Top Three Library Hideaways In Kuala Lumpur

Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas Library (SMNAL) 

SMNA Library serves the International Institute of Islamic Civilisation & Malay World (ISTAC), which was set up in 1987 by the famed scholar whose name graces the library.

“Professor Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas was the founding director of ISTAC,” explained Professor Datuk Dr Osman bin Bakar, the current Director of ISTAC.

“He also designed the unique architecture of ISTAC, inspired by the Islamic period in Andalusia, Spain,” Professor Datuk Dr Osman added. 

The beautiful exterior grounds are matched by the stunning interior of the library, home to a collection of around 178,000 books, publications and manuscripts, including a wide variety of works by major thinkers, covering philosophy, history, theology, literature, and even fine arts.

A true treasure of the library is the display of artefacts, including rare manuscripts, textiles, weapons and ornate art forms, reflecting the rich intellectual and cultural heritage of the Islamic world.

The library is currently only open to students of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and independent scholars who have obtained permission to access the collection.

However, plans are afoot to launch a teaching museum within the library that would be open to the public.

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