Ustaz Abas’ Struggle in Teaching Quran in Karawang

Although his income has fallen sharply, Ustaz Ahmad Basuni’s spirit never weakens. He teaches the Quran without being paid.

ustaz Abas
Ustaz Abas fishes in a river near Putri Beach in Karawang on Tuesday (11/2/2021). (ACTNews/M. Ubaidillah)

ACTNews, KARAWANG – The scorching sun at Putri Karawang Beach, West Java on Tuesday (11/2/2021) did not stop Ustaz Ahmad Basuni (Abas) from going to the sea to fish. His hands dexterously threw nets in various directions.

Ustaz Abas is a Quran teacher in Segaran Village, Batujaya District, Karawang Regency. Every day, after Asr, Ustaz Abas teaches about 20 students. Ustaz Abas has been a Quran teacher since 2000.

Even though he teaches the Quran every day, Ustaz Abas is not paid. For his daily needs, he catches fish at Putri beach as he did that day.

Though his catch was only a little, Ustaz Abas didn’t stop fishing. He moved from one spot to another. “I caught a fish or two, Alhamdulillah. At noon like this, it’s difficult to catch a fish,” said Ustaz Abas.

The fishes were mostly shallow sea fishes. When it seems like there is nothing more he can catch at the beach, he moves to fish at the river although the chances of getting fish are smaller.

“Only at certain points of the river can I get a lot of fish. Under the bridge near the floodgate is where the fish gather: tilapia, cork fish, milkfish, catfish, or fish that are released from the pond," he explained.

Every day, he goes fishing at 6 a.m. and returns home at 1 p.m. At most, he could earn a gross income of IDR 50,000. “Gas and food cost IDR 30,000,” said the father of five.

He travels seven kilometers every day to fish. He often has to take debts to cover the costs. If he goes home empty-handed, he won’t be able to repay the debts immediately.

“I feel ashamed if I come home empty-handed. I can’t pay my debts and provide for my wife and children. I often promise my creditors that I will pay my debts immediately once I catch fish,” said Ustaz Abas with his voice shaking and his eyes streaming with tears.

Ustaz Abas when interviewed by ACTNews. (ACTNews/M. Ubaidillah)

If he doesn’t catch any fish, his family would have to eat modestly. "I still have debts to pay. It’s been difficult to catch fish lately. The weather has been erratic, so we often have to owe the shop for food,” he said.

Her wife runs a small shop that she has run for five months. Every now and then, he honorariums for giving speeches and reciting the Quran at Islamic events.

“I used to attend these Islamic events by bicycle. Now, the bike has been sold because out of respect for the attendees. They often feel ashamed to see me come to the event by bicycle while they ride motorcycles. Because I have no other way to get there, I often have to hitchhike to get to the location or ask the committee to pick me up,” said Ustaz Abas.

Ustaz Abas prays zuhr at Putri Beach. (ACTNews/M. Ubaidillah)

Ustaz Abas hoped that he can have a motorbike that he can ride to the Islamic events to which he is invited. He can also use the vehicle to go to the beach. "I believe that Allah will provide ease after these difficulties," he concluded. []