My friend, just say brother A, a software developer as I am, He used to live in US, but now he prefer to live in here, in Indonesia. He shared us the reason why, and there are some much things we can learn from his story. In the end, me and other Indonesian Moslem people will be gratefull that we are Moslem, we are Indonesia and we live here in Indonesia.

So here what brother A told us…

I was a very high up and senior developer in the US but now I make much less doing a very easy remote job while here. If I wanted to make that much I could but money is not everything.

I would rather make less than 250jt for a better job that is less stress and allows more time to work on dakwah or itself is aligned with it. 3 miliar rupiah would be $100/hr if it was normal hours but knowing a job that pays that much they’ll want you to come in early and leave late… etc. I got offered $50/hr Python and 100% Remote yesterday but then found out it was for a bank in the US (Wells Fargo) so I declined.

If living in the US you can spend 50jt/mo on renting house where you live.. or even more if you want to be close to a job in NYC or DC etc. In the US you are required to have 3 types of insurance which all cost a few juta as well if converted to Rupiah. But no doubt that programmers make much more than average workers in the US and is a good job.

But when in the US money seems to disappear from your bank account very fast. Average income in the US is probably $40-45,000 and many programmers in larger cities make $90-120,000 but if you have the right experience for jobs that really want you and so on the maximum range is $200,000 with full benefits and maybe a bit more than that which is what this job was because they knew my experience so contacted me direct asking me to accept. But I doubt they would allow remote for a crucial position and I’m not interested in moving the the US… I like Tangerang.

Plus US would take 40% taxes on that… 39.6% is upper tax limit unless you can play with IRS exemptions like discount for paying a riba loan). It’s progressive tax so maybe they would take $65,000 in taxes and you really make $135,000. From the money you give them 80% goes to US military and global corporation subsidies that help US companies dominate overseas. Only 20 (maybe 30) percent of the taxes paid go to infrastructure, schools, etc. in the US…

So you make about $11,000/mo and your house can cost $4,000 of that… There is no option to live in a traditional house anywhere close to your job and commute is still a couple hours… The traffic isn’t as bad as Jakarta but people live further away from the job in kilometers so still have to commute and if you lived walking distance from these jobs you’ll probably pay a bit more for living. The job itself takes out for retirement accounts for you but also social security and worker’s comp you may never use.

So now you’re in the US with say $5,000 a month left… Still a good amount no doubt and you’ll probably have $3,000 extra cash to save or donate to dakwah and the needy every month but you see how your nearly $18,000/mo becomes only $3,000 because of taxes and living costs!

And living in the US is much more stressful and depressing than the people and communities here in Indonesia and we have so much family around us. In the US if you lose your job you’re in debt immediately because you still owe thousands per month in expenses…

In Indonesia if you lose a job it’s not a big deal just get a new one but costs are so low you can live on almost zero. People don’t always understand the way Indonesia is better than the US but get impressed with the possible money income.

I know a lot of bule on Facebook with Indonesian wives and almost all live in the US but a few of the more religious ones prefer Indonesia better. Because living in both it’s so different but so hard to explain how. Indonesia is superior in ways that are intangible and hard to explain.

People do “reverse hijrah” and learn their Deen. Even many Shuyukh say the people should only be in the West for temporary trade or to give dawah. That Hijrah to Muslim countries is mustahab in general but wajib if your Deen is threatened or you can not openly practice.

But people with eyes only on the dunya complain of infrastructure and more money in the US… but if you reflect those mean nothing. Some people in the US lose a job for 3 or more months and then become tens of thousands of dollars in debt… They become so far in debt they use bankruptcy or live their whole life paying it off (and getting charged riba)… Who wants that?

But we see the hadith of the Prophet (s) come true. The nations of the earth will unite against us and the Companions asked if it’s because we’re few but he said no we are many but weak like the foam or scum on the ocean. Even famous actors and such have debt problems… The dunya in the US is such a huge trap… And people get offered a shiny job and fall for it every time. I considered living bare minimum for 2 years in the US and saving the money to build or masjid in Tangerang we wanted after that and returning but even then I just don’t want to go back to the US.

And another hadith that the Prophet (s) did not fear for this Ummah poverty but that the riches of the dunya would become easy and we would become obsessed and busy with them. I turned down the 3 milyar JavaScript/Angular job because I don’t want to live in the US… and I turned down the 1.5 milyar Python job which was remote and I could do here because it’s for a bank.

When I visited an Ustadh here in Indonesia and his son wanted to talk to me in English he was asking about the US and saying he wanted to school in Germany and live there one day, that was his dream, I tried to explain the same thing to him that the “Western dream” is an illusion… but I don’t think the teenage son understood it. I hope everyone here does. You have it very good living in Indonesia… It is blessed in the “unseeable” and intangible ways.

We had widows in Virginia that slept in cars when poor and after Jumuah we would do fundraiser asking for money… Every week we could only help maybe 2 sisters but our masjid had a list of 50+ needing help. I lived in Fairfax county which is the richest county in the US. Imagine that 2,000 brothers from Jumuah couldn’t help?

Here in Indonesia a widow can get an illegal house on some land and the community will give her food enough to eat and alhamdulillah. We had an old lady 10-15 meters from us and her family was dead with one child in Surabaya. She had an illegal house on some land and the community always just gave her food and she had a water pump and alhamdulillah she was fine. She died last month, May Allah be pleased with her, but was always giving wisdom and advice to the youth and was happy in the community. In the US such a person would be on the street and things are so expensive to help with a lot has to be donated…

And everyone is addicted to BMWs and 100 inch TVs that they don’t donate when you beg them… but the old lady in Tanah Tinggi where I am was happy until the day she died last month and the whole community buried her together and free. Burial costs tens of thousands in the US and some places treated to cremate and incinerate if you can’t pay, audhubillah. Compare that to when it’s winter and snowing with widows outside and some die from the cold… In the land where people make $200k a year… It’s disgusting… Indonesia is so much better and many embrace simplicity in life as a culture which makes it all possible alhamdulillah.