Muslim On Outer Island: Isolated and Difficult to Get Religious Guidance

The condition of Muslims on the outer island of Indonesia is concerning. Difficult access and a low economy make Muslims less likely to get religious education. Some never felt the pleasure of Qurbani meat dishes.

Niki teaches how to recite the Quran. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, SOUTH CENTRAL TIMOR – Muslims are the largest population of Indonesia. They live in cities to remote villages that are difficult to access. Some of them live in poor economic conditions.

Niki Sumantri is one of the Muslim Preachers, which Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) sent to work in Belu District, Malacca, North Central Timor (TTU), and South Central Timor (TTS), East Nusa Tenggara. He witnessed the condition of Muslims on the outer island. Access to villages in East Nusa Tenggara is hard to reach. In Falas Village, Soe District, TTS Regency, vehicles cannot pass every time it rains.

"Motorcycles or cars with regular tires will not be able to move. The rain makes the roads that are still dirt slippery. If you dare to cross, you usually get into the mud," said Niki, Wednesday (10/6/2021).

Niki continues, when it rains, the only way to get to the village is by walking or using an off-road vehicle. However, it is too hard to go by foot because the distance from Soe District to the Falas village takes about 2.5 hours.

“However, we do not have an off-road car,” he said.

This road condition makes it difficult for Muslims and the children of Kampung Falas to get Islamic religious education. There is only one Muslim preacher who comes once a week if the access to the village is in good condition.

“They said they only had bananas and pineapples to give us. They don't have money to pay the Quran teacher but want their children to be able to recite the Quran, learn Islam, and be guided by an Ustaz," explained the man who was born in Serang.

Muslims in Falas Village cut the grass around the mosque. (ACTNews)

According to Niki, in Susulaku Village, Insana District, TTU Regency, many Muslims live in poverty. Muslims in the village have never tasted the pleasure of Qurbani meat dishes in their lives.

"Muslims in Susulaku are a minority. It is difficult to meet their daily needs, let alone to perform Qurbani," explained Niki in a stammering tone and teary eyes reminiscing about his experience during his service.

Muslim Preachers on Outer Islands is a program for sending preachers to the outskirts of Indonesia. The preachers are in charge of preaching and guiding minority Muslims or converts on outer islands.[]