Raja Ali Haji
راجا الي هاجي
|Born||Raja Ali Haji bin Raja Haji Ahmad|
Penyengat Island (nowadays part of Riau Islands Province)
Penyengat Island, (nowadays part of Riau Islands Province)
|Notable awards||National Hero of Indonesia|
Raja Ali Haji bin Raja Haji Ahmad (1808–1873) was a 19th-century Bugis historian, poet, scholar, and ulama. He was elevated to the status of National Hero of Indonesia in 2004. His notable works also are recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage by the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture.
Raja Ali Haji was born in Penyengat (nowadays part of Riau Islands Province) in 1808 or 1809, and ethnically Bugis through the patrilineality and matrilineality kinship. His father, Raja Haji Ahmad was the son of Raja Ali Haji Fisabilillah bin Daeng Celak, who are the Bugis warrior originating from Sulawesi. His mother, Encik Hamidah binti Malik was a cousin of her father and also of Bugis descent.
In 1822 when Raja Ali Haji was young, he was taken by his parents to Batavia (modern-day Jakarta). At that time, his father, Raja Haji Ahmad, became Riau's envoy to meet the Governor General Baron van der Capellen. For several times, Raja Haji Ahmad regarded to became the envoy of the Riau kingdom to Java, and during his tenure, that opportunity was used by his son Raja Ali to meet many scholars to deepen his Islamic knowledge, especially the science of fiqh. Among the Betawi scholars, Raja Ali Haji often visited Saiyid Abdur Rahman al-Mashri, he had the opportunity to study astronomy with him. Apart from being able to deepen his knowledge of Islam, Raja Ali Haji also gained a lot of experience and knowledge due to his social networking skill with Dutch cultural scholars, such as T. Roode and Van Der Waal who later became his close friends.
About the year of 1827 C.E. or 1243 H. (Islamic lunar year system), Raja Ali Haji following his father Raja Ahmad went to Makkah al-Musyarrafah to perform the pilgrimage (Arabic: الحج, romanized: al-ḥajj). Raja Ahmad and Raja Ali Haji were among the first children of Riau kings to perform the pilgrimage in that era. Raja Ali Haji lived and studied in Mecca for quite some time. While in Mecca, Raja Ali Haji had the opportunity to associate with Sheikh Daud bin Abdullah al-Fathani. He had the opportunity to study several areas of Islam and Arabic language with Sheikh Daud bin Abdullah al-Fathani who was then the Chief Sheikh of Hajj (pilgrimage) and very influential among the native Indonesians community in Mecca. He was friends with one of the sons of Sheikh Muhammad Arsyad bin Abdullah al-Banjari, namely Sheikh Syihabuddin bin Sheikh Muhammad Arsyad bin Abdullah al-Banjari. Probably around that time, Raja Ali Haji managed to invite the ulama from Banjar to come to Riau, and if the ulama agreed to come, the ulama would be made Mufti in the Riau kingdom. On his way to Mecca, Raja Haji Ahmad and his son Raja Ali Haji also took the opportunity to visit Cairo (in Egypt), and after accomplished their journey, he returned to his hometown of Penyengat Island (nowadays part of Riau Islands Province).
Raja Ali, a man of affairs, was also a religious and literary scholar and did much to establish Riau as the intellectual centre of the Malay world in the mid-19th century. His own writings include several didactic texts, such as Muqaddimah fi intizām (1857; “Introduction to Order”) on the duties of kings, a Johnsonian dictionary of Malay usage, Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa (c. 1869; “Book of Linguistic Knowledge”), and the historical work of Silsilah Melayu dan Bugis (1865; “Malay and Bugis Genealogy”). His most outstanding contribution to learning, however, is the history begun by his father that he rewrote and expanded as the Tuhfat al-Nafis (c. 1866; “Precious Gift”), which remains an invaluable source for the history of the Kra Peninsula, Borneo (a.k.a. Kalimantan in native language), and Sumatra.
In 2004, Raja Ali Haji awarded as one of the National Heroes of Indonesia by the national government of the Republic Indonesia due to his revolutionary and persistent works.
Raja Ali Haji died in 1872 at his hometown, Penyengat Island (nowadays part of Riau Islands Province), but the precise date of his death was debated. Among the best-known evidences was a letter written in 1872 when Raja Ali Haji wrote a letter to Herman Von De Wall, a Dutch cultural scholar, who later died at Tanjung Pinang in 1873.
|Ancestors of Raja Ali Haji|