Chapter

An Exposition concerning the Malays

in Modernist Islam, 1840-1940

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195154672
Published online November 2007 |
 An Exposition concerning the Malays

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The Singapore-based journal al-Imam (The Leader), which appeared from July 1906 to December 1908, was the first publication in Southeast Asia to carry the modernist Islamic message. Singapore was the logical confluence of such ideas as it served as the principal transition point for Southeast Asians on their way to and from West Asia. By 1906 a group of young men from various Southeast Asian communities joined together in Singapore to study Islam and promote religious reform, under the leadership of Shaykh Tahir Jalal al-Din al-Azhari (Minangkabau, West Sumatra, 18671957), who had studied at Mecca and Cairo and had met Muhammad Abduh (see chapter 3) and Muhammad Rashid Rida (see chapter 6). Among the activists of this circle was Abbas bin Muhammad Taha (Minangkabau, West Sumatra, born 1885), who spent much of his youth in Mecca, later translated educational works from Syria and Egypt, and assumed primary editorial control of al-Imam around 1907. This magazine mimicked, in form and content, the Egyptian magazine al-Manar (The Beacon). Al-Imam translated pieces from al-Manar and other Arab periodicals into Malay, but placed these borrowings in the context of Southeast Asian conditions, in particular the decline of the Malays as a dynamic race and the challenge to Muslims in the struggle for modern civilization. Many contributions, including the one presented here, were anonymous, and can best be attributed to the collective effort of the editors of al-Imam.1

Chapter.  3158 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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