Haji Abdul Malik Karim Amrullah (HAMKA)

Haji Abdul Malik Karim Amrullah (or well-known as HAMKA, his abbreviation name), was born in 1908, at Molek village, Maninjau, Sumatera Barat, and pass away in Jakarta on July 24th, 1981 was an Indonesian’s man of letters, teacher of Islam, and as well as politician activist. Perhaps, since I knew his profile, it has made me admire him so much because he was really an Indonesian true fighter who had always sought the right things as a human being, slaving for Allah and had become an incredible person in the world by creating many opus. He has an amazing life journey story to be told.

Hamka got his elementary education at Sekolah Dasar Maninjau until the second year. When he was only 10 years old, his dad built up Sumatera Thawalib in Padang Panjang which then become his place to learn about Islamic religion and Arabic language. Hamka had also followed many Islamic religion lesson that given by some famous teacher of Islam such as Syeikh Ibrahim Musa, Syeikh Ahmad Rasyid, Sutan Mansur, R.M. Surjopranoto and Ki Bagus Hadi Kusumo in Islam prayer-house and mosque.

Hamka started his career as an Islamic religion teacher in 1927 at Perkebunan Tebing Tinggi, Medan and Padang Panjang in 1929. He then was recruited as lecturer in University of Islam, Jakarta and Muhammadiyah University, Padang Panjang from 1957 till 1958. After that, he was pointed as head of university of Perguruan Tinggi Islam, Jakarta and as a professor of Mustopo University, Jakarta. During 1951 until 1960, he was also positioned as Religion High Official by Indonesian Religion Minister, but he then detached that post when Sukarno asked for to chose between being government employee or following political activities of Majlis Syura Muslimin Indonesia (Masyumi).

Hamka was an autodidact in many science fields such as philosophical, literature, historical, sociology, and political both Islamic and West. Using his own excellent Arabic language, he could investigate the masterpiece both the teacher of Islam and the man of letters from Midle East such as Zaki Mubarak, Jurji Zaidan, Abbas al-Aqqad, Mustafa al-Manfaluti and Hussain Haikal. Then still using Arabic language he investigated the French, the English and the German opus such as Albert Camus, William James, Sigmund Freud, Arnold Toynbee, Jean Paul Sartre, Karl Marx and Pierre Loti. Hamka was a book-worm and always sharing with other Jakarta personages such as HOS Tjokroaminoto, Raden Mas Surjopranoto, pilgrim Fachruddin, Ar Sutan Mansur and Ki Bagus Hadikusumo while sharpening his talent so that become an skilled orator.

Hamka also active within Muhammadiyah Organization. He followed Muhammadiyah concept since 1925 against superstition, Islam heresy, Islam mystics and deviate faith in Padang Panjang. He then was elected to become the head of Majlis Pimpinan Muhammadiyah in West Sumatera by Muhamadiyah Conference, replacing S.Y. Sutan Mangkuto in 1946. He rearranged the development of Muhammadiyah Convention 31st  Yogyakarta in 1950.

Hamka was a journalist, writer, editor and publisher besides being active in religion and political field. Since the 1920s, he was a journalist of some newspaper such as Pelita Andalas, Seruan Islam, Bintang Islam and Seruan Muhammadiyah. In 1928, he was an editor and published al-Mahdi magazine in Makasar. Hamka also ever become an editor of Pedoman Masyarakat magazine, Panji Masyarakat and Gema Islam.

Hamka had created many Islamic scientific writing and many fictive opus such as novel and short story. His famous masterpiece was Tafsir al-Azhar (5 volume) and his novels had attracted public attention and become literature text books in Malaysia and Singapore such as Tenggelamnya Kapal Van Der Wijck, Di Bawah Lindungan Ka’bah and Merantau ke Deli.

Therefore, it was no wonder if Hamka received many awards in national and international scope.  For example, Al-Azhar University awarded him Doctor Honoris Causa 1958 and also the same award from University of Kebangsaan Malaysia in 1974. Indonesia’s government had also awarded him Datuk Indono and Pangeran Wiroguno title for what he had given to this country.

However, Hamka pass away on Juli 24th, 1981, but his merit and influence still giving huge impact in raising Islamic Religion’s dignity. He had proven that a boy from a small village could “speak” and give something excellent to the world. He was not only accepted as a big personage in his birth country Indonesia, but also respected by foreign countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.

Hamka is an Indonesian hero!

Jogja, January 30, 2012

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