Syeikh Abdullah Fahim was a Malaysian nationalist and religious scholar. He was also the paternal grandfather of the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Abdullah Fahim (Tuan Guru Haji Abdullah bin Ibrahim or Pak Him) was born at Sha’ab Ali in Makkah, Saudi Arabia in 1880 (although some sources felt that he was born earlier, in 1869). There are other sources which described him as being born in Kampung Kubur Panjang in Kedah before moving to Makkah with his father, Syeikh Ibrahim Tahir.
Syeikh Abdullah Fahim was a respected Islamic scholar and ahli falak (astronomist). His main interests were usuluddin, Quranic and Hadith knowledge, and astronomy. He returned to Malaya in 1916 and taught Islamic theology at Kuala Batas and Alor Setar in Kedah. He had also set up and ran many religious schools, also known as madrasah or sekolah pondok. He was invited by Almarhum Sultan Iskandar to become the mudir (director) of Madrasah Idrisiah* in Kuala Kangsar in 1931. He also established a madrasah in Kepala Batas. He later became Penang’s first mufti after independence.
Syeikh Abdullah Fahim was one of the key people who started Hisbul Muslimin, which later became known as Parti Islam Se-Malaysia or PAS, one of the main opposition parties in Malaysia which fights for an Islamist agenda. Ironically, both his son (Dato’ Ahmad Badawi, former Deputy UMNO youth) and grandson (Tun Abdullah) became leaders of UMNO.
Syeikh Abdullah Fahim died 28 April 1961.
[*]The construction of Madrasah Idrisiah in Kuala Kangsar commenced in 1917 but was only completed for its first student intake on April 1922.