A Brief Background of
Dr. Burhanuddin al-Helmy
· Real name: Burhanuddin bin Haji Muhammad Nor
· Place of birth: Changkat Tualang,Perak
· Date of birth: 29th August 1911
· Father: Haji Muhammad Noor
· Mother: Sharifah Zahrah bt Habib Osman
· ‘al-Helmy’ means a person who is gentle, tranquil and never angry
· Malay School Education
· Sekolah Agama Sungai Jambu, Sumatra
· Sekolah Pondok Pulau Pisang,Jitra,Kedah
· Madrasah al- Mashor al-Islamiah, Pulau Pinang (1927)
· Ismaeliah Medical College, New Delhi(Degree in homeopathy)
· Aligarh Muslim University (Ph.D)
The Role of Islamic Values in His Political Activism
· Joined Kesatuan Melayu Muda(KMM) 1939
· Appointed as the ‘Advisor on Malay Custom and Culture’ during the Japanese Occupation in Tanah Melayu.He managed to organized two Islamic congress and prepared whatever it may seem necessary for independence of Tanah Melayu. He was also able to protect and assist Ma’ahad al-Ehya as-Sharif, Gunung Semanggol Perak from any harm made by the Japanese soldiers.
· Joined Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM).Even though there are some true facts about the role of communist and socialism in PKMM, but Dr. Burhanuddin was able to neutralize these elements and have strong in his idealism and action.
· Became Parti Islam Se-Malaya (PAS) members on 14th December 1956.Became the President of PAS on 25th December 1956. Under the leadership of Dr.Burhanuddin, the popularity of the party became famous and being accepted by the Malays as well.
His major theme is always been Islam. In his message to the masses, he gave many examples from Quran, hadith and even some historical settings which are relevant to the subject. He never gave up easily even though he was capture, tortured, harsh criticisms and accusation, but he never gave up hope easily and perceived it as a challenge from Allah S.W.T.
He showed a good living example between Islam and politics. In every political organization he joined and even any movement, his manifestation of Islam is always noticeable. Some would say that KMM is based on true nationalism ideology and PKMM as communist and socialist party but when we looked deep through, we would say that it is not true. His role in these various organizations had a huge impact on Tanah Melayu political atmosphere be it in pre-Independence or post-Independence.
Thoughts and Writings of Dr. Burhanuddin al- Helmy
When discussing about Dr. Burhanuddin al-Helmy, the theme of Islam is very apparent in his daily life. He wrote many books about politics, Tasawwuf and medicine. Compared to his counterparts in politics during his period, it is obvious that Dr. Burhanuddin wrote many books, wrote his own speeches and spread his own thoughts to the masses. Among the famous books that he wrote is Sejarah Perjuangan Kita, Falsafah Kebangsaan Melayu, Ugama dan Politik dan Ideologi Politik Islam.
In his book (Sejarah Perjuangan Kita; published in 1946) in chapter VI, he quoted many verses from the Quran. This means that his worldview is based on Islam and he is trying as best as he could to spread the message of Islam. He emphasized a lot about faith, body, nation and territory. All of these elements are interrelated and vital to the Malays. We must get independents first in order to established Islam system of life. If we do not get independent, we do not control our country, it is useless to promote the message of Islam. He also added that politics should be compatible to Islam, and not Islam should be compatible to politics.
In his another book entitled Falsafah Kebangsaan Melayu, he gave emphasize on the topic of “Kebangsaan Dalam Islam”. He wrote:
“Islam memandang kebangsaan itu sebagai suatu alat bukan tujuan. Kebangsaan hendaklah mengambil tempat yang sederhana dan bulat sebagai suatu lambang yang boleh menarik dan menyatukan suatu bahagian tenaga untuk mencapai cita-cita mulia yang besar dan abadi, sebagimana Islam memandang dunia bukan tujuan tetapi hanya satu alat atau tunggangan yang menyampaikan ke akhirat”. (Burhanuddin 1954)
It is clear that Dr. Burhanuddin viewed nationalism as not an end but as a medium to the hereafter. And even he stated that nationalism he perceived is very wide and not rigid compared to others understanding of nationalism. But in the end, Rustam A. Sani argued that nationalism movement in Tanah Melayu as a movement of ‘failed nationalism’ because it is not based on Malay itself.