4 too many: Indonesian spiritual guru splits up with half his 8 wives

Celebrities and politicians once sought advice from him, but in recent weeks, Indonesian TV audiences have been exposed to the domestic affairs of well-known spiritual guru Eyang Subur.

Disgruntled disciples levelled charges of blasphemy against the 70-year-old, and before long, religious authorities discovered that he had eight wives - double the maximum of four Muslim men are allowed in Islamic law as well as under Indonesian law.

He parted ways with his sixth wife in March, and in April, the conservative Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) issued a fatwa asking him to also divorce wives number 5, 7 and 8.

Leaders from the Jakarta chapter of the radical Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) also paid him a visit.

Eyang agreed to comply, and parted ways with the three women on May 25 while the FPI made sure the women left his house in Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta, local media reported.

"They can no longer enter his house," FPI Jakarta secretary Habib Noval told ANTV station on Monday, adding that they would continue to monitor the spiritual healer's private life so he does not stray again.

It is unclear whether he may still face legal action over his extra marriages. Eyang reportedly has 11 children.

But his relationship with his additional wives could be deemed adulterous, and therefore had to be terminated, added FPI Jakarta head Habib Selon.

Paranormals and spiritual healers like Eyang remain widely respected across Indonesia, especially when celebrities and government officials are among their regular clients.

But some of these relationships fray, and last month, former singer Adi Bing Slamet filed a report with the capital city's police accusing Eyang of blasphemy.

Adi's lawyer accused Eyang of claiming to receive a revelation from God and telling his followers that praying was not mandatory.

The Jakarta Post reported that Adi also realised the self-claimed spiritual guru "was extorting his followers by asking them to take part in unusual rituals such as drinking salt-water and sugarless coffee."

But Eyang is not taking the assault on him lying down.

He says he wants to run for president next year, and will fight to get on the ticket of the ruling Democratic Party by hopefully taking part in their primary in the coming months.

But senior party leader Sutan Bhatoegana laughed off Eyang's supposed bid, telling reporters: "Only through the spirit world."


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