Polygamy In Indonesia – Is it true? That Indonesians, male can have 4 wives at the same time? That’s the first question.
Well, such a question was once raised to me by my western friend.
The second , quite similar, was raised also when some of my working colleagues, foreigners not Indonesian, jokingly, asked me why I had only one wive. As a moslem, I am allowed to marry more than 1 woman.
I could only grin and keep my mouth shut. To explain about this polygamy matter is quite difficult. It would be harder to explain in front of my spouse.
Anyway, as this is also part of Indonesia culture , probably it is wise to give the answer to those questions. At least, my wife is not here, so the explanation can be more blatant.
Is it true polygamy is allowed in Indonesia?
In fact, it is. Yes, it is true that Indonesian man can marry more than one woman as their wive.
This is not only based on culture, habit or custom in the society but Indonesian laws permit such doings. The law, Indonesia Marriage Law no 1, 1974 clearly provides the chances. Man can have more than 1 wive at the same time.
How about women? Can they have more husbands? No, they can not. The same laws stipulated this.
How many wives can a man have?
Well, the answer will be quite astonishing. The same law doesn’t limit the number of women who can be married by a man. This can be interpreted no limit.
In reality, there is a practice about a man having 9 women as his official wives. He is a public figure, a lawyer, and his picture with his wives circulated on internet. So, this is proven.
However, moslems, this mean I am included, are limited by what Qoran says. Four is the limit for each moslem man.
So, based on this, if you are Indonesians and moslems then you are allowed to marry 4 women only. But, if you are from other religions, that allow polygamy, then the number depends on what your holy book say.
Why do I have only one wife?
Before you get my answer? Then, please take a look at the conditions required by the law to get permission to marry more than one woman.
The law says
- You must apply to a court to be granted the permission
- The wife or wives must provide you their agreement for such conduct
- Some specific conditions related to the current wife/wives that encourage the applicant to submit their appeal must be fulfilled.
The wife related conditions are
- If your wife is proven to be barren, this can be a solid ground for your application
- the wife suffer incurable diseases
- the wife can not do her obligations
The polygamy applicant should also prove
- they are able to fulfill the needs of the wife/wives
- they are able to act fairly to all of wives
Not so easy, right? It is not what many people thinks that there is an easy way to marry more than 1 woman. Even though, formally, it is allowed in Indonesia but the regulation has clearly required the applicant to prove themselves before a permission is granted and their second, third, fourth wives can be officially registered by the state.
Siri Marriage (Nikah Siri/Kawin Siri)
Fulfilling all requirements to do polygamy is very difficult. There should not be too many polygamy cases in Indonesia if the law is used as the basis. However, you will find many mean in Indonesia that have2,3,4 wives.
How could they do that?
In Indonesia with 80% of its population are moslems, the culture and tradition has given another chance in a name of “Siri” Marriage or “unregistered” marriage.
The couple perform their wedding according to Islamic Laws only. It is legitimate under Islam but it can not be registered by the state. Usually, it is done in secret.
Our society is permissive to this kind of marriage. However, there are consequences for couples who commit Siri Marriage. Since their status is not registered, then their children can not be registered under the name of the father. Most of the cases, their children will be recorded under their mother’s name.
That’s the short explanation about how to do polygamy in Indonesia. I hope you don’t have any intention to do it.
Now, as the closure, I should answer the question “why do I have only one wife?” Well. Not all Indonesian men want to have more than one woman in their life. I am included. I believe in love and soulmate. The happiness is not about number but about how to enjoy each other.
Besides, I am already happy and don’t think can be happier than now. why do I have to add more burden in my life? The responsibility to have one wife is already quite big. I don’t think I can bear more.