25. Dhul Qadah 1438  Jumu'ah
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It was in 1975, when I decided to visit my grandmother Syarifah Fatimah Ar Rumi, wife of Habib Ja’afar bin Ahmad Al Attas, who lived by a sea side village called Toli Toli, situated at the North West of Sulawesi Island in Indonesia. The trip would be made by going to Jakarta first from Kuala Lumpur and proceeding the following day to Makassar, the capital of Sulawesi. After breaking the journey at Makassar, one has to make a flight on a single engine propeller plane, which flew direct to Toli Toli. During the flight and due to some technical glitches, the plane was forced to land at Palu for repair. The maqam of Al Habib Idrus bin Salim Aljufri was buried here in 1969 and the scenario seemed to imply that I should visit (ziarah) Al Habib first before the grandmother.


After checking out from the airport, I was left in consternation, being a complete stranger found in a new place for the first time and without knowing a single soul around.

Al Ustaz Al Habib Segaf.bin Sheikh Aljufri, 

The only word I knew was Al Khairat which was the name of the school founded by Al Habib Idrus and asked the taxi driver to take me there. It was late in the evening and there was no one around and so I did the next best thing, which was to just gate crash at the nearest house. After calling the salutation salam, an elderly person appeared and both of us were perplexed looking at each other without knowing each other’s identity. He kindly invited me to enter his house and after exchanging the warm and cordial introduction, I found he was Al Ustaz Al Habib Segaf.bin Sheikh Aljufri, the son-in-law of Al Habib Idrus bin Salim Aljufri. I explained the purpose of my visit to Sulawesi and mentioned that my father Syed Abu Bakar Aljufri was married to Syarifah Zaharah, the granddaughter of Al Habib Ahmad bin Ja’afar Al Attas. Suddenly there was a gleeful expression on his face and told me that he knew of my father who once was teaching here. I was perplexed as this is the first time I came across the story. He explained that my father was teaching at regret school, and again I was puzzled by the terminology, which he later explained that this was the school for the community who regretted for not having formal education before.

Al Habib Ahmad bin Ja’afar Al Attas

I also mentioned that there was Habib Hussein bin Alwi Alkaff, the cousin of my mother-in-law who lived in Palu. Fortunately he was also his close friend who came and gracefully offered me to stay at his house.

In passing I did indicate to Habib Segaf that I love to swim in the sea. He really took the trouble to arrange for me to go to Buluri, a village situated about seven kilometers from Palu. The following day, I took the journey on a horse driven carriage and was greeted by an elderly person in his eighties by the name of Tahiroh bin Latajo. He was a favorite murid of Al Habib Idrus bin Salim Aljufri who lived in a traditional timber house located near the beach. The beach had also a phenomenon as you could draw fresh water anywhere simply by digging with the fingers in the sand, anywhere just one meter away from the sea shore line.  This was due to the proximity of the high mountain that had abundance of fresh underground water flowing below the surface.

After the refreshing dip and lunch with Pa’ Tahiroh, he began to unfold an intriguing story. Once he was ill and was lying in deep coma for five days. It was so critical that Al Habib Segaf.bin Sheikh Aljufri stayed vigil at his house and slept in front on the wide verandah. Subsequently, he dreamt of ‘guru tua’ the old teacher, as fondly known even to-day, Al Habib Idrus bin Salim Aljufri. Al Habib appeared with several friends all dressed in white and he pointed to a piece of land across the road from his house. Immediately he woke up which was around three o’clock in the morning and saw that Habib Segaf was still sleeping and decided not to disturb him and left him alone. Habib Segaf was completely astounded when he woke up and saw him walking about. He narrated the event to him and both of them deciphered that this was an instruction to build an Al Khairat school.  The land as shown belonged to Pa’ Tahiroh’s cousin, Pa’ Degogor. He offered to exchange with another property elsewhere but Pa’ Degogor refused as he also wanted to share the fruits of the hereafter and took the decision to wakaf the land for the school. Both of them began to mobilize and began preliminary construction work. They were not from well-to-do family and would not able to afford to build a two-storey school but by Allah’s Grace, the provincial government selected a school annually in the whole region to disburse financial assistance and this school was selected for the funding. In 1976 the school was launched, named Madrasah Abtidiah Alkharia, followed later in 1984 by the addition of a secondary school.

 آحَوْلَ وَلاَ قُوَّةَ اِلاَّ بِاللهِ الْعَلِيِّ الْعَظِيْم