Syed Mokhtar Albukhary was born on the 12th of December 1951, the third child of Syed Nor and Sharifah Rokiah in Kampung Hutan Keriang, Alor Setar Kedah. His family traces its roots to Central Asia.
In his biography, Syed Mokhtar stated that his philanthropic work began in earnest in 1976 when he pledged half of his salary to 15 under privileged families and the other half to his mother and siblings. 20 years later In 1996, he founded the Albukhary Foundation and remains to be its primary benefactor.
The museum was founded in 1998 and is located within Kuala Lumpur’s Lake Gardens. It houses more than ten thousand artefacts from across the Muslim world, as well as a library of Islamic art books. The museum has a total of 12 Galleries.
The Albukhary International University was founded in 2010 and is located within the Sharifah Rokiah Centre of Excellence. The University is housed within a purpose built campus and is spread over 30 hectares in Alor Setar.