79 Facts About Abdurrahman Wahid


Abdurrahman Wahid was the son of Minister of Religious Affairs Wahid Hasyim, and the grandson of Nahdatul Ulama founder Hasyim Asy'ari.


Abdurrahman Wahid had a visual impairment caused by glaucoma; he was blind on the left eye and partially blind on his right eye.


Abdurrahman Wahid was the first and as of 2023 the only president of Indonesia to have had physical disabilities.


On 17 January 2000, the President Abdurrahman Wahid issued Presidential Decree No 6 of 2000 to annul the previous instruction.


Abdurrahman Wahid was the one who established Confucianism as the sixth official religion in Indonesia in 2000 and the one who protected minority rights in Indonesia.


Abdurrahman Wahid's name is stylized in the traditional Arabic naming system as "Abdurrahman, son of Wahid".


Abdurrahman Wahid was the oldest of his five siblings, and was born into a very prestigious family in the East Java Muslim community.


Abdurrahman Wahid was educated in Jakarta, going to KRIS Primary School before moving to Matraman Perwari Primary School.


Abdurrahman Wahid was encouraged to read non-Muslim books, magazines, and newspapers by his father to further broaden his horizons.


Abdurrahman Wahid stayed in Jakarta with his family even after his father's removal as Minister of Religious Affairs in 1952.


Abdurrahman Wahid completed the pesantren course in two years instead of the usual four.


Abdurrahman Wahid found employment as a journalist for magazines such as Horizon and Majalah Budaya Jaya.


In 1963, Abdurrahman Wahid received a scholarship from the Ministry of Religious Affairs to study at Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.


Unable to provide evidence to certify that he spoke Arabic, Abdurrahman Wahid was told when arriving that he would have to take a remedial class in the language before enrolling at the university's Higher Institute for Islamic and Arabic studies.


Abdurrahman Wahid was involved with the Association of Indonesian Students and became a journalist for the association's magazine.


Abdurrahman Wahid sought and received another scholarship at the University of Baghdad and moved to Iraq.


Abdurrahman Wahid wanted to attend Leiden University but was disappointed as there was little recognition for the studies that he had undertaken at the University of Baghdad.


Abdurrahman Wahid returned to Jakarta expecting that in a year's time, he would be abroad again to study at McGill University in Canada.


Abdurrahman Wahid kept himself busy by joining the Institute for Economic and Social Research, Education and Information, an organization which consisted of intellectuals with progressive Muslims and social-democratic views.


LP3ES established the magazine Prisma and Abdurrahman Wahid became one of the main contributors to the magazine.


Abdurrahman Wahid was concerned with the poverty of the pesantren which he saw during his tours.


Abdurrahman Wahid continued his career as a journalist, writing for the magazine Tempo and Kompas, a leading Indonesian newspaper.


Abdurrahman Wahid's articles were well received, and he began to develop a reputation as a social commentator.


Abdurrahman Wahid's popularity was such that at this time he was invited to give lectures and seminars, obliging him to travel back and forth between Jakarta and Jombang, where he now lived with his family.


In 1977, Abdurrahman Wahid joined the Hasyim Asyari University as Dean of the Faculty of Islamic Beliefs and Practices.


Nevertheless, Abdurrahman Wahid finally chose to join the Council when his own grandfather, Bisri Syansuri gave him the third offer.


In taking this job, Abdurrahman Wahid made the decision to move from Jombang to Jakarta and to permanently reside there.


However, Abdurrahman Wahid was always able to secure his release, having developed connections in high places with the likes of General Benny Moerdani.


On 6 May 1982, Abdurrahman Wahid heard of Idham's decision to resign and approached him saying that the demands being made for him to resign were unconstitutional.


From June 1983 to October 1983, Abdurrahman Wahid was part of a team which was commissioned to prepare the NU's response to this issue.


Abdurrahman Wahid consulted texts such as the Quran and Sunnah for justification and finally, in October 1983, concluded that the NU should accept Pancasila as its ideology.


Abdurrahman Wahid's reforms had made him extremely popular within the ranks of NU.


Abdurrahman Wahid accepted the nomination, provided that he had the power to choose who would be on his leadership team.


Abdurrahman Wahid was elected as the new chairman of NU during the National Congress.


Abdurrahman Wahid had gone to the Committee in charge of running the Congress and handed in his list which was to be announced later.


Abdurrahman Wahid was outraged but was pressured to accept the changes made.


Abdurrahman Wahid's reward came in the form of a membership of the MPR.


In 1987, Abdurrahman Wahid set up study groups in Probolinggo, East Java to provide a forum for like-minded individuals within NU to discuss and provide interpretations to Muslim texts.


Critics accused Abdurrahman Wahid of wishing to replace the Arabic Muslim greeting of "assalamualaikum" with the secular greeting of "selamat pagi", which means good morning in Indonesian.


Abdurrahman Wahid was re-elected to a second term as chairman of NU at the 1989 National Congress.


Abdurrahman Wahid declined because he thought that ICMI encouraged sectarianism and that it was mainly a means by which Suharto manoeuvred to remain powerful.


In 1991, Abdurrahman Wahid countered ICMI by forming the Democracy Forum, an organization which contained 45 intellectuals from various religious and social communities.


In March 1992, Abdurrahman Wahid planned to have a Great Assembly to celebrate the 66th anniversary of the founding of NU and to reiterate the organization's support for Pancasila.


Abdurrahman Wahid had planned for the event to be attended by at least one million NU members.


Abdurrahman Wahid advised Megawati to be cautious and to avoid being nominated as president during the 1998 MPR General Session.


Suharto began to lose control of the situation and just as he was being pushed to step up the reform movement with Megawati and Amien, Abdurrahman Wahid experienced a stroke in January 1998.


From his hospital bed, Abdurrahman Wahid continued to see the situation worsen with Suharto's re-election to a seventh term as president accompanied by student protests.


Abdurrahman Wahid maintained a more moderate stance with Suharto and called on the protesting to stop to see if Suharto was going to implement his promise.


Abdurrahman Wahid did not warm up to the idea immediately, thinking that this would result in a political party which only catered to one religion.


Abdurrahman Wahid was unwilling to overrule his own decision to take NU out of politics.


In October 1999, the MPR convened and Abdurrahman Wahid threw his support behind Amien, who was elected as the chairman of the MPR.


Abdurrahman Wahid was elected as Indonesia's fourth president with 373 votes to Megawati's 313 votes.


Abdurrahman Wahid realized that for this to stop, Megawati had to be elected as vice president.


Abdurrahman Wahid wanted to adopt a softer stance towards Aceh by having fewer military personnel on the ground.


Abdurrahman Wahid saw Wiranto both as an obstacle to his planned reform of the Military as well as being a liability to his Government with his human rights abuses in East Timor.


In March 2000, Abdurrahman Wahid's Government began to open negotiations with the Free Aceh Movement.


Abdurrahman Wahid moved to establish commercial relations with Israel, which aroused the ire of many Indonesian Muslim groups.


When he ascended to the presidency, one of Abdurrahman Wahid's goals was to reform the military and to take it out of its dominant socio-political role.


Abdurrahman Wahid gave in to the pressure but then planned to have Agus appointed as the Army Chief of Staff to which TNI top brass responded by threatening to retire and Abdurrahman Wahid bowed down to pressure.


Abdurrahman Wahid had ordered TNI to block Laskar Jihad from going to Maluku, but nevertheless they still made it to Maluku and they were then being armed with what turned out to be TNI weapons.


At the 2000 MPR Annual Session, Abdurrahman Wahid delivered a speech which was well received by a majority of the MPR members.


Abdurrahman Wahid's response was to allow the West Papuans to do this provided that the Morning Star flag was placed lower than the Indonesian flag.


Abdurrahman Wahid made his last overseas visit in June 2001 when he visited Australia.


At a meeting with university rectors on 27 January 2001, Abdurrahman Wahid commented on the possibility of Indonesia descending into anarchy.


In Jakarta, Abdurrahman Wahid's opposition began accusing him of encouraging the protests.


Abdurrahman Wahid denied it and went to talk to the protesters at the town of Pasuruan; encouraging them to get off the streets.


Abdurrahman Wahid then threw his support behind Wiranto of the Golkar party, as Abdurrahman Wahid's brother, Salahuddin, was Wiranto's running mate.


In September 2006, Abdurrahman Wahid said that he would run in the 2009 presidential election He confirmed this in March 2008, at a rally of his National Awakening Party in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan.


Abdurrahman Wahid served as patron, member of the board of directors and senior advisor to the LibForAll Foundation, whose mission it is to reduce religious extremism and discredit terrorism worldwide.


Abdurrahman Wahid wrote an article published in the Wall Street Journal on 30 December 2005 entitled Right Islam vs Wrong Islam in which he called on "people of good will of every faith and nation" to unite against the religious hatred that underlies and animates terrorism.


Abdurrahman Wahid discussed his suspicions regarding the involvement of the Indonesian government and Indonesia's armed forces in the terrorist bombings on Bali, in an interview in the documentary Inside Indonesia's War on Terrorism, aired by SBS Dateline on 12 October 2005.


Abdurrahman Wahid was an advocate of interfaith dialogue and sat on the Board of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute.


Abdurrahman Wahid was married to Sinta Nuriyah with whom he had four daughters: Alissa Qotrunnada Munawaroh, Zannuba Arifah Chafsoh, Annita Hayatunnufus, and Inayah Wulandari.


Abdurrahman Wahid was visually impaired throughout his presidency, although many claimed that he was able to see without assistance.


Abdurrahman Wahid's eyesight began to deteriorate due to glaucoma since 1985, and worsened by an accident where he was hit by a car which resulted in the loss of a retina.


Abdurrahman Wahid was alleged to have sleeping disorder as he was sometimes caught sleeping during important cabinet meetings.


In late December 2009, despite poor health and a recent hospital visit, Abdurrahman Wahid asked to be taken to visit Rembang and Jombang.


Abdurrahman Wahid was moved to Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in Central Jakarta the following day to undergo dialysis.


Abdurrahman Wahid was buried next to his grandparents and parents at his birthplace, Jombang, East Java.