|A Confluence of Love from Allah and the Buddha|
|Messengers of Great Love|
|Training to be independent|
|School doubles as home|
When the Buddha’s compassion is combined with such “radiant faith,” the School is immersed in Great Love, the universal expression of love that is shared among all religions. “Love from all around makes us want for nothing,” proclaims Elder Habib Saggaf, the founder of the School.
In this way, an Islamic boarding school and a Buddhist charity organization guide students as they journey through life’s tests and progress toward decency, maturity, and spiritual fulfillment.
Smoke from burning firewood gently rises as the aroma of hot, cooking rice permeates the kitchen and the campus beyond.
Dressed in traditional Indonesian white shirts and Islamic caps, a group of boys with huge bamboo spatulas stir the rice in giant woks. The smoke-blackened woks rest on four enormous firewood stoves. From time to time, the boys add more firewood to maintain the intense heat.
“O.K. it’s ready,” Malik reported, after he had tasted the rice to make sure that it was cooked. Quickly he added, “Give me the buckets.”
Several boys came over to scoop rice from a wok into waiting containers. Soon, over 50 kilograms of cooked, steaming rice had been emptied into the buckets. A pole was then inserted through the handle of each laden container and shouldered by two boys, who delivered the rice to the hungry crowd.
Once a wok was emptied, Malik filled it with another batch of rice that had been rinsed and was waiting to be cooked. “We have to cook at least 20 woks full of rice every day,” said Malik as he started a new batch.
Feeding 7,500 people per day in the Al-Ashriyyah Nurul Iman Islamic Boarding School (more commonly referred to as “the School”) is no easy task. They have to keep the fires burning constantly. We asked Malik where such a massive amount of rice comes from.
Pointing to sacks of rice labeled in Chinese, he replied, “It’s donated by Tzu Chi in Taiwan.” It seemed amazing for us to consider that rice shipped from Taiwan by a Buddhist charity organization provides daily nourishment for Islamic students in an Islamic boarding school in the suburbs of Jakarta.