The sound of the dzikir (Islamic chants of praise to God) surrounds the Salafiyah Sabilul Hikmah pesantren (Islamic boarding school) in Malang, East Java.
What distinguishes Salafiyah from other Islamic boarding schools is its focus on the rehabilitation of former drug addicts. Most of these students are homeless children or children from broken families. The school cooperates with the East Java office of the National Narcotics Agency as well as with the local social affairs agency and other institutions to take care of the school.
The school’s founder, Ubaidill Hamid, said there were 22 teenagers at the school at present.
“They are between 10 and 18 years old,” he told The Jakarta Post.
According to Ubaidill, who also goes by his nickname Gus Ubed, the boarding school tries to cure the children of their addiction with religious teaching.
At 3 a.m., the students wake up and chant dzikir until it is time for the dawn prayer. After the prayer, the students undergo a rehabilitation process using ice cubes.
“I teach the students myself, since there are only a few of them. My wife helps me with the female students,” the 40-year-old said.
He explained that the rehabilitation procedure was done four times a day.
“Students who still show signs of addiction will receive more than four sessions a day,” he said.
Ubaidill also said that the students were required to interact with people outside of the pesantren.
“It takes three to seven months for them to complete the rehabilitation,” he added.
One of the students is 17-year-old Rian Febriansah from Malang.
He recalls his addiction to drugs and living on the streets since he was eight years old, before being enrolled in the boarding school in 2013. “I wanted to cure myself, and I was tired of living on the streets. I once saw my friend get doped up, and I got scared,” he said.
Rian has stayed at the boarding school for the past three years and learned the Quran, guided by Gus Ubed. He dreams of helping his peers get cured from addiction.
Ubaidillah said that he encouraged his students to interact with people around the school. “It is ineffective if we do not let them interact with society,” he added, adding that he hoped he could find donors to help students get jobs. [yan]