Ahmad Zuhri Mutammim was born in 1905, in Surabaya, Java, Indonesia. He managed to khatam Al-Quran at the age of 10. He received his primary and secondary education at Madrasah Tanwirul Afkar at Belimbing (near Lamungan, East Java) from 1915 to 1922. He then performed his Hajj in 1922, at the age of 17.
Returning from his Hajj, he continued his studies at Perguruan Tinggi Islam in Surabaya from 1923 to 1930. One of his teachers there was the prominent ulama of East Java, Kiyai Ahmad Lutfi. Graduating from that college, he decided to move to Singapore in 1930 to learn Malay and English languages and to spread Islamic teachings. He was 25 years old then.
In 1932, he married Safiah Haji Abdul Halim bin Karto, daughter of a Muslim jurist and Justice of Peace. The dowry was to teach his bride Al-Quran until she knows how to read it well. From this marriage, they were blessed with six children, who among them became noted educators and community leaders.
His knowledge of Islamic studies was so vast for one his age that he attracted the attention of other religious scholars. He soon gave religious instruction from his father-in-law’s home at 47 Kampong Radin Mas.
Besides teaching and giving lectures, he ran a small business selling sundries at Telok Blangah, until the Japanese Occupation in 1942.
In 1954, Kiyai Zuhri founded and became the first president of the Singapore Islamic Scholars & Religious Teachers Association (PERGAS). He served with distinction with the Religious Edict Committee and Appeal Board of the Islamic Religious Council (MUIS). In 1979, in recognition of his long service as a teacher, he received the Tokoh Ilmiawan (Scholar) award from MUIS, and in 1982, the Jasawan (Meritorious Contributor) award from PERGAS. He was a long-serving member of MUIS’ Fatwa Committee, which convenes and decrees on matters relating to Islamic jurisprudence.
In 1985, after 80 years of serving Islam, he passed away peacefully on Thursday morning, 1 Syawal 1405AH.