Historically, Temasik belonged as part of the ancient Malay kingdom of Langkasuka-Pattani which refered to it as “ Hujung Tanah ” (Tip of the hinterland, Peninsula) or “ Pulo Ujung ” (island at the tip).
It was already known for its strategic position and was prized by subsequent power of the Siamese, Srivijaya, Majapahit and the Malaka Sultanate – long before the coming of the Western imperialists.
It was renamed Singapura by a prince SANG NILA UTAMA ( Sri Maharaja Sang Nila Utama Parameswara Batara Sri Tri Buana ) from Palembang from the waning SRIVIJAYA empire.
It was this last king of Singapura that fled the island for MUAR , just before the MAJAPAHIT under PATIH GAJAH MADA * , came to attack it.
This last king, was the PARAMESWARA who founded MALAKA . He later embraced Islam and this Sultanate become dominant with the protection of the Chinese Emperor from the threat of SIAMESE invasion.
When MALAKA fell to the Portuguese in 1511CE, the last Sultan of MALAKA retreated to JOHOR LAMA (Kota Tinggi) and started the JOHOR-RIAU-LINGGA empire. Singapura was already an important trading port for this kingdom with the Sultan’s SHAHBANDAR (Harbour Master to collect taxes from ships trading in this region) stationed at Tanjung Rhu (according to a Portuguese map – ref: Emeritus Prof. Khoo Kay Kim).
The role of the Bugis princes and their influence upon the Malay Sultanates must be noted. Then in the RIAU island under this Sultanate, specifically in BINTAN-PENYENGAT , this was one of the centre of Islamic learning and Malay literary works, which grew in importance.
As has been explained, Islamic scholars of the NUSANTARA was freely engaged in spreading Islam throughout the rest of the archipelago. Alliances forged by princes with other regional chieftain, expanded their sphere of influence, as well as for Islamic Da’wah.
Thus it was, that with the coming of the Western imperialist, the spread of Islam received tremendous impetus – into the NATUNAS, BRUNEI, SULU, ZAMBOANGA, MAKASSAR , etc.
Stamford Raffles who had deep knowledge of JAVA and the NUSANTARA , had been keen to colonised Singapore for the British empire.
His opportunity came when the last Sultan Mahmud was assassinated, when it left a vacant throne disputed by two of his sons: TENGKU LONG ( HUSSAIN ) and younger brother TENGKU ABDUL RAHMAN who was much favoured by courtiers holding the “ Royal Regalia ” in BINTAN.
In 1819 Raffles brought TENGKU HUSSAIN with the TEMENGGUNG (the Chieftain governing Singapura for the Sultan), to have him installed as Sultan of Singapore, although he was never regarded as successor of the JOHOR-RIAU-LINGGA Sultanate. This was so that a treaty ceding the island to the British could be signed and sealed.
Although Sultan Hussain was never recognised as successor to the JOHOR throne, and his coronation was without the important ceremonial “ Royal Regalia ” ( Alat Penobatan Di-Raja ) required by Malay custom, this did not worry the British. Even the Dutch had rejected what Raffles had done.
But plan was underway by the British and the Dutch to negotiate the ANGLO-DUTCH TREATY (1824), which included splitting the region, especially the JOHOR-RIAU-LINGGA dominion between them. They exchanged MALAKA for BENCOOLEN so that a clear boundary could be agreed regarding their respective sphere of influence in colonizing the region – to the north by the British and the South, the Dutch. Thus the colonized Singapore was given respite. Although a Sultan was installed in Singapore, JOHOR was still left under the rule of the TEMENGGUNG .
In installing Sultan Hussain, Raffles designated the area in KAMPONG GELAM for him – planning an enclave almost similar to the JAVANESE KRATON . With a walled compound ( KOTA ) and ISTANA , adjoining settlement like the KAUMAN , but mostly populated by JAVANESE (thus its popular name KAMPONG JAWA ), a mosque etc. located near an old existing Malay/Muslim cemetery.
This area soon became a vibrant Muslim Quarter, a truly cosmopolitan community of Muslims.
His lieutenant, FARQUHAR , also brought the Malaccan Malays who also started a settlement on the bank of Singapore river ( KAMPUNG MELAKA ), where one of the oldest mosque built by SYED ‘OMAR BIN ‘ALI ALJUNIED in that period, now still stands.
Although installed as Sultan in Singapore, TENGKU HUSSAIN had no control over the rest of the realm left by the last Sultan Mahmud; as well his installation was opposed by the Malays in BINTAN-RIAU .
The TEMENGGUNG continued to live on Singapore island, but due to friction with Sultan Hussain, he and his followers later were designated TELOK BELANGA district. A mosque, the land and a royal family tomb and cemetery still exist even till this day, belonging to this royal family.
The TEMENGGUNG ABDUL RAHMAN was left to continue to administer the realm of JOHORE on his own, although cut-off from that of BINTAN-RIAU . He was succeeded by his son, TEMENGGUNG DAING IBRAHIM .
His successor, WAN ABU BAKAR BIN TEMENGGUNG DAING IBRAHIM , later shifted and built a new administrative capital at TANJUNG PUTERI , renamed JOHOR BHARU . With patronage from the then Sultan Abdul Hamid II of TURKEY and Queen Victoria of BRITAIN, and being connected to the royal lineage on the BENDAHARA side, he later proclaimed himself as the MAHARAJA , then SULTAN , of the whole JOHORE state. This was after Sultan Ali Iskandar Shah bin Hussain Muazzam Shah failed to gain the recognition from the British, as the legitimate Sultan of JOHORE.
Meanwhile Singapore remained as an important colonial capital of the British Straits Settlement.
Yet , this core knowledge of the DEEN , requires a Muslim to acquire the other knowledge (‘ ulum al-ukhra ) of the world and the universe termed ( ‘ ulum al-duniyawiyat ).
The term “ ‘ukhrawiy “ has been much misunderstood by Muslims here, and wrongly applied to the knowledge of the DEEN , as though Islam’s concern is only for the other world (Hereafter). Whereas all types of knowledge religious and worldly are intrinsically linked, guided by a divine command to seek every beneficial knowledge ( ‘ilm an-naa-fi’.)
The most importantant categorization pertains to a Muslim’s responsibility ( TAKLIF ) towards these knowledge.
Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazalie’s divides it into FARDHU-’AIN Knowledge – knowledge which a Muslim is personally obligated to learn; and FARDHU’ KIFAAYAH knowledge, which is obligatory upon the community to ensure there are sufficient Muslims who possess them.
So, every Muslim must be inculcated with FARDHU-’AIN knowledge which is intrinsically linked to knowledge of the religion ( ‘ULUM-UD-DEEN ). This will be quite broad and eclectic, adequately to prepare them their needs. FARDHU ‘AIN knowlledge includes the other ( AAKHAR - UKHRA ) worldly sciences and skills, in keeping with the current standards and needs in life. Yet, it is always the ( DEENIYAT ) knowledge and philosophy of Islamic education that determines how a Muslim is to be developed.
The FARDHU KIFAAYAH knowledge, are usually those pertaining to fields of specialization – both worldly and religious sciences .
When the colonialists introduced conventional (secular) education, the Muslims regarded this as useful and important for their children, although regarding it still as insufficient ,for they needed to ensure that the children be taught their religion too.
Thus the DUALISTIC system of education of the Muslims, one by the national school and the other, their religious instruction. Although the latter has to be provided for by the community itself, the Muslims have never neglected this in every generation. Usually conducted outside their normal school hours, at home, in madrasah , associations or in mosques.
To ensure adequate teachers for this, that was how the traditional FULL-TIME MADRASAH (Islamic religioius schools) begun where intensive study of the religious sciences were conducted for a few cohorts.
The number of students is significantly small (cohorts never exceeded 4% of total annual Muslim students), and these MADRASAH were totally independent schools built and funded by endowment established by Muslim philatrophists and supported through donations. Not unlike the Seminary, the full-time MADRASAH has been producing the Islamic religious teachers , scholars, preachers and propagators of Islam for the community. This is in accordance with a command in the Qur’an: