Prologue

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Truthfully, I’ve always wanted to write my life’s memoir, compiling the valuable lessons I’ve gained throughout my life as well as my experience throughout my service as Mufti of the Federal Territories. However, due to the time constraints when I was working as the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs), this wish of mine was all but left buried. A day after my resignation, I thought about fulfilling my once forgotten dream. For this memoir, I will also include a brief chronicle of my life from when I was young to my university life and subsequently when I was working. These fragments of my life will be arranged in a storytelling and relaxed manner. Certainly, you will find traditional Terengganu dialect and village life in this memoir.

Laṭā’if al-Minan wa al-Akhlāq oleh Imam ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Shaʿrānī

It’s common for scholars since previous times to write their autobiographies. Imam ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Shaʿrānī wrote his autobiography titled Laṭā’if al-Minan wa al-Akhlāq. Imam al-Ṣuyūṭī once wrote his autobiography titled al-Taḥadduth bi niʿmatilLāh (Stating the Blessings of Allah). I was interested with the conclusion presented by Imam Jalāl al-Dīn al-Ṣuyūṭi regarding his pioneering effort in writing an autobiography:

Previous and contemporary scholars have continuously written autobiographies of themselves. They did this with pure intentions, among them is to narrate the blessings of Allah as a sign of their gratitude and recount the twists and turns of their life, of which others might want to learn from or benefit others that did not know or whoever wishes to cite from them in historical writings and biographical dictionaries. Among others who had done this before me are Imam ʿAbd al-Ghāfir al-Fārisī a hadith huffaz; Al-ʿImād al-Kātib al-Iṣbahānī who wrote his autobiography in a specific publication titled al-Barq al-Shāmī; a faqih named ʿUmārah al-Yamanī wrote an autobiography in a specific manuscript; Yāqūt al-Ḥamawī wrote his autobiography in his book Muʿjām Kuttāb; Lisān al-Dīn al-Khātib wrote an autobiography in half a volume of his book Tārīkh Gharnāṭah which consists of a total 8 volumes; al-Imām al-mujtahid al-waraʿ al-zāhid Abu Shāmah wrote his autobiography in his book Bayāḍ fī al-Aṣl in several parts; al-Ḥāfiẓ Taqiy al-Dīn al-Fāsī wrote his autobiography in his book Tārikh Makkah in several parts; al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar wrote his autobiography in his book Tārīkh Quḍā’ Misr, and Imam Abū Ḥayyān in precise writing about himself in a special book titled al-Nuḍār in various volumes. [1]

al-Taḥadduth bi niʿmatilLāh by Imam Jalāl al-Dīn al-Ṣuyūṭī

In my youth, I was greatly moved by autobiography books by contemporary scholars such as Syeikh Dr. Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī (Ibn al-Qaryah wa al-Kuttāb) and Maulana Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī al-Ḥasanī al-Nadwī (Fī Masīrat al-Ḥayāh). As I read their books, each line would detail their life experiences and stories which are sometimes sad, motivational, humorous and other times they would invoke 1001 feelings in me as I follow their life’s journeys.

Fī Masīrat al-Ḥayāh by Maulana Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī al-Ḥasanī al-Nadwī

Allah SWT states:

وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ

“But as for the favour of your Lord, report [it].”

Surah al-Duha (11)

Mujahid commented on the above verse stating that the good deeds performed by a person should be narrated to others who are trustworthy with the intention to motivate others to perform good deeds just as he did. [2] al-Layth said, from a man from al-Ḥasan bin ʿAlī, “Whatever good you have done, tell it to your brother.” According to Muhammad bin Isḥāq: “Any blessing or karamah from prophethood blessed by Allah SWT to you, then tell and narrate and call towards it.” [3]

Basically, this memoir is a collection of my anecdotal life experiences from when I was a little boy up till when I was holding the position of a Mufti and subsequently the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs). Some of the stories here I’ve shared on my social media but most are behind the scenes stories of which I think many would like to learn more about. Furthermore, I also included some of my experiences in fatwa management, religious affairs administration and advice on how to lead an organization in accordance with Maqasid Syariah. Insya-Allah, I’ll upload my stories periodically at www.zulkiflialbakri.com.

 

To be continued…

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[1] Al-Ṣuyūṭī, Jalāl al-Dīn. Al-Taḥadduth bi NiʿmatilLāh, (t.t.; t.p.), 3-4.

[2] Mujāhid. Tafsīr Mujāhid, (Mesir: Dār al-Fikr al-Islāmī al-Ḥadīthah, 1989), 735.

[3] Ibn Kathīr. Tafsīr al-Qur’ān al-ʿAẓīm, (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyyah, 1998), 8/415.

 

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Berkelulusan PhD dengan pengkhususan dalam bidang fatwa di USM, beliau juga merupakan Ahli Dewan Negara, Anggota The Muslim Council of Elders (UAE), Anggota The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (USA), mantan Menteri di JPM (Hal Ehwal Agama) dan mantan Mufti Wilayah Persekutuan. Antara guru beliau sepanjang pengajian di peringkat BA (Madinah) dan MA (Syria) adalah Syeikh Dr. Muhammad Sa'id Ramadhan al-Buti, Syeikh Muhammad 'Ali Thani, Syeikh Rushdi Qalam, Syeikh Dr. Muhammad Abdullatif Soleh al-Farfour, Syeikh Dr. Muhammad bin Muhammad al-Mukhtar al-Syinqiti, Syeikh Dr. Muhsin al-'Abbad dan ramai lagi.

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