Noted as one of the 13 founding figures of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), KH Abdul Chalim’s name is not as popular as other figures in the Indonesian people’s historical record and collective memory, especially nahdliyin residents. But he had an essential role behind the founding of NU and the struggle for Indonesian independence. Simplicity and humility, that’s how he is.
When the NU jamiyah was founded in Surabaya in 1926, KH Abdul Chalim sat as Katib Tsani on the management of the NU Executive Board for the first period. With that position, he became a working partner of KH Abdul Wahab Hasbullah, one of the most influential scholars at the time. At that time, KH Hasyim Asy’ari as Rais Akbar, KH Ahmad Dahlan Ahyad as Deputy Rais Akbar, KH Abdul Wahab Hasbullah as Katib Awal, and KH Abdul Chalim as Katib Tsani (or Second Secretary).
Who is KH Abdul Chalim so that his name does not adorn the pages of history books and is less well known in the community’s collective memory? He had an essential role in implementing the Hijaz Committee on January 31, 1926, which later gave birth to NU, Indonesia’s most prominent Islamic organization.
He was born in Leuwimunding Sub-district, Majalengka, West Java, in 1898 without a recorded date of birth. Because he was born in Leuwimunding, he later went by the name KH Abdul Chalim Leuwimunding. His father was Kedung Wangsagama, a village head which his residents highly respected. His mother’s name is Nyai Satimah. KH Abdul Chalim was married to four women and had 21 sons and daughters. KH Asep Saifuddin Chalim, the caretaker of the Amanatul Ummah Pesantren, who is also the General Chairperson of the NU Teachers Association Center (Pergunu).