islam Dalam Perspektif Ashaari Muhammad (Islamic Da’wah from the Perspective of Ashaari Muhammad). Several other scholars preceded him in their research on Abuya Ashaari Muhammad, among others:

i) Professor Muhammad Syukri Salleh, with his University of Oxford doctoral thesis published as An Islamic Approach to Rural Development - the Arqam Way (London, 1992).

ii) In 1994, Dr. Hendra Messa, from Bandung Technological Institute (ITB), produced his thesis entitled Perilaku Organisasi Mengenai Pendekatan Keagamaan (Islam) Dalam Pengelolaan Perusahaan Industri, Studi Kasus pada Al Arqam Group of Companies Malaysia.

iii) Dr. Asep Zaenal Ausop, from the State Islamic University (UIN) of Jakarta followed suit with his thesis, Ashaari Muhammad, Al Arqam, Ajarannya dan Gerakannya.

iv) Drs. Misri A. Muchsin, from IAIN Al Raniri, Banda Aceh, in 1995, did a thesis entitled Aspek Tareqat Dalam Pemikiran Darul Arqam, which compared sufi aspects in Darul Arqam’s thought with similar aspects found in tariqah Naqshabandiyah.

v) In 1998, Dr. Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid, from the Department of Politics, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, gained his doctoral degree with a thesis entitled Islamic Resurgence in the Periphery: A Study of Political Islam in Contemporary Malaysia with Special Reference to the Darul Arqam Movement 1968-1996.
So successful has been Abuya Ashaari Muhammad in attracting the intellectual community to conduct studies on him, although he himself lacks any formal qualifications. How has he accomplished this feat?

29. Together with him now in Rufaqa’, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad has managed to attract several academic doctors (PhD) and medical doctors to become his followers and students, among them:
1. Dr. Mahmood Al Marglani (PhD)
2. Dr. Md. Noh Jalil (PhD)
3. Associate Professor Fadhil Osman (PhD)
4. Dr. Gina Puspita (PhD)
5. Dr. A Tasman Ya’cub (PhD)
6. Dr. Ing. Abdurrahman R. Effendi (PhD)
7. Dr. Noraini Abdur Rahman (PhD)
8. Dr. Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid (PhD)
9. Professor Muhammad Syukri Salleh (PhD)
10. Dr. Rohaya Dato’ Mohd (MD)
11. Dr. Fathoni bin Saidi (MD-Vetrinary)
12. Dr. Nawal (MD)
13. Dr. Yusri (MD)
14. Mejar Dr. Abdul Hamid Sujak (MD)
15. Mejar Dr. Yusof Abu Bakar (MD)
16. Dr. Azlina Jamaluddin (MD-Dental)
17. Dr. Ainun Idris (MD-Dental)
18. Dr. Norliah Mohd Noor (MD)
19. Dr. Siti Rafeah (MD)
20. Dr. Johari Haris (MD-Dental)
21. Dr. Hanif Abdul Rahman (MD)
22. Dr. Abdul Rahim Tahir (MD-cardiologist)
23. Dr. Rahida (MD-anesthetist)

30. Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s guests are not to be taken for granted. They come not only from Malaysia but also from as far as United Kingdom, France, Germany, Morocco, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore dan Brunei. Included among their ranks are university rectors, engineers, corporate figures, tariqah leaders, ulama, politicians, army generals, royal families, etc. They visit Abuya in groups or individually. This can never happen to an ordinary person, but Allah has made it a reality for Abuya. Among the guests:
From Egypt:
1. Dr Ali Muthawwi, lecturer of Al Azhar University, Cairo
2. Dr Abd Rahman Al ‘Adawy, lecturer of Al Azhar University, Cairo
3. Dr Abd Jawwad Khalaf Abdul Jawwad, Universiti Dirasat Islam principal
4. Amir Fahd, Syeikh of the Dandarawiyah tariqah

From Jordan:
1. Dr Syeikh Noh, Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs
2. Dr Hishamuddin Sultan At-Tamimi, Deputy Rector of Al Bayt University
3. Dr Badar, corporate figure
4. Dr Abu Mush’ab, corporate land developer
5. Dr Abdul Salaan ‘Abbady, Rector of Al Bayt University
6. Dr Adam Noh, lecturer of Yarmouk University

From Morocco:
1. Dr Abdussalam Harras, head of North African Ulama Confederation
2. Dr Abdullah Kanun
3. Syeikh Al ‘Iraqi

From Syria:
1. Dr Solahuddin Al Kaftaru, President of Kaftaru Foundation
2. Dr Badi’ul, university lecturer
3. Dr Hasan Bugha, university lecturer

31. We Muslims near the end of time have been blessed by the gift of a Prophet and Messenger who need not have the ability to read and write in order to master knowledge. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was bestowed with a heart which was capable of deriving knowledge direct from God, via the Angel Gabriel, foregoing the process of reading and writing. The Arabic, Roman and Persian literary world was astounded when a man hailing from a community of illiterates emerged as the most intelligent of humans. God’s will made the man. So is the case with Abuya Ashaari Muhammad. Ridiculed by the scholars of his era as lacking authority in knowledge, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad has now emerged as a global writer and scholar. The knowledge derived from him is immense in value and covers all aspects of life. The knowledge is not left on bookshelves for references, but is externalized as a systemic way of life practised by him and his followers. Hundreds of Abuya’s lectures have been compiled in many books, not to mention thousands of poems and adages.
True, some of his books have been banned, but only out of political motives. Intellectually, Abuya’s knowledge has been acknowledged by the official community of scholars. Dr. Tasman Ya’cub’s thesis, Dakwah Islam Dalam Perspektif Ashaari Muhammad, for example, was examined by 7 famous Indonesian scholars. For 7 hours of the viva, they bombarded Dr. Tasman with provocative questions about Abuya, before passing him. The viva panel was composed of:
i) Dr. Hidayat Nurwahid, head of the People’s Consultative Council (MPR: Majlis Permesyuaratan Rakyat) of the Republic of Indonesia.
ii) Prof. Dr. Bambang Pranowo, staff member of the Ministry of Defence and Peace of the Republic of Indonesia.
iii) Prof. Dr. Azyumardi Azra, Rector of the State University of Islamic Studies (UIN: Universitas Islam Negeri) Syarif Hidayatullah, Jakarta.
iv) Prof. Dr. Kamarudin Hidayat, Director of Postgraduate Studies, UIN Syarif Hidayatullah, Jakarta.
v) Prof. Dr. HM Yunan Yusuf, Dean of the Faculty of Da’wah and Communications, UIN Syarif Hidayatullah, Jakarta.
vi) Dr. A. Wahib Muthi, Senior Lecturer of the Faculty of Da’wah and Communications, UIN Syarif Hidayatullah, Jakarta.
vii) Prof. Dr. Badri Yatim, Dean of the Faculty of Morals and Humanities, UIN Syarif Hidayatullah, Jakarta.
Dr. Tasman wept upon being told of that his thesis had passed all the examiners’ requirements. The announcement took him by surprise, having been entangled into heated arguments with the viva panel concerning the political controversy surrounding Abuya Ashaari Muhammad. At the scholarly level, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad has been found innocent of wrongdoings. His apparent crime was in challenging the political establishment by erecting an increasingly influential ‘system within a system’. Dr. Tasman was proud that the figure he wrote about, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad, was recognized by scholars with doctoral qualifications, whereas as far as he knew, the ulama who pronounced him deviant and banned his teachings possessed no higher degree qualification.

32. From the knowledge tipped into his heart, combined with his strength in worship and his taqwa, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad now has 700 networks of projects based on the Islamic way of life. This business model, based on God as the capital, is now being disseminated throughout the world via Rufaqa’’s branches in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Jordan, Syria, France, Germany dan Egypt.

33. Abuya Ashaari Muhammad is seen as wealthy, yet he is eligible to be categorised as poor. Without any fixed income, he qualifies to a recipient of zakah (the obligatory alms). He is poor but rich, and rich but poor. Islam produces such a character which gains security in the world and salvation in the hereafter. The wealthy entity is his congregation, not his individual self. Such wealth can be shared with society.

34. His admirers love him to the extreme, while those who hate him regard him as an abomination. People love him so much that they are willing to sacrifice their wealth and lives to assist his struggle. Such commitment enables Abuya Ashaari Muhammad to expand his congregation without relying on bank or other loans. His followers display extraordinary loyalty such that all his instructions are dutifully implemented.
On the other hand, those who loathe Abuya could not control themselves to the extent of harming him and his followers with black magic. God has allowed this to happen in order to expose His enemies and opponents. They ought to evaluate themselves, after the disbandment of Abuya’s congregation, have they succeeded in erecting a better alternative congregation, for the sake of Islam, the Malay-Muslims and the Islamic state?

35. Some people resent Abuya’s propensity for predictions. “Why stand by prognostications?” they question. Let us think this way:
In Islam, for the faithful who remain steadfast in their testimonies of fealty to Allah and his Messenger (PBUH), God bestows upon them spiritual gifts in the form of:
i) Genuine dreams.
ii) A heart which penetrates into the unseen.
iii) Obtaining otherworldly news (events which have not taken place but will happen) via spiritual mechanisms such as intuition, yaqazah dan dreams.
Such spiritual experiences follow the example of what had happened to prophets, messengers and saints. Upon reading history, we can see how God has assisted the fighters of truth by delivering information about the future. But be alert, this is different from the prophecies of Nostradamus and similar soothsayers, who derive knowledge about the future from the devil, part of whose vocation is to purloin news items from the heavens.
Abuya Ashaari Muhammad is among those blessed with this spiritual reading of the future. We are fortunate to be able to derive benefit from it. Among events foretold to him by God, concerning Malaysia, and which have occurred, are:
i) The downfall of Anwar Ibrahim in 1998, the end of Mahathir’s era in disgrace.
ii) The economic downturn of 1997-98.
iii) The weakening of the USA until a stage of paralysis, followed by Islam’s reclaiming its glory after a disastrous Gulf War.
As such, let us focus our attention to events which have been foretold to him but have yet to take place:
i) Malaysia will become an Islamic state but ruled by a non-politician.
ii) Asian nations will unite with Malaysia, helping the cause of the Islamic state.
iii) The global Islamic resurgence, towards the formation of the second ummah, will begin from Malaysia.
iv) Imam al-Mahdi will appear in Mecca.
v) Malay-Muslims will dominate Palestine and Al-Aqsa mosque.

36. Abuya is utterly convinced of God’s profuse role in assisting the resurgence of Islam. As such, Abuya established his struggle truly based on divine capital. He has proven that if a truth seeker is willing to improve himself by inculcating taqwa, night prayers, repentance, penitence in the form of charity, love and care, remembrances of God and supplication, God will live up to His promise.

37. Until now, the global knowledge and Islamic systems of life founded by Abuya Ashaari Muhammad are a/an:
a) System of theological belief (aqidah) implanted in his followers.
b) System of worship and morality in life.
c) System of family build-up, big and small. Families practise polygamy and do not fear raising many offspring.
d) System of education at the level of senior citizens, adults, adolescents and children.
e) Social system in the family, congregation and society.
f) Financial system which discards usury and other forms of chicanery.
g) Economic system which upholds morality and protection.
h) Cultural system which educates and entertains.
i) Agricultural and farming system.
j) Publication system which is God-oriented.
k) Material development system which is fast and cheap.
l) Marriage system which is not burdensome.
m) Production system which is simple.
n) System of international relations which is acceptable to non-Muslims.
o) Missionary, motivational and counseling system which is free and attractive enough for non-Muslims to embrace Islam, such as from Sabah, Thailand, China, Uzbekistan and the Philippines.
p) Welfare distribution system.
q) System of cleanliness and health which adheres to God’s requirements and standards.
r) System of disinterested sacrifice for the struggle.
s) System of love, care and unity tied by the unity of hearts.

38. Abuya’s congregation and his struggle are not for the sole consumption of Malaysians, Malay-Muslims or even Rufaqa’ members. In the name of Allah and his Messenger (PBUH), Abuya has gained acceptance within UMNO, PAS, Keadilan, Chinese, Indian and other circles. Diverse groups could unite in Abuya’s function or congregation. Abuya has even established seemingly familial relations with Sarawakians, Australians, Jordanians, the French and other nationalities. The capacity to unite the motley groups is no mean achievement. At a time when even members of the same family are in conflict with one another, the ability to unite diverse groups is truly a gift from God who has previously endowed the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with such capacity.

39. A lot of personalities, leaders, entrepreneurs, millionaires, scholars, literary figures and cultural enthusiasts have experienced material development taking place in their hands. But Abuya has opened townships which are different from other manifestations of material development. In these townships, systems of life are integrated with the Divine and the Hereafter in a delicate balancing measure. In other words, Abuya has developed the material and spiritual entities simultaneously. Despite being relatively small in size, his model of material development should be an object of emulation by all shades of people. Integrating the material with the spiritual in one self towards the creation of a virtuous, lofty and practical personality is an arduous task which Allah has entrusted not to philosophers and worldly figures, but rather to His chosen messengers and reformers.

40. A characteristic of a reformer is that he could not be obstructed by his opponents. Some assumed that Abuya had failed and would fail upon his arrest and punishment after the banning of Darul Arqam. In actual fact, the history of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) displays similar episodes:
i) Muslims were besieged in Bani Syuaib for 3 years.
ii) During the Migration (Hijrah), the remaining Muslims in Mecca were in desolate conditions.
iii) During the Hudaibiyyah Treaty, the Messenger of Allah’s (PBUH) team was apparently outmanoeuvred.
iv) During wartime, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) suffered from broken teeth and bruises.
What is meant by ‘he could not be obstructed’ is that he can by-pass all obstacles until ultimately his struggle conditions the environment.

41. The basis for the amazing features in his congregation is Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s own amazing character. At a time when God has been forgotten due to too much love of the world, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad installs God as the object of his greatest love. The greatest love is from God and for God. In other words, his life and death is solely for God. His schedule and programme are meant to be as a full-time servant of God - Allah, Creator of the Universe.

42. In proving his love for the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), Abuya Ashaari Muhammad practises polygamous marriages to raise Muslim numbers. An extremely difficult task, not many men is courageous enough to practise polygamy openly and bear a great number of children. He proves this not only for himself, but his adult children follow in his example. 13 of them are involved in polygamous marriages, bringing the number of his extended family, comprising wives, children, sons and daughters-in-law and grandchildren to over 200. All of them remain steadfast members of his congregation. Not one of his offspring has deserted his struggle. This lifestyle is emulated by his followers.

43. His love affair with God can be seen in 2 avenues:
i) He exerts himself to the maximum in promoting God.
ii) He exalts God and puts priority on God’s wishes in matters of worship and morality.

44. Those who belittle him bring no argument. Their worship of God remains left to be desired. Abuya Ashaari Muhammad displays a far nobler character because he implements teachings from the Quran and Sunnah. Scriptural evidence is not for blind memorization but to be practised in life, while worship is for the purpose of gaining taqwa to Allah. If the heart is full of fear and love of God, is that not the biggest of worship?

45. That Abuya is absorbed with Allah and his Messenger is observable from his moral conduct, i.e. he is cautious in consuming worldly pleasures, patient, brave, generous, affectionate, in constant submission to God, humble, forgiving, shy, respectful of guests, responsible to neighbours and those below him, and frequently visits acquaintances. He feels embarrassed wearing trousers without a sarong, as this would expose the shape of his body. He prays goodness for his enemies. He upholds truth in the face of secular authorities. People say that he derives worldly gains from his followers, when the truth is that he is willing to impoverish himself so as to share prosperity with his followers.

46. Various virtuous attributes are gathered in his personality, that of: a responsible husband, a charismatic leader, an exemplary teacher, a prudent father, a loyal companion, a caring mother, a place to refer and to seek advice. Abuya Ashaari Muhammad makes himself the focus of anybody seeking help. His acquaintances will readily identify him as a mother, a father, a teacher, a leader, a companion, and a husband very much loved by his wives.

47. He has possessed all forms of prosperity and experienced all sorts of hardship, perhaps the most grueling ones of this age. His life improves gradually, with no great leap forward. All models of vehicles have been used by him, from the very basic to the very sophisticated one. Various types of residential homes has he lived in, from the very humble to the very modern kind. He has mixed with all kinds of people, from those at the bottom rung of society to those at the upper echelons of the social ladder. God has truly enriched Abuya Ashaari Muhammad.

48. He has been blessed with the opportunity travel ¾ of the world to familiarize himself with other communities in the world. For years he stayed overseas until he mastered the attitudes, cultures, religions, societies and leaders of peoples in other parts of the world.

49. Six eminent foreign ulama presently support his struggle: 2 in Turkey, 1 in Iraq, 1 in Medina, 1 in Morocco, 1 in Jordan. All of them are leaders with huge following, some reaching millions in number. They are, respectively, Syeikh Mahmood and Syeikh Haidar, Syeikh Abdul Jabbar, Sidi Abdul Nasir, Sidi Dr. Abdussalam Harras and Syeikh Abu Khalid Syammar.

50. In his programme and strategy to reclaim the world for Islam, Imam al-Mahdi; according to Abuya Ashaari Muhammad, is building its foundation using the hands of his right-hand man, Al Fata at-Tamimi. Abuya is convinced that he is the person concerned. However, anyone is free to try to qualify himself as Al Fata at-Tamimi until Allah confirms the appointment. Society was bewildered by this stance. Some accused Abuya of exploiting opportunities for personal gain. To these allegations, Abuya replied, “Am I not embarrassed to be making such claims if they are unfounded? If Allah sends His emissaries to the world, He proclaims to them: “You are my representatives.” This heart of mine has been motivated to reveal the truth to the world.”

Whatever, let us be patient in together witnessing the extent of the veracity of his claims, and to see if in his lifetime whether he manages to procure the promised Islamic state or not.


Related by Zaleha Mohamad, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s half-sister (with a different mother), that on 30th October 1937, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s birthday, his father dreamt while sleeping, during his night shift, on his chair in the customs office, Lubok Cina. Feeling that the dream had a subtle meaning to it, upon leaving his office at 1 a.m., he did not cycle straight home but instead stopped at the prayer house of his spiritual mentor, Kiyai Syahid, to wait for fajr prayers and ask him about the dream.

After fajr prayers, he met Kiyai Syahid and related his dream to this caliph of Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi’s congregation: “I saw in my dream, an infant – my own son, involved in a swimming race against me in a wide ocean. My son swam swiftly past the sea; I could not catch after him.”
Kiyai Syahid responded: “Actually your wife Maimunah has given birth to a baby boy when you were at office last night. Name him Ashaari bin Muhammad.”

Kiyai Syahid was an ulama of Indonesian origin. He studied under a devout teacher whose finger glowed with light when he was writing. Upon emigrating to Malaysia (then Malaya), he met Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi, and became his student and servant for 20 years.

For a man with such wide knowledge, Kiyai Syahid was paradoxically sent for religious duty by Syeikh Suhaimi to the interior village of Kampung Pilin in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan. Together with his brother-in-law Lebai Ibrahim (Kiyai Syahid married his younger sister), he moved to Pilin. The Muhammadiah congregation was thus established in the middle of the jungles, most of whose residents were Malays whose lives were no different from those of primitive aborigines. They neglected prayers and were poor.

In accordance with Kiyai Syahid’s master plan, Muhammad and Maimunah were married off in Pilin. Originally from Segambut, Muhammad had transferred his place of occupation to Lubok Cina. He chose Kiyai Syahid as his spiritual mentor and settled down in Pilin. Lebai Ibrahim had a younger sister, Maimunah, who had just been widowed by her husband’s death. She had 2 children and stayed in Malacca. They were Syeikh Suhaimi’s cousins. In her younger days, Maimunah shared the same household in Klang with Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi, who frequently prayed that she would beget someone who would continue his struggle. Sayidi had once told his followers, there would appear from the lineage of his family somebody to carry on his struggle. Lebai Ibrahim had summoned Maimunah to Pilin upon Kiyai Syahid’s agreement that she be wedded to Muhammad.

When Kiyai Syahid proposed to Muhammad that he marry Maimunah, the widow with 2 children, Muhammad was taken by surprise, remembering his father’s (also a student of Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi) advice since his adolescence, “Mad, later when you want to get married, find someone from Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi’s lineage.”
Muhammad fulfilled Kiyai Syahid’s hope in memory of his father’s advice. As a customs officer at that time, it was not difficult for Muhammad to propose marriage to any maiden. After the wedding, Muhammad was again surprised by the sight of his wife, whom he had previously seen in a dream.

As Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s father related further to Zaleha, the impending birth of someone by the name of Ashaari bin Muhammad had for some time been the talk among members of the Muhammadiah congregation in Pilin. Kiyai Syahid had himself heard from Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi (Kiyai Agung), before the latter’s occultation, that his struggle would persist at the hands of one ‘Ashaari bin Muhammad’. Upon hearing the news of Maimunah’s pregnancy, the birth of Muhammad’s children became an awaited event.

This history becomes more interesting considering that, pregnant also at the same time was the wife of another Muhammad, Maimunah’s own brother who resided in Lubok Cina. Which child from which Muhammad would emerge as the ‘Ashaari bin Muhammad’ – Maimunah’s or her brother’s? This issue became the subject of intense speculation.

Maimunah’s husband’s dream eventually became the decisive factor. Kiyai Syahid decided that Maimunah’s son would be the sought-after ‘Ashaari’. When Muhammad’s son – child of Maimunah’s brother, was born, Kiyai Syahid named him ‘Abdul Wahab’. Abdul Wahab was Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s cousin who eventually became his brother-in –law by marrying Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s younger sister.

Abdul Wahab has related, from his father, that Kiyai Syahid originally named him ‘Haris’, in the hope that he would become Haris Harras – the figure mentioned in hadiths as “the man behind the river”, who will become an assistant of the Prince of Bani Tamim. His house had, co-incidentally, a river behind it. But because he was not to be Haris Harras, he was constantly struck by illness and had his name changed to ‘Abdul Wahab’.

This history had been the subject of conversation among contemporaries of the afore-mentioned characters. Pilin was like an institution or a planning centre which created and moulded the early phases of an Islamic struggle mentioned in the hadiths. These anecdotes ought to have disappeared with the demise of their characters. Ironically, the narratives were passed on from generation to generation and remain relevant to this day.

The above history was concealed from Abuya by whoever was entrusted with his guardianship. One day, when he had reached 47 tears old, Abuya was accosted by Embah Mahmud, not known to him before, at Lembah Pantai Mosque, Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. After Isya’ prayers, amidst a gathering of people who were preparing themselves to listen to Abuya’s lecture, an elderly man buried his face into Abuya’s lap for 10 minutes while crying profusely. Embarrassed by the public outburst of emotion, Abuya asked Embah to wait until after the lecture programme.

Immediately after the lecture, Embah related in a face-to-face conversation with Abuya, “I have been searching for you for 60 years. When you were in PAS, I saw that you were pursuing the struggle via politics, not via a tariqah congregation. I queried about this to Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi from behind the scenes. He replied, “Wait further.”

So I waited and continued my search until I reached 80 years old. A waiting period which lasted 60 years. Today is historic for me, for my 60-year quest has ended. Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi’s disclosure 60 years ago that his struggle would be continued by Ashaari Muhammad has been verified.”

Abuya asked about the origins of the story, so the Embah explained: “60 years ago in Johore, I was in Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi’s function together with 9 others. Everyone around was old, I was the youngest at 20 years old. One person asked Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi, “Is it true that you are the Imam al-Mahdi?” Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi meditated for 15 minutes, then raised his head and answered, “Yes, I am the Imam al-Mahdi.”

At that time, Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi had aroused suspicion of the colonial authorities due to his influence and strength in Malaya, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei. The gathering thought how to save Sayidi from being killed by the British. Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi responded, “By the will of Allah, I will be made to disappear by Allah. If I vanish without trace, problems would arise since I am well-known. So Allah will allow me to be seen as if I had died, although in actual fact, I shall be in state of occultation.”

Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi continued, “My congregation would become like chicks in loss of their mother hen, but it will be revived by a person by the name of Ashaari Muhammad.” While disclosing the name, Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi tapped Embah Mahmud’s shoulder, saying, “You will meet him, Mud.”

So significant was the meeting and Sayidi’s words that Embah Mahmud noted them down and endeavoured to prove its veracity. On that very day, in the 1980s, they became reality.
Abuya and Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi have never met physically. Strangely, the struggle pursued by one exactly resembles the other. Nobody had taught Abuya about the methods of struggle to be chosen. The truth of the whole story becomes clear.

As Embah Mahmud relates, what Abuya does is a carbon copy of what Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi did, that is, to uphold Islam via the concept of a congregation. He did not pursue Islam in the mould of a madrasah, pondok, pesantren, political parties or Islamic organizations. And not in the manner of a mosque congregation or the Jamaat Tabligh.

His congregation is markedly different from the others. I dare to say that he has successfully emulated the methods of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), starting from his individual entity, then gathering slowly membership of his congregation. He emerges as a teacher and leader without relying on approval from a general assembly or other people’s invitation, for people flock to him not merely to join in any social organization but instead to improve themselves. Such is the knowledge about his ability.

He persuades the entire family of the individual concerned to improve themselves until they become a family which practises the Islamic way of life. When several families are gathered together, an Islamic congregation is formed. The members gather and implement Islamic activities not only in schools, pondoks, or offices, but also in residential complexes and in mundane routine affairs. All are implemented on the basis of the Quran and Sunnah. A comprehensive form of Islam is striven for in one’s family, community and daily life.

As a result of lessons which they uindergo, they improve themselves and concomitantly begin practical steps towards implementing Islam in all aspects of their personal and family lives. This is the congregation in which Sayidi teaches Abuya from behind the scenes (without physical encounters) in order to bequeath his struggle.

The narrative above is encapsulated in the signs that Allah SWT had destined through Abuya’s father’s dream, on Abuya’s birthday. He was a baby who commanded the sea whereas his father had failed to do so. Humans are helpless to conquer the sea if they rely on purely physical strength. They need spiritual strength. As vast as the ocean, the repository of knowledge can only be gathered with God’s backing via spiritual nourishment. If the ocean is comparable to wealth, those in possession of all the treasures beneath the seabed must be those with taqwa, such as the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and the Rightly Guided Caliphs, with Divine Help. Comparing the ocean with a fighting arena, it is impossible for ordinary Muslims to control and win events, unless they are Muslims sustained by Allah and His Messenger (PBUH).
Such was how God introduced Abuya Ashaari Muhammad to the world on his day of birth.


Abuya Ashaari Muhammad lived within surroundings in which life was onerous. But his early family life was not too strenuous. Those were wartime years, around 1942-1945. Malaya was under Japanese occupation. In 1945, the British defeated Japan and recolonised Malaya. During Japanese rule, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s father was appointed a rice clerk in Lubok Cina. When the British returned, he became a customs officer again. The colonial powers fought each other for authority, while indigenous sons and daughters became their victims.

More difficulties befell Abuya Ashaari Muhammad with the passing away of his mother and of Kiyai Syahid during Japanese rule. He grew up without attention from a mother and father (he seldom met his father who was at work early in the morning and came back home only late at night), thus his spirit and thinking differed greatly from those who grew up with full parental attention.

Abuya Ashaari Muhammad related that he did not like to come home after school for, unlike other children, there was no mother and father to comfort him. He spent his time playing near the river and at other locations. An orphan’s heart was often sad, his behaviour became tough and difficult to fathom. The numerous hardships experienced by him had a deep impact on his character. This can be understood by reading with care the following poem by Abuya Ashaari Muhammad:

My Hardship

Hardship in my younger days
Introduced me to the meaning of suffering
Such that I cannot hear of anyone suffering
I am inclined to help them
My mother’s death when I was a kid
Made me realize how sad it was to be motherless
I therefore sympathize with orphans
I wish I can entertain them
And make them happy
Hardship in my life
In all aspects of experiences
In the consumption of food and beverages
In my place of residence, in the clothes I wear
Made me sensitive to the suffering of others
Experiences in life
Gave me many lessons and guidance
Raised my consciousness and guilt
Very useful for the future struggle
Those are the benefits of higher education having eluded me
Due to hardship and persistent obstacles
But I had the opportunity to learn from life
From here I derive knowledge and experience
Night time, 20th October 2002

One day, as the day approached twilight, he sulked and ran away into the jungles for fear of being scolded. Amidst the darkness of night, his father searched for him, calling out his name to coax him to come home.

The event forced his father to transfer the guardianship of Abuya Ashaari Muhammad to his uncle, Lebai Ibrahim. Since Wak Ibrahim and Wak Imai had no children of their own, they were happy to accept Abuya Ashaari Muhammad and his sister Syarifah to be taken care of.
His was then between 6 to 8 years old. In difficult conditions, he had to take care of his sister, to boot. He cooked, carried water from the neighbour’s well, tended the surroundings and sewed for himself torn garment. Abuya Ashaari Muhammad related how he slept at night at the verandah, accompanied by palm-leaf walls and a smelly pillow. It was very easy for a tiger passing by to grab him and drag him below the house. A tiger once gave birth to 2 cubs behind Kiyai Syahid’s home when the 4-year old Abuya was staying there.

Hardship is a good teacher. Abuya Ashaari Muhammad was guided to realize his follies and take responsibility for them. Allah does not do anything useless to His servants, especially to special ones.

Within terrible surroundings, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad emerged into the world with a spirit which craved for Islam, in the middle of a religious family. All his family members were observant of the daily prayers. How far hardship and sadness struck him, he did not become spiritually vacuous. His spirit had been supplied with the burning desire to struggle for Islam. The spirit had been nourished by Kiyai Syahid, in whose home he resided upon his return from Pangkor island. In 1938, his father brought his wife and children to Pangkor to work as a customs officer under the British administration. During Japanese rule from 1942 till 1945, they returned to Pilin and stayed in Kiyai Syahid’s house.

Abuya was actually a war refugee in Pangkor island. On the day he left Pangkor, immediately after stepping on mainland Peninsular Malaya, Pangkor was bombed. As soon as he reached Pilin, the port of disembarkation was bombed. Having safely reached Pilin, Kiyai Syahid greeted the five-year old Abuya with tenderness and gratefulness.

Playing in the fields within or outside the school compound, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad was fond of organizing war front lines. A group pretended to be Imam al-Mahdi’s army, another group became the enemy. Abuya Ashaari Muhammad will lead soldiers on Imam al-Mahdi’s side. A tight war would take place amidst the trees in Kampung Pilin; the fighters using pistols made from bamboo sticks and bullets from seeds.

Why Imam al-Mahdi?

Actually, in Malaya, in the 1940s to 1960s, the subject of Imam al-Mahdi was a general topic of conversation, but it was especially popular at centres of Sunni teaching. The hub was Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi’s place. From his students, the word spread around on the imminent emergence of Imam al-Mahdi.

Abuya Ashaari Muhammad related that around the 1940s until 1950s, during Abuya’s childhood, he often heard the elders at Pilin prayer house talking about how Imam al-Mahdi would arrive to Islamize the world how the Prophet Jesus (PBUH) would kill the Antichrist.
Abuya further related, in those days, sermons in mosques would pray for the Othmaniah Turkish government which had been toppled by the modernist movement. It was then that Abuya learned about Turkey, whose last ruler was Sultan Abdul Hamid. Amidst British colonial rule in Malaya, Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi successfully enlivened the talk about Islam being glorified again the second time on a global scale. At the same time, the Wahhabis, after which the modernist school of Islam had come to be known, conquered Mecca from the hands of the Othmaniah government. Islamic ambitions were ignited so that Muslims would revive and struggle for Islam at the state and global level under the leadership of Imam al-Mahdi.
According to Abuya, Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi’s struggle, which was founded in Klang, Selangor, was in actual fact the struggle of a reformer of the 13th century. He had successfully preserved the true understanding of Islam, shielding it from corrupting influence of the colonial power. By relying on the concept of congregation and not pesantren, he circumvented the colonial efforts to destroy the true Islamic struggle.

Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi nurtured 40 representatives, called caliphs, to oversee branches all over Asia, in what was truly a congregation of the Ikhwan (Brothers). A member of his congregation was known as a ‘brother’. At first it was thought that Allah’s promise, that Islam would be glorified the second time, would be realized in his hands. He himself had imagined having to go through the process of occultation. When the colonial administration became very threatening, Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi, who possessed the traits and features of Imam al-Mahdi, disappeared in the manner of the Prophet Jesus’s (PBUH) occultation. It was not until 60 years later that the Islamic resurgence would be really felt and his congregation would be emulated by Abuya Ashaari Muhammad.

His caliphs had delivered the message of Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi’s struggle straight into Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s hands. It was a good passing of batons which evaded the barriers set up by the colonialists. God had destined that Sayidi’s message safely reached through into Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s hands.

Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s spirit had been nourished with ambitions of the Islamic struggle. At five years old, Abuya Ashaari Muhammad had already been talking about Islam. According to Kiyai Syahid’s daughter-in-law, Fatimah (Syuhud’s wife), in Pilin, since a child, if asked which school he would like to go to, Wak-i (Abuya’s nickname among Pilin locals) would answer “Islamic school.” Yet in Pilin at that time there was no Islamic school. This shows that Abuya Ashaari Muhammad was born with an Islamic heart and faith. In addition, his early education was immensely effective in moulding his heart and mind.

His internal fighting spirit had consistently been aglow, to the extent that the sight of a non-Muslim in Pilin was troubling to him. Abuya Ashaari Muhammad had the effrontery to pinch a Chinese kid being carried by his mother. At that time, Abuya was himself a kid, still immature mentally. Motivated by his premature fighting spirit, he catapulted stray Chinese dogs and pigs.
When Soekarno presided over Indonesia, his voice vehemently challenged the USA. As told by Abuya Ashaari Muhammad, every time Indonesia celebrated its independence (on 17th August every year), he will play truant from school so that he could listen to Soekarno’s speech broadcast over Radio Indonesia. Abuya Ashaari Muhammad would go to the only shop in Pilin which had a radio and listen attentively with the village elders. Following Soekarno’s speech, he would memorize and act as if he was giving the speech.

His prodigious ambition was not to be taken for granted. At Pilin prayer house, Monday and Thursday nights were filled with tahlil (gathering of remembrances of Allah) and religious feasts. Covering himself with a sarong, he would lie down whilst listening to the elders chatting about Imam al-Mahdi’s struggle. Other children dashed home after having their food, but Abuya Ashaari Muhammad showed an extraordinary interest in listening to the elders’ conversation led by Lebai Ibrahim. They would remain in the prayer house until dawn.

Abuya related that it was the style of Sayidi’s people to open up interesting stories from midnight until dawn. Abuya Ashaari Muhammad would fix his ears to listen to such ‘midnight stories’. People would think he was asleep. He actually pretended to be asleep for he was embarrassed to be among the elders.

It was here that Abuya Ashaari Muhammad derived early information about the struggle towards the end of time. Pilin recruited Abuya Ashaari Muhammad as a lifelong fighter of Imam al-Mahdi. Abuya Ashaari Muhammad had heard the history of Imam al-Ghazali with Imam Az-Zahum when he was 6 years old, but it has remained intact in his memory. In his youth, Abuya fervently disagreed with Hassan Bandung’s movement which disdained Imam al-Ghazali, but at that time Abuya was still untrained in the art of argumentation.

I once asked Ashaari Muhammad, might not Abuya’s mind, which had been invariably full of pro-Mahdist ambitions, have been the result of indoctrination from the environment of the Pilin community then? Moreover, Abuya’s reading was limited to the traditional ‘yellow books’ which stored such messianic information.

His answer was: “Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi sent Kiyai Syahid to the isolated village of Pilin as part of his plan to create an environment favouring Imam al-Mahdi. For what? To educate a child by the name of Ashaari bin Muhammad, so that Imam al-Mahdi’s struggle towards the end of time is implanted in his spirit and thought. Rather than being a mistake, this is God’s plan for the Islamic resurgence.”

Abuya further said, at the time when Islam was declining in Turkey and Mecca, colonial powers came to the Far East to Christianize people here. The colonial entry into the Middle East had managed to de-Islamize or secularize Spain, Egypt and other Arab states. Islam in Turkey was eventually destroyed. A profound Christian mission was brought by the colonialists to this part of the world, whereas Islam in the Malay archipelago was not that strong yet. Many of its residents were still animists. The logical consequence should have been a Christianization of Malaysia, or at least the spread of Christian influence until it became at par with Islam, as in Indonesia.

But oddly the colonialists failed in Malaya. Eventually, Islam was made the official religion of the Federation of Malay States. Amazing! The colonialists managed only to secularize religion, but to change the religion of the Malays. Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi was in Malaya then. He successfully established a small-scale congregation in Pilin to save his followers from the secularism brought by the colonialists. Who would have thought that Abuya, born in a house whose walls were made from palm-leaf and floor built from bamboo sticks, would emerge as someone special, coming out from the jungles of Pilin to challenge secularism?

People would think, Abuya avoided the shackles of colonialism just as the Prophet Moses (PBUH) escaped death at the hands of the Pharaoh. Abuya’s salvation allowed him to embrace genuine religious teachings inherited from Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi through his trusted community elders.

Abuya chose to read only from ‘yellow books’ – written in Jawi script or Arabic by the traditional ulama because: his heart whispered to him that contemporary books on Islam were written based on a rational rather than religious interpretation. The authors’ interpretation of religion neglected intuitive knowledge, but relied solely on their intellect. The ‘yellow books’, on the other hand, were written by authoritative ulama who had long since passed away. They inherited a still pristine religion whose sources were revelation and intuitive knowledge, with an insignificant amount of mixture from the intellect. Abuya Ashaari Muhammad explained, “Further into time the author has passed away, the better. For he is nearer to the genuine source of the religion.”

Abuya Ashaari Muhammad continued, “A spiritual voice whispered into my heart, as if it was a teacher who was always teaching me. But no teacher had physically instructed me in that manner. In fact the thinking of my religious teachers was very much influenced by the secular religion of their era. Sunni ulama were not talking about the Islamic struggle and its resurgence. The colonialists had made a clean sweep of the Islamic spirit among indigenous Muslims, yet, a Muslim ought to be someone who constantly strives for the truth.

That a ‘teacher’ was there to guide him via the spiritual line was Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s experience since he was 5 years old. A lot of stances taken by Abuya were not the result of formal teaching, but from an understanding thrown into his heart.

For instance, when he was in primary school in Pilin (for 6 months) and Segambut (for 2 months), he would learn religion in the village. 3 of his teachers were pondok graduates from Padang, Indonesia. All were Wahhabis (modernist school or the Young Faction), all were extremely fond of Abuya. They were all Segambut natives, viz. Ustaz Haji Arshad Khadiman, Ustaz Mokhtar Abdul Manaf and Ustaz Mohd Amin Osman.

Abuya Ashaari Muhammad realized that they desired to make him a Wahhabi. Their attention and affection was evidence of their intention. But Abuya Ashaari Muhammad could not accept it. Since his childhood days, his heart had rejected all forms of Wahhabi knowledge, teaching and practice.

Secular Muslims will reject intuitive knowledge as a source of knowledge. They may even declare as deviant whoever accepts intuitive knowledge, for they say, it may originate from the devil. So they practise the religion at the intellectual level only, denying the illogical. For them, religion was created by the intellect, not by God. God’s will to reveal knowledge to a person’s heart is negated, as if indicating that God is powerless to carry out miraculous and illogical undertakings.

Spiritual experiences which God has destined for others are said to be the work of the devil, as if the devil maws more powerful than God. The knowledge endowed by God is deemed deviant, just because they have not experienced it. They are not gifted with such experience because they are not God’s people, so they pronounce it nonsense by declaring that only the devil is capable of such and such things. They say, Allah will not perform likewise, only the devil will.
Allah is truly closer in His knowledge, hearing and sight to anybody than is the devil. It is impossible that Allah appoints someone to revive His religion without guiding him. Only Allah knows how to revivify His religion. A reformer is actually one who is intuitively guided by Allah through the soul of the Messenger of Allah (PUBH). Go through their history, you will able to witness them.

Abuya’s life experience clearly indicates that he is protected and raised by God. For Abuya – the village son left to fend for himself, like his friends in Pilin and Segambut, a desolate life in the colonial era had rendered their existence pointless to the nation and the country, whether from the perspective of worldly life or the Hereafter. The exception is Abuya, who was raised in the same place but who emerged as an Islamic leader commanding global influence. Is this not because he was guided by God?

The late Tun Ghafar Baba told of his hardship which he claimed was more severe than Abuya, but he eventually became an awesome UMNO leader. He accidentally found the route to UMNO. Abuya, meanwhile, found Islam, so he became an eminent Islamic leader. Such is God’s will.

Whose power it is that makes a relatively ill-educated personality extremely knowledgeable, to the extent of being able of establishing a movement which is seen as a threat by a government? Abuya Ashaari Muhammad created a system within a system, feared by the government and eventually met destruction. He then re-emerged with an even bigger charisma. Whose power is this if not God’s?

For a leader in whose hands miraculous events take place, all obstacles are exploited to expand and bolster his struggle. Excrement, for instance, may be turned into fertilizers. Bear in mind that these miraculous occurrences have been experienced by him since he was 5 years old, in 1942, when he was already talking about Islam!