Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Masjid Tengkera 1728

History of Masjid Tengkera

This masjid is quite ancient (2016-1728 = 288 years). Masjid Tengkera was built in 1728 by Haji Mohamed Saleh bin Tuanku Betis Nan Sebatang. Betis Nan Sebatang was an honorific title in the Minangkabau Kingdom then. He was a prince and a Sufi from Istana Pagaruyung in West Sumatra, Dutch Indonesia. His ascendants were from Aceh, and the Acehnese Arabs were from Seyhoon, South Yemen. He was popularly known as Nakhoda Nan Intan. Nan Intan refers to a respectable or of high status. Some of his descendants today still have some Arabic call names for uncle (Ami) and father (Walid). 

Haji Mohamed Saleh married a lady named Sa'odah in Malacca. Generally in my clan, the ladies were from Chinese (Muslim) families. His son is Haji Nuruddin bin Haji Mohamed Saleh. Haji Momamed Saleh then left Tengkera for Penang where he built a settlement at Kg Batu Uban by the sea (back then it was by the sea). He also built Masjid Batu Uban in 1734, with similar features as Masjid Tengkera.

In Melaka and Singapore, Haji Nuruddin was popularly known as Tambi or Haji Tambi. Haji Nuruddin married and had a son. Haji Nuruddin's son is Haji Abdul Latiff bin Haji Nuruddin. His son was popularly known as Sheik Haji Abdul Latiff Tambi. From 2 B/W photographs of my father's collection, Sheik Haji Abdul Latiff seemed as a man with fair complexion. 

Abdul Latiff was born in 1872 in Telok Mas, Melaka. At age 8, Abdul Latiff was sent to Makkah, Saudi Arabia by his father, Haji Nuruddin. He grew up and studied in Makkah for 20 years (1888-1900). He returned to Tengkera and taught the Naqshbandi tariqat for almost 39 years and became a renowned parson in the Malay Archipelago, including the Straits Settlements of Malacca, Penang, Singapore and Indonesia. He was a publisher and operated the Malacca Latieefiah Press which published Suara Benar (Voice of Truth). He wrote many religious books including on social life in Malacca. He was a philanthropist and donated to help the Malay schools, which were not funded by the British Colonial Government. Sheikh Haji Abdul Latiff married many wives. His eldest son Haji Ahmad bin Haji Abdul Latiff (HABHAL) was also a man with fair complexion, which my father described as ... 'like a northern Indian mamak'. HABHAL's descendants also have fair complexion.

Sheikh Haji Abdul Latiff passed away at the age of 67. His tomb is somewhere at a private graveyard in Tengkera and is being cared for by one of his descendants, Maheran Ahmad. Maheran Ahmad has left Tengkera to live in Selangor where her son studies to be a hafiz.

There is a red board in the front grounds of Masjid Tengkera that mentions about Sheikh Haji Abdul Latiff bin Haji Nurruddin. He is the grandson of the masjid founder.

Information on Sheikh Haji Abdul Latiff bin Haji Nuruddin
@ Haji Tambi (1872-1939)

Qariyah Masjid Tengkera, Melaka 2013
(photo from Mahadhir Mohamad, cicit Hj Nordin).
Hj Nordin was the middle brother of Hj Mohd Sharif bin Ismail, my great-grandfather.
Masjid Tengkera 1937. From Bapak's pendrive 2009.
This photo was probably taken by his father (Walid), Mohd Yusope bin Hj Mohd Sharif. 
Masjid Tengkera. Photo from Zainuddin Mohd anak Mak Sekmah.
Views of Masjid Tengkera from the street/car while driving
5 June 2016

Walking along the perimeter brick wall of Masjid Tengkera
after parking the car by the roadside main entrance.

Main entrance to Masjid Tengkera

First views of Masjid Tengkera after entering through main entrance.
Stand at the entrance.

On your left
Straight ahead
On your right

The brick wall on your left
Walking around the masjid itself
Take a closer look at everything possible

Close-up of the verandah, huge wooden doors with arches and colourful porcelain tiles
Coloured tiles of the staircase
Details of the doors, arches above them, columns and verandah floor
Motifs of the verandah railings and columns
Verandah at left leads to the library
Square windows and arched doors
Tiling details on lower wall.
Corridor columns, high ceilings, fans and floor tiles.
Roof of entrance gate - 2 columns are inside and 2 are outside
Entrance gate giant doors
Entrance gate door motifs
More recent minaret styled as a pagoda
The more ancient minaret is some distance away ... abandoned.

Base of the minaret
Steps of the minaret
Entrance door of minaret

Walking around the rear of the masjid

Views inside the main prayer hall

Mimbar shaped like a throne
Mihrab (arched pulpit) and mimbar (right)
Mihrab and mimbar

Porcelain wall tiles of the prayer hall

Outside the prayer hall

Steps of the masjid

Head towards the library

Visiting the graves on site

There are a few graves on the grounds of Masjid Tengkera: 
  1. Many graves inside a brick enclosure in front against the brick wall
  2. One royal tomb some distance from the masjid. The royal tomb belongs to Sultan Hussain, the last Sultan of Singapore who left Singapore in 1819.

Brick enclosure in front

Sultan Hussain's tomb

The Tengkera graveyard/cemetery is somewhere else today and the ancient minaret and stones of surau ground were some 400 m away back then in 1728. I don't know the way to the graveyard.

External links:

Kemilau Publika and Klasika Media may have more information on ulamak:

Kemilau Publika Sdn Bhd
22F, Jalan Bidara 8, SU Mall, Saujana Utama,
47000 Sg Buloh, Selangor,

Klasika Media
24 Jalan Seri Putra 1/5, Bandar Seri Putra,
43000 Bangi, Selangor,

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