Sheikh Abdul-Rahim al-Buraei, a top Sufi Islamic cleric who wrote mystical poems and helped peace efforts in Sudan, has died at the age of 82, the government said. Al-Buraei, a leader of the mystical Sufi form of Islam, died Sunday and was buried in his hometown of Zariba, about 60 miles southwest of the capital, Khartoum.
State-run TV showed first vice president, Ali Osman Mohammed Taha, weeping as he took part in the cleric's funeral.
"The Sudanese nation has lost one of its pillars, a man who was a model to be copied in working for people's interests," the Sudanese leadership said in a statement read on state-run radio and TV.
Born in 1923, al-Buraei became a follower of Sufism and wrote many songs and poetry to convey Islam's basic teachings and principles. His poems are commonplace on Sudan's state-run airwaves. In addition, he was known as a man who called for coexistence among the various Sudanese tribes and groups.