Innalillahi wa Inna Ilahi Rajiun. The late Prof Azyumardi Azra, widely known as Prof Azra was an Indonesian Muslim scholar and chief of the Indonesian Press Council, Azyumardi Azra, laid rest at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery, South Jakarta, on Tuesday, after the coffin arrived in Indonesia on Monday (September 19,2022) Morning.
Prof Azra funeral ceremony presided by Coordinating Minister of Human Development and Cultural Affairs Muhadjir Effendy. In addition to hundreds citizen that walk Prof Azra eternal rest, some Indonesian National figures and Officials also attended the ceremony. Notably the former vice president Jusuf Kalla, Police Chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo, Religious Affairs Deputy Minister Zainut Tauhid Saadi, National Counter Terrorism Agency (BNPT) Head Boy Rafli Amar, and Grand Imam of Istiqlal Mosque Nasaruddin Umar. The late scholar is buried at grave no 426 at the cemetery’s block Z.
Prof Azra breathed his last at the Serdang Hospital, Selangor, Malaysia, on Sunday (September 18) at 12:30 p.m. (UTC+8). Prof. Azra passed away after being hospitalized due to health issues shortly after having landed in Malaysia to attend a conference hosted by the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) on Friday (September 16).
Prof. Azra was born in Padang, West Sumatra, in 1955. He studied at Columbia University, New York, where he received his PhD in 1992. His thesis was titled “The Transmission of Islamic Reformism to Indonesia: Networks of Middle Eastern and Malay Indonesian Ulama in the Seventeenth and Eighteen Centuries”. It was published in Indonesian as Jaringan Ulama Timur Tengah dan Kepulauan Nusantara Abad XVII dan XVIII (1994), and in English as The Origin of Islamic Reformism in Southeast Asia (2004). This work proved seminal, eventually inspiring a new body of work on the scholarship of Southeast Asian Muslim scholars and their links to Middle Eastern traditions.
But when he first returned to Jakarta’s Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic Institute in 1992, Azra found Islam in Southeast Asia was understudied. He therefore made it his mission to upgrade the university’s flagship Studia Islamika journal. This became an essential part of his broader goal of helping Southeast Asians to better understand and support Islam as practiced in their region.
Under Azra’s tireless leadership, Studia Islamika was transformed into an international journal that published in Indonesian, English and Arabic. It soon became a leading refereed and indexed journal for studies of Islam in Southeast Asia. Other Indonesian journals have followed in its footsteps, but Studia Islamika was the first.
However, Azra is best known for pioneering the reinvention of Indonesia’s State Islamic Institutes (IAIN). From institutions that taught only religious subject matter, they became universities (known as UIN), where both Islamic and general (secular) sciences were offered. He achieved this transformation first at his own university, Syarif Hidayatullah, in 2002. Often working, arguing, and persuading far into the night, he advanced his vision of new, modern, global education for Indonesian Muslims, despite considerable opposition, both on campus and beyond.
Prof Azra was known as prominent global figure in inter-religion discussion. His effort recognized by numerous award, most notably the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) which was given via the British Ambassador in Indonesia, Martin Hatfull.