As time passes by, our forgotten historical figures should be recognized not only to the people in Perak, but to the people of Malaysia as a whole and the figure is no other than the teacher that has taught religion to five Sultans of Perak.
The name of the well-known religious figure is Haji Nawawi bin Haji Mohd Tahir and is famously known by his nickname Tuan Haji Che Wi Janggut or Sheikh Nawawi Janggut Merah.
Haji Nawawi Bin Haji Mohd Tahir frequently colors his beard red which led to why he is given that particular nickname Tuan Che Wi Janggut Merah.
Haji Nawawi bin Haji Mohd Tahir was born in Kampung Kuala Kangkong in the state of Kedah on the year 1881 and died at the age of 88 on 21st of July 1969. He moved to Pantai Remis, Perak because of his whole family.
Haji Nawawi bin Haji Mohd Tahir received his religious education from his uncle named Haji Mohd Shafie Losong in the state of Terengganu and from Tuan Hussain Al-Banjari in the state of Kedah.
What is interesting about his career is he has held the position of an educator and advisor on religion to five Perak Sultans since the reign of Sultan Idris Murshidul Adzam Shah (the 28th Sultan of Perak) to the rule of Sultan Yussuf Izzudin Shah (the 32nd Sultan of Perak). He held the position approximately since the middle or the end of the reign of SultanIdris Murshidul Adzam Shah I until the year 1963.
Haji Nawawi Bin Haji Mohd Tahir
- Sultan Perak 28 – Sultan Idris Murshidul Adzam Shah I (1887 – 1916)
- Sultan Perak 29 – Sultan Abdul Jalil Nasruddin Muhtaram Shah (1916 – 1918)
- Sultan Perak 30 – Sultan Iskandar Shah (1918 – 1938)
- Sultan Perak 31 – Sultan Abdul Aziz Al-Mutasim Billah Shah (1938 – 1948)
- Sultan Perak 32 – Sultan Yussuf Izzuddin Shah (1948 – 1963)
Sultan Idris Murshidul Adzam Shah I
He is one of the few religious figures alongside Sheikh Hassan Yamani, Sheikh Abdullah Maghribi and Sheikh Abdullah Fahim whom are the pioneers of the Madrasah Idrisiah in Bukit Chandan. Madrasah Idrisiah during that time is one of the most famous religious institutions in Southeast Asia as it manages to produce various Islamic figures and scholars after years of operation.
Back to the personal life story of Haji Nawawi Bin Haji Mohd Tahir. For the sake of information for the wonderful readers of orangperak.com, he is said to have a total of 24 children as a result from his relationship with 3 wives.
He is very brave and firm in defending the values of Islam. There is no compromise if he thinks the opinion is against the Islamic teachings, and he will be the first to defend it. There are also certain interesting stories to prove his passion on Islam.
Sultan Abdul Jalil Nasruddin Muhtaram Shah
In one occurrence, he criticized the actions of certain individuals of wrapping around a white cloth around their heads by the royals and certain individuals made a report on the criticism made by him to the Sultan of Perak during that time.
As a result, he was called to meet face to face with the Sultan and many have thought the he will face the Sultan’s wrath. Along came Haji Nawawi Bin Haji Mohd Tahir to the castle bringing together with him a shroud. Upon meeting the Sultan, his Majesty said to him why he bring along the shroud.
Haji Nawawi Bin Haji Mohd Tahir answered, “If I were to be executed today due to my criticism hence this is the shroud to wrap my body around with’’.
There are also certain events that clearly showcases his courage and beliefs in defending the values of Islam. This story occurs where the Sultan of Perak during that time, Sultan Iskandar Shah (The 30th Sultan of Perak) calls upon the religious figures in Perak for iftar at the Royal Palace. What happened during that day, the time to break the fast has not arrived however the Sultan ordered the guests to immediately eat away.
Sultan Iskandar Shah
The guests that are invited kept quiet and would not dare to question the actions of the Sultan, and all of a sudden Haji Nawawi Bin Haji Mohd Tahir stood up and said, ‘’If your Majesty wants to enter the fires of hell, then enter it alone’’.
The original intention of Sultan Iskandar Shah during that time is to test the stance of all the religious figures that are present. The Sultan praised the bravery of Haji Nawawi for sticking to his religious principals and scolded the figures that kept silent on the matter. Sultan Iskandar Shah stated, ‘’I am very fortunate, that in this state of Perak, there are still people that are brave enough to scold my actions’’.
Other events that will be told here briefly is on his efforts to destroy the practice of worshipping jin by serving buffalo heads. Haji Nawawi Bin Haji Mohd Tahir is said was waiting at the location where the ritual was held annually to deprive it from happening until one day the jin got angry and eventually killed the witch that held the buffalo-head serving ritual.
Sultan Abdul Aziz Al-Mutasim Billah Shah
Several religious figures were killed during the occupation of communist soldiers and Haji Nawawi Bin Haji Mohd Tahir is also one of the main targets of the communist party.
It happened in one situation where the communists prohibits the villagers to attend religious classes at the mosque. One fine day, the student of Haji Nawawi Bin Haji Mohd Tahir who wants to go the mosque was asked by one of the communists about his whereabouts and where he wanted to go to.
The boy quickly replied, ‘’to the Mosque of Haji Janggut Merah’’. For some reason the communist did not stop the boy’s journey and was asked why he let the boy continue his journey.
The communist replied that they once caught Haji Janggut Merah and dragged him into a sack and threw it into the waters of Pantai Remis. However, they found out that he managed to escape and the sack was replaced by a rock. That event has led to the communists to feel a sense of fear and they have not disturbed Haji Nawawi ever again.
Sultan Yussuf Izzuddin Shah
Haji Nawawi Bin Haji Mohd Tahir should be recognized as a personal and mentor and will be remembered as an Islamic figure in the state of Perak with strong values and should be an example for millennials of today and the future.
There is no possibility to meet another Haji Nawawi bin Haji Mohd or anyone like him in this world ever again. Hope that we as normal human beings will set him as an example in areas of religion.