Kyai Haji Ahmad Dahlan (1868 - 1923)
Born in Yogyakarta, Ahmad Dahlan mastered Arabic in his youth (a
feat uncommon in Indonesia at that time) and founded the Muhammadiyah
organisation amidst a backdrop of Dutch colonial supremacy.
He, along with a group who regarded themselves as modernists in
Indonesia, saw the need to purify and revert Islam to its original ideals while
still keeping in step with the wave of modernization sweeping the country. He
was especially concerned that many of the Javanese practices were not in line
with Islam. He created Muhammadiyah in 1912, with a women's wing that
contributed greatly to improving the educational standards and rights of women.