Bogor, W Java (ANTARA) - Indonesian Muslims are mourning the passing of Syekh Ali Jaber, a Saudi Arabia-born ulema who held an Indonesian citizenship and dedicated his life to "dakwah" (Islamic preaching) in Indonesia till he drew his last breath on Thursday morning.

Born in Medina, Saudi Arabia, on February 3, 1976, Syekh Ali Jaber, whose full name is Ali Saleh Mohammed Ali Jaber, was popular among Indonesian Muslims as a juror of Quran memorization contests on the country's TV stations.

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

According to Alhabsyi, Syekh Ali Jaber had tested negative for COVID-19 prior to his death. He had been hospitalized since December 29, 2020.

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

Ali Jaber's demise was widely reported by several news media outlets in Indonesia. Several prominent Indonesian figures offered their condolences on the charismatic ulema's death.

Among them were Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, Indonesia's sixth president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa, and popular Muslim preacher Yusuf Mansur.

Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said the Saudi Arabia-born ulema had notably contributed to “dakwah", or Islamic preaching.

"Innalillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun (We belong to God and to God we shall return). We deeply condole the passing away of Syekh Ali Jaber. He made a great contribution to 'dakwah' in Indonesia," he told journalists in Jakarta.

Qoumas said the ulema's death was a huge loss for the Indonesian Muslim communities and also the nation, and called on the people, at large, to pray that God shower his mercy on Ali Jaber.

He argued that the ulema are role models for Muslims and from whom people could learn religious teachings.

In the fight against COVID-19, Syekh Ali Jaber kept edifying Muslim communities about the importance of containing the spread of the virus, he remarked.

Popular Muslim preacher Yusuf Mansur described Syekh Ali Jaber as a figure who has left behind proper legacies of teachings and memories.

On his Instagram account @yusufmansurnew, Mansur recalled several unforgettable memories with Syekh Ali Jaber, whom he referred to as a "close friend", "younger brother", "family member", "teacher", and a "place to ask".

As an ode to Syekh Ali Jaber, Mansur uploaded a video on an event that he had attended with the charismatic ulema.

Meanwhile, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa recalled Syekh Ali Jaber as a charismatic and generous figure, who cared highly for people with disabilities.

"When I was still the social affairs minister, late Syekh 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.

Ali Jaber tirelessly urged Muslim communities to donate a small portion of their wealth for preparing the digital Quran for the disabled, particularly those who had lost their sight, she said.

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

"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 said.

Indonesia's sixth president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) also joined the nation in mourning the death of Syekh Ali Jaber on Thursday and said the preachings of the charismatic ulema always made him feel tranquil at heart.

SBY then recalled one of the sermons Syekh Ali Jaber delivered when meeting his wife, Kristiani Herrawati (Ani Yudhoyono), while she was hospitalized in Singapore in 2019.

Yudhoyono's wife was hospitalized at Singapore's National University Hospital on February 2, 2019 and died on June 1, 2019.

On the day he visited his wife, Syekh Ali Jaber reminded Yudhoyono to be strong, resilient, and patient, SBY said.

"At that time, I listened to his 'tausiyah' (sermon) suggesting that I should remain strong, resilient, and patient to accept the trials from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala," he posted on his official Twitter account @SBYudhoyono on Thursday.

Ali Jaber's sermons were definitely free from hatred and hostility, SBY remarked.

"Listening to his preaches always makes my heart tranquil, peaceful, and thankful because that's the true teaching of Islam," he said while sincerely praying for a "husnul khotimah" (good ending) for Syekh Ali Jaber.

The charismatic ulema was laid to rest in the graveyard of the Daarul Quran Cipondoh Islamic Boarding School complex, Tangerang, Banten province, following his funeral procession on Thursday afternoon.

May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala's blessings and mercy be bestowed upon him while his big dream of seeing Indonesia have one million new memorizers of Quran (huffaz) in Indonesia come true with a collective endeavor made by other ulemas.

"Let us continue his preaching by bringing soothing and calming teachings," said Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, while joining the nation in mourning the passing of Syekh Ali Jaber. (INE)

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Editor: Suharto
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