In the history of Islamic civilization, the great scholars of the Islamic world did not only come from the Arab world. But there are also many great Islamic scholars from outside the Arab world, including those from the archipelago. One of the great Islamic scholars from the archipelago was Sheikh Nawawi Al-Bantani.

Syekh Nawawi Al-Bantani was a scholar born from Tanara village, a small village in Serang district, Banten in 1815 AD or 1230 H. Genealogy arrived at the Messenger of Allah, through the path of Sunan Gunung Jati, from Husein binti Sayyidah Fatimah.

When he was 15 years old, Sheikh Nawawi had left his hometown for hajj and studying at Haromain (Mecca of Medina). While at Haromain, Sheikh Nawawi Al-Bantani studied with the great cleric of Haromain, and also to several scholars from the Archipelago who had become great scholars there, such as Sheikh Ahmad Khatib Asy-Syambas, Sheikh Abdush Shomad Al-Falimbani, Sheikh Ahmad Zaini Dahlan, and so on.

The name Syekh Nawawi Al-Bantani became famous when he began to settle in Syi’ib A’li Mekkah, and opened a halaqoh (study forum) at his home. His students initially only numbered tens, but the longer the number the more. Even those who took part in the Syekh Nawawi recitation came from various parts of the world. Where at that time, Haromain was the center of Islamic scientific studies.

Syekh Nawawi was known as a scholar who was skilled in Islamic treasures, especially in the fields of Tawheed, Jurisprudence, Hadith, Interpretation, and Sufism. Syekh Nawawi’s name became more famous when he was appointed to replace Sheikh Ahmad Khatib Asy-Syambas to become the Imam of the Grand Mosque.

Syekh Nawawi Al-Bantani was one of the archipelago ulema who had a great gait in the history of Islamic scientific treasures, he had many students scattered in various worlds. The students of Sheikh Nawawi who came from Indonesia were Sheikh Mahfudz at-tarmasi, Sheikh Kholil Bangkalan. He was also a productive ulema in writing, whose work in various Islamic disciplines has reached more than 100 books.

As revealed by Sheikh Umar Abdul Jabbar, in his book Al-Durus Min Madhi al-Ta’lim wa Hadlirin bi al-Masjidil Haram. He said that Syekh Nawawi Al-Bantani was a very productive scholar in writing, until his work achieved more than 100. In addition, he also had a big role in the Islamic scholarship at Haromain at that time. So he was considered the guardian of Haromain and Hijaz.

Besides having a big role in Haromain, Sheikh Nawawi also had a big role in his native land. So he was dubbed the first pioneer of Islamic intellectualism in the archipelago. And not only there, Sheikh Nawawi also has a seried of other titles. For example the Guardian of the Hijaz (Sayyidul Hijaz), Nawawi Tsani, Al-Imam wa al-Fahm al-Mudaaqiq (figure with very deep understanding), Figure 14th century Hajj Ulama, Imam Ulama of two holy cities, the father of the Indonesian yellow book, etc.

Among his famous works were Tafsir al-Munir, Tafsir Mar’ah Labib, Nashohihul Ibad, Maraqiyul Ubudiyah, Qami ’al-Tuhgyan, Sulam Munajah, Kasyifatus Saja, and other 100 books. And most of the books by Syekh Nawawi Al-Bantani have been studied in almost all pesantren in Indonesia.

Sheikh Nawawi Al-Bantani died in 1897 AD, when he was 84 years old. By leaving intellectual heritage in various Islamic scientific disciplines.

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