The first modern Madrasah for Perak, and also the Malay States was built in 1901in the small town of Teluk Anson (current day Teluk Intan) and was named Al-Ihsaniah Madrasah. The suggestion to build the Madrasah was first mooted when Sheikhul Islam Tuan Haji Muhammad Salleh Bin Haji Muhammad Taib received an invitation from local leaders of then Teluk Anson, in which a good number of local residents welcomed him.
Tuan Guru Haji Muhd Salleh Bin Muhd Taib was a religious scholar whose birthplace is in Kampung Tungkar Luka, Minangkabau. He received his religious education in Mecca, and was tutored by reknowned teachers and scholars of that period. After spending 17 years as a resident there he returned to his birthplace and began teaching Islam there. In 1889 on the invitation of Engku Kudin, he came to the Malay States to expand his knowledge of Islam. He then resided in Jerjak Island (Pulau Jerjak), Penang from where, he travelled the length of the Malay Peninsular to spread his knowledge of Islam. His exploits gained the interest of the Sultan of Pahang, Sultan of Terengganu as well as the Sultan of Perak, primarily due to his depth of knowledge and his intelligence on the subject of the religion of Islam .
After Terengganu, he was then invited by Raja Mahmud, who was then the ‘Orang Kaya-Kaya Imam Paduka Tuan Perak’ (OKKIPTP is the person responsible for religious affairs for the state of Perak of that time) to preach Islam in Perak. Arriving in Kuala Kangsar ,Tuan Guru Haji Muhd Salleh spent the first 10 days mingling with villagers and local residents while preaching in the surrounding areas. After spending a total of 20 days, he then proceeded to Teluk Anson. Almost all his sermons and religious classes were packed with students and people who came to listen to him. It was mainly because of this that he wished to build his own madrasah. It wasn’t long before he mooted the idea and from that, the realisation of the Al-Ihsaniah Madrasah.
It was also during this period that he was often summoned by the Sultan of Perak on matters regarding Islam. As a sign of appreciation for the contribution of Tuan Haji Muhd Salleh on matters of Islam to the State, the late Sultan of Perak, Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Idris Murshidul Azzam Shah awarded the title of Sheikhul Islam to Tuan Haji Muhd Salleh on 1st of June 1925. He continued to preach and teach until his death on 14 March 1933 and was laid to rest in Kuala Lumpur.
The Al-Ihsaniah Madrasah was built on religious endowment land (wakaf) from the Sultan and subjects, offering both students from within and outside the State of Perak the opportunity to learn Arabic as well as Bahasa Melayu apart from religious studies. Early advertisements offering these programs appealed to the students of Al-Imam and many were interested to enrol in the Madrasah. Officially, the Madrasah was completed in 1901and was open to the congregation beginning 1902.
Located on a plot of land no bigger than half an acre in the center of Teluk Anson, the original structure of the Al-Ihsaniah Madrasah was built with leftover loose wood of different measurements and a thatched roof. Thanks to religious endowments from wealthy residents as well as local residents, the original building was rebuilt with better materials resulting in the current structure which has stood through time since 1901. A big part of the Wakaf was obtained from Paduka Seri Sultan Idris Murshidul’Adzam Shah Ibni Almarhum Raja Bendahara Alang Iskandar himself, the late Sultan who personally took pride in matters of education and state development. As such it was not surprising to see the development of many madrasahs and suraus under his reign. To ensure that these suraus and madrasahs would run without difficulties, the late Sultan created a special fund to finance the administration of these institutions.
More students enrolled as the popularity of the madrasah grew. As a result of that coupled with wakaf collections from the community, the administrators of this madrasah purchased a four acre rubber estate in the vicinity of Kampung Sungai Tukang Sidin in 1941. Subsequently, from the sales of proceeds of the estate, they sustained operations and maintained activities of the madrasah.
Yet, this madrasah has had its equal share of challenges. In the early 70s, it had to cease operations due to shortage of funds as it could no longer sustain its rising running cost. To make matters worse, in 1975 there was talk that the authorities had entered into discussions for a private development to take place on the site of the madrasah through a sale. However the madrasah administrators managed to overcome that difficult period.
The Al Ihsaniah Madrasah of Teluk Intan celebrated its centenary on 27 October 2001, and held a carnival like celebration on that day. While it celebrated its role in the improvement and dissemination of the religion to its faithful, this century old madrasah had stood the test of time, and it is hoped that it will continue to do so for the benefit of many generations to come.
- Buku Majlis Sambutan 100 Tahun Madrasah Ihsaniah 1901-2001
- Madrasah Ihsaniah Wakaf Paduka Seri Sultan Idris Murshidul’Adzam Shah, laman web ku-alam.blogspot
- Sejarah Madrasah Al-Ihsaniah Teluk Intan, Sumbangan Dari Sultan Idris Shah Kepada Ummah, laman web orangperak.com
- Al-Imam, bil. 4, jil. 2,8 Oktober 1907, m/s 135
- Utusan Melayu, 9 Disember 1976