Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The SIRI Marriage

A legitimate Marriage in Indonesia is conducted according to the religion of the couple concerned,   and registered according to the national law.

Basically, a man can only have one wife, and a woman can only have one husband.
However, a man can request the Court of Law to allow him to marry more than one woman, if his existing wife gave her approval.

In spite of the above stipulations of the Marriage Law No. 1/1974, some Muslim men have married women based on the Islamic Law but do not register the marriage with with the marriage registrar office. Such kind of marriage is called the SIRI marriage.

According to Kompas, women activists have protested against SIRI marriage because it does not provide legal protection to women. They proposed that men who practiced SIRI Marriage should be treated as criminals, and punnished by the Court of Law. This proposal was supported by the Chief of the Supreme Court Harifin A. Tumpa, and the Chief of the Constitutional Court Mahfud MD.

Considering the above, I hope that the law enforcement agencies would make more serious efforts to prevent the SIRI Marriage.

Photo : Courtesy of Kompas


Kiwi Riverman's Blogesphere said...

Such a marriage should be banned. Only a legally defined marriage should be allowed in whatever country. I dont wish to criticise a religion of any country, but the law is the law is the law! As Jesus Christ said, there is God's Law, and Caesar's Law. The latter is the law of the land!

umihoney said...

We can have 1001 laws if we so wish but executing them is another story.Enforcement is crucial.Even when a man registers his 2nd 3rd and 4th marriages if he doesn't provide for them.we are back to square one.And when the wives seek legal help to enforce the family law,it will take ages for the case to be resolved even in a monogamous marriage.The rules and condition for polygamy in Islam are already stated and they are there to protect the women and the children.It's the men who are ignorant and ruthless that give polygamy and Islam a bad image.Enough said :(

H. Nizam said...


The law here is already very clear, therefore marriage that is against it should be banned.

Only very few Muslim men practiced such marriage. Most Muslims, incl. me, do not agree.

Even polygamy is allowed under certain condition, but only few men practice it.

H. Nizam said...


This is about enforcing the law which is valid, and good, for all the people that consists of various religion, ethnics, cultures.
Even in a legal monogamous marriage problems can arise, like you said law enforcement is very crucial.

katy said...

this is the first time i knew about marriage in malaysia, the man can marry another one with due consent from his wife, such so insane, but theyre muslim country if im not mistake so polygamy is basically accepted but personally i still believe in one man to one woman thats basically what marriage is all about.

H. Nizam said...


Thank you for your visit and comment.

Please be advised that my post refer to the marriage in Indonesia (not Malaysia).

Polygamy can only be done if Court allowed based on the approval of the man's existing wife, and other conditions like the man should be able to treat his wives equally, should be capable, the said wife cannot give birth to a child after many years of marriage.
That's why only few men practiced polygamy.

And that is also why few other men choose the illegal SIRI marriage.

ambiguous_angel said...

its unethical--i think:)

Edwin's Personal Blog said...

A sirri marriage is vulnerable for the insistence of social life, since it's not of firm legitimacy of our country. So it depends on how we overlook about this matter...

colson said...

Not necessarily because of the words of Christ, but I have to agree with Kiwi Riverman's Blogosphere opinion: "the law is the law is the law". Of course it should be strictly maintained indeed. And no exceptions to the rule'; polygamy, which is institutionalised adultery, shouldn't be allowed under any condition anno 2010.

(By the way: In Great Britain up till now "New British nationals" - if they are married to more than one wife the moment they become British- have their polygamy officially recognized.)

H. Nizam said...


Yes, definitely unethical.


The siri marriage does not require registration with the national marriage registrar office, so it is against the national law.
Since Indonesia is based on the principle of nationalism, not religion, therefore Siri Marriage is illegal.


I agree that polygamy should not be allowed.
However, the fact is our national marriage law allow polygamy based on very strict conditions that is very difficult to fulfill:
1) Based on Court's decision;
2) The man must have his wife's written permit to marry again;
3) The man must be capable to support all his families equally well
4) His wife is severely sick

It is the above very difficult condition that forced few men to get married illegally through SIRI.

Thank you for your information regarding polygamy in Great Britain

Rob Baiton said...


Herein lies the dilemma. Nikah siri is permitted under Islam, is it not? Therefore, the dilemma is that religious law does not follow state law. So, which one should prevail? The laws of God of the laws of Man? :D

If nikah siri could be regulated in a manner that protected the interests of the woman and any subsequent children of that "marriage" would this be sufficient to allow the practice to continue?

@ Colson...
Institutionalized adultery, nice!

However, is it possible that there are women who choose to enter into polygamous marriages? Is it also possible that there are first wives who permit their husbands to take a second, third, or fourth wife?

If so, then is it still institutionalized adultery? And, assuming that, in the Indonesian case, the man satisfies the criteria then why should it not be permitted?

Polygamous marriages are not recognized in Australia (at least to the best of my knowledge). In the event that a polygamous family enters Australia as immigrants, then the first wife is recognized as the "legal" wife and the other wives are recognized as de facto partners.

Under Australian law de facto partners are afforded pretty much the same protections as legal spouses.

H. Nizam said...


Our constitution stipulated that Indonesia is a national state, so it is the marriage law 1/1974 which is also based on religion, that should prevail.
As I've said on my post, said law require marriage to be done based on religion, therefore it is not in conflict with religion.
But rather, the marriage law supplemented the religious law.

Let me quote your words :
"If nikah siri could be regulated in a manner that protected the interests of the woman and any subsequent children of that "marriage" would this be sufficient to allow the practice to continue?"
In order to make a religious based marriage "legal" it should only be registered with official registrar Of course, there are requirements to be fulfilled. For example if a man is married, he must get permissions from his wife and the Court, etc. etc.

Thank you for your information regarding polygamous marriage in Australia.

My Beauty Flash said...

i'm moslem and i dont agree with Siri Marriage :)

H. Nizam said...

My Beauty Flash,

That means that we share the same opinion. I am also a Muslim.