New exhibition commemorates century of Islamic literature in Singapore

The exhibition, Treasures Of Muslim Scholars: 100 Years Of Singapore Literary Heritage, was launched by President Halimah Yacob (centre) at the National Library Building on Aug 1, 2019.
The exhibition, Treasures Of Muslim Scholars: 100 Years Of Singapore Literary Heritage, was launched by President Halimah Yacob (centre) at the National Library Building on Aug 1, 2019.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association also launched three books in Malay.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association also launched three books in Malay.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Ustaz Ahmad Sonhadji Mohamad, the renowned Muslim scholar at the forefront of Islamic writing in the 1900s, is best known for his instructional guide on performing prayers called Mari Sembahyang.

Besides the guide, he is also known for his book Abr Al-Athir, which is a compilation of the 30 volumes of detailed explanations of Quranic verses that he first presented when he was host of a radio programme from 1959 to 1984.

The book, which took him 25 years to compile, became one of his most influential as it was among the earliest translations of the Quran into Malay, and one which correlated social and current issues.

The first volume was published in 1960, one year after the radio programme began. The full 30-volume edition was published in 1993.

The books of Ustaz Ahmad Sonhadji, who died in 2010 at age 88, are among an extensive display highlighting literary works of local Muslim scholars since 1906.

The exhibition, Treasures Of Muslim Scholars: 100 Years Of Singapore Literary Heritage, was launched by President Halimah Yacob at the National Library Building on Thursday (Aug 1).

Supported by the National Heritage Board (NHB), the exhibition is a sequel to Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association's (Pergas) first national-level exhibition held in 2014, which highlighted the achievements and contributions of past Islamic scholars.

Visitors can explore Islamic literature through a combination of both published and unpublished books, manuscripts as well as research works by local Muslim scholars.

Pergas chief executive officer Ustaz Yusri Yubhi Yusoff said: "As we celebrate Singapore Bicentennial this year, this exhibition is also timely in paying tribute to our pioneer Muslim scholars and re-living their achievements.

 
 

"From the colonial days to the post-independence era, the legacy of our Muslim scholars lingers on till today such as their tremendous contributions to the literary field."

The exhibition is on until Aug 31. From Sept 1 to 15, it will be a mobile exhibition at Jurong Regional Library. Admission is free.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Pergas also launched three books in Malay.

The first, titled Bibliografi Penulisan Asatizah Singapura, is a biliography of 245 Muslim scholars from 1906 to 2018.

The second is the third series of Obor Ummah, a book containing biographies of pioneer scholars.

The last book, Risalah Ilmu Falak, is about astronomy and was originally written in classical Malay by Kiyai Ahmad Zuhri Mutamim in 1974 but has now been translated into modern Malay by Ustaz Dr Firdaus Yahya, director of Islamic learning centre Darul Huffaz.

Dr Firdaus said: "It is important for us to preserve the works and knowledge of past scholars so that the current and future generations can have these materials, and they learn from them."