Born in 1930 in the Syrian city of Hama, Al-Serafi hailed from a family with a deep interest in education.
Muslims in Qatar and around the world have poured tributes for prominent Syrian scholar Sheikh Mustafa Al-Serafi who passed away aged 93 in Doha on Saturday.
The late preacher died following a long battle with cancer and was buried at the Mesaimeer cemetery in Qatar on the same day, Al Jazeera reported. Attendees said “large crowds” gathered at the site to bid farewell to the scholar.
Al-Serafi was among the most notable Muslim figures in the Levant region and held a number of positions in the International Union of Muslim Scholars.
News of his passing triggered an avalanche of condolences and tributes on social media, describing him as a man with “good manners, a kind smile, and wise words.”
“May God have mercy on the Sheikh, the Islamic thinker, the scholar, the interpreter, and the honourable Mustafa Al-Serafi (Abu Muhammad), who breathed the air of Qatar and decid to settle and lived in it with honour and dignity until the last day of his life,” Jassim Ibrahim Fakhroo, media and public relations consultant, said in a social media post.
Other Muslim scholars described the death of Al-Serafi as a loss for the Muslim community.
“Today, the Muslim ummah has lost one of its eminent figures, the beloved preacher Sheikh Mustafa A-Serafi. May God accept his effort and jihad, and grant him his highest position among the righteous,” Dr. Mohammed Al Sagheer, a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Prominent Qatari journalist Jaber Al-Harami echoed the sentiments, saying: “Sheikh Al-Serafi was known for his high advocacy ethics, cheerfulness, calmness, and great humility.”
A long academic life
Born in 1930 in the Syrian city of Hama, Al-Serafi hailed from a family with a deep interest in education and joined the Islamic Movement in Syria at just 15 years old, joining his friend Dr. Abdul Karim Othman.
Al-Serafi had also assumed the role of the head of young Muslim Brotherhood members during the establishment of the “Brotherhood Families” by Othman who was influenced by the group in Egypt, Al Jazeera reported.
The late scholar was known for his passion for reading and was often found in the company of books, especially on literature and Islamic sciences.
The Syrian scholar pursued his higher education in the Syrian capital of Damascus where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Damascus in 1950. He then earned a diploma in international law from the same university in 1951.
Al-Serafi later taught religious lessons at mosques in Hama where he gained popularity among the local Muslim community. He was also offered a role to become the Secretary-General of one of Syria’s political parties, but refused to do so and maintained that his advocacy was apolitical.
Despite this, Al-Serafi was repeatedly harassed by the Syrian regime following the control of the Ba’ath Party in 1963, forcing him to flee to the United Arab Emirates in 1964. He then returned to Syria for a brief time before moving to Qatar.
There, he worked as an educational supervisor for a number of schools. He also occupied several roles in the International Union of Muslim Scholars.
The Syrian preacher worked closely with Muslim scholar Dr. Ali Al-Qaradaghi and travelled with him to Kyrgyzstan in 2010 for the reconciliation between Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities.
“His visit to Kyrgyzstan for reconciliation and his efforts to gather the word of Islamic institutions in India reflect the comprehensive vision and goals of serving Islam and Muslims. My prayers are that this honourable sheikh will have mercy and forgiveness, and that God accepts his deeds,” Al-Qaradaghi said in a post on X.