Great Loss to Muslim World
The renowned Muslim Scholar, Dr. Zaki Badawi has passed away on Tuesday 24th January 2006 at 11.00 a.m. London time. I just came to know about it from a friend and immediately checked Islamonline to verify the news. They have announced about his demise here.
Badawi, scholar, teacher and community activist, was born in Egypt in 1922. He was renowned for his interest in Islamic theology and law and as a representative and advocate of Muslims in Britain.
He was the principal of the Muslim College in London, which he founded in 1986, and frequently published and broadcast on Islamic affairs.
Badawi was educated at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He obtained al-Aliyah, the equivalent of a Bachelor of Arts degree, from the College of Theology at the university, and Al-Alimiyah degree (Masters) from the Faculty of Arabic Language and Literature, Al-Azhar, in 1947.
In the same year, he received the King Faruq First Prize for the best post-graduate student.
After teaching at Al-Azhar for a short while, he moved to the United Kingdom in 1951 to study psychology at University College London. In 1954, he obtained his Bachelors degree. Badawi continued his studies and was awarded a doctorate from London University in Modern Muslim Thought.
Shortly after obtaining his PhD, he returned to Al-Azhar University and taught Muslim Thought and Scientific Research Methods.
He was then sent as a representative of the university to Malaya to establish a Muslim College there. After teaching Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Malaya in Singapore, he lectured in the same course at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.
In 1964, he was appointed Professor of Islamic Education at Ahmadu Bello University in Northern Nigeria and later Professor of Islamic Education and Dean of Arts at Bayero College, Nigeria. In 1976, he was appointed research professor at the Hajj Research Center of King Abdul Aziz University in Saudi Arabia stationed in London.
In 1978, and still in the United Kingdom, Badawi was appointed director of the Islamic Cultural Center (ICC) and Chief Imam of London Central Mosque in Regents Park.
During his time at the ICC, Badawi was instrumental in establishing the Sharia`h (Islamic Law) Council as a facility to reconcile conflicts between Islamic law and the British civil code.
Badawi was elected chairman of the Imams and Mosques Council by the National Conference of Imams and Mosque Officials of the UK in 1984. He held this position until his death.
Badawi established the Muslim College in London in 1986. By 1989, and with Badawi as its principal, the college realized its founding objective as a postgraduate seminary for the training of imams and Muslim leaders in the West.
I had met and got the chance to know him when we met few times at seminars and international conferences on Islamic Banking. He was a strong supporter of Islamic Banking and had fully praised of what and how Malaysia has developed and contributed towards Islamic Banking. I found his grand fatherly figure very warm and he was easily approachable because of his great sense of humour.
Zaki Badawi, who has died suddenly aged 84, was Britain's most influential Muslim. A brave, visionary figure, he identified the vulnerabilities of his community long before the Salman Rushdie affair, the emergence of Osama bin Laden and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq exposed them to public view.
More importantly, he spent nearly 30 years almost singlehandedly creating British Islamic institutions and setting out arguments in their favour. Thus he laid the intellectual and bureaucratic foundations for that community to make peace with modernity, and live as a minority in a western society - a process now beginning to protect British Islam against hijack by the powerful forces of Middle East conflicts.
Al Fatihah. Sir, May Allah reward you with Jannah.
*********updated 26 January 2006*****
I came to know that he collapsed during one Euromoney conference attended by some of my banker friends and our Governor of the Central Bank. Tan Sri Zeti was quoted as having said that, "I have grown up in front of him and he died in front of me". MasyaAllah.
Dr. Zaki Badawi happened to be a close friend of Prof Ungku Aziz when he (Dr. Zaki) was attached at Universiti Malaya. Tan Sri Zeti must be at a very young age then.
His death also came as a shock to one of our minister who got the news when he was on his way to London to deliver a paper at a conference organised by Islamic Development Bank. Apparently Dr. Zaki Badawi was supposed to chair his session at that conference.