Lighted by Islamic radiance  Enhancing Ibnu Batutah’s educational spirit

Lighted by Islamic radiance  

Enhancing Ibnu Batutah’s
educational spirit

A number of Singaporeans who donated for the building of a mosque in Batam, Indonesia, were among the many Indonesians who witnessed the planned mosque’s foundation-laying ceremony on Saturday, 8 February 2019.

Singaporeans have also been donating towards the building of a two-storey primary school for poor children and orphans under the administration of Rumah Zakat, a welfare organisation in Batam.

The half-completed school, called “Berkualitas SD Juara Batam”, is located less than 300 metres away from the site of the proposed mosque in the same land compound. For the moment, the students of the school, about two dozens of them, are attending classes at another location.  However, they were all present at the exciting mosque foundation-laying  event to welcome the guests and make presentations.

Mr Muhammad Isa, Branch Manager of Rumah Zakat (in red shirt), together with the pupils of Juara Batam school welcoming the guests from Singapore. 

 A banner announces the laying of the foundation of the soon-to-be-built Ibnu Batutah Mosque.

The mosque was named after the 14-century Moroccan scholar and explorer, Ibnu Batutah (often spelt as Batuttah). The famed Muslim, who had not only performed his Haj (pilgrimage in Mecca) but also, in 30 years, had travelled across Africa, Middle-East and Asia, documenting his travel experiences.

In an elaborate ceremony, Rumah Zakat officials and Batam dignitaries as well as the invited Singaporeans cut the ceremonial ribbon and laid the foundation of the mosque with bricks cemented in the form of an arrow to indicate the Qibla (prayer direction pointing towards the Ka’aba in Masjidil-Haram or the Grand Mosque in Mecca.)

Foundation-laying ceremony

Indonesian officials and  Singapore liaison officer, Halimah Bee Abdul Kader (in red headscarf) and her husband, Mr Jonit Ibrahim (in bright brown batik), as well as the other Singaporean guests at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for laying of the foundation of Masjid Ibnu Batutah (Ibnu Batutah Mosque).

Mr Muhammad Isa helping the officials and Singapore guests in laying cemented bricks to form an arrow indicating the Qibla (Muslim prayer direction that points towards the Ka’aba in the Grand Mosque in Mecca).

The certifate shows that the Qibla has already been determined in January 2019.

Watching the mosque’s foundation-laying formalities.

Pupils of the Juara Batam school, who are between 8 and 12 years old, delivering short speeches in English, one of language subjects they are taught in school.

After the doa (supplication for the building success of the mosque) and the children’s presentations, everyone walked to the front of the half-completed school building just a stone’s throw away in the same compound where a stage has been erected for speeches and performances.

Speeches and performances

Delivering the speeches are, from left, Mr Ghufron, Mr Shofar Fitrotul Al Amin (red shirt) and Mdm Halimah Bee Abdul Kader together with the school’s pupils in Indonesian ceremonial attire.

Performances and religious recitations by the children of the school.

Some of the Singaporean guests taking photos with the pretty little performers.

Writer of this article (fourth from left, in dark batik) with officials of the ceremony: From left are Mr Syamsul Rizal, Mr Shofar Fitrotul Al Amin, Mr Ghufron and Mr Ruslan (religious teacher, in white attire). 

Tom Yam lunch treat 

A lunch for everyone present ended the day’s exciting event.

On the first floor of the 2-storey half-completed school building: After the tom yam lunch, the children lined up to get their favourite delight —  ice-cream.

The Singapore ladies with Batam ladies, mostly mothers of the school’s pupils, who had volunteered to cook and prepare the delicious tom yam lunch for the guests and everyone present.  

Mr Muhammad Isa

At the second-storey: Mr Muhammad Isa says the second storey of the school building will be completed by July, and thanks all donors, Indonesians and Singaporeans, for their donations and motivation given towards the building of the school and the mosque. 

Mr Muhammad Isa, Branch Manager of Rumah Zakat, explaining about the school being built, said: “The second storey would be ready by this July, while, at present, the students of the school are attending classes temporarily at Kampung Bagan Piayu Batam,”

“When completed,” he said, “The school will have six classrooms and each class will have 25 students, making a total school population of 150 students. A big library with Indonesian and English books will be located on the second storey.”

Mr Isa was happy to have the Singapore guests at the foundation-laying ceremony. “They motivate us in our objectives of building the school and the mosque and in supporting our efforts in education,” he said.

“We appreciate and are thankful for their moral support and in their donations towards the building and developing of the school and mosque.”

Mdm Halimah

At the Ibnu Batutah Mosque’s foundation-laying ceremony:  Mdm Halimah does not want the school to be a boarding school where the students stay there. She wants these poor children and the orphans to “be close to their parents and adopted parents. We want them to develop parental love.”

Among the Singaporeans at the Batutah Mosque foundation-laying ceremony is Mdm Halimah Bee Abdul Kader who has been involved in charity work to help poor children, orphans, wayward young girls and old-folks, for over 25 years, the last 15 years being in Batam.  Among her current responsibilities is seeking donations for both the building of the Batutah Mosque and that of the Juara Batam school which is located close to one another.”

Mdm Halimah has three married children, all doing well in their respective employment.  They are happy that she loves charity work. Her husband, Mr Jonit Ibrahim, too, are supportive of her ideals. She is a happy grandmother of ten grandchildren, the eldest being a polytechnic graduate.

Those who hand over donations to Mdm Halimah are given receipts, and certificates, videos and photos for large donations. “I also invite them to Batam to see the work that is being done with their donations.”

About the students of the school, she said: “We do not give residential facilities for the children as we want the children to be close to their parents and adopted parents. We want them to develop parental love and also help out in housework even in small ways.”

Mdm Jaiton

At the first-storey of the school:  Mdm Jaiton says: “I love children. Helping these poor children and orphans in improving their lives gives me much happiness. Our donations will help them meet their daily basic needs and in their education.”

Mdm Jaiton Mohd Mastan is among the Singaporeans who has been donating regularly towards the building of the primary school.

“I love children, especially poor children and orphans. Our donations will help them meet their daily basic needs and in their education to develop them to be useful adults later on. Helping them gives me much happiness,” she said.

Thanking Rumah Zakat for their effort in helping the poor and needy, Mdm Jaiton, said: “I appreciate the wonderful job done by Rumah Zakat in providing both secular and religious education to the children with the donations received from well-wishers.”

She added: “Donations are well-spent when they are used on religious and normal education.”

The banner gives instructions on how to make donations towards this good cause.

With the completion of Masjid Ibnu Batutah within three years, and the completion of the second storey of the school, the area will be busy and become an educational hub for people living in the area.

Shaik Kadir
23 February 2019

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