Photo: Mr. Meru Sandya


LIKE A DREAM COME TRUE, that’s the expression of Mr. Meru Sandya (56 years), a resident of Malang who works as a painter. His family was specially invited by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the King of Saudi Arabia.

How can? Well, that’s it, like a dream. He never thought it before. Until he succeed to set foot on the earth of Prophet Muhammad. Get a variety luxury of presidential’s facilities.

Not reported in any media coverage, masjidindonesia.com will exclusive publish all the stories of Mr. Meru Sandya’s funny and heroic journey while in Saudi Arabia.


The story begins when King Salman came to Indonesia in early March 2017 ago. We all know, that several months before the arrival of King Salman, the Indonesian people were already excited. The news is viral. And the visited declared as a specially for Indonesian people.

Well, that’s when Mr. Meru Sandya had really noble intentions. He wanted present something to King Salman. A symbolic form of gifts, friendship, and an expression of gratitude to King Salman for visiting Indonesia.

Mr.  Meru Sandya works as a painter. Then, that’s his specialty. He paints on large canvas media. A painting with entitled: Sawah Tegalalang Ubud.

“I purpose painted a view of Tegalalang fields because of mostly tourist go there if they are vacation in Bali. And Insya Allah, I am really sure, King Salman will be there, ” Mr. Meru’s said.

Photo: The Tegalalang Painting

“And this is will be special painting, because in Saudi Arabia there is no rice field like Tegalalang,” his continued.

Mr. Meru needed about 3 months to completed the painting. When finished, he packed with wooden packaging. It says: A Gift to King Salman. He send via expedition to Saudi Arabian Embassy in Jakarta.

After delivered, he never expect of return, never asked about what happening of his painting. Is it accepted by King Salman or not. Whether on display or discarded by the Saudi Arabian embassy. This is called: sincerity at highest level.

“I had didn’t think about it at that time. The most important when i gave my best,” he said.


As he was struck by thunderbolt, suddenly Mr. Meru – his nickname, after a year sending the painting, he received an electronic letter from Deputy Ambassador of Saudi Arabia as bellow:

Mr. Miro Sandio

Herewith, we would like to invite the opening of the 33rd Al-Janadriyah National Festival in order to give a gift to His Excellency Servant of the Two Holy Cities, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (may Allah protect him) in the framework of RI’s visit on 18-20/06 / 2017, for further information, please contact Mr. Fawaz Alothaimin Mobile Number: 0869-xxxx-xxx or by email: Fxxxxxxxxxx@mofa.gov.sa

Best Regards,
Deputy Ambassador
Mr. Yahya Bin Hasan Algahtani

So surprised Mr. Meru got a magic letter. He is getting the invitation facility by bring along with his wife and 1 child. Due to having 2 children, for the principle of justice and so as not impressed favoritism of his children, he made a decision: going along with his wife.

Without wasting time to much, Mr. Meru Sandy immediately to apply a passport. With a long story, he struggled with tension and almost failed to apply for a passport because the passport forms at the Malang Immigration Office had run out. Mr. Meru continues to fight, he meet the head of Immigration Office, to ask for help. At 18 Desember 2018, with Allah’s help, his passport was successfully released.

The day after the passport was released, the Saudi Arabian Embassy provided information:

“Can you leave tomorrow morning?”

So, on the morning of December 20, 2018, Mr. Meru and his wife, Enok Indah Winarni (44 years) flight to Jakarta for a coordination of departures to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. All boarding pass from Malang – Jakarta – Saudi Arabia – return to Malang: directly published by Saudi Arabian Embassy. Very completely. The entire agenda has been very neatly scheduled. All travel expenses are fully funded by the Saudi Arabian Embassy.

Boarding Pass Photo Release


From Malang to Jakarta, Mr. Meru and his wife were boarded by Garuda Business Class. Arrived in Jakarta, they are go to the Saudi Arabian Embassy to coordinate before departure.

After coordinating at the embassy, ​​Mr. Meru go back to Soekarno Hatta Airport. Served in a special manner and directed into lounge with premium meals is served. He was so scared and excited about the excellent facilities that to surprise, so he ask closest officer:

“Sir, does this food pay?,” asked Mr.  Meru.

“Oh, it’s free, sir. Everything is free for you,” replied the officer.

Mr. Meru was embarrassed. Half afraid, and half in disbelief.

Flying to Riyadh by Oman Air plane, with business class services, all of which are luxurious and served with excellent facilities.

“Enjoy facility of business class, we can stretched like in the bed. Get pajamas, get giveaway, mouisturizer, and others,” Mrs. Meru’s said.


“Like a dream. It’s really like a dream,” Mrs. Meru’s said over many times for us.

Arriving in Riyadh, Mr. Meru Sandya and his wife were greeted by royal officers and the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Escorted by several cars together, front and rear. Transfered to hotel.

Photo with Saudi Officers

“Masya Allah, I just sat down, all those who take care of it are them,” said Mr. Meru.

“As long as we were there, no one treated us with underestimation, nothing at all. We just move a little like this, come, like we want to find something. Always come and say Can I help you? It is always like that. So, we never have any trouble,” continued Mrs. Meru.


In the morning, 23 December 2018, a memo arrived at the hotel room.

Photo Memo

More or less the translation as bellow:


No. 1 Facing the king the servant of two haramain for the festival guests according to his gender.

Place: on the Royal Council.
Activity time: 10.30 AM.

Dear invited guests.

  • Expected to be at the hotel lobby at 09.40 AM, to end security procedures.
  • Transportation using the invited guest bus.


  1. Please don’t bring your cellphone and bags stored in the room.
  2. Estimated time back to hotel at 14.00.
  3. Estimated temperature of Riyadh City at night is 19 degrees Celsius.

General Department Welcoming Ceremony
Ministry of Defense and State Protocol Department

All guests who will meet King Salman are screened very closely and are absent one by one. Then, they can took a bus.

“There are 6 buses with layered escorts,” said Mr.  Meru to continued his story when he arrived at the palace.

“Entering in Riyadh palace is very grand and huge. Very Hugh. Entering a wide page. Then, we went into the hall like that. Entering the terrace, there is a big door, the hallway first, enter again, then we are sit down. We had been waiting and were given a chocolate dish. Then, we were given to drink Arabic coffee. There are lined special forces, full of swords.”


“It’s normally, types like am i don’t like to sit at the very front. I sat in row number two. Than, we must sit in the front row becouse advice by officer,” said Mr. Meru.

“Well, until I thought, who we are? How come we got there, Masya Allah,” said Mrs. Enok, still half disbelief.

“Like the cartoon movie. Who should this be? There are no other Indonesians… oh their clothes, bro, their clothes. All those present are diplomats, were wearing oversized clothes. Facing of King Salman. Everyone wearing like gold and shiny clothes,” said Mr. Meru.

“And than for me just wearing comboran shoes. My shoes are thirty five thousand rupiah. Arriving at the palace of King Salman. It’s plastic shoes. Buy at flea market Comboran Malang. My clothes are usual robe,” he is continued, laughing in little. Laugh at himself.


All the guests had been waiting. King Salman is coming. The event with several remarks. The highlight was a speech from King Salman. He gave a short speech, then one by one of guests invited were approach and shake hands with King Salman. Mr.  Meru sharing the story that only he and his wife are Indonesians were attended forum.

“My wife and I were the only Indonesians present there. There are All Arab looks. Asia’s face is not there. But there are Africans too,” he said, telling a complete story and he continued, “There was a line with King Salman, if i think is Sheikh Abdurrahman As-Sudais.”

Did Mr.  Meru shake hands with King Salman?

“Yes, his fingers are still tight until now,” he said.

Does Mr.  Meru have photo with King Salman?

“The kingdom staff are always doing documentation. There are many paparazzi cameras in the palace. Invited guests are not allowed to bring gadgets. And I am still trying to trace my photo when shaking hands with King Salman. Until now, we still can’t get it because at that time we are constraints of language, so confused how to ask.”


“you’ll comfortable feeling be there, then everything needs will be funded by committee and you are getting Umrah too,” statement of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Jakarta’s said to Mr. Meru before leaving for Riyadh.

“Masha Allah. The highest summits is Umrah. In Makkah we are cry in happines. It is like a dream come true…,” Mrs. Meru’s said.

Photo of Mr. Meru Umroh

“when a while we wants to go out, the Indonesian Embassy will come. We were escorted by a person from Indonesian Embassy. They are always there with us. We are truly declared by Allah.”

While in Riyadh, Mr.  Meru and his wife stayed at Hotel InterContinental, the luxury hotel where President Joko Widodo stayed during visited in Saudi Arabia for Arab Islamic American Summit Event ago.

“At the InterContinental, we’re served all kinds breakfast. From A to Z various bread. From any kinds cereal until all kinds of nuts and fruits,” Mrs. Meru’s said.


Many of us are asking, who is Mr. Meru?

Has full name MERU SANDYA. Called as MIRO SANDIO by Deputy Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Indonesia because it follows the Arabic spelling. He was born in Yogyakarta, December 15, 1962. His wife is named Enok Indah Winarni. And has 2 children.

His profession as a painter, and his skill in realism and naturalism. The paintings are very detailed and have beautiful color grading techniques. Comparison arrangement, perspective, texture, coloring, dark and light, that is very detailed and softly. There is almost look the same with a reality. Very calculating. Has participated in several exhibitions and his paintings have been taken abroad.


  • Realist image: 1999’s “The King Messenger”
  • “Jembatan Merah Soerabaja 1920” in 2013
  • Decorative Drawing “Going to the Temple” in 2013. This work was brought to France.
  • “The Forest” in 2015.
  • Abstract Painting “Falling in Love” in 2003. This painting was brought to Canada.
  • The Painting for King Salman: ” Sawah Tegalalang Ubud” in 2017
  • Making Interior art at City Hall Building in DKI Jakarta During era of Governor Soerjadi Soedirdja.
  • And other, that can’t be mentioned one by one.



Foto Pak Meru Sandya


SEPERTI MIMPI, demikian ungkapan yang disampaikan oleh Pak Meru Sandya (56 tahun), seorang warga Kota Malang yang berprofesi sebagai pelukis. Ia sekeluarga diundang khusus oleh King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Raja Arab Saudi.

Bagaimana bisa? Yah, itulah, seperti mimpi. Ia pun tak pernah menyangka sebelumnya. Hingga berhasil menjejakkan kakinya di bumi Nabi Muhammad tersebut dan mendapatkan berbagai fasilitas kemewahan kelas presiden.

Luput dari pemberitaan media mana pun, masjidindonesia.com secara exclusive akan melansir semua kisah perjalanan Pak Meru Sandya yang lucu dan heroik selama di Arab Saudi.


Kisahnya dimulai saat Raja Salman datang ke Indonesia awal Maret 2017 yang lalu. Kita semua tahu, bahwa beberapa bulan sebelum kedatangan Raja Salman, masyarakat Indonesia sudah kasak-kusuk heboh. Pemberitaan santer di mana-mana. Dan dinyatakan sebagai kunjungan yang spesial bagi masyarakat Indonesia.

Nah, saat itulah, Pak Meru Sandya memiliki niat yang sungguh mulia. Yakni, ingin menghadiahkan sesuatu kepada Raja Salman. Sebuah simbolik bentuk hadiah, persahabatan, dan ungkapan terima kasih kepada Raja Salman atas kesediannya mengunjungi Indonesia.

Pak Meru Sandya berprofesi sebagai seorang pelukis. Maka, itulah keahliannya. Ia melukis di atas media kanvas besar. Sebuah lukisan dengan judul: Sawah Tegalalang Ubud.

“Saya sengaja melukis pemandangan sawah Tegalalang karena mayoritas para turis kalau ke Bali, pasti ke situ. Dan saya yakin, Raja Salman insya Allah mengunjungi obyek wisata tersebut,” cerita Pak Meru.

Foto Sawah Tegalalang Ubud

“Dan ini akan menjadi lukisan spesial, karena juga di Arab Saudi pastinya tak ada sawah seperti Tegalalang,” demikian lanjutnya.

Pak Meru membutuhkan waktu sekitar 3 bulan untuk menyelesaikan lukisan tersebut. Setelah selesai, ia mengemasnya. Packing kayu. Tertulis: Hadiah Untuk Raja Salman. Dan mengirimkannya via ekspedisi dengan tujuan Kantor Kedutaan Arab Saudi di Jakarta.

Pasca pengiriman, ia tak pernah memikirkan kembali, tak pernah menanyakan lagi, bagaimana nasib lukisannya tersebut. Apakah diterima oleh Raja Salman atau tidak. Apakah dipajang atau dibuang oleh kedutaan Arab Saudi. Inilah yang disebut sebagai: keikhlasan level tertinggi.

“Saya waktu itu ndak mikir, sudah. Ilang-ilangan. Yang penting saya sudah memberikan yang terbaik,” demikian ceritanya.


Laksana disambar geledek, tiba-tiba Pak Meru—demikian panggilan akrabnya, setahun setelah pengiriman lukisan, ia mendapatkan surat elektronik dari Wakil Duta Besar Saudi Arabia yang berbunyi sebagai berikut:

Kepada Yth.
Bpk. Miro Sandio

Bersama ini kami ingin mengundang dalam rangka pembukaan Festival Nasional Al-Janadriyah ke-33 guna ingin memberi hadiah kepada Yang Mulia Pelayan Dua Kota Suci, Raja Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (semoga Allah melindunginya) dalam rangka kunjungan RI tanggal 18-20/06/2017, untuk keterangan lebih lanjut, dapat menghubungi Bpk. Fawaz Alothaimin HP: 0869-xxxx-xxx atau melalui email: Fxxxxxxxxxx@mofa.gov.sa
Terimalah Salam Hormat Kami,

Wakil Duta Besar
Bpk. Yahya Bin Hasan Algahtani

Betapa kagetnya Pak Meru mendapatkan surat sakti tersebut. Ia mendapatkan fasilitas undangan tersebut dengan berhak mengajak istri dan 1 anaknya. Dikarenakan memiliki 2 anak, untuk prinsip keadilan dan agar tidak terkesan pilih kasih kepada anak-anaknya, maka ia mengambil keputusan: hanya mengajak istrinya saja.

Tanpa banyak mengulur waktu, Pak Meru Sandya langsung mengurus paspor. Dengan berbagai cerita panjangnya bergumul dengan ketegangan dan nyaris gagal mengurus paspor dikarenakan blanko paspor di Kantor Imigrasi Malang yang kehabisan. Pak Meru terus berjuang. Menemui pimpinan Kantor Imigrasi, untuk meminta pertolongan. Tepat pada tanggal 18 Desemberi 2018, atas pertologan Allah, paspornya berhasil rilis.

Sehari setelah paspor rilis, Kantor Kedutaan Arab Saudi langsung memberikan info:
“Apakah besok pagi anda bisa berangkat?”

Sehingga pada tanggal 20 Desember 2018 pagi, Pak Meru beserta istrinya, Enok Indah Winarni (44 tahun) langsung terbang menuju Jakarta untuk koordinasi keberangkatan menuju Riyadh, Arab Saudi. Semua tiket dari Malang – Jakarta – Arab Saudi – hingga pulangnya kembali ke Malang: langsung diterbitkan oleh Kantor Kedutaan Arab Saudi. Sangat komplit. Seluruh agenda sudah terjadwal sangat rapi. Seluruh biaya perjalanan ditanggung penuh oleh Kedutaan Arab Saudi.

Foto Tiket Pesawat


Dari Kota Malang menuju Jakarta, Pak Meru bersama istrinya dinaikkan pesawat Garuda Kelas Bisnis. Sesampainya di Jakarta, mereka menuju ke Kantor Kedutaan Arab Saudi guna berkoordinasi sebelum keberangkatan.

Setelah berkoordinasi di Kedutaan, Pak Meru langsung meluncur kembali menuju Bandara Soekarno Hatta. Dilayani secara special dan diarahkan masuk ke Lounge khusus yang di dalamnya tersajikan berbagai makanan mewah. Saking takutnya dan pakewuh dengan fasilitas yang mulai mengagetkannya, Pak Meru sempat bertanya kepada petugas terdekat:

“Pak, apakah makanan ini mbayar?” demikian tanya Pak Meru.

“Oh, ini free, Pak. Semuanya free buat Bapak,” jawab sang petugas.

Pak Meru menahan malu. Setengah takut, setengah tidak percaya.

Terbang menuju Riyadh, menunggangi pesawat Oman Air, dengan layanan business class yang semuanya serba mewah dan dilayani dengan fasilitas excellent.

“Ternyata kalau kelas bisnis enak ya. Difasilitasi begitu. Tidur bisa selonjor seperti di ranjang. Dapat piyama, dapat giveaway, mouisturizer, dan lain-lain,” tukas istri Pak Meru.


“Kayak mimpi. Beneran kayak mimpi,” ujar istri Pak Meru berkali-kali kepada kami. Mengulang-ngulang.

Tiba di Riyadh, Pak Meru Sandya beserta istri disambut oleh petugas kerajaan dan Tentara Garda Nasional Arab Saudi. Dikawal beberapa mobil beriringan, depan dan belakang. Diantarkan menuju ke hotel.

Foto Bersama Petugas Saudi

“Masya Allah, saya hanya duduk, semua yang mengurus adalah mereka,” cerita Pak Meru.

“Selama kita di sana, tidak ada yang memperlakukan kita dengan agak underestimate, tidak ada sama sekali. Kita gerak dikit gini aja, datang, kayak kita mau nyari sesuatu. Selalu datang. Can I help you? Selalu begitu. Apa aja itu ngga pernah kita kesusahan,” lanjut istri Pak Meru.


Pagi hari, tanggal 23 Desember 2018, datanglah memo di kamar hotel.

Foto Memo

Kurang lebih terjemahannya sebagai berikut:


No. 1 Menghadap sang raja pelayan dua haramain bagi para tamu festival sesuai dengan gendernya.

Tempat: di Dewan Kerajaan.
Waktu kegiatan: pukul 10.30 AM.

Tamu undangan yang terhormat.

  • Diharapkan berada pada lobi hotel pada pukul 09.40 AM, untuk mengakhiri prosedur keamanan.
  • Transportasi menggunakan bus tamu undangan.


  1. Mohon tidak membawa HP dan tas-tas disimpan di kamar.
  2. Perkiraan waktu kembali ke hotel pada pukul 14.00.
  3. Perkiraan temperatur Kota Riyadh di malam hari adalah 19 derajat celcius.

Departemen Umum Upacara Penyambutan,
Kementrian Pertahanan dan Departemen Protokoler Kenegaraan

Seluruh tamu yang akan bertemu Raja Salman di-screening sangat ketat dan diabsen satu per satu. Baru kemudian diperkenankan naik bus.

“Ada 6 bus dengan kawalan berlapis,” cerita Pak Meru seraya melanjutkan ceritanya saat tiba di istana.

“Masuk istana di Riyadh yang sangat megah dan besar. Besar sekali. Masuk halaman yang luas. Lalu kami masuk ke kayak balai room gitu. Masuk terasnya, ada pintu gede, lorong dulu, masuk lagi, baru kemudian dipersilahkan duduk. Lalu kami menunggu, dan diberi hidangan coklat. Trus, kami dikasih kayak minuman kopi Arab. Di sana berjajar pasukan spesial, full pedang.”


“Saya biasa, tipe-tipe seperti saya kan tidak suka duduk di urutan paling depan. Saya duduk di kursi baris nomor dua. Eh, sama petugas dipersilahkan duduk di baris paling depan,” ujar Pak Meru.

“Lha iya, sampe saya mikir, kita ini lho sopoo ya. Kok sampe di sana itu, Masya Allaah,” demikian kata Bu Enok, istri Pak Meru menimpali, masih setengah tidak percaya.

“Kayak film kartun itu lho, mas. Aku sakjane iki ada di panggonane sopoo iki. Ndak ada orang Indonesia sama sekali. Bajunya ya, mas. Bajunya. Semua yang hadir itu, para diplomat, pake baju kebesaran. Menghadap Raja Salman. Semua, baju yang kayak emas, mengkilap,” cerita Pak Meru.

“Sedangkan saya, pake sepatu comboran. Sepatu saya itu tiga puluh lima ribu rupiah. Nyampe di istananya Raja Salman. Sepatu plastik. Beli di pusat lowakan comboran Malang. Kalau baju saya ya baju gamis biasa,” lanjutnya sembari agak tertawa geli. Menertawakan diri sendiri.


Seluruh tamu duduk menunggu. Lalu datanglah Raja Salman. Acara diisi dengan beberapa sambutan. Acara utama adalah pidato dari Raja Salman. Beliau berpidato sebentar, kemudian seluruh tamu dipersilahkan untuk mendekat dan bersalaman satu per satu kepada Raja Salman. Pak Meru menceritakan bahwa hanya dia dan istrinya sajalah yang merupakan orang Indonesia yang hadir di forum tersebut.

“Saya dan istri adalah only orang indonesia yang hadir di situ. Semua tampang Arab. Wajah Asia pun tak ada. Kalau Afrika ada,” ujarnya menceritakan lengkap. Ia melanjutkan, “Di sana sederet dengan Raja Salman, kalau tidak salah ada Syaikh Abdurrahman As-Sudais.”

Apakah Pak Meru sempat bersalaman dengan Raja Salman?

“Iya, jemarinya lho masih kerasa hingga sekarang,” tuturnya.

Adakah foto Pak Meru bersama Raja Salman?

“Pihak kerajaan selalu melakukan dokumentasi. Di istana banyak kamera paparazzi. Tamu undangan tidak diperkenankan membawa gadget. Saya hingga sekarang masih berusaha melacak foto saya ketika bersalaman dengan Raja Salman tersebut. Yang hingga kini masih belum dapat. Karena waktu itu terkendala bahasa. Bingung, bagaimana caranya minta.”


“Bapak di sana nanti pokoknya nyaman. Nanti semua ditanggung panita. Dan Bapak diumrohkan,” demikian pernyataan pihak Kedutaan Besar Arab Saudi di Jakarta kepada Pak Meru saat sebelum keberangkatan ke Riyadh.

“Masya Allah. Puncak tertingginya itu kan umrohnya. Di Makkah kami menangis. Seperti mimpi …,” tukas istri Pak Meru.

Foto Pak Meru Sandya & Istrinya Saat Umroh

“Kalau kita keluar, orang KBRI datang. Kita diantar oleh orang KBRI. Kalau di sana ya selalu sama mereka. Kita benar-benar diwisatakan oleh Allah.”

Selama di Riyadh, Pak Meru bersama istri tinggal di Hotel InterContinental, hotel mewah tempat menginap Presiden Joko Widodo saat kunjungan ke Arab Saudi pada even KTT Arab Islamic American Summit yang lalu.

“Di InterContinental breakfastnya itu macam-macam. Dari Roti A sampai Z. Dari sereal model apa saja. Kacang-kacangan, sampai buah-buahan macam apa pun ada,” tukas istri Pak Meru.


Banyak di antara kita yang bertanya, siapakah Pak Meru ini sebenarnya?

Memiliki nama lengkap MERU SANDYA. Disebut oleh Wakil Duta Besar Arab Saudi untuk Indonesia dengan sebutan MIRO SANDIO karena mengikuti ejaan Bahasa Arab. Beliau lahir di Yogyakarta, 15 Desember 1962. Istrinya bernama Enok Indah Winarni. Dan memiliki 2 orang anak.

Berprofesi sebagai seorang pelukis tulen yang sangat ahli di bidang seni lukis aliran realisme dan aliran naturalisme. Lukisan-lukisannya sangat detail dan memiliki teknik gradasi warna yang cantik. Susunan perbandingan, perspektif, tekstur, pewarnaan, gelap terang yang sangat detail dan permainan yang soft. Hampir tidak ada perbedaan dengan kenyataan. Sangat perhitungan. Telah mengikuti beberapa pameran dan beberapa lukisannya telah dibawa ke luar negeri.


  • Gambar Realis: “The King Messenger” Tahun 1999
  • “Jembatan Merah Soerabaja 1920” Tahun 2013
  • Gambar Dekoratif “Berangkat Ke Pura” Tahun 2013. Karya ini dibawa ke Perancis.
  • “The Forest” Tahun 2015.
  • Lukisan Abstrak “Falling in Love” Tahun 2003. Lukisan ini dibawa ke Kanada.
  • Lukisan Untuk Raja Salman: “Sawah Tegalalang Ubud” Tahun 2017
  • Membuat Karya Interior di Gedung Balaikota DKI Jakarta Saat Kepemimpinan Gubernur Soerjadi Soedirdja.
  • Dan karya-karya lain yang tidak bisa disebutkan satu per satu.