The young Abdullah was initially pampered by his grandmother, Peri Achi. But when he was 7, his stern father took over his education, and Abdullah was rigorously trained. One of the tasks that his father instructed was to go to the mosque everyday with a pen and paper. There Abdullah had to write down the names of all the people who came in and out of the mosque. Abdullah also studied classical Malay texts, wrote down new words dictated by his father, and copied the entire Quran in Arabic and translated it into Malay.
Abdullah wrote in his hikayat: “When I remember how I was struck, beaten, slapped and admonished, the many tablets broken over my head, the stern and angry looks, the nagging and scolding of all my teachers, I realise that each blow of the cane on my body has now become a lamp to guide me, each slap a pair of spectacles to my eyes.” It was also in this mosque that Abdullah’s first wife and daughter were buried.