By : Sadry Saputra, S.H
“I heard the sound of a hard beating which then was followed by the hysterical crying of a woman. I wondered if my neighbor received a violence from her husband. After we made sure that the perpetrator walked away from his home, I dared myself to see the victim and I found her haunch bruised because of being hit by the wooden block. I cried to see all of this. Oh My God.”
Then Fatmawati brought the victim to ask for help from the Law Firm. At the beginning, the victim was doubtful and frightened. But Fatmawati continued to persuade her, because it was neglected, so the violence will happen more and more, even though it can become a fatal condition. She also contacted her colleague who works in Law Aid to look for a shelter to accommodate the victim. Because of Fatmawati’s sensitivity, the victim can survive and the perpetrator was finally imprisoned. The story is a real experience which was delivered by Fatmawati in the voice recorded under the title “Experience of Woman Ulama who assist the violence cases” which was uploaded in Swara Rahima in November 2020.
Fatmawati’s interest in women’s issues actually had grown up from her childhood. Fatmawati which is often called as Hilal by her colleague, was born on 20 March 1974 in a small village namely Pattunuang, in Kecamatan Simbang, of Maros District, South Sulawesi. When she was still in her junior high school, Fatmawati started to be curious in seeing the gap that happen between men and women. She wrote about her curiosity in her diary and sometimes she discussed it with her friends. In a special moment at school, Fatmawati requested to the committee to be given space to express her idea by reading poems. Then she read the poems in front of the public related to gender equality. Suddenly all the audiences were amazed to hear that poems, because the gender equality is not a common issue which is raided by the girl of her age. That was the time that become an initial time of Fatwamawi interested in learning the women issues.
Fatmawati finished her undergraduate program majoring in Civil Crime of the Syariah Faculty of Islamic State Institute of Alauddin of Ujung Pandang in 1993-1997. Then she continued her study in the Sharia and Qur’anic Exegesis of the Magister Program of Islamic State Institute Ujung Pandang in 1998-2000. Then, her doctoral degree in the Shariah/Islamic Law concentration of Islamic State University of Alauddin Makassar year 2003-2007. At the time, Fatmawati was the first woman who obtained a Doctoral degree of UIN Alauddin Makassar in her relative’s very young age, 33 years old. During her process of study, Fatmawati also participated in several organizations in her college such as Ikatan Mahasiswa Darud Da’wah wal-Irsyad (IMDI), Pergerakan Mahasiswa Islam Indonesia (PMII) of South Sulawesi, and as the leaders of Senat Mahasiswa Fakultas (SMF) Syari’ah, IAIN Alauddin and etc.
In the journey of her career, Fatmawati had become Lecture of STAIN Parepare since 2006. Then, in 2016 she move to become lecture in Islamic State University of Alauddin Makassar and now she is obtained the responsibility as the Chair of Ilmu Falak program study of the Shariah and Law Faculty. As a woman who had been appointed as the Chair of study program, her successful is when she can bring her study program who had just 4 years, achieving the Accreditation of BAN PT in the B level. Her position as the Chair of Ilmu Falak study program become motivation for the women around her to show that women can contribute and play significant roles in various dimensions of life. Fatmawati always support all of the student to participate and play significant roles in the students organizations.
Fatmawati’s involvement in the Kongres Ulama Perempuan Indonesia (KUPI) or Indonesian Women Ulama Congress in Cirebon 2017, is the initial process to meet with Rahima, Fahmina, and other women’s organizations. Her participation in the KUPI made her sights and perspective on women issues more open. Previously, she perceived that the prohibitions and restrictions for women had become a religious term and condition. But now when her intellectual horizon is deeper, Fatmawati affirmed her position to struggle for women’s rights which are often marginalized. She also rejects violence against women which are seldom justified by the religious interpretations.
When Fatmawati’s sensitivity built, she started to see that women have so many problems in her aspects of life. The problems she often face are violence against women, sexual violence, and violence against children. There are also handicaps related to women leadership, because there is a stigma that perceives women incapable to become leaders.
Based on that background, she raises women issues in every sermon or discussion on campus. She does this actions to educate the followers (jemaah) and her students, that Islam had lifted up women’s dignity and position as human being which their rights must be fullfilled. Among the issues she delivered are equality relations between husband and wife in the family, female circumcision, and gender inequalities which happen in the society. In delivering speech or raising issues in the discussions, she always refers to the Quran and Sunnah, so that the jama’ah (followers) as well as the students can respond well to the subjects she delivered. Through those kinds of efforts, Fatmawati’s dakwah movement receives support from many parties and of course immediately brings real changes in the society.
(The Author is the First Graduate of Ilmu Falak study program of Shariah and Law Faculty of UIN Alauddin Makassar)