“Alright, Mbak (Sister), I’ll come along in the afternoon. This morning I already made an appointment with someone from the Ministry of Religions Affairs. I’ll go to see you later,” answered Aan, in the early October when we invited her all of sudden to come to Rahima’s office in Cimanggis, Depok.
The woman, Siti Anshoriyah is indeed very helpful. Though she is very busy with all her activities, but if Rahima invites her to come – even though without an official invitation, only by phone or text message – she will fulfill it. It is not only one or two times. Previously, in the month of Ramadhan, when Rahima discussed the classical book of Mambaus Saadah with KH. Husein Muhammad. During two consecutive days, the woman born on 8 March 1971 was always present and active in the discussion. After all, she lives far away from Srengseng Sawah South Jakarta, where Rahima office is based. Aan’s house is located in Jurangmangu, Pondok Aren, Tangerang, a suburban region in Jakarta with original people of Betawi.
Yes, it is true, Aan is originally a Betawinese woman. Her father, the late Haji (Haji: a Muslim man who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca) Mudas bin Jiun was born in Ceger, while her mother Hj (Hajjah: a Muslim woman who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca) Maswani binti H Musa was born and raised in Jurangmangu. “We are actually 11 siblings, but those who live are only 6. I am the third child and oldest daughter,” explained the woman who finished her basic education in two elementary schools at the same time, public school in the morning, and Islamic school or madrasah ibtidaiyah (elementary school) in the afternoon.
After finishing elementary school, the woman usually called “Anshor” by her parents, continued study to MTs Islahudiniyah, which is located near their home. She then continued to high school at pesantren al Awwabin, Sawangan, Depok. “My father is a modern and progressive person in terms of education. He wants all his children to become a university graduate. It is just for us, as his daughters, we must go to a school which is located not far away from home,” said the bachelor degree holder from Faculty of Ethics, Department of Language and Arabic Literature, IAIN (now becomes UIN, State Islamic University) Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta in 1996.
Some sayings women’s activities are limited to serve husband in the kitchen and bed. But this saying doesn’t apply to Aan, the woman who earned Master Degree in the University of Sumatera Utara in 1996. To Aan, her activities are focused on pesantren environment in Jurangmangu, UIN Syarif Hidayatullah campus in Ciputat and UI (University of Indonesia) campus in Depok.
“In the beginning, Qur’aniyah pesantren which was founded in 1990s only offered non-formal education like Qur’anic reading for children. In 2005, the management and I initiated the foundation of a formal school, SMP IT. Two years later, we built IT high school. The number of students we have now is around 500 students. In the meantime, we also build a playgroup and kindergarten school. Alhamdulillah (all praise is due to Allah alone) there have been many parents entrusted their children to earn education with us in this institution. At the moment, we are also preparing the foundation of College of Education and Teaching Al-Qur’aniyah. We would like you to pray also for the realization of this plan which will be started in 2014,” uttered one of the two women (another one is the scholar’s wife) becoming the member of ‘seven councils’, the name given to policy makers and decision takers of Qur’aniyah pesantren.
In campus of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah, Aan teaches Literature, ranging from theory, critics to history of modern and contemporary Arab licterature in Faculty of Ethics, Department of Language and Arabic Literature. That’s why her students know the way of her teachings quite well. They say, Aan teaches differently from most lecturers, she always uses the basis of women’s perspective. “I always introduce the women novelists who fought for women to my students. I use the novels written by Nawal el Sadawi, Sahr Chalifah, Nazik Malaikah, Radwa Ashour, Raja Shani and many other novelists for the modern and contemporary Arabic literature teaching materials, because the women spirit found in their writings are quite strong,” explained the lecturer who is also taking the Doctoral degree at Department of Literature, Faculty of Humanities, University of Indonesia.
In terms of her activities outside campus, the mother of two, Wahyu (17) and Amanda (13), who love her cooking very much, she is also a hard worker in devoting for her research and trainings at several institutions such as PSW (Pusat Studi Wanita, or Center of Women Studies), which now has changed into one of the PSGA structural bodies (Pusat Studi Gender dan Anak, or Center of Women and Children Studies), as well as PPSDM (Pusat Pengembangan Sumber Daya Manusia, Center of Human Resources Development).
Another activity which she carries out sometimes is giving materials to 80 members of Qur’anic recitations “rawian” every once a month in district of Jurangmangu, interchangeably with other female scholars. “I only teach fiqh. The way I teach is by contextualizing fiqh with current situations. For example, I deliver materials about physical abuse suffered by women who become a single parent for her children, especially due to divorce. I refer my teaching to the Prophet who married Khadijah as a widow. Islam doesn’t see her as someone of a lower social status, but why people tend to see such widow quite negatively in society?” asked the woman who always drives her car.
“Mentioning Rahima will automatically remind me of someone in my family who has passed away,” said the woman who had ever experienced physical abuse during marriage (her husband married with another woman while she was finishing Master degree in Medan). Consequently, Aan decided to divorce from the father of her children. But the person who has passed away she mentioned is her father, H. Mudas, the inspirator, died suddenly on May 2005 (Allah Yarhamhu), while Aan was participating in the Rahima’s Women Scholar Regeneration program, the 1st batch, in Cipayung, Bogor, West Java.
“My memory about Rahima wasn’t a bad one. My father is my teacher and life example, and Rahima is like something that replaces his position as a teacher and an example after his death. For me, Rahima is like a big family whose members coming from various background but in an equal relationship among us all. Each of us has a great expertise on his or her specific field but treats each other equally. Being in Rahima is like being in my own home. I want to develop this character among members of Avicena Study Group which is currently vacuum because of various activities we have. This study group was used to be active in the past for about five years. The participants are young people of female and male members. Bismillah, wish me luck that Avicena Study Group will be re-activated in the upcoming of Muharram,” asked Aan while closing interview with us.  Dani