Tun Rahah was born on 11th of June 1933, to Tan Sri Haji Mohd Noah and Puan Seri Hajah Maimun Manaf of Muar, Johor. She was the youngest of her ten siblings and was only twenty months apart from her older sister, Tun Suhailah, who was the wife of the third Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn. In 1939, Tun Rahah moved to Mersing with her parents as at that time her father, Tan Sri Mohd Noah, was the Deputy District Officer and First Class Magistrate of Mersing. Her father was a respected man and a notable politician, proven by becoming one of the important figures during the formation of UMNO and the first Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat. Tun Rahah received her early English education at the Sultan Abu Bakar Girls School (SABGS) in Muar, and then attended the Temenggong Ibrahim Girls School in Batu Pahat. Later in 1947, Tun Rahah enrolled in Melaka Convent boarding school, when her father was the District Officer in Segamat.
Tun Rahah continued her schooling in Standard Seven at the Johor Bharu Convent. Then, in 1950, Tun Razak returned from London after completing his law studies, came to the school and saw Tun Rahah for the first time. Tun Razak was brought to the school by his friend, Taib Andak, who coincidentally had a daughter studying there. Tun Razak then arranged for a meeting with Tun Rahah’s sister, Fakhriah and her husband, to deliver his intention of marrying Tun Rahah.
Before meeting Tun Razak, Tun Rahah was shown a photograph of him by her mother. At the time, Tun Rahah was 18, and Tun Razak was 29. They proceeded with an engagement that was held in Johor Bahru. After a year, Tun Rahah married Tun Razak on 4th of September, 1952. After the wedding, Tun Rahah followed Tun Razak to live in Pahang. She was the first and only daughter to move out of Johor. Together, Tun Rahah and Tun Razak had five sons. Their first son, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Najib was born on 23rd July 1953 and later became the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Tun Rahah’s life changed when her husband Tun Razak passed away on 14 January 1976, in London. Tun Razak was 53, while Tun Rahah was only 42. After the demise of her husband, Tun Rahah became a single parent to her sons.
Thrust into the spotlight as the First Lady of Malaysia from 1970 to 1976, Tun Rahah carried out affairs of State and entertained visiting dignitaries as seemingly effortlessly as she raised her five sons to achieve success in their chosen fields. Tun Rahah is now the mother of Malaysia’s sixth Prime Minister, as her eldest son, Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib took over the office in 2009. Tun Rahah has relinquished most of her official positions, only keeping a few such as her position as the Chancellor of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak. Tun Rahah was also conferred an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy (Education) from Universiti Utara Malaysia.