Ma'ruf Amin

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Ma'ruf Amin
Ma'ruf Amin.jpg
Chairman of Indonesian Ulema Council
Assumed office
27 August 2015
Preceded byDin Syamsuddin
Supreme Leader of Nahdlatul Ulama
In office
6 August 2015 – 22 September 2018
Preceded byMustofa Bisri
Succeeded byMiftachul Akhyar (acting)
Personal details
Born (1943-03-11) 11 March 1943 (age 76)
Tangerang, Japanese East Indies
Political partyIndependent
Other political
United Development Party
National Awakening Party
Siti Churiyah
(m. 1964; died 2013)

Wury Estu Handayani (m. 2014)
Alma materIbnu Khaldun University, Bogor
OccupationLecturer, cleric, politician

Ma'ruf Amin (born 11 March 1943) is an Indonesian Islamic scholar and politician. He is currently the chairman of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI, or Indonesian Ulema Council)[1] On 9 August 2018, President Joko Widodo announced that Ma'ruf would be his running mate in the 2019 Indonesian presidential election. Following his candidacy, he resigned as Supreme Leader (rais 'aam syuriah) of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world's largest Islamic organization.

Early life and career[edit]

Ma'ruf Amin was born in Tangerang, a regency to the west of Jakarta in the province of Banten (then located in undivided West Java). He first went to primary school in the kecamatan of Kresek. After then, he continued his studies at Pesantren Tebuireng in Jombang, East Java, an influential Islamic boarding school established by NU founder Hasyim Asy'ari. He would then receive his bachelor's degree in Islamic philosophy from Ibnu Khaldun University in Bogor, West Java.[2]

Shortly after graduating from college, Ma'ruf carried out dakwah missions in Jakarta. At that time, NU was still an active political party and Ma'ruf was elected to the Indonesian parliament, the People's Representative Council (or DPR, Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat) in the national election held in 1971. Six years later, in 1977, he was elected to the Jakarta City Council as a member of the United Development Party (Partai Persatuan Pembangunan or PPP) for one term (1977-1982) and served as leader of the PPP caucus. At the end of his term, Ma'ruf returned to academia and social activism.[3] In 1989, he was appointed as a katib 'aam, a senior position within NU's syuriah, its supreme governing council. He then rose to be one of the rais, a leader, overseeing the executive leadership of Abdurrahman Wahid.

Following the fall of Suharto in 1998, Ma'ruf became an advisor to Wahid's National Awakening Party (Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa, or PKB) and advised Wahid throughout the period of his presidency of Indonesia from 1999-2001.[4][5] Ma'ruf returned to active politics and represented the PKB in the national DPR from 1999 to 2004. During this second term in the DPR, Ma'ruf was chair of the Fourth Commission (agriculture, food, and maritime affairs) as well as member of the Second Commission (government affairs and regional autonomy) and Budgetary Board.[2][5]

While a member of the DPR during 1999-2004, Ma'ruf chaired the Ulema Council's committee in charge of issuing legal opinions (fatwa). He did not seek re-election to the DPR in 2004 and returned to the MUI to chair its National Sharia Committee (acting from 2004 to 2010). He also served as an advisor to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in his Presidential Advisory Council from 2007 to 2014.[6]

In 2015 Ma'ruf ran for the position of rais 'aam syuriah of the NU, equivalent to chair of the supreme governing council. He finished in second place after the incumbent Ahmad Mustofa Bisri from Rembang's Pesantren Raudlatuth Thalibin. In a significant development, Bisri withdrew his name from the race and Ma'ruf was then elected to the position by NU's 33rd Congress.[3]

Several weeks after his ascendancy to NU's highest post, Ma'ruf was elected to be the chair of MUI, succeeding Muhammadiyah's Din Syamsuddin.

Vice Presidential candidate[edit]

President Joko Widodo announced that he would run for re-election in the 2019 presidential election. His vice president Jusuf Kalla was not seen as eligible for another term because of the term limits set for the positions of president and vice-president. (Jusuf Kalla had already served a five-year term as vice-president Yudhoyono from 2004 to 2009.) Speculation as to who Jokowi might select as his running mate focused on several candidates including Mahfud MD, a former defence minister and chief justice of the Constitutional Court.

On 9 August, in a surprise move, Widodo announced that Ma'ruf would be his running mate. Mahfud had been reported to be preparing himself to become Jokowi's vice presidential candidate but, following a push by several constituent parties of Widodo's governing coalition and influential Islamic figures, Ma'ruf was selected instead.[7] Explaining his decision, Jokowi referred to Ma'ruf's extensive experience in government and religious affairs.[8]


As MUI chair, Ma'ruf gave his support to regulations prohibiting pornography and supported a decree banning Ahmadiya activities. In addition, Ma'ruf "regretted" the Constitutional Court's ruling to reject a proposed ban on sexual activities of homosexuals in 2017, instead wanting "stern regulations".[9]


The Ahok affair[edit]

Ma'ruf was embroiled in part of the controversy surrounding the contentious Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2017. The then-Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, widely known as "Ahok", became the target of numerous protests in Jakarta in November 2016. In response, Ahok alleged that Ma'ruf had taken sides in the election due to a phone call with former President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whose son Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono was running against Ahok in the election.[10][11][12] Ahok later apologized to Ma'ruf via social media for any implication that Ma'ruf had been influenced by political pressure.[13][14]

Ma'ruf accepted Ahok's apology, saying that the matter was resolved.[15] Despite Ma'ruf's willingness to let the matter rest, an organization known as the Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs reported Ahok to the criminal investigation unit of the Indonesian National Police for allegedly having harassed Ma'ruf and wiretapped his phone conversations with former President Yudhoyono[16] despite previous denials by Ahok's legal team of the latter act.[17]

In a separate interview, conducted after Ma'ruf's selection as a vice presidential candidate, he stated that he regretted testifying against Ahok and added that he was "forced" to do it.[18]


Ma'ruf's first wife, Siti Churiyah, died in October 2013 at the age of 67. At the time of her death, the couple had eight children and 13 grandchildren.[19] Seven months later, in May 2014, he married Wury Estu Handayani who had been a widow for around two years. They were married in a simple but well-attended ceremony in the well-known Sunda Kelapa mosque in Menteng in central Jakarta.[20]


  1. ^ "Ketua MUI | Majelis Ulama Indonesia". Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  2. ^ a b "Ini Profil Ma'ruf Amin, Cawapres Jokowi". KOMPAS (in Indonesian). 9 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b Saat, Norshahril. "Perspective: Nahdlatul Ulama's 33rd Congress: Ma'ruf Amin's Rise and its Impact on Indonesia's Traditionalist Islam" (PDF). Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  4. ^ Agustiar, Dwi (9 August 2018). "Jadi Cawapres Jokowi, PBNU: Ma'ruf Amin Sudah NU Bahkan Sebelum Lahir". IDN Times (in Indonesian). Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Profil Maruf Amin". VIVA (in Indonesian). 22 November 2016. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Presiden lantik anggota Wantimpres". BBC News Indonesia (in Indonesian). 25 January 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  7. ^ Marguerite Apra Sapiie, 'Jokowi may pick Mahfud MD as running mate', The Jakarta Post, 9 August 2018.
  8. ^ Sita W. Dewi, 'Who is Ma'ruf Amin, Jokowi's running mate?', The Jakarta Post, 9 August 2018.
  9. ^ Dewi, Sita W. (9 August 2018). "Who is Ma'ruf Amin, Jokowi's running mate?". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  10. ^ John McBeth, Jakarta heads for run-off as election tests Indonesia’s religious tolerance. The National, 15 February 2017. Accessed 16 February 2017.
  11. ^ Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Haeril Halim and Margareth S. Aritonang, Palace calls on SBY to leave Jokowi out of Antasari spat. Jakarta Post, 16 February 2017. Accessed 16 February 2017.
  12. ^ Nahdlatul Ulama supports Ma`ruf Amin in dispute with Ahok: PKB. Antara, 2 February 2017. Accessed 16 February 2017.
  13. ^ Winda A. Charmila, Ahok apologizes to MUI chairman Ma’ruf Amin. Jakarta Post, 1 February 2017. Accessed 16 February 2017.
  14. ^ Ahok Apologizes to Ma`ruf Amin Through Mass Media. Tempo, 6 February 2017. Accessed 16 February 2017.
  15. ^ MUI Chairman Ma`ruf Amin Accepts Ahok`s Apology. Tempo, 3 February 2017. Accessed 16 February 2017.
  16. ^ Considered Having Insulted Ma’ruf Amin, Ahok Reported to Bareskrim. Netral News, 6 February 2017. Accessed 16 February 2017.
  17. ^ Erwin C. Sihombing, 'We Don't Have Yudhoyono-Ma'ruf Phone Call Transcript,' Says Ahok's Lawyer. Jakarta Globe, 2 February 2017. Accessed 16 February 2017.
  18. ^ "Ma'ruf Amin says he regrets testifying against Ahok". The Jakarta Post. 6 January 2019. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Ketua MUI Seakan Ada 'Feeling' Istri Akan Tutup Usia". Republika Online (in Indonesian). 22 October 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  20. ^ "Kisah Pertemuan KH Ma'ruf Amin dan Istrinya". detiknews (in Indonesian). 31 May 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2018.