Irfan Dahlan and Ahmadiyya: A Clarification from Dr. Winai Dahlan

The following notes were written by Dr. Winai Dahlan, a son of Irfan Dahlan or a grandson of KH Ahmad Dahlan, as a response to the information regarding the relation between his father and the Lahore Ahmadiya. The notes were originally posted to my facebook wall on August 19, 2013.

Oleh: Winai Dahlan | Putra Irfan Dahlan

Thanks Brother Burhani for sending me an article of my niece concerning my father, Erfaan Dahlan. I have studied the story of my father by reading from several sources, recalling from my memory of him, discussing with many old friends of his as well as with my elder sisters and brothers. Jumhan bin KHA Dahlan together with 3 more young men were sent by decision of Muhammadiyyah leading committee to continue their studies in Lahore at madarasah of Ahmaddiyah in 1924, one year after the pass away of Jumhan’s father, KHA Dahlan. Jumhan was only one finally who graduated 6 years later in 1930, a year after Ahmaddiyah was fatwa in Solo as non-Islam. Jumhan at that time changed his name to Erfaan Dahlan had done his duty by finishing his study and had no place to go. One can imagine that 80 years ago with distorted and exaggerated information from homeland to young man of 20 year old like Erfaan, how much he felt worried and scared. His decision was not going back home in Kauman since his mame was used by Ahmaddiyah in Yogyakarta as a member of Ahmaddiyah movement founder.

He came to Pattani Thailand during 1930 to spend his life as assistant of Dr.Khan, a Pakistani doctor who had dedicated his life by working there. I met several sons of Dr.Khan who insisted that their father was not Ahmaddiyah but one time by chance had visited Lahore for attending a meeting. He met Erfaan who urged to accept him working as assistant in Thailand. Erfaan had worked with Dr.Khan for a year before wandering northward to Nakhonsrithammarat and finally to Bangkok. He probably met my mother, a daughter of Masjid Java’s Imam, during his 25 year old of age. Impress of Erfaan’s character and humble manner, Imam finally granted his youngest daugter, Yaharah, to my father. When they married, my mother was 16 a decade younger than her husband. My mother always made joke about poverty of Erfaan by saying he had only 2 sarongs when they married possibly in the year of 1934.

My father had spent 27 years of his life in Thailand until passing away on 8 May 1967 left behind 10 children with my mother. We had never learned about his life in Lahore, he just kept quiet about madarasah of Ahmaddiyah, I don’t think that he had good mehmory there but did mention time to time about his joyful life in the family of a great man in Kauman but as a child I thought that he boasted of his big family that he had high pride. Who was his father we did not know until 1965 when he went first time back to Indonesia and returned to Bangkok with several stamps of KHA Dahlan. The poor family in Bangkok had finally something to be proud of, our grandfather was a national hero but on what we did not know.

Many rumours mentioned that my father was Ahmadist or follower of Ahmaddiyah, but we in family realized that it was only fitna. My father with all his life was Muhammadiyah who had sacrificed his whole life protecting reputation of his father by fading his profile in a land that little known by members of Muhammadiyyah in Indonesia. He had been depressed not to attend funeral of his mother Nyai Walidah but one day he was discovered by his elder sister, Aisah, that he who had disappeared from family for many decades was in Bangkok having big family with Javanese descendents. I met Auntie Aisah with her daughter Ibu Maisaroh when I was very young when they visited my family. Auntie Aisah tried to persuade my father going back to Indonesia but with 8 children at that time it was absolutely impossible.

My Brother Burhani, we really need Ahmaddiyah people to behave as gentlemen by leaving my father resting in peace not using him for raising up their reputation. Studying in Madarasah of Ahmaddiyah does not mean that he sold out his soul to be Ahmadist, he just did his responsibility to finish his education never let other people down. Therefore nothing in KHA Dahlan’s family in Thailand links with Ahmaddiyah but so proud of KHA Dahlan as founder of Muhammadiyah. Fitna is fitna, just ignore and do not make it interfere our life.

Thank you all brothers and sisters, I really have no opinion on Ahmaddiyah, neither thinking that they are not Islam, that’s just political issue behind the hidden conflict which finally weaken Islam in many ways. How can we compete with other beliefs and civilizations while such stories chained our legs? My corrections are also on some mistakes about my link to Thailand’s royal family. I am just ordinary man with nothing link to my beloved King and Crown Prince. I am neither King’s advisor or Crown Prince’s friend, that story was just misinformation and sound not good and disrespectful as Thais. I therefore would like all Indonesians correct it. Another story was that my father had no relation with Chulalongkorn University, sorry my dear niece, Diah, that’s also wrong information. Erfaan came to Bangkok not by assignment of Dr.Khan, he just left Pattani for seeking his own life after learning that there was Javanese community in Bangkok. Warm family of my mother’s family especially great love and understanding of my mother on him had cured his pain from political defect caused by all stories happened in Yogyakarta, his hometown. Forgive and forget were taught that my father always gave to us. He told me when I was very young that all men if go out from birthplace one day have to go back and do anything good to their homeland. My father had no opportunity to do as his teaching, such duty is on my shoulder. As a son of my father this is the answer why I acceted an invitation to come to this beautiful land of great nation during Congress of Indonesian Diaspora II in Jakarta this time. I am a Thai belong to such fascinating country and I consider Indonesia as my father’s homeland. If I can do anything good to Indonesia I shall do it on behalf of my family. We are thinking in our family that the fitna about my father in Indonesia during 1920s was hidayah from Allah Almighty, imagine, without such fitna, we would have never been born, Alhamdulillah. La ila ha il lallah, Muhammadar rasullulalah.[]


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  1. ini klarifikasinya tahun berapa?

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