‘Obedient Wives Club’
Despite the vehement criticism received, questions continue to be raised on what exactly the Obedient Wives Club is. Sheena Baharudin finds herself at the club’s headquarters to seek the answers to the most pressing matters.
CONFIRMING AN APPOINTMENT with the Obedient Wives Club (OWC) turns out to be less easy than expected. For the past few months, the town of Rawang in Selangor, Malaysia has seen throngs of journalists arriving to meet and interview the women behind Global Ikhwan, the business conglomerate that runs OWC. Ever since the club’s vice president Dr Rohaya Mohamad was quoted as encouraging married women to act like first class prostitutes when in bed with their husbands, public reaction has ranged from mild disapproval to literal outrage.
Considering all the above, their initial reservation towards the suggested interview was, in a way, expected. However, OWC President Fauziah Ariffin and Committee Member Dr Azlina Dato’ Jamaluddin of the club’s central region have graciously agreed to answer some basic questions about what their club aspires to be.
Can you briefly explain what the Obedient Wives Club is?
OWC was conceptualised and formed by Hatijah Aam. OWC was first launched in Johor on May 1st, 2011 as a solution to the social and moral problems she observed in society such as prostitution, sex trafficking, domestic abuse and divorce. Deciding that such problems can be solved by encouraging wives to be more aware of their responsibilities towards their husbands, OWC was created to provide a safe space for married Muslimahs to learn how to be better wives as commanded by God.
Hatijah Aam is wife of the late Ashaari Mohammad, leader of the Islamic sect, Al-Arqam. This Malaysia-based movement was banned by the country’s National Fatwa Council in 1994 for heresy. It was also involved in a variety of business ventures.
Does OWC offer membership to the general public?
Almost all members of OWC are members of Global Ikhwan. In fact, this club was originally intended for them. However, we are open to all who seek consultation on their married lives.
What are the club’s primary aims or objectives?
In a society where most people would rather keep quiet rather than address and find solutions to their problems, the club assists women to voice out. It also aspires to teach and remind its members of their primary duties as wives, which are to obey and entertain their husbands.
Is the club, then, all about sex?
OWC is all about the responsibilities of a Muslimah once she is married. The present world we live in is a strange place where wives take more effort to beautify themselves when they leave their houses rather than looking their best for their husbands at home. This, although only a minor thing, can lead or may add fuel to marital problems.
The best people from among you are those who are best to their wives
If that is the case, what exactly does the club do?
The main responsibilities of OWC are to admonish, motivate, advise and also to remind women to take care of themselves after marriage, to be more conscious of their roles as obedient companions of their husbands and ultimately, to fear God.
What sort of activities does OWC offer to its members?
Activities such as jama’ah (congregation) prayers, group consultations, counselling and motivational classes that foster a sense of openness amongst its members are regularly held.
In a related poll that this magazine posted on its Facebook page, six percent of respondents selected answers from a given list that are pro-OWC. Here are two polar-opposite opinions:
The club insults women by belittling their rights that are sacred in Islam. Marriage is a sacred union, thus equating something sacred to prostitution is wrong. The club’s aim not only degrades women but also condones men who subjugate them. This must never be considered the ideal sexual relationship a woman and her husband should have.
– Tria Aziz, Malaysia
How I see it, the club is a progressive indication of a civilised society. After studying the theory of the psychology of sex differences at my university, I have learnt to try to keep an open mind when it comes to sex. I also keep in mind the basics with hope of putting them to practise in my own life.
– Karineli Petrosova, Russia
The club also organises excursions. We have travelled extensively inside Malaysia and also travelled to countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. These trips are organised with the intention of opening our members’ minds and also to expose them to the problems faced in their society. By witnessing these problems, they may learn and become better people.
Can a non-member contact OWC for consultation?
Are there any success stories OWC would like to share with Aquila Style?
Global Ikhwan society is a great example of how successful this initiative has been. As of July 2011, it has a worldwide membership of 1,020 and the number is steadily increasing. With the exception of Singapore and New Zealand, the establishment of chapters in Egypt and Indonesia has also been received positively.
Where do you see OWC in the next five to 10 years?
For years, many efforts have been attempted by the government, non-governmental bodies and women’s groups to solve the problems mentioned earlier but most of them failed. This club, using its own members as examples of how successful it can be, simply aspires to offer a simpler alternative answer that would benefit those who seek it: Fear God, Be Obedient.
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