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Shaikh Abdullah Fatani A
the first son
By N.Fuad &W.M.Yusoff
Sheikh Abdullah, the eldest son of an important man in Mecca, had labored all his life as the “batman” of his father. All the education he acquired were home schooled by his father. His father Sheikh Muhammad Ismail Addaudy Alfatani, the renowned writer and guru at Masjidil Haram passed away in 1914 and was buried at Ma’ala next to the grave of Saiyyidatina Khadijah, r.a.
the When the father passed away he was suddenly liberated from the burden of waiting on his stern father. He was free at last but he was rather lost.
when he stepped out of the shadows of the dominating public figure. The sound of his voice still ringing in his ears – “labbaik abuya”.
Sheikh Muhammad Ismail Addaudy Alfatani aka Sheikh Nik Mat
Kecik was the only licensed mutawwif, the pilgrimage agent appointed by the Ruler of Hijaz to handle the haj administration, providing food and lodging and other needs of pilgrims from Malaya, Siam and Indonesia. Although he was the holder of the licence, he hardly had to do any work, because his entire male family members would efficiently process all the requirements, food, lodging and ground transfer logistics in Mekkah, Madinah, Jeddah, Arafah and Mina.
Upon his demise, the licence was passed on to Sheikh Abdullah. Abdullah was the leader of the team. He was assisted by his brother Muhammad Noor, brother-inlaw Wan Daud (who was married to his sister Fatimah) and brother-in-law Wan Salleh bin Sheikh Zainal Abidin (who was married to his sister Khatijah) and his brother Daud.
The young nephews at that time - Ahmad, Zain, Ghaffar, Hasan, Yasiin and Hamid were also part of the team. Abdullah was responsible to ensure comforts for all the pilgrims from Jawi (Malaya, Singapore, Indonesia and Siam) including VIPs like the Sultan of Terengganu during pilgrimage.
In 1915, the Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Zainal Abidin III performed the pilgrimage. The Sultan had 15 members in the entourage. Sheikh Abdullah did a splendid job and the Sultan was pleased with the hospitality accorded. As a parting gift, Sultan Zainal Abidin III invited him to Terengganu and he promised to give Sheikh Abdullah a piece of land. Actually there was another reason for the Sultan to like him. The Sultan at that time was married to Tengku Aishah Mandak binti Tengku Mustafa whose mother Wan Selamah was first cousin to Sheikh Nik Mat Kecik. That made Sheikh Abdullah a second cousin to the Sultan.
At this time, the First World War just started in Europe. Abdullah was regularly getting news from the pilgrims, he was told that the Patani muslims were being harassed by the Buddhist rulers of Siam. Several ulamaks mysteriously disappeared without trace. Mekkah was also in turmoil due to tribal warfare competing to rule Hijaz. Sheikh Abdullah whose family root was in Patani felt unsafe to be in Mekkah, he was contemplating something.
After considering various factors, he decided to emigrate to where his root was and deputized his brother Sheikh Muhammad Noor to run the mutawwif operation. Both his grandfathers Wan Ahmad and Tuan Idris were from the royal stock of Patani, Sheikh Fakeh Ali. From him were descendants who ruled Patani stretching to the present day Royal House of Kelantan. That was the link between the Royal House of Patani, the Royal House of Kelantan and the Royal House of Terengganu.
In 1916, Abdullah and family emigrated to Terengganu and settled down at Balik Bukit, a piece of land promised by the Sultan. The family comprised of Siti (wife of Abdullah, Fatimah Abdul Rahman), eldest son Yahya,5, Asiah,4, Kamil,3 and Maimunah,2 years old. Siti was born in Mekkah but her mother was from Losong, only 2 km away from Balik Bukit. All these factors made his plan seemed appropriate.
Once the family settled down in Balik Bukit, Sheikh Abdullah strongly felt that it was time for him to visit Patani and get in touch with some of the relatives he had never met before. In 1919, he left alone for Patani, by ship. Maimunah was his youngest daughter, Siti was pregnant. He was only 48 years old. Little did he know that he was not going to see his family again, more so the yet unidentified face of Hafsah who was born in Patani soon after he died.
A few months after his trip to Patani, Abdullah sent news that he was sick. The whole family went to Patani to see him. However, he passed away moments before his pregnant wife Siti, burdened with the luggages and the 4 children finally arrived at Kampong Kerisek after a long walk from the jetty in Patani. Khala Maimunah though only 4 years old could recollect the real life episode of that tragic moment and shared the sad moment with her niece Najiah towards the later part of her life.
Sheikh Abdullah was laid to rest in Patani next to the grave of a famous Ulamak Sheikh Abdussamad Alfalambani.
Siti had no choice but to stay back in Patani until Hafsah was delivered. The relatives even insisted that Siti and her family stay in Patani for good. Given the choice Siti was more comfortable going back to Terengganu where her relatives were nearby in Losong and the political climate of Terengganu was safer than Patani.
One day, the new head of Sheikh Nik Mat Kecik family in Mekkah suddenly appeared in Kerisek. He packed up the whole family of Abdullah back to Mekkah. He was none other than the second in command Sheikh Muhammad Noor who became the new head upon the demise of Abdullah. It is the Arabic culture that the tribal head would be responsible for the welfare of all family members of all the siblings. Without any discussion or consultation, he made the decision that the family of Abdullah be brought back to Mekkah close to him so that he can manage their welfare. Sheikh Muhammad Noor was indeed a man of admirable leadership qualities.
The First World War had ended and the prospect was good.
However, the government of Hijaz was still unstable, there were tribal fights, people were killed. Sultan Abdul Aziz was trying to wrest power and Mekkah was considered unsafe. In 1924, Siti decided to bring her family to safety to live in Terengganu for good. A brave decision seldom made by a lady in the strictly malechauvinistic Arabic tribal culture.
By this time, the Head of Abdullah Family would be only 12 years old, Yahya. It was a heavy burden for the young Yahya but he managed to set up a business in Balik Bukit printing books authored by the grandfather Sheikh Nik Mat Kecik. All oral records indicated that Yahya was a stern personality, feared by the 3 sisters Maimunah, Asiah and Hafsah and his younger brother Kamil.
During his life Sheikh Abdullah was busy serving his father and did not appear to be prominent. And he died too young although he had planned so many things to do in the South Provinces of Siam, nevertheless he left behind a trail of new generations that excelled in various fields in the modern world starting their lives from the quiet village of Balik Bukit, known as Kampung Mekkah. The only heritage left by a great man.
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