Muslim Preachers in Indonesia Live in Deprivation During Pandemic

Although they hold an important role as a source of guidance, the Muslim preachers in several areas in Indonesia are often left neglected. During the pandemic, with schools and mosques closed, they have lost their livelihoods.

muslim preacher
Ence, a low-income Muslim preacher in Sirnaraja Village of Tasikmalaya, teaches at Nurul Falah Islamic School. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, SUKABUMI – Despite their important role as a source of religious guidance, many Muslim preachers live in deprivation. They lost their source of livelihoods during the pandemic as schools and mosques are closed.

One of the preachers affected by the pandemic is Ustadz Cece Supriatna. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, this Qur’an teacher in Cisarua Village, Cikole District, Sukabumi City used to sell toys at schools. After schools are closed, Ustaz Cece can no longer sell his toys.

"Usually open a toy booth at a school, but I can’t do it any longer. Schools and night markets have been closed,” said Ustaz Cece to ACT Sukabumi, Tuesday (9/21/2021).

To make ends meet, Ustaz Cece works as a construction worker and farm worker. He strives to feed his family from a lawful (halal) source of income. “I do all of this to support my family,” said Ustaz Cece. In spite of his poverty, he never stops teaching Qur’an.

Another preacher, Ustaz Robi Fahrurozi, has also been dealing with a similar stuation. Since the onset of the pandemic, Ustaz Robi’s income from selling genjer (yellow velvetleaves) has declined sharply.

“I sell yellow velvetleaves to middlemen for IDR 700 per bunch. The price has dropped to IDR 600 per bunch due to the pandemic. Also, the middlemen don’t buy my yellow velvetleaves every day," he said.

In Sewon District of Bantul Regency, the pandemic has made students afraid to attend Quran classes, as told by Ustaz Ngadino (68), a Quran teacher in Timbulharjo Village, Sewon District, Bantul Regency.

A Qur’an teacher in Tanah Datar sells firewood for an additional income. (ACTNews)

"Maybe parents are worried that their children will contract Covid-19," explained Ustaz Ngadino. Ustaz Ngadino lives off the donations from the students.

To ease the burden on preachers affected by the pandemic, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) launched the National Movement for Indonesian Preachers’ Prosperity. ACT as a professional humanitarian agency takes part in supporting the movement by providing assistance to 1,000 Muslim preachers for the first phase. []