Al Azhar holds a degree in Teacher Training and Education from Riau University and a Masters of Arts in Languages and Cultures of Southeast Asia and Oceania from the State University of Leiden (Netherlands). He is a PhD candidate in this field of study at the State University of Leiden, where he was also a lecturer and researcher from 1989 to 1992. Currently, he works as a lecturer in Literature and Arts at the Islamic University of Riau, Pekanbaru (1985 – present).
Since 2012, he has been the Chief Executive of Lembaga Adat Melayu Riau (Malay Custom Institution of Riau) and is actively involved in various local organizations such as the Asosiasi Tradisi Lisan (Oral Tradition Association) and the Masyarakat Pernaskahan Nusantara (Archipelago Manuscripts Society). Al Azhar was Senior Researcher in P2KK – UNRI (Center for Society and Culture Studies of University of Riau), where he initiated a multiyear research project: The Expedition of Four Rivers Culture: Rokan, Kampar, Siak and Inderagiri (2005 – 2013).
He also co-authored the publication “Everlasting Friendship: Letters from Raja Ali Haji to Von de Wall” (Leiden) in 1995 with Jan van der Putten.BACK