Cecep Jayakarama: Serving Each Other is a Kind of Worship

By: Isthiqonita

Cecep Jayakarama is leader and manager of Pondok Pesantren Nurulhuda or Nurul Huda Islamic Boarding School in Garut.  Beside his business in taking care of the santri (pesantren students),  now Cecep Jaya Karama is also active as one of the Instructor in the Branch Office of Gerakan Pemuda Anshor (The Youth Movement of Anshor) of Kabupaten Garut, the Katib Suriyah (General Secretary) of Vice Council of Nahdlatul Ulama (MWC NU) Kecamatan Cisurupan, and also the Chair of  Majelis Ulama Indonesia  (MUI) or Indonesian Ulama Council of Kecamatan Cisurupan since 2015.  In the middle of his hectic activities, Cecep always share the roles with his wife Ernawati in doing the domestic roles.

“Although I am a man, but it’s ok to do the domestic works. Since my childhood, my mom trained me to share the tasks with my siblings. When I  was a boy, my duty was sweeping or cleaning up the furnitures.  When I was a student, there was also cleaning duties,” said man who was born in Garut, 7 June 1980.

Cecep obtained his education in SD Inpres Cibojong, Madrasah Tsanawaiyah (MTS) Nurul Huda Cibojong, and Madrasah Aliyah (MA) Nurul Huda Cibojong and was graduated in 1998.  During his study in MTs and MA, he also followed his father KH. Muhammad Nuh Ad Dawawi to learn the Holy Quran and Islamic classical textbook together with another students from various areas in Garut. After finishing his senior high school or  MA, he continued to learn in Pondok Pesantren Al Huda Tarogong Garut since 1999-2001, and then continued his Islamic learning in Pondok Pesantren Darul Hikam Cibereum Pasir Kota Sukabumi 92001-2003).  Cecep also learned in Al I’anah Buni Kasih Cianjur and Pesantren Mursyidul Falah Rengasdengklok Karawang. After his long journey in seeking knowledge in several pesantrens, he came back to Pesantren Nurul Huda Cibojong to devote himself for helping his parents in managing the pesantren.

In 2005, Cecep received an opportunity to participate in a workshop that was held by Rahima, The activity was held in Cianjur  under the title “Gender Equality in the Islamic Perspecitive for Pesantren Community”. “Before  participating in Rahima activities, I was introduced to gender issue from my elder sister who had been partnered with Rahima”,  Cecep explained. Accidentally, Ernawati who had not become his wife at that time also become one of the participant in the meeting too.

“I thank Allah to have opportunity to learn together with Rahima at that time. Alhamdulillah,  I did not find any difficulties in applying the gender equality in my family. Including involve in parenting  (taking care of the children) and also sharing the domestic work,”said Cecep. A year after the  moment in Cianjur,  Cecep and Ernawati were married in 2006, and now this couple are blessed with a son and two daughters.

Implementing the Idea as Supportive Couple

Cecep is not complacement with the popularity as a young Kyai and a number of activities in several institutions. He supported his wife totally to move forward together. Ernawati is a teacher and also the head-master of MTS Nurul Huda, in addition to that sheis  also active in Fatayat NU. “We often enter the community together. For example, I have to deliver a sermon, she follows. And also if she has learning activity in Fatayat, I also join her”, he said. “My wife is is a teacher, so she must have routine schedule, so in the afternoon I take care of my children. But, if we are busy together,  we just sent our children to the santri,” Cecep added.

Ernawati affirmed what her husband said. “Last time, when our children were still babies, I had still to breastfeed them, in some certain hours my husband  drop in and pick me up at school in order I can feed my babies, “ Ermawati reminded. She said that the marriage relationship she served together with her husband was based on mutual cooperation and helping each other, and this concerns always continues as long as the time goes by.

“I  never order my husband to do the certain thing,  and vice versa. I am also nerver ordered by my husband. So that, If I want to do someting it’s just because my own consideration. If my husband saw me busy with the school matters, so he never hesitates to clean up the house, “ said the woman who was born in Garut 22 December 1980. Both of them perceived that any kind of works including the domestic work is part of worship. So doing it means to do worship.

In living their marriage life, there is no division of labour that is said or noted. But both of them had commited to help each other. So whoever has the capability and enough time to do it, they will do without any order from their spouse.”If both of us were busy, it’s okay. We will do in tomorrow”.

There are no big challege they face to apply the concept of “‘mubadalah” or reciprocity partnership.  Even though the people around them,  in the family or in the working environment make them as the role model in building family. “The women said that there are some changes in their husbands behaviour. Which previously prohibited their wives to participate in organisation then support them. If usually the husband does not involved in helping his wife in doing the domestic workm  now they  participate to do so.   Alhamdulillah, “ said Cecep.

Cecep’s knowledge on the gender friendly Islamic teaching is not only applied in the household. But he also delivers it in his speech in various Islamic forum. This is such a know knowledge for some people. “ Praise be to Allah, up to now there is no significance resistance from the jama’ah, because all of this are based on Islamic teaching. But,  of course there are somebody who raise questions”.

In pesantren,  Cecep always delivers the message of gender equality among his santri or students. “I always said to the male santri or students to respect women, which is supported by some hadiths of the Prophet”, Cecep explained. The male and  female santri also have the same responsibility and rights. Pesantren also often give opportunities for the santri to actualize themselves in the activities outside pesantren if the santry have the potentiality on that matter. Such as participating in the organization activities, seminars, and even the competitions. Regardless they are boys or girls.

Cecep also shared the steps that should be done for a man to have gender equality perspective.” I think man must learn to open up the dialogue spaces. For example,  the person who had adequate gender equality perspective should start the dialogue with them who had not”, said Cecep.  He believes that if the more discussion and dialogue spaces are created and opened, so there will be more gender friendly Islamic perspectives that people understand. In addition to that, the reading materials such as the studies, research and books should reach pesantrens which never know about gender friendly Islamic perspective. {}

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