Up until the 19th century, history has shown that Silat education continuously expanded and formed Malay leaders of war fighting against colonialists, such as Mat Kilau, Bahaman, Dato’ Sago, Tok Janggut, Raja Haji, Mat Salleh and others. The communist era saw figures such as Kiai Salleh, Kiai Osman, Kiai Samsuddin, Yeop Mahidin , and Haji Abbas among others.
This means that Silat was not deprived of leaders who continuously invigorated and instilled the spirit of ‘love of country’ and ‘fighting to the last drop of blood’. Those mentioned above are among several names that have gone down in history that fought sincerely for their country. Their eminence has a history of and is closely related to the knowledge of Silat and other such knowledge that allowed them to become effective leaders
Haji Mohd Salleh bin Abdul Karim is born at Tanjung Olak Panchur, Bukit Pasir , Muar, Johor, in the year 1916. In his teens he frequented to knowledgeable teachers including one at his wife's village, Hajah Esah Haji Abdul Rashid, in Ara Pasung, Pontian, Johor.
Among the teachers of Haji Mohd Salleh are Haji Hussein (learned religion and Al- Quran), Haji Alias, Haji Adam and Haji Ahmad. He also learned from Haji Abdul Fadhil bin Abu Bakar Banten who taught the Khaujakan Wirid ( Khaujakan incantations and prayers ) in Johor after His Royal Highness Sultan of Johore Sultan Ibrahim granted him permission and elevated him to a rank of Leader to the Khaujakan Wirid group in Batu Pahat, Johor.
Abdul Fadhil bin Abu Bakar Banten came from Banten a district located in West Jawa. He studied in Macca and came back to Malaya in the year 1915. He lived at Lenga which is located approximately 48 kilometres from Bandar Maharani.
During his stay there, he taught at mosques and surau(s) and after class he would continue with wirid thus spreading Wirid Khwajagan an element of Tariqat Naqshanband knowledge plus Tariqat Tijaniyah practise.
He later moved to Muar after his wife demise. In Muar he lived at Mile 2 1/2 Bakri Road, continuing his teaching and activities at the same time spreading Wirid Khwajagan at various mosques and madrasahs in Muar including Jamik Muar Mosque ( present day known as Jamik Sultan Ibrahim Mosque ).
Circa 1942, during the Japanese occupation, the Sultan of Johor at the time, Sultan Ibrahim ibni Sutan Abu Bakar, worries about his family and loyal subjects safety, instructed Datuk Osman Buang a Muar District Officer, to look for a religious person who could help overcome their insecurity. Datuk Osman Buang suggested Haji Fadhil Banten who would be the only person who could make supplication intended by His Majesty.
Haji Fadhil Banten was then brought to Johor Bahru and Sultan Ibrahim offered him a place to live in within the palace but instead chose to stay in Pasir Pelangi Mosque because a mosque environment is much easier and is a better place to do worship.
Haji Mohd Salleh or better known as Panglima Salleh is one of the most well known malay warrior fighting communist insurgents right after the Japanese Army withdrawal from Malaya after World War II.
His leader ship came into force after the defeat of Japanese Army to the Allied Forces mid August 1945. All over the Peninsula, people were experiencing a period without a government. It extended the next two weeks and ensuing British Administration signalled a new start in Malaya.
Before the arrival of British forces, the communist or better known as Three Star Army were also fighting the Japanese and were called the Malayan People Anti-Japanese Army or MPAJA took advantage of the period taking seat of governing the country but ruled with extreme atrocity towards people who had collaborated with the Japanese. They never knew pity and were merciless, executing whoever they deemed wrong without practicing and upholding proper law. People who are found guilty will be put to death.
Atrocities of Three Star Army (Bintang Tiga) are rampant all over Malaya and that includes Batu Pahat and Muar, Johor. The Malay community in Parit Sulong, Batu Pahat , Johor at the time did not have sufficient arms to defend themselves chose Haji Mohd Salleh to lead an alliance defending from hoarding Three Star Army.
They were only equipped with long parang and the practice of Sentence Four, Haji Mohd Salleh lead the people of Batu Pahat attacking scores of Three Star Army camps scattered across west Johor namely Bukit Berdiri and Bukit Alam, Parit Sulong-Parit Lubok, Semerah-Kangkar Senanga and at Air Kuning, Bakri, Muar. The group of fighters lead by Haji Mohd Salleh are known to be the ' Long Sword Army ' and ' Selempang Merah ' (Red Sash) is a clothe with colour red supplied to everyone who is fighting the communist insurgents. The Selempang Merah Army originated from Johor, Malaysia lead by a kiai named Kiai Salleh he is very well known in religion and spiritual Malay knowledge.
Selempang Merah Army became well known after the Japanese defeat. At the time Three Star Army went amuk killed religious people and chieftains, Selempang Merah Army stood against them defending fellow Malays attacking communist strongholds and conspirants.
The movement helped against communist brutality until the return of British Army to Malaya after WW II and when the racial riots happened on the 13th. May 1969 this movement came out from Johor to help fellow Malays in Kuala Lumpur but was stopped by the Police Force.
There have been various story told about the greatness of Haji Mohd Salleh and his followers. There was a story told of a number of Three Star Army enlist claimed of seeing a tall bamboo-like person charging towards them to take away their lives, but in reality it was Panglima Salleh and his group of fighters in their hundred strong. Whatever that had happened, it is clear that Haji Mohd Salleh bin Abdul Karim succeeded in halting Three Star Army activities most effectively until the arrival of the British to govern Malaya. Dato Onn Jafar persuaded Panglima Salleh on behalf of the Sultan not to attack Batu Pahat and the Chinese communists residing there, so one can see that silat is not only a part of war but also a warrior art of stopping wars!
Courage and strength, Haji Mohd Salleh is acknowledged by the Royal Highness Sultan of Johore Almarhum Sultan Ibrahim ibni Sultan Abu Bakar who gave a speech on the 26th. December 1945 that Haji Mohd Salleh is a Malay Warrior. It's been a prefix to his name ever since. Honouring and blessing for services rendered to his Majesty the Duli Yang Maha Mulia ( DYMM ) Sultan Johor presented him the Pingat Ibrahim Sultan - PIS ( Ibrahim Sultan Medal )on the 17th. September 1955. Haji Mohd Salleh said his last prayers at General Hospital Johor Bahru after a pneumonia attack which ended his dear life on the 21st. April 1959.
wirid - a noun a citation from th eKoran which is read repeatedly as a way of asking forgiveness, etc.; a prayer read after praying meanwhile berwirid is a verb word as to read prayer repeatedly; to pray.
kiai - noun, a religious person.
internet edited and collated :
malaysian wikipedia and other cultural websites
Aidinal Al Rashid
sumber - SilatTV