Tan Sri Datuk Professor Ahmad Ibrahim



Tan Sri Datuk Professor Ahmad Ibrahim (b. 12 May 1916, Singapored. 17 April 1999, Gombak, Malaysia), also known as Ahmad bin Mohamed Ibrahim, was Singapore’s first attorney-general.1 He was a key player in the merger talks between Singapore and Malaysia in the early 1960s, as well as the legal expert in the Singapore delegation to London in 1963 for the Malaysia talks which discussed independence from the British. Known to the law fraternity as an expert on Muslim law, Ahmad drafted the Administration of Muslim Law Act of 1966, which revamped the Syariah Court’s jurisdiction and led to the establishment of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS).2

Early life
Born on 12 May 1916 into a religious family, Ahmad’s father was Mohamed Ibrahim, a medical practitioner who was active in Islamic social and welfare activities.3


Ahmad was educated at Victoria Bridge School and Raffles Institution. In 1935, he graduated from Raffles College in Singapore with Bachelor of Arts (London) with Honours.4

In 1936, Ahmad received the Queen’s Scholarship to study at St John’s College, Cambridge University, which he completed in 1939 with first class honours in Economics Tripos I and Law Tripos II, and graduated with Bachelor of Arts (Cantab).  While at Cambridge, he won the George Long Prize for Roman Law.5

Ahmad returned to Singapore at the start of World War II. In 1941, he sat for the Bar final examinations and obtained the Certificate of Honour.  He was called to the Bar, Middle Temple, London, in absentia, in November 1941.6

Career timeline
1946: Appointed magistrate in Singapore.7
16 Sep 1946: Admitted to the Bar in Singapore.8
1947: Appointed district judge.9
1948: Leaves civil service and becomes a law lecturer at Raffles College.10
194955: In private practice and serves as municipal commissioner, also a member of the Rural Board and legislative council.11
1955: Returns to civil service and appointed district judge.12
1956: Made crown counsel and deputy public prosecutor.13
May 1957: Promoted to senior crown counsel.14
19591965: Singapore’s first state advocate general.15
19651967: The Republic of Singapore’s first attorney-general.16
1966: Parliament passes the Administration of Muslim Law Bill drafted by Ahmad. Under the new law, the Syariah Court’s jurisdiction is revamped and the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore established.17
1969: Resigns from the public sector in Singapore after 22 years of service and relocates to Malaysia.18
19691972: Professor of Law Studies at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Malaya.19
19721983: Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Malaya.20
19831999: Professor and Shaikh Kulliyah Undang-Undang, International Islamic University, Malaysia.21
1984: Professor Emeritus, University of Malaya.22

Awards
Singapore
5 Jun 1965
: Honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from then University of Singapore (present National University of Singapore).23


Malaysia

1974: Johan Mangku Negara, presented by the Yang di-pertuan Agong of Malaysia.24
1979: Darjah Yang Mulia Pangkuan Negara with the title Datuk, given by the Yang di-pertua Negeri of Pulau Pinang.25
1979: Allama Muhammad Iqbal Medal, presented by the government of Pakistan.26
1987: Panglima Setia Mahkota with the title Tan Sri, presented by the Yang di-pertuan Agong.27
1989: Tokoh Maal Hijrah Award.28
1992: Tun Razak Award.29

Works
Ahmad wrote and published more than 100 works during his life time.30 A number of his works are available in the National Library, including the following selected titles:
1950s: Islamic law in Malaysia (typescript)31
1965: Islamic law in Malaya32
1965: The legal status of the Muslims in Singapore33
1965: Muslims in Singapore34
1984: Income tax case law of Malaysia and Singapore (Vol. 1)35
1995: The Malaysian legal system36
1997: Pentadbiran undang-undang Islam di Malaysia37
2000: The administration of Islamic law in Malaysia38

Family
Father: Mohamed Ibrahim39
Wife: Sri Salmah bt. Mohamed Tahir40
Children: Nine41

Death
Ahmad died of a heart attack in his home at Gombak, Malaysia, on 17 April 1999. He was 82 years old.42

Another well-known Ahmad Ibrahim
There is another famous Ahmad Ibrahim, who was an active unionist, a former minister for health and minister for labour.43 He passed away on 21 August 1962.44 Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim and Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School were named after him.45



Author

Vernon Cornelius-Takahama



References
1. Morais, J. V. (Ed.). (n.d.). The Who's who in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Solai Press, p. 16. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.0595 WWM-[HWE]); Salma Khalik. (1999, April 18). S’pore’s first A-G dies at 82. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Salma Khalik. (1999, April 18). S’pore’s first A-G dies at 82. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Morais, J. V. (Ed.). (n.d.). The Who's who in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Solai Press, p.16. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.0595 WWM-[HWE]); Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 15. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL); Faridah Abdul Rashid. (2012). Biography of the early Malay doctors 1900–1957 Malaya and Singapore. [n.p.]: Xlibris Corporation, pp. 606–621. (Call no.: RSING 610.922595 FAR)
4. Morais, J. V. (Ed.). (n.d.). The Who's who in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Solai Press, p.16. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.0595 WWM-[HWE]); Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 15. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL)
5. Morais, J. V. (Ed.). (n.d.). The Who's who in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Solai Press, p. 16. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.0595 WWM-[HWE]); Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, pp. 16–17. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL)
6. Morais, J. V. (Ed.). (n.d.). The Who's who in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Solai Press, p. 16. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.0595 WWM-[HWE]); Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 17. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL)
7. Morais, J. V. (Ed.). (n.d.). The Who's who in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Solai Press, p. 16. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.0595 WWM-[HWE])
8. Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 18. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL)
9. Morais, J. V. (Ed.). (n.d.). The Who's who in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Solai Press, p. 16. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.0595 WWM-[HWE])
10. Morais, J. V. (Ed.). (n.d.). The Who's who in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Solai Press, p. 16. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.0595 WWM-[HWE]); Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 18. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL); Salma Khalik. (1999, April 18). S’pore’s first A-G dies at 82. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Morais, J. V. (Ed.). (n.d.). The Who's who in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Solai Press, p. 16. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.0595 WWM-[HWE]); Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 18. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL)
12. Morais, J. V. (Ed.). (n.d.). Who’s who in Malaya 1963. Kuala Lumpur: J. Victor Morais, p. 16. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.0595 WWM); Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 18. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL)
13.  Morais, J. V. (Ed.). (n.d.). The Who's who in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Solai Press, p. 16. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.0595 WWM-[HWE])
14. Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 18. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL)
15. Morais, J. V. (Ed.). (n.d.). The Who's who in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Solai Press, p. 16. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.0595 WWM-[HWE]); Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 18. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL); Government of Singapore. (2017, July 13). Attorneys-general of Singapore. Retrieved 2017, August 27 from AGC Singapore website: https://www.agc.gov.sg/about-us/our-history/attorneys-general-of-singapore
16. Morais, J. V. (Ed.). (n.d.). The Who's who in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Solai Press, p. 16. (Call no.: RCLOS 920.0595 WWM-[HWE]); Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 18. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL); Government of Singapore. (2017, July 13). Attorneys-General of Singapore. Retrieved 2017, August 27 from AGC Singapore website: https://www.agc.gov.sg/about-us/our-history/attorneys-general-of-singapore
17. Singapore. Parliament. Official reports – Parliamentary debates (Hansard). (1966, August 17). Third Reading of the Administration of Muslim Law Bill (Vol. 25, col. 237). Retrieved from Parliament of Singapore website: https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/topic.jsp?currentTopicID=00052492-ZZ&currentPubID=00069147-ZZ&topicKey=00069147-ZZ.00052492-ZZ_1%2Bid031_19660817_S0003_T00031-bill%2B; Muslim Law Bill is passed in parliament. (1966, August 18). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 20. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL)
18. Faridah Abdul Rashid. (2012). Biography of the early Malay doctors 1900–1957 Malaya and Singapore. [n.p.]: Xlibris Corporation, p. 613. (Call no.: RSING 610.922595 FAR); Salma Khalik. (1999, April 18). S’pore’s first A-G dies at 82. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Ahmad Ibrahim is named Professor in Law Studies. (1969, August 16). The Straits Times, p. 9; KL law faculty opens in May. (1972, February 21). New Nation, p. 2; Salma Khalik. (1999, April 18). S’pore’s first A-G dies at 82. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. KL law faculty opens in May. (1972, February 21). New Nation, p. 2; Salma Khalik. (1999, April 18). S’pore’s first A-G dies at 82. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 22. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL)
21. Salma Khalik. (1999, April 18). S’pore’s first A-G dies at 82. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 22. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL)
22. Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 22. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL)
23. Record graduands at convocation. (1965, June 5). The Straits Times, p. 4; A bigger S’pore varsity: Prof. Lim. (1965, June 6). The Straits Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 23. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL); International Islamic University Malaysia. (n.d.). Profile of Tan Sri Prof. Emeritus Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim. Retrieved from International Islamic University Malaysia website: http://www2.iium.edu.my/aikol/profile-tan-sri-prof-emeritus-dr-ahmad-ibrahim-0
25. Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 23. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL)
26. Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 23. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL)
27. Faridah Abdul Rashid. (2012). Biography of the early Malay doctors 1900–1957 Malaya and Singapore. [n.p.]: Xlibris Corporation, p. 613. (Call no.: RSING 610.922595 FAR)
28. Faridah Abdul Rashid. (2012). Biography of the early Malay doctors 1900–1957 Malaya and Singapore. [n.p.]: Xlibris Corporation, p. 613. (Call no.: RSING 610.922595 FAR)
29. Faridah Abdul Rashid. (2012). Biography of the early Malay doctors 1900–1957 Malaya and Singapore. [n.p.]: Xlibris Corporation, p. 613. (Call no.: RSING 610.922595 FAR)
30. Shaikha Zakaria. (1986). List of works by Professor Ahmad Ibrahim. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp. 24–38). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL)
31. Ahmad Ibrahim. [195-?]. Islamic law in Malaysia. [typescript]. (Call no.: RDTYS q348.97 AHM)
32. Ahmad Ibrahim. (1965). Islamic law in Malaya. Singapore: Malaysian Sociological Research Institute. (Call no.: RSING 340.59 AHM)
33. Ahmad Ibrahim. (1965). The legal status of the Muslims in Singapore. Singapore: Malayan Law Journal. (Call no.: RSING 342.087 AHM)
34. Ahmad Ibrahim. (1965). Muslims in Singapore. (Call no.: RCLOS q342.087 AHM)
35. Ahmad Ibrahim. (1984). Income tax case law of Malaysia and Singapore. Vol. 1. Singapore: Malayan Law Journal Pte. Ltd. (Call no.: RSING 343.5957052 AHM)
36. Ahmad Ibrahim & Ahilemah Joned. (1995). The Malaysian legal system. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kementerian Pendidikan, Malaysia. (Call no.: RSEA 349.595 AHM)
37. Ahmad Ibrahim. (1997). Pentadbiran undang-undang Islam di Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: IKIM. (Malay R 340.5909595 AHM)
38. Ahmad Ibrahim. (2000). The administration of Islamic law in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia. (Call no.: RSEA 340.5909595 AHM)
39. Al-Mansor Adabi. (1986). Ahmad Ibrahim in the service of Islam. In M. B. Hooker (Ed.), Malaysian legal essays: A collection of essays in honour of Professor Emeritus Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim (pp.15–23). Kuala Lumpur; Singapore: Malayan Law Journal, p. 15. (Call no.: RSEA 340.09595 MAL); Faridah Abdul Rashid. (2012). Biography of the early Malay doctors 1900–1957 Malaya and Singapore. [n.p.]: Xlibris Corporation, pp. 606–621. (Call no.: RSING 610.922595 FAR)
40. Faridah Abdul Rashid. (2012). Biography of the early Malay doctors 1900–1957 Malaya and Singapore. ([n.p.]: Xlibris Corporation, p. 614. (Call no.: RSING 610.922595 FAR)
41. Salma Khalik. (1999, April 18). S’pore’s first A-G dies at 82. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Faridah Abdul Rashid. (2012). Biography of the early Malay doctors 1900–1957 Malaya and Singapore. [n. p.]: Xlibris Corporation, p. 614. (Call no.: RSING 610.922595 FAR)
42. Salma Khalik. (1999, April 18). S’pore’s first A-G dies at 82. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
43. Sam, J. (1962, August 22). Minister Ahmad Ibrahim dies, 35. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore days of old. (1992). Hong Kong: Illustrated Magazine, p. 183. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN-[HIS])
44. Sam, J. (1962, August 22). Minister Ahmad Ibrahim dies, 35. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
45. In memory – Ahmad Ibrahim School. (1963, May 3). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Ahmad Ibrahim Integrated Secondary School. (n.d.). Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School Annual 1969. Singapore: The School, p. 3. (Call no.: RCLOS 373.5957 AISSA); Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School. (n.d.). School history. Retrieved 2017, June 8 from Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School website: http://ahmadibrahimsec.moe.edu.sg/about-us/school-history; Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 159–160. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])



Further resource
Abdul Aziz Bari. (2003). Ahmad Ibrahim and the Islamisation of law in Malaysia. In Monograph on selected Malay intellectuals. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Research Centre, International Islamic University Malaysia, pp. 229–258.
(Call no.: RSEA 297.09239928 MON)



The information in this article is valid as at 2017 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Attorneys general--Singapore--Biography
Pioneers
Ahmad Mohamed Ibrahim, 1916-1999
Law and government>>Public administration
Judges--Singapore--Biography
Personalities>>Biographies>>Pioneers