KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Former director-general of the Institute of Islamic Understanding (Ikim) Datuk Abdul Monir Yaacob was today conferred the National Tokoh Maal Hijrah award, while the Grand Mufti of India Sheikh Abu Bakar Ahmad Al-Malibari was conferred the International Tokoh Maal Hijrah award.
Abdul Monir, 77, was given the award for his contributions to Islamic development in the country, among others, in proposing the wearing of headscarves for female police officers in 2002 when he was the chairman of the Prime Minister’s Department Integrity Committee.
He was also responsible for informing the then-Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajudin Syed Putra Jamalullail that Muslim prisoners were having difficulty praying at the time, because they were only allowed to wear white T-shirts and shorts.
Abdul Monir, who hails from Mengkarak in Bera, Pahang, was named the recipient of the state Maal Hijrah award for the 1427H /2006 AD Maal Hijrah celebration and won the National Book Award for the best academic research book in 2016.
Meanwhile, the 92-year-old Sheikh Abu Bakar is the founder of Jamia Markaz Education Centre or Mazkazu Saquafathi Sunniya, which was established in 1978 and provides educational and humanitarian services.
The Jamia Markaz has more than 130 branches and is the largest centre of learning in India, which has also introduced an open university system with a unique curriculum.
He has also authored and published more than 45 books on various subjects in Arabic, Urdu, English, and Malayalam, and possesses the authentic commentary text of Al-Bukhari.
Sheikh Abu Bakar also used to be the chairman of the Malayalam newspaper The Siraj Daily.
Abdul Monir and Sheikh Abu Bakar received the award from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at a ceremony held in conjunction with the national-level Maal Hijrah 1444H celebration at the Kuala Lumpur World Trade Centre today.
The event was also graced by Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.
Also present were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his wife Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and Deputy Prime Ministers Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.