Qasyim’s Da’wah Struggle Crossing Meratus Forest in Kalimantan

The locals’ enthusiasm to learn the Islamic guidance becomes the da’wah spirit of Ustaz Qasyim in Tilahan Village, Hulu Sungai Selatan Regency. Though he has to go across the forest and darkness, he still strives to keep teaching the residents.

Pondok Al-Qur'an Ar-Raudhah in Tilahan.
Pondok Al-Qur'an Ar-Raudhah in Tilahan, Hulu Sungai Selatan Regency. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, HULU SUNGAI TENGAH – Meratus Mountains is an area that splits the South Kalimantan Province into two regions. It lies across the entire regency in South Kalimantan at the East Barabai which is the center of Hulu Sungai Selatan Regency. It requires 1.5 hours from Barabah with 50 km/hr maximum speed of a vehicle to reach the village.

According to Rizki Husara from the ACT South Kalimantan Program Team, the road to the Tilahan Village is crossing the forest which is part of the Meratus Mountains. There are no street lights so you need to be careful and alert when driving at night. "There are cliffs and ravines on the right and left of the forest, you have to be careful and drive slowly," he said, Sunday (6/6/2021).

Rizki continued, after a 1.5 hour trip, we arrived in Tilahan village, a place where Ustaz Qasyim and his sister Ustazah Muawiyah teach the Islamic guidance. In a stilt building with bamboo walls and a wooden floor taken from the surrounding forest, the place is bustling with children and residents learning Islamic guidance.

The building is named Pondok Al-Qur'an Ar-Raudhah. Ustazah Muawiyah teaches Quran to the children during the day while Ustaz Qasyim teaches the adults in the evening. "Every day I have to go across the darkness of the streets and the forest since I don't live here (Tilahan)," said the founder of Pondok Al-Qur'an Ar-Raudhah, Ustaz Qasyim.

Ustaz Qasyim works as a teacher in a private middle school in Barabai. After he teaches at the school at noon, he will go to Tilahan to teach Islamic guidance. “The Muslims in Tilahan have high enthusiasm to learn Islamic knowledge though they are the minority here. The enthusiasm becomes my spirit to keep teaching them,” said Ustaz Qasyim.

Ustaz Qasyim explained that apart from learning Quran and the Islamic guidance, the building which has been operated since 2007 also functions as a mushala for Tilahan residents. Adzan is always performed though there is no loudspeaker in it. The children are always enthusiastic and will rush to Pondok Al-Qur'an Ar-Raudhah when there is the sound of adzan. "This cottage does not have a toilet and an ablution place, so the children perform the ablution in the river or their respective homes," he said.

In supporting the Da’wah struggle of Qasyim and his younger sister, the Global Zakat-ACT provided assistance in the form of living expenses on Sunday (6/6/2021). For the assistance, Ustaz Qasyim thanked the Global Zakat-ACT.[]