Em Sapri Ende: Calling for equality, does not mean absent from challenges

By: Muflihah Wijayanti

Em Sapri Ende is the Chair of  Religious Affairs Office or KUA  of Kecamatan Batanghari, Lampung Timur. The outest municipal or Kecamatan in Lampung Timur whic is directly adjacent with Kota Metro,  which located precisely in the middle of Lampung Province. He was born in Sri Rejeki, Tegineneng, 16 Maret 1968, and he is a father of a son and twou daughters. The three children are gifted from his marriage with Hartinah, a woman whose profession is a teacher of Physics in SMA 6 Kota Metro Lampung.

Em Sapri obtained his education in the Sharia Faculty of IAIN Raden Intan Bandar Lampung, which now had transformed as Islamic State University. His spirit of seeking knowledge made him continued his education in the Post Graduate program of IAIN Metro  in Family Law Studies. His career as the Chair of  Religious  Affairs Office or KUA had been experienced almost two decades, since 2000. He moved in several kecamatan or municipals from Kabupaten Lampung Barat and Lampung Timur. KUA Kecamatan Batanghari is his place to serve and this is the 6th KUA he lead.

Family is the Place to Serve, Hope and  Idea

Em Sapri means family with the three key-words, namely  dedication, hope, and idea.  Em Sapri really considered that in the family there must be dynamics, twists, and turns. According to him, when starting to build a femily so they must be ready since the beginning. Not only in the well situation, but also when a problem comes,  they must solve together.

In the context of family resilience, Em Sapri said that all members of the family have the equal role and must support and empower one another,  both in the domestic sphere as well as in the public sphere. There is no monopoly of roles and responsibilities for certain individuals, but all of them contributes to the family resilence. The roles that should be played in the family is called ‘dedication’ by EmSapri. “So, if  somebody had entered in the family,  everyone should consider to serve, to dedicate themselves in achieving the goals and the wellness of the family”, he said.

In addition to that, family is a place to achieve the ideas. Probably, when somebody was single, they had so many ideas, obsessions and hopes that had not been realized. So, in the family the hope to realize them are widely spread together with the spouse and children. The achievement works if done by somebody themselves can be fast and easily  achieved if it is done together in the contezt of cooperation. Also for example, if the parents had not achieved their ideas, there is hope that the children will continue their struggle.

The meaning of the family as mentioned by Mr.Sapri was confirmed through the statement of Hartinah, his wife.  That in term of the place of dedication, Sapri’s family experienced the difficult time to be separated for a moment in the impelementation of the goverment duties in the different cities. “I can’t imagine we have to live in different cities when our children were still very  young age. But at that time we lived our life by the feeling of grateful. We only meet in the weekend. Alhamdulillah, in the next following year,  I can follow him and we meet together again>” As a couple, Em Sapri and Hartinah considered that family is place to dedicate.

Preaching Equality through  Becoming Role Model

The encountering of Em Sapri with Rahima in the program involving men in eliminating gender based violence (GBV) brings so many changes in his mind, attitude and behavior as individual as the chair of KUA and also as community leaders. Although EmSapri said that his knowlege regarding equal relation between men and women is not ‘a really new thing’ for him, because he had learned it during his study in the university. But the ‘mubadalah’ (reciprocity relations) had given the colour and strengthened his understanding about equality and justice as the spririt of Islamic teaching.

In his family relation, the understanding of cooperation between husband and wife had been considered together. Em Sapri and his wife are accustomed to share the roles and duties. The domestic works such as  washing the clothes, ironing, and  taking care of the children  are usually done together or  shifting one another. But, previously  he did it because of  feeling of piety and humanity, or did not have a heart to see his wife did it alone. There was a feeling arrogant that this was because of the husband’s kindness to play the domestic roles.  But now this roles he implemented under the consideration that this is a mutual responsibility.  It also happen in the decision making process in the family, he always involves his wife and children who have been worth to be talking to.

This also happen to the roles of husband and wife in the public sphere,  everybody has the same access for self actualization, to be active, to achieve careers, and to socialize in the society. Everyone should  consider to the equal roles with the family affairs. Beside works as teacher, Hartinah was appointed to be treasurer of Bantuan Operasional Sekolah (BOS) or School Operational Aids and the treasure of the School Cooperation. Previously, she was appointed to become Vice Principal/Vice Head Master for the Facilities and Infrastuctures affairs. “My husband always supports me in developing my career”, Hartinah said while she was talking about Em Sapri’s contributions in her career.

Being  “New Man” Does Not Mean Absent from Challenges

In impelementing his role and function as the Chair of KUA, the ethics of family that are based on partnership and cooperation are always echoed. But, the hadith that said about the submission of a woman to her husband as an expression of  “istri shalihah” ( a pious wife) is still become the favorite hadith. “ I still deliver this kind of preaching, but according to the terms and conditions that the husband is a responsiblehusband who wants to educate and protect his family”,  Em Sapri said, “There must also the reciprocity, a husband also must respect his wife.”

At the end of the interview, Sapri said that there is a cultural constrains in implementingthe gender equality concepts. A man who mant to share the roles and do the domestic works are often labelled as “A Husband who Fears to His Wife”. This label is of course uncomfortable to hear. For example, one day Hartinah was gossiped as a wife who brave to order her husband to dry the clothes. But Em Saprii did not respond to it. In an appropriate occassion,  Em Sapri told about the Prophet’s example  in treating his wife, which was full of love, patience, and cooperate together in doing the domestic works and never performs violence.

Em Sapri also often narrated the history of the Prophet who did the domestic works based on the hadith shahih (the valid hadiths). “We don’t have to be reactive for the objection and contempt. Doing the dakwah (preaching) through uswah (examples) are more effective to change  the community structure to be more equal, happy, and making happiness” Em Sapri  ended his explanation.

*The Author is the Chair  of PSGA IAIN Metro Lampung

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