Ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad hailed from Kedah; born in Kampung Sungai Baru, Mukim Gunung, Alor Setar in 1923. Following the norm of the day, he received his early education in a Melayu-vernacular school in Kampung Gunung, Alor Setar, Kedah and continued his religious studies at a few Religious Schools with a few Islamic scholars in Kedah.
Searching for true understanding towards Allah and following the Holy Prophet’s example, Ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad decided to sacrifice his youth to deepen his religious knowledge with a few famous scholars throughout the country, going as far as Singapore. The learning process to become a true servant of Allah, required him to support himself by selling pastries, traditional medicine and travelling throughout Malaysia to find a true teacher.
As a result of his patience and perseverance, it was Allah’s Will that Ustaz Hanafi met with Pak Haji Zain Abdul Rahman, who succeeded in explaining and summarizing for him the reality of divinity towards Allah using the book Al-Hikam written by Ibni Ataillah Al-Iskandari as a guide.
The struggle for independence of British rule struck a chord in the nationalistic soul of Ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad to fight for the rights of the Malay people. The field most suited to him as a true Malay was Silat Melayu. Ustaz Hanafi was sure that the Malay people had a combat form that was no less powerful than the martial arts of other cultures.
A detailed research into many Malay martial arts was carried out. The process of searching for one silat that could truly be effective for self-defence once again required that Ustaz Hanafi travel, becoming a servant to teachers, learning many different silat, and selling traditional medicine all around Malaysia. Finally, with the Will of Allah, he met Yahya Said.
Yahya Said practiced Silat Cekak and for 40 years, had sought a replacement worthy of the art itself. With his impressive knowledge of the Malay language, Ustaz Hanafi encapsulated Silat Cekak in simple but accurate verses, now immortalized in the Silat Cekak poems and philosophy.
He was also the man responsible to breathe new hope and faith to Silat Melayu as an art worthy of study by the Malay people. He revived the respect of the masses towards an art tarnished by ignorance and superstition; an art that has withstood the riot of rain and the sear of shine. As a dynamic pioneer in organizational management, he provided a new image to Silat Melayu in a silat organization.
It is clear that a huge part of the success of Silat Cekak’s popularity among the Malay masses today is the result of the vision of Ustaz Hanafi; the supreme leader of Silat Cekak. Now, Silat Cekak Hanafi is available to be learnt at most learning institutions. Friend or foe, respectful or disrespectful students, acknowledge and appreciate him as a Principal with caliber, courage and perseverance.
Ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad passed away on the 13th of August 1986 at Kuala Lumpur at the age of 63 years leaving behind a widow Maimunah Haji Othman and six children. His vision continues to this day as led by his fourth son, Md. Radzi Haji Hanafi.
"His speech and actions were always in concert. In all things, he practiced it first before teaching it. His speech and opinions were easy to understand and in line with the purpose of life. He was also a master of many situations. There were times, he would be a teacher, times he would be a father and others he would be a friend.” -The opinion of the Silat Cekak Hanafi Principal, Md. Radzi Haji Hanafi, of Silat Cekak’s supreme leader, the late Ustaz Hanafi Haji Ahmad..
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