Asip Hasani and Aman Rochman, Jombang, East Java – Thousands of Pesantren Tebuireng santri (Islamic boarding school students) and national figures have bid farewell to prominent cleric Salahuddin "Gus Sholah" Wahid, the younger brother of former President Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid, in a funeral within the school compound in Jombang, East Java.
Gus Sholah was a renowned Muslim figure and luminary of the country's largest Islamic group, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). He passed away on Sunday evening at 77 years old.
He was the director of the pesantren (Islamic boarding school) until his death.
The cleric's remains were brought from Jakarta to the school at 12:25 p.m. on Monday.
A large number of mourners took part in a prayer for the late cleric in a mosque within the compound prior to the funeral ceremony, which was held at 2:30 p.m. under cloudy weather.
Gus Dur's daughters Alissa and Inayah Wahid were among the attendees, along with NU-related figures such as Muhaimin Iskandar, chairman of the National Awakening Party (PKB) – regarded as the unofficial political wing of the NU – as well as the Islamic group's leading cleric, Mustofa "Gus Mus" Bisri.
National figures among the funeral attendees included Defense Minister Mahfud MD, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa, East Java Deputy Governor Emil E. Dardak, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, former religious affairs minister Luqman Saifuddin and former education and culture minister M. Nuh.
Khofifah said she personally had received a request from the late cleric to maintain building up the inclusiveness of Indonesian santri.
"According to the late [Gus Sholah], the clerics are the guardians of the NU," she said.
Meanwhile, minister Mahmud said, "Indonesia has lost one of its best figures in keeping the country [peaceful]."
Islamic group Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nashir viewed Gus Sholah as a role model.
"He was among the key figures in developing moderate Islam in Indonesia. He took the role of a friend, brother and father figure. I feel a big loss, because he was so humble and calm, and could nurture us, the young clerics," he said.