JEDDAH: A large number of Saudis are engaging in temporary marriages with Indonesian women with the intention of divorcing them.
“Such marriages are likely to increase if Islamic scholars fail to give a clear ruling prohibiting them,” said Khaled Al-Arrak, director of Saudi affairs at the Saudi Embassy in Jakarta.
He said most Saudis were engaged in such marriages without realizing their consequences. “Some poor Indonesians marry off their girls to Saudis hoping it would put an end to their poverty and miseries. If the Council of Senior Islamic Scholars does not ban this type of marriages, things will go out of control,” Al-Arrak warned.
There are so many offices in Indonesia that facilitate such marriages, Al-Watan Arabic daily said. The marriage takes place in the presence of witnesses and a man posing as the father of the bride.
These women do not know that their marriages would end within a few days and that they would have to bear children of people who would abandon them.
Last year, the Saudi Embassy in Jakarta received 82 calls regarding children of Saudis who had married Indonesian women and then abandoned them. “We have received 18 such calls from abandoned Indonesian wives of Saudis and their children this year so far,” Al-Arrak said.
The Saudi Embassy official said that the cases registered with the embassy accounted for only 20 percent of such marriages that have actually taken place.
Aysha Noor, 22, an Indonesian woman from Sikka Bhumi, 160 km east of Jakarta, said her parents married her to a young Saudi man when she was 16, thinking it would be a blessing for the family and end their poverty.
“We in Indonesia consider people of Makkah and Madinah as blessed ones. The man gave me a dowry of six million Indonesian rupiahs (SR2,024). The dowry helped us to solve some of our economic problems. My family did not know that the man was intending to have a temporary marriage.”
She adds: “After a few days he paid us the remaining amount of three million rupiahs (SR1,011) and left the country.” Noor said she later had a similar marriage with another Saudi before finding a job at a nightclub as a singer and dancer.
There are many women in Indonesia who have similar stories to tell. Some of them find it difficult to look after their children from Saudi husbands. The Saudi Embassy in Jakarta registers such Saudi children and helps them travel to the Kingdom to recognize their fathers but many refuse to accept them.
The embassy also receives visa requests for marriages, particularly for people of special needs and elderly who want to marry Indonesian women. These marriages often fail because the Saudi society treats them as maids and they cannot merge with the society primarily because of language barrier. Such marriages cost between SR5,000 and SR10,000.
S.P. Dharmakirty, consul for information at the Indonesian Consulate in Jeddah, confirmed that temporary marriages involving Saudis were taking place in his country.
“Indonesian authorities have taken appropriate measures to curb this practice,” he told Arab News, adding that some people involved in such illegal marriages have been detained.
The consul also pointed out that the marriage of some Indonesian women with elderly and handicapped Saudis was not legal.
“We face many problems because such marriages are not registered and the women coming from Indonesia use visa for maids to come to the Kingdom,” he said. “Some of them later come to consulate to seek advice,” he added.