Indonesia has lost a champion of tolerance and social justice in prominent Islamic intellectual Ahmad Syafii Maarif, who passed away this morning in Yogyakarta at the age of 86.
Maarif, who was commonly known as Buya Syafii, chaired Muhammadiyah — one of the largest Islamic organizations in the world — from 1998 to 2005.
The news of his passing was confirmed by current Muhammadiyah Chairman Haedar Nashir.
“Muhammadiyah and the nation of Indonesia are in mourning. Ahmad Syafii Maarif passed away on Friday, May 27 at 10:15am at PKU Muhammadiyah Gamping Hospital,” Haedar announced.
Buya Safii’s cause of death has not been officially confirmed. However, he was notably admitted to hospital on May 14 over breathing difficulties.
Aside from his stint as the leader of Muhammadiyah, Buya Syafii also founded the Maarif Institute for Culture and Humanity, which is an active proponent of human rights and an inclusive form of Islam.
Buya Syafii was also a recipient of the 2008 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Peace and International Understanding. He also notably turned down President Joko Widodo’s offer for a spot in the Presidential Advisory Council in 2015, highlighting his reluctance to be involved in politics.
Buya Syafii will reportedly be buried this afternoon in a Muhammadiyah-run cemetery in Kulonprogo, Yogyakarta.