At 7 PM, I was in front of Ciputat Market’s TPS (Tempat Pembuangan Sampah – Landfill Site) with Iriel, Umam and Imam, my fellow members of Djuanda Community. I’d been bored with the atmosphere of Djuanda office, which was why I decided to join these three friends of mine. The plan was, they wanted to go photo hunting of the traffic jam that usually happened around Ciputat Market. Umam decided to take the angle of the traffic jam from the front of Ciputat Market’s TPS. When we arrived there we didn’t find the traffic jam at all. The traffic flow along the Ir. H. Djuanda Street was smooth. There was no significant accumulation of vehicles.
“You are late, maybe, Mam?” I said to Umam.
“No! Yesterday I saw that the traffic jam was around this time. Maybe it hasn’t started yet. Let’s wait,” answered Umam with confidence.
Eventually we waited in front of the gate of Puspita Bangsa School. We just waited less than five minutes when the voice of someone delivering the preaching surprised us. The voice came out of a speaker which was installed on the roof of the 4th floor of Ciputat Market. At first I thought that voice came from the Qur’an recitation in Al-Jihad Grand Mosque. But I thought it was impossible. The distance between the Grand Mosque and TPS was rather far. Was there a possibility that there was a musholla (an Islamic prayer room) upstairs? I kept wondering.
“I think it’s from the audio cassette. There are many preaching cassettes like that, you know,” said Umam, who was busy taking pictures. It was quite reasonable, but why did it sound more like someone lecturing than preaching? Curious, I asked a cell phone shopkeeper whose shop was located beside the gate of Puspita Bangsa School. I was right. He said it was the voice of an ustadz (teacher) who was reciting the Qur’an to the young people around the market. That recitation was held in a mosque which was located on the 4th floor of the market.
“A mosque? Do you mean a musholla?”
“No, it isn’t a musholla, it’s a mosque. Do you want to pray, Miss? Just go upstairs through the middle stairs, it’s safer. Then go to the left stairs on which there’s a neon light, go up one more time then you’ll find the mosque,” explained that shopkeeper, showing the direction to me.
“Oh, thank you, Bang.”
Accompanied by Iriel, I went upstairs following the direction given by that shopkeeper, while Umam and Imam were still downstairs waiting for the arrival of the traffic jam moment. The 2nd floor and 3rd floor of the market were so dark and creepy even though it hadn’t even 7 PM yet. The neon lights were only installed on the stairs while the hallways were let pitch-dark. The piles of cardboard were seen at some corners. I saw a homeless man sleeping beside the 2nd floor stairs, looking for warmth between those piles of cardboard. The smell of the garbage wafted up from the TPS below. Iriel and I immediately walked toward the 4th floor and finally we found that mosque. In the middle of the 4th floor stairs, I saw many sandals lined up. Written on the stair above it: SEPATU/SENDAL LEPAS DI SINI (the shoes/sandals have to be taken off here). From that stair their white ceramic tiles seemed so clean and shiny. It was different from the three floors below it which were dirty like the market’s floor in general. We instantly took off our shoes. As soon as we turned, we arrived on the 4th floor on which was installed the half-opened white fences with trellis. Behind them, we were greeted by a big glass box that read KOTAK AMAL MASJID AT-TUJAR PASAR CIPUTAT (At-Tujar Mosque’s charity box, Ciputat Market). There were a few pairs of shoe and sandals lying on the left and right side of it. It turned out that there was a mosque above the market that was popular for its pile of garbage problem.
As soon as we got in, apparently we stood in a small long hallway. In the right corner there was a place to perform the wudhu and a bathroom without a toilet. On the left side, we saw three doors that later we knew led to the office of the market’s security officer, the office of KOPAS (koperasi pasar – market cooperative) and the office of the mosque administrator which was also usually used by the caretaker of the mosque to stay overnight. In the very corner we found another door with iron trellis on which was hung a small board that read “OPEN”. All of them were clean and shiny, no smell at all. The voice that we had heard earlier was increasingly clear. It turned out that the ustadz was explaining the position of Basmallah in Qur’an.
I tried to peek inside and saw a few men wearing peci (a type of cap) were listening to the ustadz’s explanation solemnly. I asked Iriel to go inside with me to join that recitation and to interview the ustadz and the At-Tujar Mosque’s congregation after it was over. Iriel, who only wore short pants, didn’t want to go inside joining the congregation, so we decided to wait for the recitation to be over while taking some pictures in the hallway. It was already 8 o’clock. We were there for quite long, but the recitation was not over yet. I was a little anxious because I had not asked my parents’ permission yet to go home late, you know how it is with a daughter.
“Let’s go downstairs! Let’s just ask the people around the market and then we’ll attend the recitation next week,” I said. Iriel agreed. Not long after that, on the 3rd floor, I saw a man wearing a turquoise office uniform. I approached him steadily and asked him about the At-Tujar Mosque, the mosque that was located above the market.
“Oh, yes, this is not a musholla, Dik, it’s a mosque. If you want to attend its recitation you are welcome. Coincidentally, this Wednesday evening is the schedule of the recitation for the teenagers,” said that man, whose name was Ahmad. I knew his name from the identification card on his shirt pocket. He was a security officer of Ciputat Market.
“At first I wanted to go in, but my friend was wearing short pants. Maybe next Wednesday we would attend the recitation, Sir,” I said.
“Yes, just come. This mosque is deliberately made so that the morals of market users and the teenagers around here were developed. Rasulullah (messenger of God) himself said that the worst place was a market, so here we try to minimize the badness in Ciputat Market with building the mosque above. It also has routine activities, well, so that the people in this market are not naughty.” Wow, the purpose of the building of this At-Tujar Mosque was very noble.
Chatting with Mr. Ahmad was fun. Besides telling the story about the At-Tujar Mosque he also complained about the garbage problem in the TPS below because the problem was still unresolved even though it was highlighted many times by the media. I was also intrigued by his various experiences during his duty as the market’s security officer, but because it was getting late I then made a promise to him to chat again someday.
“I will introduce you to Mr. Haji Rohim at the same time then. He is the chairman of the administrator of the mosque,” said Mr. Ahmad, closing our conversation. I was so happy to hear it and made a promise to see him again on Friday morning, when he was on morning duty.
Too bad on the promised Friday I didn’t find Mr. Ahmad or Mr. Haji Rohim although I had already arrived at the market since 8 AM. I did not see any market’s officer on duty. There were only SATPOL PP (Civil Service Police Unit) officers who walked back and forth near the TPS, regulating the street vendors. In my opinion, this regulation action which had a purpose to minimize the traffic jam was not too effective because in fact, those officers parked their office car carelessly and let the ojek drivers fill the roadside replacing the traders who rolled their goods up. While waiting, I casually walked, looking around the Ciputat Market’s situation and asking about Haji Rohim’s kiosk. A woman who sold kue basah (traditional wet cake) pointed at an accessories and children’s clothes kiosk which was located exactly beside Gloria Gold Shop. “That’s the shop, Miss,” said that woman. But after waiting until 10 o’clock I still had not found Mr. Ahmad or Haji Rohim. In that kiosk which was filled with various women’s accessories I only met its shopkeeper. Since that morning was the first day of the Djuanda Community’s working session, I finally decided to come back after the session was over.
I was lucky even though I did not find Mr. Ahmad a few days later when Iriel and I went back to Haji Rohim’s kiosk, I could meet Haji Rohim himself when he was keeping his shop. His kiosk was very small. It was not really a store actually, but a small stall made of wood and display cabinets on the right and left side of the market’s hallway. On the right side, the display cabinet was filled with wallets, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, headbands, hairpins, cell phone chains, purses, pins, brooches, rings and other various women’s and children’s accessories. On the left side, a big wooden table was piled with various women’s, men’s and children’s underwear. There were many children’s clothes that had the picture of cartoon character on them such as Doraemon, Upin-Ipin, Power Ranger, Batman, Spiderman and many more hung on the wall. Haji Rohim was of medium build. He had unblemished skin even though it was not white, typical Sundanese. His face was calm and on his forehead there were two black marks which, according to many people was a sign that the owner of those marks was a devout person. I immediately understood why he was appointed chairman of the mosque administrator. Through the introduction and a little courtesy Haji Rohim told us about the history of the At-Tujar Mosque and the activities in it.
The At-Tujar Mosque had already been there when the Ciputat Market had been finished being renovated in 1997, but it was only a musholla. Over time, that musholla had been undergoing many renovations and expansion so that it had turned into a mosque which now could be used for Friday prayer by the shop owners and residents around Ciputat Market. The marks because of the renovation were obvious because its wall had not been torn down completely, but it had been partially removed and then become a partition so that quite large room had been divided into three parts: the men’s prayer hall and the mimbar (a pulpit in the mosque), the women’s prayer hall and the side part to go to the women’s prayer hall.
The activities in this mosque were quite full and intensive. There was a Qur’an study every night with various subjects such as Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), Tafsir (exegesis) of the Al Qur’an, Qira’at (the method of recitation), Rhetoric of Da’wah (proselytizing of Islam), and so on. For Monday and Wednesday night the teachers were specially invited from outside the market, but on other nights usually Haji Rohim himself who taught, especially on the Rhetoric of Da’wah subject. The teachers that were invited were quite a lot because every week the subject was different. Monday night was for the men’s recitation and Wednesday night was for teenagers’, but not infrequently, the members of the recitation were mixed regardless of age. Besides those two nights, there was another special recitation. It was the recitation held by the trader communities from various areas. Its schedule was also frequently changed as they wished. Besides that, the At-Tujar Mosque also had BMT (Baitul Maal wat-Ta’wil) that took care of the zakat (alms-giving), infaq (disbursement), sadaqah (voluntary charity) and organized the qurban (the sacrifice of a livestock animal during Eid-ul-Adha) savings for the market traders. There was also TPK (Tabungan Pulang Kampung – Going Home Savings) for the traders in Ciputat Market. These savings were actually personal but the fund that had been raised was deposited at the mosque until the time came for it to be given out to the owner to finance their trip.
The Ciputat Market was famous for its garbage that piled up high, but if we went upstairs to the 4th floor and did the prayer in the mosque we would forget about the market situation that was complex, dirty and smelly because the caretaker of the mosque always maintained its cleanliness. From the stairs, the place to perform the wudhu, the bathroom, the hallway, the office to the inside of the mosque, everything was clean and fragrant. The atmosphere was also very quiet and cool. No wonder many people liked to linger in there. Besides praying, because of the large space, they also took a rest after they were tired of shopping around the market. Praying became solemn and comfortable. It was different from other markets which usually only provided a small musholla which was adjacent to the public toilet which was smelly and dirty. It turned out that besides garbage, Ciputat Market also had other uniqueness compared to other markets. It was a clean and lovely mosque which was managed professionally like the big mosques in general.
At the end of our conversation I was interested to buy a small headband which was sold by Haji Rohim. As soon as I pulled out my wallet and asked about its price he gave me that small headband for free instead and invited us to his house which apparently was also used as a place for children’s recitation which was called TK and TPA Al-Faath. I was touched by his kindness even though we had just met for the first time.