The Jakarta Post
Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) senior cleric Muhammad Ahmad Sahal Mahfudz passed away early on Friday at about 1:15 a.m. at his residence in the Maslakul Huda Islamic boarding school in Kajen, Margoyoso in Pati regency, Central Java.
Sahal was buried at 9 a.m. at the Waliyullah Ahmad Mutamakkin graveyard in Kajen.
Born in Pati on Dec. 17, 1937, Sahal was chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) as well as NU Rais Aam Syuriah, or supreme leader of the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia.
He took over Maslakal Huda in 1967 from his father, Mahfudz Salam.
According to a senior student at Maslakhul Huda, Muhammad Wahrodzi, the senior NU cleric was previously treated at Dr Kariadi General Hospital in Semarang due to lung and heart problems.
Mbah Sahal or Kiai Sahal, as he is affectionately known in NU, has been previously hospitalized twice.
Known as a Muslim leader who refused to enter politics, Sahal is survived by his wife Nafisah Sahal, son Abdul Ghaffar Rozin and two grandchildren.
NU members from outside Pati, journalists and officials wanting to attend Sahal's funeral could not reach Pati as they were blocked by floods inundating Java's northern coast in Welahan, Jepara and Kudus. The only way of reaching the funeral was to take a detour through Purwodadi, also inundated.
Floods also blocked traffic from Surabaya to Pati, forcing motorists to Cepu in order to reach Pati.
'I reached Demak and planned to go to Welahan, Jeparan and then to Pati. But floods stopped us in Welahan,' said Heri, a journalist from Jakarta.