Indonesia is home to many Islamic boarding schools or pesantren, which serve as centers of Islamic learning and spiritual growth for Muslim students. One of them is Pondok Pesantren Ora Aji Gus Miftah, located in Kediri, East Java. This pesantren is known for its unique approach to Islamic education and its commitment to social and environmental activism.
The Founder: Ora Aji Gus Miftah
Pondok Pesantren Ora Aji Gus Miftah was founded by a charismatic Islamic scholar and activist named Ora Aji Gus Miftah. Born in Kediri in 1968, he grew up in a family of pesantren teachers and scholars. He studied at various pesantren and universities in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, and earned a degree in Islamic law from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.
After returning to Indonesia, Ora Aji Gus Miftah became involved in various social and environmental movements, advocating for the rights of farmers, indigenous people, and marginalized communities. He also founded several NGOs, including the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation and the Islamic Environmental Forum, which promote conservation and sustainable development based on Islamic values.
The Philosophy: “Learning by Doing, Struggling, and Serving”
Pondok Pesantren Ora Aji Gus Miftah has a unique philosophy of Islamic education, which emphasizes the integration of religious knowledge, social activism, and environmental stewardship. The pesantren adopts a hands-on approach to learning, where students are encouraged to apply their knowledge and skills to real-life problems and challenges.
The pesantren also emphasizes the importance of struggle or jihad, not only in the spiritual sense but also in the social and environmental sense. Students are taught to be agents of change and to work for the betterment of society and nature, based on the principles of justice, compassion, and sustainability. The pesantren also promotes the spirit of serving or khidmah, where students are expected to contribute to the community and to the environment, through various volunteer and outreach programs.
The Curriculum: From Quranic Studies to Agroforestry
Pondok Pesantren Ora Aji Gus Miftah offers a comprehensive curriculum that covers various disciplines of Islamic studies, including Quranic studies, Hadith studies, fiqh or Islamic jurisprudence, usul al-fiqh or the principles of Islamic law, and Arabic language. The pesantren also offers courses in social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities, which are taught from an Islamic perspective.
However, what sets Pondok Pesantren Ora Aji Gus Miftah apart from other pesantren is its focus on practical skills and knowledge, especially in the fields of agriculture, forestry, and ecology. The pesantren has a large campus that includes a farm, a forest, and a nursery, where students can learn about organic farming, agroforestry, and environmental conservation. The pesantren also offers courses in entrepreneurship, IT, and media, which are essential for modern Islamic activism and social entrepreneurship.
The Community: A Diverse and Inclusive Environment
Pondok Pesantren Ora Aji Gus Miftah welcomes students from all backgrounds and nationalities, regardless of their gender, race, or social status. The pesantren has a diverse and inclusive community, where students can learn from each other and share their experiences and perspectives. The pesantren also encourages interfaith dialogue and cooperation, as part of its mission to promote peace and harmony among different religions and cultures.
The Impact: From Local to Global
Pondok Pesantren Ora Aji Gus Miftah has made a significant impact on the local, national, and international levels, through its innovative approach to Islamic education and its commitment to social and environmental activism. The pesantren has produced many graduates who have become leaders and change-makers in various fields, such as education, politics, business, and media.
The pesantren has also established partnerships and collaborations with many organizations and institutions, both in Indonesia and abroad, to promote its vision of Islamic environmentalism and social entrepreneurship. For example, the pesantren has worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to promote sustainable development in Indonesia, and with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to promote Islamic finance and entrepreneurship in Africa and Asia.
The Future: A Vision of Sustainable Development and Social Justice
Pondok Pesantren Ora Aji Gus Miftah has a bold and ambitious vision for the future, based on its core values of Islamic environmentalism and social justice. The pesantren aims to become a center of excellence for Islamic education and research, especially in the fields of sustainable development, social entrepreneurship, and environmental conservation.
The pesantren also aims to become a model of sustainable and inclusive community development, where students, staff, and the local community can live in harmony with nature and each other, based on the principles of Islamic ethics and values. The pesantren believes that by promoting Islamic environmentalism and social entrepreneurship, it can contribute to the global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to create a more just and sustainable world for all.