As’ad Humam, Legendary Kiai Inventor of the Iqro’ Method

JAKARTA – For children born in the 1990s, childhood romanticism is always related to unique items that are now rare. For example, snacks, pop songs, magazines, even trends and games.

Among the most attached memories, one of them is a small book of Koran lessons or what is known as the Iqro’ book. Not only in Indonesia, the Iqro’ book is popular in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam.

On the cover, there is a picture of an old man with glasses and a thin face wearing a black jacket and cap as the background of the book. Then who is that man? Why is he holding a cane?

The figure of As’ad Humam, Inventor of the Iqro’ Method

Correct. His name is As’ad Humam (deceased). The man from Selokraman, Kotagede, Yogyakarta was born in 1933. The name ‘Humam’ refers to his father, Humam Siradj who was a successful trader in the Bringharjo market.

As the second of seven children in the Muhammadiyah community, As’ad Humam is open to learning. Mitsuo Nakamura in The Crescent Arises over the Banyan Tree (2012) noted that As’ad Humam had his basic education at Muhammadiyah Kleco Elementary School, State Middle School in Ngawi, and high school education at Mu’allimin Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta.

It’s just that in Mu’allimin, As’ad Humam stopped at class II. The reason was that he had an accident while climbing a tree in 1963 which caused him to have calcification of his spine and had to be treated for half a year.

His neck could not be moved and to walk, As’ad had to use a cane as seen in his pose on the cover of Iqro”s book. As’ad also studied at the Al-Munawir Krapyak Islamic boarding school owned by Nahdlatul Ulama for two years.

“In daily life, prayers must be done sitting straight, without being able to bow or prostrate. “Even to look, you have to turn your whole body,” wrote Heni Purwono in an article entitled “K.H. As’ad Humam, Hero of Eradicating Koranic Illiteracy.”

Muhammadiyah Revolutionist Teacher

The Iqra’ method was found at the Muhammadiyah cultural center, Kotagede, Yogyakarta. In discovering the Iqra’ method, the late As’ad Humam was accompanied by other Muhammadiyah activists, namely Jazir Asp who is still active as a central figure at the Jogokariyan Mosque in Yogyakarta.

According to Mitsuo Nakamura, although the Iqra method comes from Muhammadiyah activists, the Iqra’ movement stands independently and is not related to Muhammadiyah.

In Indonesia, the development of the Qur’an Education Park (TPA/TPQ) actually began to revive in the late 1980s with the emergence of the figure Kiai Dahlan Salim Zarkasyi from Semarang who discovered the Qiroati method and spread it through the establishment of the Mujawwidin Koran Kindergarten in Semarang in 1986.

At that time, Kiai As’ad Humam who helped teach Qiroati to children in Kotagede concluded that the traditional Baghdadi method was not effective because it took 2-3 years to master.

Meanwhile, As’ad considers Qiroati’s method to have loopholes that can be perfected. However, Kiai Dahlan Salim Zarkasyi rejected As’ad Humam’s suggestion because he considered Qiroati’s method to be standard.

Meeting an impasse, As’ad Humam stopped teaching Qiroati and tried to find a new method. Under the guava tree next to the house, As’ad Humam continues to search for the right formula.

“I, as a friend and his son, only provide paper and writing utensils. [If the papers fly], we, the children, collect them again. Father has been doing this for years,” said Erweesbe Maimanati, As’ad’s second child, as written by Gatra Magazine February 19, 1996 edition.

The discovery of the Iqra method then made Kiai Dahlan Salim Zarkasyi loosen his brotherhood with Kiai As’ad Humam.

In 1990, Usep Fathudin, who worked at the Ministry of Religion, went back and forth from Semarang to Yogyakarta because he was sent by the Director General of Islamic Community Guidance and Hajj Affairs, Andi Lolong Tonang, to settle the dispute.

“To ‘reconcile’ the two, which was a bit heated at the time, especially from the Semarang side,” Usep wrote in Gatra Magazine, March 11, 1993 edition.

The Journey of the Iqra Method

After discovering the Iqra’ method, Kiai As’ad Humam together with Jazir Asp and assisted by the Yogyakarta Mosque and Mushola Youth Force (AMM) Tadarus Team established the AMM Yogyakarta Koran Kindergarten on March 16, 1986.

Ahmad Zayadi, et al in the White Book of the MuJadi Islamic Boarding School (2020) writes that the establishment of the AMM Koran Kindergarten gained momentum in the community so that later they also established the AMM Quran Education Park, Ta’limuq Quran Lil Aulad AMM, and the AMM Tartilil Quran course.

In 1988, at his residence in Selokraman Village, Kotagede, a Quran Kindergarten (TKA) was established for children aged 4-6 years, and a year later a Quran Education Park (TPA) was established for children aged 7-12 years. From here initially Iqro’ spread quickly so it was widely used in many places.

The discovery of Iqro’ greatly facilitated the way of learning the basic Koran to be more effective compared to the old methods such as Baghdadiyah which had to spell between letters, sounds, and vowels.

In contrast to this method, Iqro, which consists of six volumes, is no longer spelled, but instead presents a way of reading with a system (syllables) of words. At first choose words that are familiar and easy for children, such as “ba-ta”, “ka-ta”, “ba-ja”, and so on.

After that proceed with longer words, then short sentences, then study the words in the short letters. Everything is presented in a simple way so that students, especially children, can easily learn it.

The Iqro method consists of 6 volumes with various cover colors that attract young children. According to Kiai Humam himself, Iqro’s book has 10 characteristics, namely direct reading, making students active, can be taught privately/classically, available modules, assistance, practical, systematic, varied, communicative, and flexible. Thus wrote As’ad Humam in Iqra’s Book: How to Quickly Learn to Read the Koran, (2000).

The Iqro’ method then spread after the BKPMI DPP National Conference was held in Surabaya which made the Koran Kindergarten and the Iqro’ method the main program of its struggle. Apart from being affordable, Iqro”s book can be taught by anyone and is self-taught so that this book is getting out of control and almost uncontrollable, wrote Doni Putra in Learn Tadabbur Science Characteristics of Bees, Crows and Lions (Study of Interpretation of Fauna Verses), ( 2020).

Charity Jariyah Kiai As’ad Humam

After the successful experiments of Kiai As’ad Humam in Kotagede, the Iqro’ system developed in Gresik and Semarang. In 1988, the Iqro’ method received recognition from the Minister of Religion so that it was distributed nationally in 1992.

Not only the mosque and Muhammadiyah networks, Nahdlatul Ulama also contributed to widely introducing this method, wrote Anna M. Gade in Perfection Makes Practice Learning, Emotion, and the Recited Qurʼān in Indonesia (2004).

According to Anna, the Malaysian government adopted the Iqro’ method officially in the late 1990s. Meanwhile, after the death of Kiai As’ad Humam on Friday, February 2, 1996, Agus Basri and Khoiri Akhmadi in an obituary in the February 19, 1996 edition of Gatra Magazine stated that the Iqro’ method had spread in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, the Philippines, Europe. , and America.

No less, at least 160 thousand TPA and TPQ were born under the inspiration of Kiai As’ad Humam throughout Indonesia, wrote Arif Maftuhin in Islamic Interconnection and Social Welfare Theory, Approach, and Case Studies (2012).

“Through the Iqro system he created, K.H. As’ad Humam has saved society from being blind to the Quran. He is a hero who saved the Quran,” said Religious Affairs Minister Tarmizi Taher at the funeral of Kiai As’ad Humam.

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