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cropped badrul aini shari 2

20 questions for: Badrul Aini Sha’ari (#2)

Episode #2 of my series “9273 roots”: 20 questions for the man who brings Arabic to South-East Asia: Badrul Aini Sha’ari.

LAST UPDATED: 5 months ago

Lisān al-‘Arab (لسان العرب), the famous dictionary of Classical Arabic, contains 9273 roots (and 4,493.934 words). A huge playground for people who are passionate about Arabic such as…

Badrul Aini Sha'ari

بدرالعيني شعاري

The man who brings Arabic to South-East Asia

Badrul Aini Shari
photo credit: Badrul Aini Sha'ari

How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn't know you?

I would describe myself as an in the making, since I tried everything possible for me to achieve a proficiency level in this beautiful language, since I chose to enroll in the Department of Arabic Language & Literature at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in 2008.

Since then, I tried my best in anything related to Arabic especially in Arabic debate and translation. I worked as an Arabic translator for 5 years at the Malaysian Institute of Translation & Books (ITBM), and recently I have changed my career and now work at the Malaysian National News Agency (BERNAMA) as an Arabic news officer, learning new things about and journalism.

What was your first Arabic grammar book?

Al-Naḥwu al-Wāḍiḥ (النحو الواضح) by ‘Ali al-Jarim & Mustafa Amin.

What is your favorite Arabic book (novel, etc.)?

I love all Arabic short stories written by Kāmil Kīlānī.

Remark: Kāmil Kīlānī (كامل كيلاني) was a famous Egyptian writer (1897–1959),  born in Al Qala'a district in Cairo.

How much time does a native speaker of English need to master Arabic?

2-3 years of intensive studies.

What is your favorite Arabic word?

نعم؟ ^_^

Which Arabic word do you like least?

The least used words today especially in the Arabic poetry before Islam.

Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur where Badrul Aini Sha'ari lives.
photo credit: pixabay (Walkerssk)

Which Arabic dialect do you like best?

The Egyptian dialect.

What is your favorite Arabic colloquial word or expression?

!بالهناء والشفاء

“bonne appetite/have a nice meal!”

What is your favorite Arabic quote or proverb?

قال سعيد بن جبير رضي الله عنه : لا يزال الرجل عالما لما تعلم، فإذا ترك العلم وظن أنه قد استغنى واكتفى بما عنده فهو أجهل ما يكون

“A person never ceases to be knowledgeable as long as he continues to study. But when he leaves seeking knowledge, and thinks he is sufficed with what he has learnt, then he is in the most ignorant situation he has ever been”. – Sa‘īd ibn Jubayr

Remark: Sa'id bin Jubayr (سعيد بن جبير‎), born in (present-day Iraq), is regarded as one of the best experts of Islamic Jurisprudence of the time (665–714).

What is the best thing that was ever said about the Arabic language?

I can quote from an article which I recently read:

“Not only did Hunayn's herculean efforts succeed in bringing the cream of medical knowledge to the Syriac and Arabic-speaking world but, in the process of producing his translations, Ḥunayn was instrumental in developing Arabic into a formidable international language of science.

This was achieved through the careful and consistent implementation of the basic decision he made to translate rather than transliterate foreign terminology in his writings.

European medical language is still full of Greek words whose actual meanings baffle the non-specialist. In Arabic, thanks largely to a sound decision taken by Ḥunayn, these Greek terms have been translated literally so that all readers of Arabic can understand them with ease. Like any good physician, Ḥunayn decided not to blind his readers with science, but to tell it to them straight.”

Remark: Ḥunayn Ibn Isḥāq was a Medieval Arab scholar who transformed his understanding of ancient Greek medical texts into manuals for the benefit of many successive generations of students.

Badrul Aini Shari
photo credit: Badrul Aini Sha'ari

What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?

To read anything in Arabic with an insightful eye, then copy the stylistics of the authors for future usage.

Which three people would you like to invite for dinner?

MAS Abdel Haleem, Ronak Husni, and Mahmoud Gafaar.


  • Muhammad A. S. Abdel Haleem is a Professor of Islamic Studies at SOAS, University of . He is the author of one of the best translations of the Holy Qur'an.
  • Ronak Husni is a professor of Arabic (American University of Sharjah).
  • Mahmoud Gafaar is an experienced language instructor, author, and developer of language learning materials for Arabic.

What was the last great meal you had?

Mandy rice with chicken.

What is your favorite city?

Al-Madīna al-Munawwara, present-day Saudi-Arabia.

Which book would you give to a dear friend?

Books authored by M.A.S. Abdel-Haleem.

Badrul Aini Sha'ari works for “Bernama“, the Malaysian National News Agency. Bernama is an abbreviation of Berita Nasional Malaysia.

What is your all-time favorite movie?


What music do you listen to?

No specific music, I listen to any good .

When were you happiest?

What is your greatest fear?

Losing my faith before death.

What is your life motto?

Time has shown that Paradise is not cheap, and neither is Hell unnecessary. (Sa‘īd al-Nūrsī)

Remark: Sa‘īd al-Nūrsī (1877-1960) was a Kurdish Sunni Muslim theologian.

Badrul Aini Sha'ari, thank you for your time.

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