By: Widi Kusnadi, Journalist of MINA
Allah’s grace in the form of natural charm that spread out so beautiful can lead us to the awareness of the greatness and perfection of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala (SWT). It also can strengthen our faith and taqwa towards Him. Tourism activities by watching the beauty of nature can be part of worship because it is ordered by Allah SWT as set forth in Al-Quran Surah Al-Jumuah  verse 10.
As a form of our gratitude for the grace of nature, The Environmental and Natural Resources Development Agency of Indonesian Ulema Council (LPLH & SDA MUI) in collaboration with Indonesian Ministry of Tourism (Kemenpar) and the Moslem Tourism Lovers Community (KWPM) make a new breakthrough in Indonesian Islamic tourism entitled “Islamic Tour Contemplating Nature”.
Islamic Tour Contemplating Nature is an acceleration program which is a brainchild of an environmentalist and Muslim scholar, Dr. Ir. Hayu S. Prabowo. He formed a team to design the program to introduce international community to the beauty of the cluster of islets as a wonderful gift from The God. This program also to empowering the potential of local people (by providing Islamic (halal) facilities) as well as a step to support government programs in the field acceleration of Islamic tourism development.
In addition, Hayu explained that besides the main purpose is to worship and thanks for the blessings of Allah SWT, this is a form of realization of the Indonesian government program to create a sustainable tourism program which covering three aspects: environmental conservation, education and community empowerement.
With the theme ” Traveling as a worship. taking a lesson from nature” tourists will be guided to enjoy the beauty and charm of Raja Ampat which is located in the eastern part of Indonesia, the province of West Papua. The tourists will also get exlanation to recognize the various attractions in the region while thinking the greatness of the verses of Allah or Kauliyah verses that exist in the universe, both on the land or under the sea.
What Raja Ampat Offers?
Raja Ampat is a famous tourism destination for its exotic islets with the richest tropical marine biodiversity in the world. As one of the tourist centers of Indonesia, the region is located in a very strategic location in the heart of the coral triangle center of the world. The sea of Raja Ampat has at least 1318 species of fishes, 699 species of mollusks and 537 species of coral animals.
The sea of the Raja Ampat Islands according to various sources are among the Ten best waters for diving sites in the world. In fact, it may also be recognized as number one for the completeness of underwater flora and fauna at this time. This area has at least 610 islands and only 35 islands are inhabited, even some islands have no name yet. The rest only used to take pictures.
Indigenous people living in the area are Biak, Maya and Ondoloren. Most of the inhabitants are Muslim because historically it is the center of the spread of Islam in eastern Indonesia.
One of the unique traditions of the tribe is to eat the betel nut together. It aims to strengthen the relationship of brotherhood among them.
Lovely Wisai Beach (WTC)
Wisat Torang Beach (Lovely Wisai Beach/WTC) is one of the tourist destinations that need to be visited. The distance is not far from Wisai wharf. This beach became a place of inter-ethnic community to gathering to hold big events among local community. In that place, we will find the peace of the society with happy laughtering and cheerful children while they play soccer in the afternoon accompanied by a beach breeze and the waves of fascinating coconut leaves.
Islamic Center Muaz bin Jabbal
The Islamic Center is located in Wisai City, Waigeo Island which is the administrative center of Raja Ampat Regency. It is also the first Islamic educational and preaching center on the island. Today, the people and government of Wisai City pay serious attention to the institution as one of the strongholds to protect society from the negative effects of globalization and cultures that are inconsistent with the teachings of Islam and local culture.
Chairman of Islamic Center Development Muaz bin Jabbal who also leads Al-Fatih Kaffah Nusantara (FKN) branch of West Papua, Alfaris Labagu said the existence of the Islamic Center becomes very important for the local community in the mids of many tourists who bring their culture that sometimes contradict with Islamic values.
Therefore, Islamic tourism becomes important for the Raja Ampat community to compensate for the entry of foreign culture as well as to educate the public that many tourists also have an Islamic culture so as to provide a positive influence for the culture and economy of local communities.
This island was the beginning of the interaction of trade in Raja Ampat. Saonek Island became one of the fascinating destinations to capture anything in the capital city of Raja Ampat before moving to Waisai during regional autonomy. Loang boats are the cheap mode of transportation compared to speedboats.
The island is located to the south part of Wisai Island. If we go there, we will pass Saonek Monde Island, or Little Saonek (extent of less than one hectare) which has such a stunning beauty. From the small island, we can see dome of the mosque tower. It takes about 40 minutes to reach this island.
Without ripples and high waves, tourists can enjoy the greatness of the divine gifts with the spread of coral reef colors that are clearly visible from the sea surface. If you bring snorkeling tools, you can enjoy the beauty of coral reefs from the close with various types of fish and mollusks that live peacefully in that place.
Karst hill clusters are spread out beautifully on the island of Painemo which become its special icon as a natural richness as well as proof of beauty and perfection of the God’s creation. The best time to visit this island is the morning with sun’s spray.
It takes two hours to reach the beautiful place if we leave from Wisai. The blue sea reflection from the morning sunlight illuminates the cluster of Paninemo hills then slowly turning to pea green as it docks and close to the coral island. To enjoy the island perfectly, we must climb to the top of the hill. But do not worry, there are wooden stairs that can help us to reach the top of the hill. There are about 336 steps to reach the top.
Arborek Tourist Village
The white sand that lays along the coast of Arborek island surely tempts us to set our foot there. Waves of coconut leaves and palms invite us to spend the night there. Kampung Arborek is located in a small island that is also named, the Island of Arborek, in the District Meosmansar.
This village area is not very wide, only about 7 hectares breadth. So, it will not take much time and energy when traveling around the village. There are about 40 families living in the village (data of 2015). If you stay overnight in this village, you will will be more familiar with the surrounding population.
What activities can we do around Kampung Arborek?
Diving activities around Kampung Arborek can be done under the jetty (dock). The underwater life in Arborek is very rich. Therefore, it’s a pity to miss a diving here.
Fishing. There are many small and medium fishes around the beach of Kampung Arborek. The unwritten policy of local villagers related fishing activities at least 200 meters away from the beach. So, for this fishing activity, you have to rent a boat. Or you can go with fishermen to save more.
Bameti is a local term used to describe coastal beach activities that have subsided while looking for edible sea creatures. This activity is generally done by mothers to just fill the spare time, but it does not mean men should not come. There is no written rule to who is allowed to join and not as long as it does not damage the environment.
The Islamic Tour of Enchanting Raja Ampat will be held on March 29, 2018. The activities as follows:
First day (Thursday March 29th): The tourists to fly from Jakarta (Soekarno-Hatta International Airport) to Sorong by Sriwijaya (IN 586 CGK – SOQ 23.45-0610)
Day 2 (Friday, March 30th): Arrival at Sorong airport, go to the port to continue the trip to Wisai by Marina Express (two hours sailing). Arriving at Wisai, male tourists perform the Friday prayers and women can directly check in at the hotel. When finished, and after lunch, visit to Raja Ampat Islamic Center. Next, go to Afu (feed the fish and see the rock shaped face). In the afternoon, go to WTC to enjoy the sunset. After dinner, back to the hotel.
Day three (Sunday, March 31st): Wisai – Pianemo – Saonek – Wisai. The program begins with Fajr prayers at the Al-Akbar mosque, Wisai, then continue with muhasabah witnessing the rising of the sun on WTC. After breakfast, proceed to Pianemo (one hour sail). At Pianemo, we will reach the top of Pianemo and Telaga Bintang. Next, we will tour to Arborek village ( for snorkling), lunch and Dhuhur prayer. The event continued to Pasir Timbul Saonek and Pray Asar at Hidayatullah Mosque. Tourist to visit the Guardian’s tomb in Saonek, then continued to enjoy the sunset at the dock (jetty). After that a friendly event with the Papuan Muslim community, continued dinner and returned to the hotel.
Day four (Monday, April 1st): Check out from the hotel and pray Subuh at Al-Akbar mosque and then continue to see the sound of jungle birds. Breakfast with yellow rice special Wisai menu own made, then go to port to return to Sorong (shopping souvenir and batik Papua). Next go to Jakarta with Batik Air (ID 7796 SOQ-CGK 16.45 – 19.00).
After the The Islamic Tour of Enchanting Raja Ampat, LPLH & SDA MUI together with Ministry of Tourism RI and KWPM will launch religious tourism program to Mande Island, Derawan Island, Borneo, Banda Aceh, Banda Naira, Karimun Jawa, Komodo Island (NTT), Lembeh Strait, Pulau Seribu and Wakatobi. The program will be implemented on next April 12 and May 3. (P2/RS5)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)