Biography of KH. Ahmad Mustofa Bisri (Gus Mus)

List of contents

1         Curriculum Vitae and Family
1.1      Born
1.2      Family History

2         Sanad of His Knowledge and Education
2.1      Gaining Knowledge to Cairo
2.2      His Masters
2.3      Becoming a Caretaker of Pesantren

3         Gus Mus Successor
3.1      His Children
3.2      His Son-in-Law

4         His Services and Works
4.1      His merits
4.2      His works

5         Exemplary Stories
5.1      Refuse to become Rais Aam PBNU
5.2      Speading Islamic teaching in Polite Language

6         Service at Nahdlatul Ulama (NU)

7         Awards

8         Source

1.1       Born

KH. Ahmad Mustofa Bisri is a foremost Nahdlatul Ulama scholar from Rembang, apart from being a caregiver for the pesantren Raudlotuh Tholibin, he is a multitalented great Islamic teacher who has produced various works of art, calligraphy, a humanist person, and a scholar.

KH. Ahmad Mustofa Bisri or ussually called Gus Mus, was born in Rembang, Central Java, August 10, 1944. He was born from a mother named Nyai Marafah Cholil and a great father named KH. Bisri Mustofa the author of the Book of Tafsir Al Ibriz li Ma’rifah.

Gus Mus’ father is also known as an orator. According to KH. Saifuddin Zuhri, KH. Bisri Mustafa is able to express things that are actually difficult so that they become so clear, easily accepted by all person from various background, both urban and rural people.

In addition he is also able to make heavy things so light, something boring becomes fun, something that seems easy becomes very important, his various criticisms are very sharp, glide smoothly and refreshingly, and those who are affected by criticism are not angry because they are delivered. politely and pleasantly.

In addition, his grandfather, KH. Zaenal Mustofa was a well-known merchant who was known to be very fond of scholars. In 1955, KH. Zaenal and his family founded the Islamic Student Park (Roudlotut Tholibin). The Pesantren is now being cared for by Gus Mus.

1.2       Family History

KH. Ahmad Mustofa Bisri released his single life by marrying Nyai Hj Siti Fatma daughter of Kiai Basyuni on September 19, 1971. As a result of their marriage, Gus Mus and his wife were blessed with six daughters including, lenas Tsuroiya, Kautsar Uzmut, Rudloh Quds, Rabiatul Bisriyah, Nada and Almas and a son, Muhammad Bisri Mustofa.

Of his six daughters, Gus Mus has six sons-in-law including Ulil Abshar Abdalla, Reza Shafi Habibi, Ahmad Sampton, Wahyu Salvana, Fadel Irawan, and Rizal Wijaya.

2.1       Gaining Knowledge to Cairo

KH’s father. Ahmad Mustofa Bisri is very concerned about the education of his children, more than just formal education. Although authoritarian in principle, his father supported his son to develop according to his interests.

Gus Mus’ educational history started from the Sekolah Rakyat (People’s School) in Rembang, then continued to the Pesantren Hidayatul Mubtadiin in Lirboyo Kediri under the care of KH. Marzuki and KH. Mahrus Ali, More or less he studied at Lirboyo for about two years, then he continued to study at Pesantren Al-Munawwir Krapyak Yogyakarta, under the care of KH. Ali Ma’shum and KH. Abdul Qadir, about 4 years Gus Mus stayed there. Then he continued his studies at Al-Azhar University in Cairo.

2.2       His Masters

KH. Bisri Mustofa

KH. Marzuki

KH. Mahrus Ali

KH. Ali Ma’shum

KH. Abdul Qadir

2.3       Becoming a Caretaker of Pesantren

KH. Ahmad Mustofa Bisri is the caretaker of the Pesantren  Raudlotut Tholibi,  Leteh, Rembang. His work as a writer and Islamic teaching staff at Pesantren Taman Pelajar Rembang; Advisor at Cahaya Sufi Magazine and Al-Mihrab Semarang. Participate in fostering the Pesantren Virtual, Gusmus.Net sites, also instagram and youtube which named GusMus Channel.

3.1       His Children

lenas Tsuroiya

Kautsar Uzmut

Rudloh Quds

Rabiatul Bisriyah



Muhammad Bisri Mustofa

3.2       His Son-in-Law

Ulil Abshar Abdalla

Reza Shafi Habibi

Ahmad Sampton

Wahyu Salvana

Fadel Irawan

Rizal wijaya

4.1       His merits

As a person who has great concern for the struggle and upholding human rights values, making Gus Mus the first cleric to receive the “Yap Thiam Hien” award in 2017. Although Gus Mus is not known as an activist for human rights fighters, but Gus Mus Mus has contributed a lot in caring for diversity in Indonesia especially fight to the strengthening of radicalism and sectarianism even though the way he does it is by not conducting demonstrations and other actions.

KH. Ahmad Mustofa Bisri is a person who is trained in organizational discipline since young age. While studying at Al-Azhar Cairo, together with KH Syukri Zarkasi (now Caretaker of Modern Pesantren Gontor Ponorogo, East Java), Gus Mus became the administrator of the HIPPI (Indonesian Youth and Students Association) Sports Division. In HIPPI also Gus Mus once managed an organizational magazine (HIPPI) alone with KH. Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur).

4.2       His works

While studying at Leteh, at his father’s own pesantren, apart from recitation and sports, another activity used by Gus Mus was writing poetry. His brother, Gus Cholil, did the same thing. The two brothers have each other’s competence to show whose work was published in the mass media first.

Gus Mus remembers well how annoyed he was when Gus Cholil’s poetry appeared in a newspaper published in Semarang. It was even more annoying when the clipping of the poem was pasted on the notice board at the pesantren, so that all the students could read it.

Gus Mus views this as a challenge that needs to be answered. He tries hard to show his ability in the same field. Finally, thanks to hard work, Gus Mus’s poetry was published in the mass media. The poem was then pasted on the same board above his sister’s poetry. Gus Mus’s annoyance was cured.

Among the works of Gus Mus that have been published are:

  1. Kitab Pendidikan Islam: (Kimiya-us Sa‘adah (translated in Javanese language, t,th, Assegaf, Surabaya) (Proses kebahagiaan (, Sarana Sukses, Surabaya)
  2. Pokok-Pokok Agama (, Ahmad Putra, Kendal)
  3. Dasar-Dasar Islam (1987, Abdillah Putra, Kendal)
  4. Ensiklopedi Ijmak (together with K.H. Ahmad Sahal Mahfudz, 1987, Pustaka Firdaus, Jakarta)
  5. Maha kiai Hasyim Asy‘ari (1996, Kurnia Kalam Semesta, Yogyakarta)
  6. Metode Tasawuf Al Ghozali (terjemahan & komentar, 1996, Pelita Dunia, Surabaya)
  7. (Al-Muna, Poem from alumnus and students of Al Azhar University Cairo (Mesir, 1964-1970) for this Islamic and Arabic studies, before he studied there he taken Sekolah Rakyat (SR) in Rembang (Rembang, 1950-1956), Pesantren Lirboyo (kediri, 1956-1958), Pesantren Krapyak (Yogyakarta, 1958-1962), Pesantren Taman Pelajar Islam (Rembang, 1962-1964)
  8. Asma‘ul Husna (translated in Javanese  used  pegon writing, cet.1, Al Miftah, Surabaya; 1417H/1997, cet.2, Education Foundation of Al-Ibriz, Rembang)
  9. Fikih Keseharian Gus Mus, Bunga Rampai Masalah-Masalah Keberagamaan (June 1997, printed.1, Al-Ibriz Education Foundation, Rembang bersama Al-Miftah, Surabaya; April 2005, cet.2; Januari 2006, cet.3, Khalista, Surabaya & Komunitas Mata Air).

Gus Mus’s Essay:

  1. Saleh Ritual Saleh Sosial, Esai-Esai Moral (1995, cet.2, Mizan, Bandung),
  2. Pesan Islam Sehari-hari, Ritus Dzikir dan Gempita Umat (1997, cet.1; 1999, cet.2, Risalah gusti, Surabaya),
  3. Melihat Diri Sendiri (2003, Gama Media, Yogyakarta),
  4. Kompensasi (2007, MataAir Publishing, Surabaya)
  5. Oase Pemikiran (2007, Kanisius, Yogyakarta)
  6. Membuka Pintu Langit (2007, Penerbit Buku Kompas, Jakarta).

Gus Mus’s Poetry:

  1. Ohoi, Kumpulan Puisi-Puisi Balsem (1998, stensilan; 1990, P3M), (Dr. Sapardi Djoko Damono, Pengantar: H. Soetjipto Wirosardjono dan al-haj Stardji Calzoum Bachri)
  2. Tadarus 1993, Prima Pustaka, Yogyakarta, Introduction: Prof. Dr. Umar Kayam),
  3. Rubaiyat Angin dan rumput (t.Th., Humorous magazine dan PT Matra Multi Media, introduction: Sapardi Djoko Damono)
  4. Pahlawan dan Tikus (1995, Pustaka Firdaus, Jakarta, reader speaker: Prof. Dr. Sapardi Djoko Damono, Taufik Ismail, Danarto)
  5. Wekwekwek, Sajak-Sajak bumi Langit (1996, Risalah Gusti, Surabaya)
  6. Gelap Berlapis-lapis (1998, Yayasan Al-Ibriz, Rembang dan Fatma Press, Jakarta)
  7. Gandrung, Sajak-Sajak Cinta (2000, cet.1, Yayasan Al-Ibriz, Rembang; 2006, cet.2, Mata Air, Surabaya)
  8. Negeri Daging (2002, Benteng, Yogyakarta)
  9. Aku Manusia (2007, MataAir Publishing, Surabaya)
  10. Syi‘iran Asmaul Husna (Berbahasa Jawa,, print.1, Al Huda, Temanggung; 1997, cet.2, MataAir Publishing, Surabaya)
  11. Poetry bundle together with others poet
  12. Antologi Puisi Jawa Tengah (editor Pamuji MS, 1994, Citra Pariwara Cultural Foundation, semarang)
  13. Takbir Para Penyair/The Poets Chant (editor Hamid Jabbar, Leon Agusta, Sitok Srengenge, 1995, Istiqlal Festival committee, Jakarta)
  14. Sajak-Sajak perjuangan & Nyanyian Tanah Air, (Editor Oyon Sofyan, 1995, publisher Obor Jakarta)
  15. Ketika Kata Ketika Warna (editor Taufiq Ismail, Sutardji Calzoum Bachri, Hamid Jabbar, 1995, Ananda Foundation, Jakarta)
  16. Horison special edition Internasional poetry, 2002, (Horizon Sastra Indonesia, Poetry book).

Short stories:

  1. Lukisan Kaligrafi (2003, Book publisher Kompas, Jakarta) Getting award Anugerah Sastra Asia from Majelis Sastra Asia (Mastera) (Malaysia, 2005)
  2. Cerpen A. Mustofa Bisri Gus Jakfar with friends in Antologi Waktu Nayla, Short stories Kompas 2003 (2003, Penerbit Buku Kompas, Jakarta)
  3. Bacalah Cinta (editor Abdul wahid B.S., 2005, bukulaela, Yogyakarta).

Humorous works:

  1. Mutiara-Mutiara benjol (1994, cet.1, Philosophy studies institutions, Yogyakarta; 2004, cet.2, Mata Air publishing Surabaya)
  2. Canda Nabi & Tawa Sufi (Introduction KH. Abdurrahman Wahid, Juli 2002, cet.1; November 2002, cet.2, Hikmah, Bandung)
  3. Fairy Tale for children
  4. Awas Manusia (1979, Gaya Favorit Press, Jakarta)
  5. Nyamuk Yang Perkasa

Due to his dedication to literature, Kiai Musthofa Bisri received many invitations from some countries. Together with Sutardji Colzoum bachri, Taufiq Ismail, Abdul Hadi WM, Leon Agusta, Kiai Musthofa Bisri attended a poetry event in Baghdad (Iraq, 1989). Indonesian people and students waited and welcomed him in Egypt, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Japan, Spain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia (2000). The Faculty of Letters, University of Hamburg, invited Kiai Musthofa Bisri for a seminar and poetry reading (2000).

5.1       Refuse to become Rais Aam PBNU

When he became a bone of contention, Kiai Musthofa Bisri or commonly called Gus Mus chose to avoid him and refused the position. When the Rais Syuriah session of the largest Islamic organization consisting of nine senior kiai members of ahlul halli wal aqdi (AHWA) chose him, Gus Mus insisted on refusing to become Rais Aam, the Nahdlatul Ulama Executive Board (PBNU). In his rejection letter, Gus Mus stated that this rejection was for the sake of the congregation.

5.2       Speading Islamic teaching in Polite Language

KH. Ahmad Mustofa Bisri is one of the figures that deserves to be imitated. He preached using polite and easy to understand language. Besides that, he is also able to place himself in any social community by using simple language. This is what causes his da’wah to be accepted by many people, including the layman. Apart from being a kyai, he is also a humanist who actively writes columns, essays, short stories, and poetry in various mass media.

Not unlike other kiai who gave their time and attention to NU (Nahdlatul Ulama), after returning from Cairo Kiai Musthofa Bisri took part in PCNU Rembang (early 1970s), Deputy Head of Syuriah PWNU Central Java (1977), Deputy Rais Syuriyah PWNU Central Java, to Rais Syuriyah PBNU (1994, 1999). However, starting in 2004, Kiai Musthofa Bisri refused to sit in the structural management of NU. In the 2004-2009 PBNU General Chair election, Kiai Musthofa Bisri refused to be nominated as a candidate.

In the 2010 – 2015 NU management period, the results of the 32nd NU Congress in Makassar Kiai Musthofa Bisri was asked to become the Deputy of PBNU’s Rois Aam Syuriyah accompanying KH. M.A. Sahal Mahfudz. In January 2014, KH. M.A. Sahal Mahfudh went to the presence of Allah, so according to NU’s AD ART, Gus Mus carried out the mandate as Rois Aam Officer until the 33rd congress which took place in Jombang, East Java. At the NU congress in Jombang, Muktamirim through the Ahlul Halli wa Aqdi team, determined Kiai Musthofa Bisri to hold the mandate of the position of Rois Aam PBNU. However, Kiai Musthofa Bisri did not accept the position of Rois Aam PBNU and finally Mukatamirin appointed Dr. KH. Ma’ruf Amin became Rois Aam PBNU for the 2015-2020 period.

In addition, Kiai Musthofa Bisri is one of the proclaimers of the National Awakening Party and also the designer of the PKB logo used to this day.

While studying at Al Azhar (Cairo), Kiai Musthofa Bisri was known as a reliable badminton and football athlete. Apart from badminton and football, painting and writing have been Kiai Musthofa Bisri’s passions since he was young. Until now, the paintings by Kiai Mustofa Bisri have reached hundreds and can be seen by the public in various painting exhibitions. A painting of his that once sparked controversy entitled “Dhikr Together with Inul” was exhibited with the works of Djoko Pekik, Danarto and friends in Surabaya (2003).

When the Post Calligraphy Exhibition of Kalam and Civilization was held at Jogja Gallery (2007), Arrahmaiani, a writer and artist, noted that Kiai Musthofa Bisri’s painting entitled Institution (2007) was interesting to ponder. According to him, the painting questioned the tendency of vertical orientation which was later institutionalized, which caused humans to forget adab because of the confusion between the appreciation of divinity and lust (Arrahmaiani, 2007: 29 column 4). Currently KH. Musthofa Bisri is currently completing a series of 30 paintings, entitled Painting Malam .

For this dedication, President Joko Widodo on behalf of the country gave the Parama Dharma Cultural Star Honor to the dedication of Kiai Musthofa Bisri. The embedding event took place at the State Palace. Jakarta, August 13, 2015.

In addition, the University of Malaya (Malaysia) invited him for a seminar on Arts and Islam. As a short story writer, Kiai Musthofa Bisri received the Asian Literature Award from the Literary Council (Mastera, Malaysia, 2005).

And in 2021 based on The Moslem 500 organized by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center Amman, KH. Ahmad Mustofa Bisri is one of the most influential Muslim figures in the world with the Scholarly category.

Suara Islam Ahlussunnah wal Jamaah


Pesantren: a place to learn Islamic education, Islamic way of life and practice Islamic religion in daily life. It combine boarding school and Islamic formal-non normal education. Led by Islamic teachers who usually called kiai

Sanad: The journey of knowledge and deeply insight in Islam

Kiai: Islamic teacher

pegon: Arabic modification to Javanese language

Editor: Daniel Simatupang