Meet Ustadzah Paridah Abbas, the wife of Sheikh Mukhlas alias Ali Ghufron, after her visit to Nusa Kambangan. Besides pouring her heart out, the following is also a “souvenir” from her and contained a will of her beloved husband for his children.
Ar Rahmah Media (AM) : Assalamu’alaikum. Wr. Wb! Ustadzah, How are you?
Ustadzah Paridah Abbas (UPA): Alhamdulillah, fine.
AM : 6 years have already passed since the Bali Bombing incident, how’s your and your family’s condition?
UPA : Alhamdulillah, fine as well.
AM : The children now look all grown up, how’s their education? Is it all handled by Ustadzah?
UPA : For academic study we allot it to the school, just an ordinary school. On the subject of dinniyah (religion) as well as Al Qur’an, it’s all handled by me.
AM : The decision of the court (execution) for Sheikh Muhklas, your husband is getting closer, how do you feel about it Ustadzah?
UPA : I actually feel normal. Because all these while we have never thought about the execution. The execution is only a human invention and the matter of death is not in their hands.
AM : You still support your husband in this matter ?
UPA : Yes, Insha Allah, Alhamdulillah.
AM : Ustadzah was born in Singapore and have certainly been living there and also in Malaysia, as well as Indonesia. How do you view each of the country of the Malay cluster?
UPA : Wait, what does that actually mean? (UPA was quite shocked and surprised). But I did not grow up in Singapore. All of the three countries are the same in principles, namely a secular country. Even though Malaysia claimed itself as an Islamic state, in reality it is not, only its official religion is Islam. As for me personally, since I have never collaborated with the government, I have never encountered the discrimination experienced by some of our sisters who wear hijab and work in certain governmental departments.
AM : Meaning Ustadzah have never experienced any discrimination at all in Malaysia?
UPA : So far, I have not personally, except in issues of immigration.
AM : Is the symptom of Islamophobia more critical in Malaysia than in Indonesia or Singapore?
UPA : Maybe the condition could be compared to Indonesia during the implementation of the subversive orders. The condition in Malaysia is like that today.
AM : Malaysia is like that today? Religious talks, Islamic and Jihad magazines and its kind could not be circulated there?
UPA : More or less like that. There are such magazines and others like it, but they have not had the courage to come out in the open except the people who are all prepared to take all the risks which includes the Internal Security Acts or ISA (subversive Malaysian law, ed).
AM : Ustadzah, a lot of people shed their tears while reading your book “Orang Bilang Ayah Teroris” (people say my father is a terrorist) as they are touched by it, can you please tell us how did you manage to write the book?
UPA : I have to explain that originally the book was not meant to be published. Ustadz (Ustadz Ali Ghufron alias Mukhlas) and I were always communicating with each other just like any other couples do, and alhamdulillah, Ustadz is a very faithful listener. So when I was in Klaten and he was already arrested, I did not have any friend there, so I naturally poured my heart out on paper. And then I gave those writings to Ustadz, and after Ustadz read it, he thought that it would be better if the book was to be shared amongst the Muslimahs. So I let the rest to be handled by Ustadz, until it turned out into a book. Personally, I feel shy because after people read the book they began to look on me with high regard, whereas I am only an ordinary person who are not spared from wrongs.
AM : Not many people could withstand it when struck by heavy tests and trials that come from Allah SWT. What is the secret and method of Ustadzah in tackling this situation?
UPA : I myself feel that without the help of Allah SWT, wallahu’alam, I do not know how it would turn out to be. It is a big possibility that there are other Muslimahs who are facing even bigger and heavier challenges (trials) in life compared to what I am experiencing. It is down to Allah SWT, alhamdulillah, I feel that Allah’s help is always there, ie. in terms of material as well as morale.
AM : With regards to Sheikh Mukhlas, Ustadzah’s husband, how is Ustadzah’s view on him at this time? Is it the same as during the earlier times?
UPA : What appeared different is his ‘ilm (knowledge) and his full and total comprehension, it is better now and his spirit is also fiery. Actually he has been enthusiastic since a long time ago, it’s just that we were both busy then and thus the expression was not like what we see today.
AM : Ustadzah now resides in Malaysia? How is the society’s perceptions and reactions towards Ustadzah?
UPA : Alhamdulillah, for now everything is good and the response they give is positive. We are also given moral and material supports especially by the school and the village chief and alhamdulillah by the favor of Allah, many of them are my friends who are also Ustadzs, so they give us a lot of assistance and there is no problem. They know who we are and they accept us as who we are. Alhamdulillah!
AM : What is Ustadzah’s plan for the future if the execution is to be carried out? How about the children?
UPA : (Ustadzah Ummu Asma' appeared thinking seriously). I have not thought about it yet. Yeah… I haven’t been thinking about it. As usual... maybe just let it go with the flow.
AM : Ustadzah, are you all these while supporting and justifying what had been done by Ustadzah’s husband, Sheikh Mukhlas?
UPA : I know all along that he had been doing it out of his responsibility as a Mukmeen on the basis Al Qur’an and As Sunnah, therefore Insha Allah I am supporting him.
AM : Is Ustadzah not afraid of being labeled as a terrorist? Wife of a terrorist?
UPA : I have always been labeled as such. I am not surprised anymore. Especially in this country (Indonesia, ed) I am being labeled as the wife of a terrorist. If in the country of my residence ie. Malaysia, people know me as the wife of Ustadz Mukhlas.
AM : Has Sheikh Mukhlas already left a wills for Ustadzah? What is the wills?
UPA : If the execution were to happen and after the execution is done, he doesn’t want his body to be touched by the hands of “taghouts”. Meaning, in order to confirm their death, it should be done by a doctor, and it should be a doctor from amongst the Mukmeen and supposing an autopsy is to be done, though actually it is not necessary, then it should also be done by a doctor from amongst the Mukmeen. Then it should be ensured that his corpse would not have anything on it that comes from the taghout. Even a piece of cloth or a sheet from the taghout is not wanted. And supposing that the prison staffs have already washed his body, he requests that his body should be washed once again by the people from amongst the Mukmeen. Since he wants all to be truly done by the Mukmeen, which includes checking the costs, eg. the cost of transportation and so on. He doesn’t want anything, even just a bit that comes from the taghout. Next is the issue about performing his funeral prayer or not, as there are two differing opinions, he thus assigns it to the Ahlul Ilmi (the learned) to decide which has the best advantage and the most benefits.
AM : Ustadzah, Ustadz Mukhlas got married again recently, how’s your opinion on that:
UPA : Actually it is a long story. I had already asked Ustadz Mukhlas to marry again since we were still having two children, not even six children yet. But Ustadz always refused… no thanks, no thanks, until we have six children and then he was arrested. I didn’t feel easy, when I heard that their families were visiting, Imam Samudra’s wife was there visiting, Amrozi’s wife visited, whereas I could not come to visit, except for just once a year, when Allah willed it. So I always felt uneasy although Ustadz always said that it’s not a problem. So in the end, I told him; let me find the suitable candidate. So I looked for one, and then after obtaining the approval from Ustadz, I proposed this Muslimah to him, and alhamdulillah he agreed and thus they married and I feel so happy because I feel like Allah SWT has lightened by burden.
AM : Subhanallah…! Next, what is your advice to the Muslimahs who are facing the same ordeal.
UPA : Firstly, ikhlas (sincerity). Meaning we don’t complain and we could not show that we are the most unfortunate woman in the world because our husbands are imprisoned. And at the same time we should also make as much effort as possible, maybe try to improve ourselves and our lives especially in front of the children, so that we are not letting them say that because of the imprisonments our lives have become like this ie. in deprivation. Even if we are really in deficiency, we should implant in them the awareness that we should be independent and not requiring people’s sympathy and not being a crybaby.
AM : What did Ustadz focus on or what was his advice for the children?
UPA : Ustadz’s advice for the children is the same as the advice of any mujahid to his children, namely hoping that their children would in turn become a Mujahid too. Notwithstanding that, he does not want to strictly restrain his children in this matter. It might be that his children would become a doctor but a mujahid as well, or become an IT expert, but also a mujahid, an ordinary imam but a mujahid at the same time. Those are what he hoped for. So they should be working hard for it, whichever school they go to, their aqeedah should be strengthened and deepened. Because like what an Ustadz have said, it is the Muslims who are more fitting to be working very hard in all aspects. If the kafir comes to work at 8:00 am and goes back at 5:00 pm, then a Muslim should be able to come at 7:00 am and go back at 6:00 pm. If the kafir could donate one million dollars out of his wealth, then a Muslim should be able to donate out of his wealth more than that. So it is the Muslims who are more fitting to be conscientious in life. Insha Allah.
AM : Jazakallah khairan katsiro. May Ustadzah be in the best of health always. Assalamu’alaikum.wr.wb!
Interview by: Prince of Jihad, M. Fachry