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A Tribute to Shaykh Yusuf of Macassar

In South Sulawesi, there are seven Religious Leader known as “Wali Pitue”, and one of them is Syekh Yusuf Al-Makassary. The first written source which reveals the life of Syekh Yusuf Makassar is the traditional book of history belongs to Makassarese-buginese, that is the so-called “Lontara”. There are three Lontara which inform much of his life, namely lontara Tallo, lontara Gowa and lontara Bilangngang. It was the three lontara considered to very reliable in tracing Riwawayana Tuanta Salamaka ri Gowa (the history of our safe master in Gowa, i.e. Syekh Yusuf al-Makassar). Besides, oral tradition which is famous among Buginese-Makassarese people in South Sulawesi could also tell us such history. According to “Lontara Bilangngang”, the heritage of the twin kingdoms, Gowa-Tallo, Syekh Yusuf was born on 3 July 1626 M coinciding with 8 Syawal 1036 H. The story of his birth was told in oral tradition in Buginese-Makassarese society and it become agreement among them. This fact indicates that his birth was 20 years after Gowa and Tallo kingdoms being Islamized by an Ulama from Minangkabau, namely Abdul Kadir Khatib Tunggal or popularly called Dato’ri Bandang. As an ordinary human, he was born on the earth through his father and mother. As stated in Lontara Riwaya’na Tuanta Salama ri Gowa, his father is Galarrang Moncongloe, a brother in one mother line of the 15th King of Gowa Imanga’rangi Daeng Manrabia or Popularly known as Sultan Alauddin, the first king who converted to Islam and declared Islam as the formal religion ...

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Sh Yusuf documentary in the making

  South African and  Cape Town Muslims in particular often do not realise that their history is rooted in a colourful and undiscovered legacy of famous scholars, such as Abadin Tadia Tjoessoep, more commonly known as Sheik Yusuf of Macassar. Known as the ‘Father of Islam in South Africa’, his shrine remains one of the most important religious and historical sites for Muslims in the country. The alim, who was of noble descent, was exiled to the Cape of Good Hope in 1693 and played an important role inestablishing Islam in the Cape.     Now a South African film maker has taken on the mammoth task to tell the story of the icon’s life through documentary. A former religious studies academic, Dr Eugene Botha, believes the story of Sheikh Yusuf of Macassar is not only relevant to Muslims, but is also a story that all South Africans should know about. “The development phase of the documentary is currently underway and we hope to base this film on the life of the esteemed Sheik,” he told VOC Drivetime. Producers decided to follow the independent route with the film, which means that the documentary would need a fairly big budget. “We would need to travel to the locations throughout the world and also interview the academics working on his life story. It is actually a fairly big undertaking and not just a regular quick broadcast.” Challenge Botha said he was up for the challenge as it is a story that deserves ...

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