By: Helmi Ali

Prof. KH. Ali Yafie  is well known as a religious leader with numbers of creation, also one of  the well-known ulama, also important person with various positions and posts. For his family, Kyai Ali Yafie is a husband who really recognizes, respects, and loves his wife, Nyai Aisyah Umar. The loving attitude are always seen by their children and become a role model.

Kyai Ali Yafie was born in Wani, Donggala, Sulawesi Tengah 1 September 1926. He was born under the full name Muhammad Ali,  but in the future he will be well-known as Ali Yafie. While Nyai Aisyah Umar, was born and grew up in Jampue, Pinrang. Kyai Ali Yafie and Nyai Aisyah Umar got married around in 1993 or 1944, in the very young age. Kyai Ali Yafie was around 17 or 18 years old, while Nyai Aisyah around 15 or 16 years old. At that time marriage in the young age was a common thing. They never meet each other before getting married. Sothe lovebetween them started to grow and develop after they were chained in marriage.

Marriage is a  Sturdy  Agreement

At his time, when Kyai Ali Yafie was still young,  having more than one wife is a common thing. There were some of his relatives, among the kyai who has more than a wife. He had the opportunity and had so many occassions. He was a public figure (in DDI, NU, and etc.), as the leader of several offices he managed, as the teacher, lecture, and dean (of the Ushulluddin or Theology Faculty of IAIN Alauddin Makassar), then become members of parliaments (since the Distric Level up to National Level). Kyai Ali Yafie also travels manytimes in several areas, meets, and connects with the so many people. Through his characters and knowledge, and accompanied by the tidy and interesting performance, it will steal the attentions. He was popular in his community. But, the unique thing, he never utilize the opportunity and occasions.There was no rumours or gossips related to him.

One of the answer is that because Kyai Ali Yafie of course closes the door of oportunity and never wants to utilize the occasions. He really respects to his wife and vice versa. His wife is his friend, and also his companions in arms. He really believes in his wife, and vice versa. He feels the diificulties and happiness together with his wife. He believes that his wife is his soulmate.

For him, marriage is a chain and sturdy agreement. Marriage must be maintained by closing all the opportunities and occasions that enable the chain become loose. And the way to maintain it is by accepting the spouse just the way he/she is. Husband and wife should believe each other, and to believe ecah other they hape to open to each other. The goal of the marriage is sakinah (tranquility) which based on mawaddah (love) and rahmah (compassion).

When mawaddah and rahmah as the foundation, so every lack of the spouse does not become problems anymore. But become the part of uniqueness that are recognized as they way he or she is. To achieve that goals, the couple should have good communication, to speak well and also to listen actively.

The acceptance is not only done by the husband to his wife and vice versa, but also to the family members of the spouse. Kyai Ali Yafie has a good relationship to the family of his wife (Almarhum Syech Muhsen Umar), and also Nyai Aisyah Umar really respects to the family of Kyai Ali Yafie. Even though, the youngest brother of Kyai Ali Yafie, Idris al-Yafie assumed Nyai Aisyah Umar as his mother.

  For Kyai Ali Yafie, men and women has the same degree before Allah. The functions and roles can be different, but it has the same degree. Kyai Ali Yafie referred to QS. Ahzab 35, that can be understood that a man did not have higher degree than woman. Men and women are equal. They don’t become more noble than another. If people understand it, so there is no reason to disgrace or to underestimate one another.

Building the Equal Relationship 

Kyai Ali Yafie always involved his wife, Nyai Aisyah in every decision that related to the house hold. Outside the office or professional affairs, Kyai Ali Yafie and Nyai Aisyah always walk together. So there are so many photographs which only both of them. The close persons to Kyai Ali Yafie agreed that he is a romantic man to his wife.

One of the story came from Nurcholish Madjid or known with his nickname Cak Nur. In the early 1990, he joined in the pilgirimage groups as the Hajj Advisor, and as the Hajj  Advisor they can invite his wife to join. There are some public figures who became the Hajj Advisor at that time and Nurcholish Madjid is one of them.

In one of occasions, the Hajj advisors must be hurry to Medina  by the plane and the will return in a day. Because of the urgent situation (related to the itenerary of the aeroplane), then the Hajj Advisors did not have opportunity to come back to the hotel to inform their wives. They wend directly to Jeddah and then to Madinah. But Kyai Ali Yafie took the opportunity by asking a piece of paper and envelope, and then wrote a message on that paper,  entered it in the envelope and asked the staff to send it to his wife in the hotel.

Cak Nur and another people didn’t know the content of the letter, until they came back to the hotel. They were greeted coldly by their wives and in the dining room they satirized Cak Nur and others by saying, “How good and how big is Kyai Ali Yafie’s attention to Ibu Nyai Aisyah”; “A husband should be like Kyai Ali Yafie, treating his wife respectfully.” Because the did not feel  doing something wrong or violate something that uncommon, then they started to question, what did happen exactly and what was the good treatment of Kyai Ali Yafie to Nyai Aisyah Umar?

Until finally a room mate of Nyai Aisyah Umar told that the letter which was sent by Kyai Ali Yafie, after being read by Nyai Aisyah Umar it was put on the table and had opportunity to read it. The message was very simple, just to inform that Kyai Ali Yafie apologized because of the groups of Hajj Advisors must be hurry to go to Medina. And he did not have time to come back to the hotel to inform her. Kyai Ali Yafie also asked her for not waiting for him if she wanted to eat or to go (for sightseeing or shopping).

The simplicity and modesty is a routinity,  on how Kyai Ali Yafie is respectful to his wife. He also take chance to go together just both of them in the middle of his hectic business, giving the information when he came late, and also inform any kind of activity he does.

*) The Author is Chair of Supervisors of Rahima Association

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