Biography of KH. Husein Muhammad

Biography of KH. Husein Muhammad
Sumber Gambar: foto istimewa


  1. Birth
  2. Family
  3. Education
  4. Become a Pesantren Caregiver
  5. Feminist Figures
  6. Estabilished a Humanitarian Institution
  7. Works
  8. Appreciation
  9. Genealogy chart


KH. Husein Muhammad or who is often called Buya Husein was born on May 9, 1953, in Cirebon. He is the second son of eight children, from the couple of KH Muhammad bin Asyrofuddin and Nyai Hj. Umm Salma Syathori.

His father, KH. Muhammad is the son of H. Asyrofuddin and Zainab, based on information that Asyrofuddin is a descendant of Indian Gujarati who moved to Semarang.

The sibling of Buya Husein:

  • KH. Hasan Thuba Muhammad as caregiver at Pesantren  Raudlah at Thalibin Tanggir East Java
  • Dr. KH. Ahsin Sakho Muhammad caregiver at Pesantren Dar al Qur`an Kebon baru Arjawinangun Cirebon, East Java.
  • Ny. Hj. Ubaidah Muhammad, caregiver at Pesantren Lasem, Rembang, Central Java.
  • KH. Mahsun Muhammad M.A, caregiver at Pesantren Dar al Tauhid Cirebon, West Java..
  • Ny. Hj. Azzah Nur Laila, caregiver at  Pesantren HMQ Lirboyo Kediri, East Java.
  • KH. Salman Muhammad, caregiver at Pesantren Tambak Beras Jombang East Java
  • Ny. Hj. Faiqoh, caregiver at Pesantren Langitan Tuban, East Java


KH. Husein Muhammad married with  Nyai. Hj. Lilik Nihayah Fuadi. From this marriage, he was blessed with 5 sons and daughters. His children include Hilya Auliya born 1991, Layali Hilwa born 1992, Muhammad Fayyaz Mumtaz born 1994, Najla Hammaddah born 2002 and Fazla Muhammad born 2003.


KH. Husein Muhammad started his education by studying at elementary school-Junior High School at the Pesantren of Dar al-Tauhid, Arjawinangun, Cirebon. After finishing, he continued his education by studying at Aliyah High School at Pesantren the Lirboyo, Kediri.

Then, he returned to continue his under graduate at the College of Al Quran Science (PTIQ) Jakarta, Ciputat, 1973-1980.

In 1980-1983, Buya Husein continued his education  at Arabic Special Studies at Al-Azhar Cairo, Egypt. In this place, he recited individually to a number of Al-Azhar scholars.


After finishing studying at al-Azhar Cairo, in 1983, Buya Husein returned to Indonesia, he continued the leadership relay of the Dar at-Tauhid Arjawinangun Islamic Boarding School which was founded by his grandfather, KH. Syatori (1933).


KH. Husein Muhammad is one of the few male scholars who sparked critical thoughts based on religious texts and yellow books as an effort to defend women's rights and dissect the establishment of unequal relationships. Other feminist figures with like-mindedness include: Lies Marcoes, Wardah Hafidz, Masdar F Mas'udi, Margot Badran, Asma Barlas, Amina Wadud, Fatima Mernissi, Lois Lamya al-Faruqi.

Among feminists who struggle in the Muslim world, there is a conflict between those who claim that the text of the Holy Qoran itself is the root of the problem of gender inequality, and those who claim that the text in the Muslim holy book is a text that actually frees women.

M Nuruzzaman in his book Kiai Husein Membela Perempuan (2005), explains clearly the results of his analysis of what KH. Husein Muhammad. There are no thoughts of KH. Husein Muhammad can be seen as coming from something "foreign" or external to Islam, as is often accused in Islamic feminism.

KH. Husein Muhammad is a bearer who is consistent with the basic principles of Islam, namely justice (‘adalah), deliberation (syura), equality (musawah), respect for pluralism (ta'addudiyah), tolerant of differences (tasamuh), and peace (ishlah).

Based on observation by Nuruzzaman, that feminist movement activists have been too dominated by those with secular backgrounds. So the background of KH. Husein Muhammad, who came from Pesantren world, made the significance of his struggle stronger.

Of course, KH. Husein Muhammad as outlined in his famous work Fiqh Perempuan, His reflections on religious discourse and gender, invited protests from those who objected to its contents. But until now, those who feel that objection, have not been able to write a rebuttal to his works (which is difficult to deny).


Buya Husein, who often voices equality between women and men, has founded a number of non-governmental organizations for women's rights issues, including Rahima, Puan Amal Hayati, Fahmina Institute and Alimat (2001). Until finally he became a commissioner of the National Commission on Violence Against Women, in 2007.

In addition, Buya also spoke out loudly about pluralism, democracy and human rights, making him and KH. Marzuki Wahid, KH. Faqihuddin Abdul Kodir, KH Afandi Mochtar established the Islamic Studies Institute Fahmina (ISIF) in Cirebon (2008).


There are about 10 more works that have been written by Buya Husein. One of his books that is widely used as a reference for women activists is “Fiqh Perempuan, Refleksi Kyai atas Wacana Agama dan Gender” (Women's Fiqh, Islamic teacher’s Reflections on Religious and Gender Discourses). His other works are “ Islam Agama Ramah Perempuan”(Islamic Religion Friendly to Women), “Ijtihad Kiyai Husein, Upaya Membangun Keadilan Gender”(Ijtihad Kiyai Husein, Efforts to Build Gender Justice), "Dawrah Fiqh Perempuan" (training module), "Figh Seksualitas” (Fiqh of Sexuality), "Fiqh HIV/ AIDS” ( Fiqh of HIV / AIDS), “Mengaji Pluralisme Kepada Maha Guru Pencerahan " (Studies Pluralism to Supreme Teachers. Enlightenment)," Sang Zahid, Mengarungi Sufisme Gus Dur” ( The Zahid, Navigating Gus Dur's Sufism)," Menyusuri Jalan Cahaya” (Along the Path of Light ), and others.


Buya Husein, who is active in various discussion activities, Islamic studies, and Islamic seminars, especially related to the issues of women and pluralism, both at home and abroad, received various awards.

Among them, He received an award from the Regent of Cirebon Regency as a Driving Figure, Guidance and Development Actors for Women Empowerment (2003), recipient of an Award (award) from the US Government for "Heroes To End Modern-Day Slavery", 2006.

And for seven years since 2010 his name has been listed in "The 500 Most Influential Muslims" published by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies. And for seven years since 2010 his name has been recorded in "The 500 Most Influential Muslims" published by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.

Genealogy chart

The following is a genealogy chart for KH's teachers. Husein Muhammad can be seen HERE.

This article was previously edited April 1, 2021, and last edited September 6, 2022.