Jakarta – Salahuddin "Gus Sholah" Wahid, a renowned Muslim figure and luminary of the country's largest Islamic group, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), passed away on Sunday evening. He was 77 years old, and is survived by his wife and three children.
Gus Sholah, the youngest brother of the country's fourth president, Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid, died at 8:55 p.m. on Feb. 2 in Jakarta, confirmed NU education head Hanif Saha.
"We received the news that he passed away at 8.55 p.m. at Harapan Kita hospital," Hanif said on Sunday as quoted by kompas.com, referring to the national cardiology center.
Hanif said that Gus Sholah's health had deteriorated after he underwent heart surgery on Saturday. "He was in recovery, but his health kept deteriorating," he said.
Gus Sholah's son Ipang Wahid said that his father had started complaining about his heart two weeks ago, and entered critical condition on Sunday afternoon.
Gus Sholah subsequently underwent cardiac ablation in an effort to restore normal heart rhythm, said Ipang.
Born on Sept. 11, 1942 in Jombang, East Java, the son of the late NU leader Wahid Hasyim was also a prominent NU cleric and the director of Pesantren Tebuireng in his hometown until his death. Just like his late elder brother, Gus Sholah was known as a staunch and lifelong advocate of human rights.
Gus Sholah will be laid to rest on Monday within the grounds of Tebuireng Islamic boarding school.
"The big Nahdlatul Ulama family send our condolences regarding the passing of K.H. Shalahuddin Wahid," the organization posted to its Twitter account, @nahdlatululama.
The NU Central Board (PBNU) has tweeted an instruction for all NU members, including those overseas, to hold shalat ghaib (prayer for the deceased) for Gus Sholah.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo joined other leading figures in the nation in expressing his sympathies on Gus Sholah's passing.
"On behalf of the government, the country and the people of Indonesia, I send my deepest condolences on the passing of Salahuddin Wahid," Jokowi said after paying his respects at Gus Sholah's residence in Mampang, South Jakarta.
The President said that the country had lost a great Muslim scholar whose numerous contributions in advocating for human rights had a significant impact on religious tolerance.
"He was a great Muslim scholar, truly a role model for us all. The people of the nation feel a great loss with his passing," he added. (rfa)