Nik Abdul Aziz bin Nik Mat, born on January 10, 1931, in Kota Bharu, Malaysia, emerged as a prominent figure known for his profound contributions both as a politician and a Muslim cleric. His impactful journey, spanning over several decades, left an indelible mark on Malaysian politics and Islamic scholarship. Nik Abdul Aziz’s remarkable life came to an end on February 12, 2015, but his legacy continues to inspire generations.
Early Life and Education:
Growing up as the second of five siblings, Nik Abdul Aziz was raised by his father, fondly known as Tok Kura, who aspired to become a blacksmith. Nik Aziz embarked on his Islamic education in pondok schools in Kelantan and Terengganu. His pursuit of knowledge led him to Darul Uloom Deoband in Uttar Pradesh, India, where he immersed himself in Islamic studies for five years. Upon returning, he furthered his academic journey at Al-Azhar University, Egypt, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Arabic Studies and a Master of Arts in Islamic jurisprudence. His experiences during the Arab-Israeli Conflict provided him with a unique perspective on the world.
Nik Abdul Aziz’s passion for teaching and scholarship flourished after his return to Malaysia. He became a respected Islamic scholar, earning the title “Tok Guru,” which signifies a master or teacher of scholars. His teachings and insights were widely appreciated, marking him as a key figure in Islamic education.
In 1967, Nik Aziz joined the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) and subsequently won the Kelantan Hilir parliamentary seat in a by-election. His political journey spanned nearly five decades, during which he exhibited unwavering dedication and principles. He played a pivotal role in questioning and reshaping party leadership, advocating for change and progress within PAS.
Leadership and Legacy:
Nik Aziz’s influence extended beyond his role as a parliamentarian. He held the position of Menteri Besar of Kelantan from 1990 to 2013, effectively leading the state. His leadership was characterized by his commitment to Islamic values and principles, often challenging the role of Islam in Malaysian politics. His tenure saw repeated re-elections, highlighting his popularity and support within the community.
Spiritual Guidance and Unity:
Nik Aziz’s profound teachings attracted not only Muslims but also garnered support from non-Muslims in Malaysia. His inclusive approach and rejection of communal politics set him apart, emphasizing unity and understanding among diverse communities.
Retirement and Legacy:
Upon retiring as Chief Minister of Kelantan in 2013, Nik Aziz continued to be a source of inspiration for many. Despite battling prostate cancer, his unwavering commitment to his beliefs remained evident. His passing on February 12, 2015, marked the end of an era, but his legacy lives on through his teachings, writings, and the impact he had on both political and spiritual spheres.
Nik Abdul Aziz bin Nik Mat’s journey exemplifies a life dedicated to knowledge, principles, and service to his community. His legacy continues to resonate, reminding us of the power of unwavering faith, scholarship, and leadership.