His first wife Che Minah Ramli, 58, had chosen the second wife Zaharah Awang, 45, and the two in turn picked his third wife Ruzilan Mokhtar, 41.
Later, the three agreed on Nik Kamariah Nik Pah, 33, to be his fourth wife.
“Kalau tanya saya, satu isteri pun dah tak larat (If you ask me, I can’t even manage one wife). But I have to respect their wishes,” said the 65-year-old here yesterday.
The first, second and fourth wives come from Pasir Puteh in Kelantan, and the third from Felda Jerangau in Terengganu.
Ariffin, or Ayah Pin to his followers, revealed that he had two other wives but divorced them when they wanted his full attention.
“I’m fair to all of my wives. If not, they would have run away by now,” Ariffin said.
He said the four women lived in different homes now, but they were once all housed under one roof.
“They are very close and there is no friction among them,” he said.
Ariffin grew up in Kampung Beris Kubu Besar in Bachok, Kelantan. He was the only son of village odd-job worker Mohamad Merah and Saadiah Yaakob, both of whom had passed away.
In his younger days, his passions were cockfighting and bird singing contests.
He was involved in many small-time businesses, such as scrap iron and buffalo trading, and he even worked as a sub-contractor.
Ariffin rejected claims that he was sleeping with his female followers.
“Where is the proof?” he asked.
He denied that he had brain-washed his followers and that the water from the teapot structure in his commune was harmful.
He also denied propagating a new religion.
All religions, he said, came under the patronage of the Sky Kingdom of which he was the middleman between the kingdom and the people.
“I want people from all faiths to practise their own religion diligently.
“If you are a Muslim, you must observe the tenets strictly such as praying, fasting, going on pilgrimage and paying zakat (tithe),” he said.
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