Indonesian cleric Halim Ambiya has constructed his own Islamic internship in a rented three-story building in Jakarta, which aims to help street youngsters return to their faith.
His Tasawuf Underground program, with all its students recruited by the streets, has helped over 120 people since its launch in 2016. The Arabic word for Sufism, the mystical form of Islam, is “Tasawuf” or “Tasawwuf.”
“‘Let’s go’, I said. I teach them the ‘map’ to return home,” Halim told Reuters.
The 46-year-old has days in the busy streets of Jakarta to find students. Search isn’t easy as many street young people, particularly the younger ones, don’t want to talk all the time.
At least 30 former street youths are learning how to pray, read and write in the underground of Tasawuf, studying Koran and receiving vocational training. In the same building Halim opened a washing and manufacturing company to help pay for the students. They learn new skills at the shop and stay away from the street.
“The punksters, street youths, aren’t capable of doing a routine job, so we teach them to become an entrepreneur, and they can become their own boss,” Halim said.
Trian Anugrah, 30, said it was a life-changing event to enter Islamic School. In addition to learning how to pray, he finally was accepted to college. The former street busker in Jakarta is now a law student, while at the Islamic School he has studied. The transformation astonished his mother.
“I’m very pleased. Now he prays when he comes home, and sometimes he reads the Koran,” said his mother, Maimunah, who goes by one name.
However, Halim is not happy. In his time at a government-run rehabilitation facility, he also teaches Islamic knowledge to former drug addicts. And ‘graduates’ such as Trian are helping Halim encourage more street youth in the subterranean of Tasawuf.
“Those youths who are corrected have all become my friends, and have provided huge help to me in terms of recruitment because they know the streets better,” Halim said.