He is also listed as a former rector at the university: UMI 1959 - 1965 and IAIN 1972 to 1977. As a forward thinking, Rahman believes that education is an agent of change. Attitudes and views are so advanced it can be seen from their educational background, namely Jami'atul Khair, the oldest Islamic institution in Indonesia. Students who study at this institution taught the ideas of reform movements and Islamic thought. This happens because these institutions have a close relationship with the update sources in the Middle East such as Hadramaut, Haramaian and Egypt. Many teachers who didatangkarn to the institution, including Shaykh Ahmad Soorkati coming from Sudan, Africa.
As the son of a professor, Quraish Shihab get the initial motivation and love for the field of study seeds interpretation of his father who often take their children to sit together. At times like this that his father delivered his advice that most of the verses of the Koran. Quraish had undergone minor struggles and love of the Qur'an since the age of 6-7 years. He must follow the recitation of the Koran which was held by his own father. In addition to reading the Koran told, his father also describes in passing the stories in the Qur'an. Here, the seeds of his love for the Qur'an began to grow.
Formal education starting from elementary school no longer significant. After that he went to junior high school in the city of Malang said, "Nyantri" Boarding School in Dar al-Hadith Falaqiyah in the same city. For studies in Islam, Quraish Shihab sent by his father to al-Azhar, Cairo, in 1958 and received in the second grade sanawiyah. After that, he continued his studies at al-Azhar University Faculty Ushuluddin, Department of Tafsir and Hadith. In 1967 he earned his LC (undergraduate level S1). Two years later (1969), Quraish Shihab earned a MA at the same department with a thesis entitled "al-at-Tasryri'i I'jaz al-Qur'an al-Karim (miracle of al-Qur'an al-Karim of Legal)".
In 1973 he was called home to her father no longer significant by the then rector, to help manage education at IAIN Alauddin. He became vice chancellor for academic and student affairs until 1980. In addition mendududki official capacity, he also often memwakili the elderly because of age his father in carrying out certain key tasks. In a row after that, Quraish Shihab assigned various positions, such as the coordinator of Private Higher Education Region VII eastern Indonesia, Eastern Indonesia auxiliary police leadership in the field of mental coaching, and a series of other positions outside the campus. At the crevices of his work he still managed to finish some research tasks, such as Application of Life Religious Harmony in Indonesia (1975) and South Sulawesi Endowments Problems (1978).
To realize his ideals, he studies in interpretation, in 1980 studying Quraish Shihab returned to his alma mater, al-Azhar, to specialize in the study of interpretation of the Koran. He only took two years for my doctorate in this field. Dissertation entitled "Nazm Durar ad-li wa al-Biqa'i Verification Dirasah (A Study of the Book Nazm ad-Durar [Series Pearl] work of al-Biqa'i)" managed to maintain their summa cum laude with honors Mumtaz Ma ' A Neural Martabah ash-al-Ula (exemplary scholar with a special achievement).
Higher education is mostly taken in the Middle East, Al-Azhar, Cairo, by Howard M. Federspiel is considered as one that is unique to Indonesia at the time in which most educational level was resolved in the West. Of this he says as follows:
When researching his biography, I found that he was from South Sulawesi, educated at boarding schools, and received higher education in Egypt in Al-Azhar University, where he received his MA and Ph.D. him. This makes it a better educated than almost all other writers included in the Popular Indonesian Literature of the Quran and, moreover, the level of higher education in the Middle East like that make it unique to Indonesia at the moment in which the majority of education at that level completed in the West. He also has an important teaching career at IAIN Jakarta and Ujung Pandang and now, in fact, he served as rector at IAIN Jakarta. This is a very prominent career.
Year 1984 is a new chapter for the second phase of Quraish Shihab to continue his career. For that job he moved from Ujung Pandang to the Faculty of IAIN Ushuluddin at IAIN Jakarta. Here he was actively teaching field Tafseer and Ulum Al-Quran in S1, S2 and S3 until 1998. In addition to carrying out their main duty as a lecturer, he also believed served as Rector of IAIN Jakarta for two periods (1992-1996 and 1997-1998). After that he believed served as Minister of Religious Affairs for approximately two months in early 1998, until then he was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia to the Republic of the Arab Republic of Egypt concurrently Djibauti based in Cairo.
Quraish Shihab presence in the capital Jakarta has given a new atmosphere and was warmly welcomed by the community. This is proved by a variety of activities that executable in the midst of society. In addition to teaching, he is also believed to occupy a number of positions. Among them was as Chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Center (since 1984), Standing Committee member of the Al-Quran Pentashhih Department of Religion since 1989. He was also involved in several professional organizations, among others, Assistant Chairman of the Association of Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI), when the organization was founded. Furthermore, he also noted as the Association Board of Sharia Sciences, and Management Sciences Consortium Dapertemen Religious Education and Culture. Other activities that he did was as Associate Editor Studia Islamika: Indonesian Journal for Islamic Studies, Ulumul Qur 'an, Pulpit Ulema, and Reflection journal Religious Studies and Philosophy. All of these publications are in Jakarta.
In addition to the activities mentioned above, HMQuraish Shihab also known as a powerful writer and speaker. Based on a solid scientific background which he traveled through formal education and supported by its ability to convey their opinions and ideas in simple, but straightforward, rational, and a moderate trend of thought, he appeared as a speaker and writer who can be accepted by all levels of society . Activities of this lecture he did in a number of prestigious mosque in Jakarta, such as the Mosque of al-Tin and Fathullah, in environments such as government officials in a number of recitals Istiqlal and television stations or electronic media, especially di.bulan Ramadan. Some television stations, such as RCTI and Metro TV has a special program during Ramadan are nurtured by it.
Quraish Shihab is not the only expert on the Koran in Indonesia, but the ability to translate and meyampaikan messages of the Qur'an in the context of contemporary and modern times make it better known and more superior than the other experts of the MEDIA .
In terms of interpretation, it tends to emphasize the importance of using methods of interpretation maudu'i (thematic), namely the interpretation by collecting a number of verses of the Koran are scattered in various chapters that discuss the same problem, then describe a thorough understanding of these verses and then draw conclusions in response to the problem of the subject. According to him, by this method can be expressed opinions of the Koran on the issues of life, and can be used as evidence that the verses of the Koran in line with the development of science and technology and the progress of civilization.
Quraish Shihab many stressed the need for a contextual understanding of divine revelation and not solely fixated on textual meanings to the messages contained in it can function in real life. He also motivate his students, particularly at the postgraduate level, in order to dare to interpret the Koran, but by sticking strictly to the rules of interpretation that have been considered standard. According to him, the interpretation of the Qur'an will never end. From time to time always appears a new interpretation in line with the development of science and the demands of progress. Still he kept reminding the need for meticulous attitude and be extra careful in interpreting the Qur'an so that one does not easily claim an opinion as the opinion of the Koran. In fact, he says is a major sin if one mamaksakan opinion on behalf of the Koran.
Quraish Shihab is an expert interpretation of the educator. His expertise in the field of interpretation is to devote in the field of education. His position as Vice Rector, Rector, Minister for Religious Affairs, Chairman of the MUI, Expert Staff Education Minister, Member of Advisory Board of Education, writing scientific papers, and lectures very closely related to educational activities. In other words bahw he is a scholar who utilize their expertise to educate the people. This he did also through the attitude and personality are full of attitude and exemplary character. It has the properties as a teacher or educator exemplary. Simple appearance, tawadlu, dear to all people, honest, trustworthy, and firm in principle is a part of the attitude that should be owned by a teacher.