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Monday, April 16, 2007


What has happened to Kristina—one potential dangdut singer in Indonesia-can be considered as one example of how men in Indonesia generally still think that their wives are their property. Islam has been abused by many conservative men in this case. Men who are thought as the head of the family have full rights to decide what to do in the family, including to let their wife work outside the house, or even do a simple thing to do, just go outside the house, let’s say to go shopping or visiting her own parents.

I still remember when I was a kid, my elementary school teacher told my classmates and me about an example of a saliha (pious) wife who did not dare to go out of the house because her husband told her to stay home all the time before he went to war. Even when her parent was about to die, she insisted not to leave the house by saying, “Tell my parent that I cannot leave the house because my husband didn’t let me go. Send my regards to my parent.” Even, when her parent died, she stayed put.

When someone told Prophet Muhammad about this ‘incident’ by saying bad thing about the woman (because she did not care to visit her ailing parent), Prophet Muhammad was believed to say, “The parent will go to heaven easily for he has such a pious daughter.”

The message that my teacher wanted to tell us was clear, a woman must always listen to what her husband says.

I used to believe in such a fairy tale. However now I keep questioning whether that really happened in the time of Prophet Muhammad, or it was just a made-up story by irresponsible and inferior men to make women listen to what they say.

Going back to Kristina. Although she does not want to admit that her husband forbids her to resume her career as one potential dangdut singer in Indonesia after getting married, it is clearly seen that her husband has misused the teaching of Islam to show his gut as husband. He knew Kristina as one popular singer, with her busy schedules for show, and that she was one main breadwinner in the family. Under Kristina, there are many people who earn their money by working in the management of Kristina as a singer. Al Amin—Kristina’s husband—is not supposed to forget that. With the dissolve of the management, many people lose their jobs and we know that is it difficult to get a job in Indonesia nowadays. Kristina herself is not happy with that but she cannot do much because she stopped singing after her wedding.

She is in between now. Will she continue her choice to be Al Amin’s wife and be a pious wife to listen to anything her husband says to her? Or will she resume her career to make her parents happy by supporting their life financially and at the same time she can open some job vacancies for some people?

I am wondering if she made any prenuptial agreement with her husband about her career.

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