(? – 16 August 1964)
He was born in Singapore and went to Mecca and Al-Azhar University at Cairo to study before the start of World War 1.
He returned to Singapore in 1916 and was appointed as the Headmaster for Madrasah Alsagoff. A few years later, he went to Indonesia and opened several madrasahs in Java. After ensuring the madrasahs could run on their own, he returned to Singapore and continued his missionary work here.
In 1931, with the help of a rich philanthropist, Dato’ Syed Hassa Al-Mohsen Al-Ghair, he opened an Arabic school in Johor Bahru which was called ‘Kuliah Al-Attas’. Six years later the school folded. He then opened another school at Bartley Road, Singapore, called ‘Kuliah Firdaus’. He taught Quranic Exegesis (Tafsir) and Islamic Juriprusdence (Fiqh) in that school until the Japanese Occupation.
In 1936, he established Madrasah Al-Ma’arif Al-Islamiah at Ipoh Road, Singapore.
His contributions to the educational scene were well-known, such that in 1955, he was invited to be the Headmaster for a madrasah at Pekan, Pahang, in Malaya.
While in Singapore, he was also the Imam and Khatib for Masjid Ma’aruf at Clyde Stree, the mosque built and administered by his family. In 1995, the Mosque was demolished to give way for development.
It was said that Kiayi Fadhlullah followed in the footsteps of his father – the famous Syeikh Muhammad Suhaimi. He had a razor sharp mind which could easily defeat any opponents in religious debates.
Besides that, people remembered him as one who fervently whipped up his student’s sentiment so that they would be independent and religious.
In June 1964, this beloved educator passed away peacefully.
May Allah bless his soul.
(Source: Sulaiman Jeem, Abdul Ghani Hamid, Aktivis Melayu/Islam di Singapura, Singapore: Persatuan Wartawan Melayu Singapura, 1997 )