Hundreds of young male santri (students) from across Indonesia usually flock to the Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, East Java, to study the Quran – locally known as Kitab Kuning (Yellow Book), simply because of its color – during school holidays instead of returning home to their families.
The boarding school, which was established by Sholeh Banjarmelati and his son-in-law Abdul Karim in 1910, is well-known for teaching Quranic verses.
Lirboyo is one of the biggest Salafiyah boarding schools, which still teaches the Quran and the hadith from different aspects. The difference with other Quran recital lessons is that the scholars teach written Arabic without punctuation or phonemes.
Therefore, hundreds of students spend Ramadhan not only fasting but also reciting the Quran at the boarding school. Lirboyo applies no age limit to those wanting to study the Quran. Those attending lessons range from elementary school students to clerics.
The boarding school charges Rp 50,000 (US$3.80) for a one-month stay during Ramadhan to study in Lirboyo. Because of high demand, the boarding school is always overcrowded during Ramadhan, forcing between 30 and 50 students to cramp into a 15-square-meter bedroom. Some of them have to sleep in the corridors or the mosque. They do not mind though, because for them, studying the Quran in Lirboyo during Ramadhan is far more important. [yan]