Born on 7 January 1984 in Selong, a small city in East Lombok, he was named Ahmad Fathan Aniq. He grew up in a small village in Rempung until he was 13, when he finally decided to continue his study at an Islamic boarding school or pondok pesantren in another administrative area. He is the first son in his family. Therefore his name is “Fathan”.
In 1996, his parents sent him to study at pondok pesantren Nurul Haramain which is located in Narmada, West Lombok. Here, for the first time, he learned English and Arabic. His teachers often told him that by mastering Arabic, he would understand Islam and by mastering English he would conquer the world since English is the international language. Aniq only studied for three years in Nurul Haramain, then he continued his study in Jombang, East Java.
Jombang is the city which his parents chose after he had finished his study in Nurul Haramain. It is located in East Java, far from his village. He had to pass Bali Island to reach this city and it takes 24 hours to go there by bus from Lombok. He chose Tambakberas as his pesantren in Jombang as it is a traditional pesantren. Aniq studied there for three years and he was graduated in 2002.
To study at a renowned university had been his plan since childhood. So, he registered at the State Islamic University (UIN) Jakarta. The Dirasat Islamiya Faculty was his choice, because the study in this faculty is conducted in the Arabic language. Finally he was graduated from UIN Jakarta in July 2006 and wrote a thesis about maqashid as-syariah and its affect on istinbath of Islamic laws, written in Arabic.
Immediately after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from UIN Jakarta, he continued to study for a Master’s degree at the same university. He concentrated on Syariah, however he had been there for just two months when he was accepted for the Program Pembibitan Alumni PTAI se-Indonesia or upgrading programme for the graduates of Islamic universities in Indonesia. The programme was sponsored by the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Indonesia (MORA). The aim of the programme itself is to provide the young muslim generation with general Islamic thought and with the languages of both English and Arabic.
From the MORA programme, he got the information about the scholarship for MA at Leiden University. He was interested because it had been his plan to study abroad, so he applied for the registration. Allah is Generous and Kind, he was accepted. Just a week after the acceptance announcement, Aniq and eleven of his friends left for the Netherlands.
There are many of his friends who asked him why he chose to study Islam in the West. His reply to this question, is that he wanted to look for another approach to Islamic studies. Well he thinks he has found the answer as to why he should study Islamic studies at Leiden University.
This is my short life story.
(Ahmad Fathan Aniq)