Friday, 21 October 2011

The Arabs in Penang (3)

The Alhady Clan


The Al-Hady clan is much cited in many texts and blogs. They comprise 5 generations of Arab-Malays with the father of Syed Sheikh as the founder Yemeni Arab who arrived at the shores of Penang, Malacca and Singapore. Syed Sheik is the 2nd generation. Syed Sheik's children (Syed Alwi Alhady is the eldest son) is the 3rd generation. Syed Alwi Alhady's children (Dr SMA Alhady is the eldest son) is the 4th generation. Dr SMA Alhady's children (Prof Sharifah Fareeda Alhady) is the 5th generation.

 Syed Syeikh al-Hadi (1867-1934)

Siri Kefahaman Budaya (1) Cendekia Melayu di Pulau Pinang. Syed Syeikh al-Hadi. Cendekia dan Sasterawan Ulung. Sohaimi Abdul Aziz (Ed). Published by Universiti Sains Malaysia. 2003. ISBN 983-861-250-2 [Citation for the book above is (Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003).]

I visited Penang on 21-22 October 2011. I read the book above and visited Syed Sheikh's residence and grave at Masjid Jelutong (as mentioned in the book above) on 22 October 2011, in the morning.

Below is compiled information on Syed Sheikh and his family. It is incomplete but this is all that I have on him at this moment.

Syed Sheik Al-Hadi (from Wikipedia)


Name (Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003): Syed Syeikh bin Syed Ahmad Hassan al-Hadi

Gravestone (nama pada batu nisan): Syed Sheikh b. Ahmad b. Hassan Alhady 

Popular name: Syed Syeikh al-Hadi

Name as author of his book, Faridah Hanoum (Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003): Al-Syed Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hadi

Referred name after his demise (Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003): Almarhum Syed Syeikh al-Hadi

Date of birth (Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003): He was born in the evening, on Tuesday, 25 December 1867 (25 Rejab 1281 Hijrah)

Gravestone (tarikh lahir pada batu nisan):  Lahir 25 Rejab 1281 <1867>

Place of birth (Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003): Kampung Hulu, Melaka

Date of death (Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003): 20 February 1934 (6 Zulkaedah 1352 Hijrah), aged 67

Gravestone (tarikh meninggal pada batu nisan):  Meninggal 6 Zulkaedah 1352 <1934>

Place of burial 
(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
Buried at Masjid Jelutong

(My visit to Jelutong, 22 Oct 2011):
Syed Sheikh was interred at Tanah Perkuburan Masjid Jamek Jelutong. At the right side of the mosque (standing facing qiblat) in a set of graves known as "Kubur Syed". There are 2 sets of Kubur Syed, one nearer the rear toilets, and the other nearer the front of the masjid. Both the Kubur Syed burial plots are separated by a small burial plot belonging to Syed Yasin (an Indian Muslim) and a Kwangtung (Chinese Muslim from Yunan). Syed Sheikh is buried in the front Kubur Syed. The exact spot is the frangipani tree (pokok kemboja) nearest the mosque entrance (there is another entrance from the roadside). His grave is among a cluster of 8 graves under the frangipani tree. Standing in front of the cluster of graves at the headside, Syed Sheik's grave in the 4th grave from the left. It bears his name.

Syed Sheikh's resting place, inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rojiuun

(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
Arab-Malay (Melayu-Arab); father was an Arab descendent (berketurunan Arab); mother was Malay

(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
Early education in Melaka. Went to Terengganu but did not like the pondok system. He returned to Pulau Penyengat before going to Middle-East. He was a student of Syeikh Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905).

(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
Penasihat Sultan Riau (Advisor to Sultan Riau), Raja Ali Haji Kelana bin Yang di-Pertuan Besar Riau-Lingga. He accompanied royal princes to study at Al-Azhar University in Egypt. He also had close ties with Yang di-Pertuan Besar Riau.

He was Syariah lawyer to Johor Sultanate but he was sacked after he gave a fatwa which did not favour the marriage of Sultan Johor to Lady Marsila (Syed Syeikh said the nikah did not follow Islam:  ... tak sah dari lunas Islam). He left Johor and went to Malacca.

(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
He worked for 25 years for the Riau Sultanate. He went to Makkah and Egypt to study Arabic and Islam. He returned but to Singapore to set up a religious school.

What he pushed for
(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
Dakwah Islamiah (Islamic teaching)
Kesusasteraan (literature)
Persuratkhabaran (journalism)

(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
He was known as "Bapa Novel Melayu" (Father of Malay Novels)

Contributions to Society
(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
He built 3 religious schools at 3 locations:-
1. Madrasah al-Iqbal, Seligi Road, Singapore (established 1907 but closed down after 2 years as his form of teaching was considered controversial)
2. Madrasah al-Hadi, Banda Kaba, Malacca (established 1917, also closed down for the same reason)
3. Madrasah al-Mashoor (established 1919) on a land donated by Al-Mashoor.

(Siti Mariam bt Yusof, Pers. Comm. 20-21 October 2011):
There are 2 Madrasah al-Mashoor, one for boys and another for girls. The boys' school is in Jalan Ayer Itam, across from Chung Ling High School. The girls' school is in Burma Road.

(Siti Mariam bt Yusof, Pers. Comm. 20-21 October 2011):
Jalan Kelawei is an Arab settlement or "Kampung Syed". A lot of Syed & Sharifah live here. There is a big arch (pintu gerbang) that says Selamat Datang ke Kg Syed.

(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
He owned Percetakan Jelutong (Jelutong Press) which published a lot of books in Jawi script, including novels.

(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
He was a prolific writer and published a lot of stuff including books/novels, magazines and newspapers.

1. Adapted novels (5 novel saduran)
Hikayat Faridah Hanoum (Penggal 1, 1925; Penggal II, 1926)
Hikayat Setia ____
Hikayat Taman Chinta Berahi / Mahir Afandi dengan Iqbal Hanoum
Hikayat Anak Dara Ghassan / Hendon dengan Hammad
Hikayat Chermin Kehidupan
Hikayat Puteri Nurul Ain
Hikayat Pembelaan dalam Rahsia / Kasih Saudara kapada Saudaranya
2. Siri Cherita-Cherita Rokambul (7 buah)
3. Islamic books (7 buah)
Al-Tarikh al-Islami (previously published as a serial in Al-Ikhwan)
Tafsir Juz 'Amma (1927)
Tafsir al-Fatihah (1928)
Alam Perempuan (1930)
Ugama Islam dan 'Akal (1931)
Hadiah Kebangsaan (1933)
4. Magazines
Al-Imam (1906)
Al-Ikhwan (1926)
5. Newspaper
Saudara (first published 29 September 1928; he was involved for a few months between 1933-February 1934, before he died.)

Saudara was mentioned in The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 25 November 1931, Page 12. MATTERS OF MUSLIM INTEREST. Retrieved 28 October 2011, from
Link 1

Residence in Penang
(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
His home address was 410, Jalan Jelutong, Penang

(Siti Mariam bt Yusof, Pers. Comm. 21 October 2011):
His house is just beyond Masjid Jamek Jelutong, by the roadside near the traffic lights, beside Shell. It has been sold to the Chinese. The house is now a Chinese temple (to'kong Cina).

(My visit to Jelutong, 22 Oct 2011):
Syed Sheikh's former house is located next to Esso petrol pump, at the traffic light junction of 3 roads - Jalan Jelutong, Solok Perak, and Jalan Tengku. The house is located at the corner of Jalan Jelutong (housefront) and Solok Perak (left side of house). The house address is 410 Jalan Jelutong, Penang. It is a single single-storey bungalow, after the end of a row of modern double-storey terraced shophouses; the last shophouse bears the address 410A. It occupies a separate compound from the row of shophouses, and has chain-linked fence with 2 entrances in different streets. The house is painted in soft yellow and has light green windows. The house has been taken over by vegetarian Chinese nuns, and now functions as a house of faith (Malay, to'kong Cina).

410 Jalan Jelutong, Penang opposite Esso
Syed Sheikh's house in Jelutong, Penang
Vegetarian Chinese nuns
(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
First wife: Syarifah Syeikhun
Second wife: Singaporean

(The Real Cry of Syed Shaikh Al-Hadi):
First wife: Syarifah Syeikhun
Second wife: Singaporean
Third wife: Sharifah Zainah Al-Mashhur

My query:
Is Syarifah Syeikhun actually her call name or how she was addressed or alluded to in her family circle? Is her real name Sharifah Azizah bt Ahmad Almashoor? Is Ahmad Almashoor, Syed Sheikh's father in-law? Is that why the madrasah in Penang was named Madrasah Al-Mashoor because it was his land which he donated for the madrasah which began at Masjid Melayu Aceh? Need to re-study the Masjid Melayu Aceh history as Madrasah Al-Mashoor actually began at Masjid Melayu Aceh before it shifted many places. Are the 2 + 1 old houses in the grounds of Masjid Melayu Aceh, those of Ahmad Almashoor? Need to ask people at Masjid Melayu Aceh.

(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
4 children by first wife (2 boys and 2 girls).
One daughter by Singaporean wife.

Children from first wife
(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
1. Syed Alwi al-Hadi (born 8 August 1892, 15 Muharam 1310 Hijrah at Pulau Penyengat Indera Sakti; died 6 January 1970)
2. Syed Ahmad
3. Aisyah
4. Umhani (My query: is it Umi Hani?)

Daughter from second wife
(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
5. Mariam (Teluk Belanga)
Teluk Belanga (Talok Blangah) is a southern coastal seaport in Singapore.

Syed Sheikh with family in Jelutong, Penang


Syed Alwi al-Hadi's family? / Haji Syed Alwi bin Syed Sheikh al-Hadi
Syed Alwi bin Syed Sheikh al-Hadi was born on 8 August 1892 (15 Muharam 1310 Hijrah) at Pulau Penyengat Indera Sakti in Indonesia and died on 6 January 1970 in Penang.

Haji Syed Alwi bin Syed Sheikh al-Hadi  was involved with the founding of UMNO in Johor along with Onn Jaafar, Haji Anwar bin Abdul Malik, and Mohamad Noah Omar.

Malay nationalism and politics
Early Malay nationalism took root in Johor during the 1920s as Onn Jaafar, whom Sultan Ibrahim had treated as an adopted son, became a journalist and wrote articles on the welfare of the Malays. Some of Onn's articles were critical of Sultan Ibrahim's policies, which led to a strained personal relations with the Sultan. In particular, Sultan Ibrahim expelled Onn from Johor after he published an article in the Sunday Mirror, a Singapore-based English tabloid, which criticised the Sultan's poor treatment of the Johor Military Forces personnel and the welfare of the Orang Asli. Onn became very popular after he continued to cover issues on Malay grievances, and Sultan Ibrahim invited Onn to return to Johor in 1936. Along with his companions, Haji Anwar bin Abdul Malik, Haji Syed Alwi bin Syed Sheikh al-Hadi and Mohamad Noah Omar, they founded the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) as a means to rally the Malays against the Malayan Union, which was perceived as threatening Malay privileges and the position of the Malay rulers. Onn took up the role of UMNO's president on May 1, 1946. (Wikipedia: Accessed 23 Oct 2011)

My thesis
Syed Alwi al-Hadi is the eldest son of Syed Sheikh. Syed Alwi al-Hadi was born on 8 August 1892, 15 Muharam 1310 Hijrah at Pulau Penyengat Indera Sakti and died 6 January 1970.

Did Syed Alwi al-Hadi marry Sharifah Rahmah bt Syed Ahmad al-Mashoor? She is buried next to him.

Was she called Sharifah Sheikhun? Is it her call name? What does Sharifah Sheikhun mean? Does it mean Sharifah the wife of Sheikh (Syed Alwi) or daughter-in-law of Syed Sheikh? Sharifah Sheikhun means a Sharifah but no longer has Syed and Sharifah parents.

If they are couple, how many children did they have?
Who are their children?

Their children are (possibly):
1. Dr A.M. al-Hadi (circa 1921-2003)
2. Syed Fuad bin Alwi Alhady (died 2001)
3. Syed Ahmad bin Syed Alwi Alhadi (died 2001)
4. Sharifah Mahani bt Syed Alwi Alhady (1937-2011)

Syed Alwi al-Hadi is buried in a cluster of 3 graves; his is the middle grave (born 8 August 1892, 1303 Hijrah; died 6 January 1970). On the left is that of Sharifah Rahmah bt Syed Ahmad Al-Mashoor (born 1906; died 22 December 1984, 29 Rabiul Awal 1405 Hijrah) (probably Syed Alwi al-Hadi's wife). On the right is that of Syed Fuad b. Alwi Alhady (died 1 October 2001, 13 Rejab 1422 Hijrah) (probably his son).
Graves from left: Sharifah Rahmah bt Syed Ahmad Al-Mashoor (wife), Syed Alwi bin Syed Sheikh Al-Hadi (husband; eldest son of Syed Sheikh) and Syed Fuad bin Syed Alwi Alhady (son)

His son Syed Ahmad (died 14 June 2001, 22 Rabiul Awal 1422 Hijrah) is buried beside the cluster of 3 graves of Syed Alwi.
Syed Ahmad bin Syed Alwi Alhadi (son)
(Syed Alwi al-Hadi's daughter,) Sharifah Mahani bt Syed Alwi Alhady (died 21 June 2011, 16 Safar 1432 @ 74 years) is buried in front of the carpark roadside entrance.
Sharifah Mahani bt Syed Alwi Alhady (daughter)

Syed Ahmad's family?
Nil is known


Aisyah's family?
Nil is known


Umhani's family?
Nil is known

Mariam's family?
Nil is known


Dr SMA Alhady (photo from AMM)
AMM = Academy of Medicine Malaysia


(TEMD research):
Dr SMA Alhady is Syed Sheikh's grandson, and the son of Syed Alwi Alhady (Al-Hadi).

According to a publication by USIM in 2011 (refer article on Child Dev), Dr SMA Alhady was adopted and looked after by his grandfather, Syed Sheikh.

At one family gathering in 2011 (tahlil for the demise of Prof Syed Mohsin Syed Sahil Jamalullail), Prof Syed Mohsin's mother (Sharifah Mariam Syed Alwi) mentioned that Syed Alwi Alhady married many wives.

Dr SMA Alhady resumed studies at the KE VII in June 1946 and graduated in the Class of 1950 along with Coco, five years after the Japanese occupation ended.

(TEMD research):
If they were classmates, Coco and SMA Alhady could have been born in the same year. Abdul Majid bin Ismail bin Nae’mat (Coco) was born on 15 November 1921 in his grandfather's house in Kampong Baru, Kuala Lumpur. Dr SMA Alhady was probably born in 1921 too. How do I verify his DOB?

(Dr Abdul Wahab's book 1987):
Dr SMA Alhady performed his Housemanship at the General Hospital in Penang. He was known as Mr SMA Alhady in his circle. Mr SMA Alhady was a gastric surgeon in Gastroenterology at the General Hospital Penang where he headed a Surgical Unit in 1955. He had introduced and performed gastrectomy.

Street in front of Dr SMA Alhady's house in Gelugor, Penang. 1960s

(From MAPACS 2008): 

Plastic and reconstructive training residency programme offered by Dr BL Morgan, Jacksonville, Florida.

(TEMD research):
Masjid Jamek Jelutong (date of establishment is unknown but could have been circa 1820, i.e., at the same time as Masjid Banda Hilir, now renamed Masjid An-Nur). The Kubur Syed points to these early Arabs who came to Tanah Melayu. Their role was to bring Islam to Jelutong and Penang. Whether this group of Hadrami Arabs practised any form of tariqat is unknown for now. The other strand of this Hadrami Arab is the Alattas, the group that opened Masjid Ba'alawi in Singapore.

(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
Dr A.M. al-Hadi - an early Malay doctor; a Senior Surgeon at General Hospital Kuala Lumpur. He entered into stock investment as Director SEACORP in Kuala Lumpur in 1994.

(TEMD research):
Dr SMA Alhady married Datin Ruby. Their daughter is Prof. Dr Sharifah Fareeda Alhady (SF Alhady), previously with UM. She is in Facebook

Dr SMA Alhady's son is Anwar Alhady (from Datuk Dr Zulkifli bin Ismail, 14 May 2012).

I checked UM Orthopedic pages on 24 June 2012 - Dr Anwar Alhady is not there anymore.


Prof Dr Sharifah Fareeda Alhady (from her Facebook )


She is the daughter of Dr SMA Alhady.

She attended the SMK Convent Bukit Nanas and the Victoria Institution.

She earned her MBBS and Master of Pathology from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.

She eventually became a Professor in the Dept of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine in Kuala Lumpur. She had specialised in Histology (normal cell structure), Cytopathology (cell in diseased state), Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology (FNAC).

Jayaram, Gita, and Abdul Razak, and Gan, S.K., and Sharifah Fareeda Alhady, (1999) Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology of the Thyroid - A Review of Experience in 1853 Cases. Malaysian Journal of Pathology, 1999 (1). pp. 17-27. ISSN 0126-8635

She was seconded to the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia where she became the Director, for Quality Assurance, Standards, Medical Accreditation

Her websites:


(TEMD Research):
I mentioned earlier that Coco is related to his classmate Dr SMA Alhady. I have no evidence of this except if Dr SMA Alhady is related to the Arab-Malays in East Jelutong, Penang. If he was related, then the Al-Hady and Coco's people are related, by marriage of their ascendants and descendants.

I had met with Dr SMA Alhady in Penang when I was a small girl. 

I had heard of Dr Abdul Majid from my aunts and paternal grandmother when I was a teenager. 

I had interviewed Tan Sri Abdul Majid for TEMD Research on 11 May 2007, not knowing that he is the same Dr Abdul Majid my aunts and grandmother had alluded to in their conversations.

Please refer to my other website on family links at 262 Banda Hilir.


(Sohaimi Abdul Aziz 2003):
Sohaimi Abdul Aziz interviewed Syed Ahmad al-Yahya at Jelutong on 27 January 1994 and USM published his book in 2003.

Who is Syed Isa?
Who is Sharifah Nabilla Alhady bt Syed Isa? (born 5 November 1987; died 1 May 2009, 6 Jamadil Awal 1430)?
Where & when did Dr SMA Alhady die?
What is the name of Dr SMA Alhady's son?
Who is Syed Ahmad al-Yahya in East Jelutong?
Who is Syed Omar in East Jelutong?


External links

Sejarah: Drama Tradisional Dan Drama Modern by Mana Sikana.

Doctor's orders: 'principled eccentric' prescribes a pep pill for commodities exchange
Read more:


Child Development from the Perspective of Syed Shakh Ahmad Alhady
Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research 7 (Special Issue of Diversity of Knowledge on Middle East): 01-06, 2011. ISSN 1990-9233. © IDOSI Publications, 2011

Siti Nazurana bt Konaen (Matrik 150648). 2009/2010. Syed Syeikh Al-Hadi. Sejarah Dan Rumpun Bahasa Melayu. Fakulti Bahasa Moden dan Komunikasi. Semester 2 2009/2010. bbm3101. BA Pengkhususan Bahasa dan Linguistik Melayu. UPM

Adibah Sulaiman, Ezad Azraai Jamsari, Kamaruzaman Jusoff, Noor Inayah Yaakub, Wan Kamal Mujani, Wan Mohd Hirwani Wan Hussain and Zinatul Ashiqin Zainol. Syed Shaykh Ahmad Alhady: A Religious Education Reformist in the Late 19th  and Early 20th  Century. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research 7 (Special Issue of Diversity of Knowledge on Middle East): 14-21, 2011
ISSN 1990-9233. © IDOSI Publications, 2011.

Syed Sheikh in Encyclopedia Britannica

The real cry of Syed Shaykh al-Hady : with selections of his writings by his son Syed Alwi Al-Hady

Author:Alijah GordonAlwi bin Alhady
Publisher:Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia : Malaysian Sociological Research Institute, 1999.
Edition/Format:  Book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats

Riau, the milieu of Syed Shaykh's formative years & the aspirations of the subjugated umma / Alijah Gordon --
The life of my father / Syed Alwi Al-Hady --
Syed Shaykh, through the prism of a child's eyes & the Al-Hady clan / Datuk Syed Mohamed Alwi Al-Hady --
Syed Shaykh, his life & times / Linda Tan --
To turn the current of the age / Alijah Gordon --
Syed Shaykh, selections of his writings --
A reformist 'Ulama' in the Malay states / Mahayudin Hj. Yahaya --
Teacher and Kaum Muda activist / Mohd. Sarim Hj. Mustajab --
Syed Alwi Al-Hady, biographical outline and family tree --
Addendum: Riau and the restoration movement / Alijah Gordon.

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