Friday May 14, 2010
Al-Arqam founder dies
IPOH: The founder of the banned Al-Arqam movement, Ashaari Muhammad, died of lung infection at the Ipoh Specialist Hospital. He was 73.
Ashaari, who was also Global Ikhwan Sdn Bhd chairman, was admitted to the hospital three days ago, while visiting the company’s network here.
Affectionately known as Abuya to his followers, Ashaari breathed his last at 2.10pm yesterday, said a spokesman of the hospital.
Global Ikhwan employee Marzuki Hussein, 57, said Ashaari, who arrived here after visiting Thailand and Kedah, was rushed to the hospital on Monday after complaining of chest pain.
Speaking to reporters after a funeral prayer for Ashaari at a company’s guest house here yesterday, Marzuki said Ashaari would be buried in his home town of Rembau.
Ashaari’s hearse left for his family home in Kampung Pilin at 5.30pm.
He was buried at about 10pm, with some 1,000 people attending the funeral.
The Al-Arqam movement was banned by the National Fatwa Council in August 1994 while Ashaari was detained under the Internal Security Act from Sept 2 to Sept 24 in 2004 before he was placed under restricted residence in Rawang and later in Labuan for 10 years.
Al-Arqam or Jamaah Aurad Muhammadiah was at its height in the late 1980s and 1990s and was reported to have about 10,000 followers. The movement, which is said to spread deviationist teachings through missionary activities, also branched out into educational, publishing, commercial and agricultural activities.
Last year, the defunct movement was back in the limelight after a company linked to Ashaari’s family set up the controversial Ikhwan Polygamy Club, supposedly to promote healthy polygamous marriages.
The club, which later branched out to several cities in Indonesia, was led by Ashaari’s wife Hatijah Aam.
Many, however, saw the setting up of the club under the control of Global Ikhwan, which is involved in various activities from noodle manufacturing to eateries, as an attempt to revive Al-Arqam.
Global Ikhwan was set up after Al-Arqam’s previous company Rufaqa Corporations Sdn Bhd was closed down by religious authorities for its activities in recruiting new members to revive Ashaari’s teaching. — Bernama