Intimate pre-wedding photos banned in western Indonesia

Jambi (The Jakarta Post/ANN)- The Jambi Malay Custom Institute in western Indonesia has called on soon-to-be married couples not to engage in intimate picture-taking arguing that it is against Islamic law.

The call was made following the recent issuance of an edict on the same issue by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).

Chairman of the institute's research and development division, Djunaidi T. Noer, said that taking intimate pre-wedding photos did not belong to the Jambi tradition and was not right according to sharia.

"We therefore call on engaged couples not to take such intimate scenes by, for example, hugging each other or laying down on a bed together. It is haram [not allowed by Islamic teaching]," Djunaidi said over the weekend.

He added that there would be no problem with pre-wedding pictures if the betrothed refrained from intimate gestures.

"It is the touching between an unmarried man and woman that is banned as they are not muhrim," he said, referring to unmarriageable kinship according to Islamic teaching.

The call, according to Djunaidi, was urgent because pre-wedding photos were usually displayed during the wedding ceremony for the guests to see while everyone knew that the pictures had been taken before the couple got married.

Djunaidi suggested that if the couple wanted to display their photos, they could do so by getting married first, having their pictures taken and then displaying them at their wedding reception held later.

"For example, they can get married this month and have the reception in December. This would not be a problem because they are already husband and wife," he said.

He also said that the call had actually been made at the beginning of this year but was not well-known due to resistance from particular parties such as photographers, photo studios and printing companies over fears it would affect their earnings.

Separately Jambi Vice Governor Fachrori Umar said that he had frequently received complaints from the community regarding intimate pre-wedding photos considered indecent.

"Such practices really do not belong to our tradition. So, don't try to make it a tradition here, especially because the custom institute has also banned it," he said.

He expressed agreement with the reasoning behind the ban on intimate pre-wedding picture taking, saying that in many of the pictures displayed during wedding ceremonies the couple did appear to be already married.

"But everyone knows the pictures were taken before they got married," Fachrori said, echoing the same call to engaged couples and their respective parents in the province. "There is no need to copy customs and traditions that are not ours. We have our own Jambi Malay customs and traditions," he said.


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