Surabaya, E Java (ANTARA) - East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa extended deep condolences over the demise of Sheikh Ali Jaber, affirming that Indonesia's charismatic Saudi-born ulema cared deeply for disabled people through efforts facilitating their digital access to Quran.

"On behalf of the people of East Java and my family, I express my heartfelt condolences on the passing away of Sheikh Ali Jaber," Parawansa noted in a statement that ANTARA received in Surabaya, the capital of East Java Province, on Thursday.

Syekh Ali Jaber Foundation Chairman Habib Abdurrahman Alhabsyi officially announced the passing away of Sheikh Ali Jaber at Jakarta's Yarsi Hospital on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. local time on the foundation's official Instagram account.

"Let us pray for him. May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala grant him the highest rank; forgive his faults and mistakes; make his grave spacious; and bless his family members with patience, perseverance, and sincerity," Parawansa emphasized.

Governor Parawansa, concurrently top leader of Muslimat NU, the women's wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, recalled Sheikh Ali Jaber as being a charismatic and generous figure, who was highly caring for people with disabilities.

"When I was still the social affairs minister, late Sheikh Ali Jaber had also come to Salemba (the ministry) to discuss matters pertaining to disabled people, especially the one on their access to digital Quran (Muslims' holy book)," she recollected.

To this end, Sheikh Ali Jaber had tirelessly urged Muslim communities to donate a small portion of their wealth for preparing the digital Quran for disabled people, particularly for those having gone blind due to vision loss.

Before being admitted to the hospital owing to symptoms of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Sheikh Ali Jaber had made a round trip in East Java for a noble mission to enlighten and empower Muslims in the province, she stated.

Meanwhile, Syekh Ali Jaber Foundation Chairman Alhabsyi had announced earlier on the foundation's official Instagram account that Sheikh Ali Jaber had tested negative for COVID-19 prior to his death.

He was hospitalized since December 29, 2020.

"We sincerely pray to let him return to his Rabb (Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala)," he stated while urging Muslim communities to pray for him and forgive any faults he may have made.

Ali Jaber's demise was widely reported by numerous news media outlets of Indonesia.

Born in Medina, Saudi Arabia, on Feb 3, 1976, Sheikh Ali Jaber, whose full name is Ali Saleh Mohammed Ali Jaber, had been widely known as a Muslim preacher and ulema.

Ali Jaber held an Indonesian citizenship. He was popular among Indonesian Muslims as a juror of Quran memorization contests on the country's TV stations.
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Translator: Hanif N, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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