The Mambaus Sholihin Islamic Boarding School is located in Suci Village, Manyar District, Gresik Regency, East Java. If you depart from outside the city and transit in Surabaya, go to the inter-city terminal in the Osowilangun area, then get off at Terminal Bunder. From Terminal Bunder, if you see a T-junction, cross and take the orange angkot waiting for passengers, then ask to get off at the lodge. It was the only angkot that was busy, pacing back and forth, taking Suci’s santri out of the cottage area in any direction, either to the Semen Hospital, to Gresik Market, or “escape” to the malls in Surabaya.
Even though I know what roads and public transportation to take, since I have been in the pesantren for a dozen years, thank God I am one of those people who dare not run away. Sounds boring, indeed, to be too submissive and rule-abiding. Maybe that’s what my classmates saw since I was in the madrasah tsanawiyah bench because they hadn’t seen my journey in the past five years. I’ve spent my time playing and running away since madrasah ibtidaiyah at the pesantren, so I chose to seriously study while sitting at the madrasah tsanawiyah bench.
In 1998, when I was in Madrasah Ibtidaiyah, the male and female Islamic boarding schools were still under construction on the 2nd floor. Although the second building is not visible from the highway because it is in a village alley, apparently the existence of this pesantren attracted my father. So he almost every day passed by to work.
I remember very well how my father believed that this pesantren would become a big pesantren in the next few years and be known by many people (and it was proven). Not only because of its strategic location but also because of my father’s view of his Kiai, Kiai Masbuhin Faqih, who is known to be pious and humble. Kiai Masbuhin Faqih graduated from the Langitan Pesantren and Gontor Pesantren. Understanding the combination of the two was certainly very encouraging for my father at that time, both salaf and modern. This boarding school eventually became where I spent all my school time until I graduated from college.