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Fatwa

This article is about the Arabic language word. For the 2006 film, see Fatwa (film).
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Examples of famous or controversial fatwā include the following:

In April 1974 the Muslim World League issued a fatwa stating that followers of the Ahmadiyyah movement are to be considered "non-Muslims".[11]

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 pronounced a death sentence on Salman Rushdie, the author of The Satanic Verses.

In 2001, religious authorities in the United Arab Emirates issued a fatwā against the children's game Pokémon, after finding that it encouraged gambling, and was based on the theory of evolution, "a Jewish-Darwinist theory, that conflicts with the truth about humans and with Islamic principles".[12]

In 2001, Egypt's Grand Mufti issued a fatwā stating that the show "Who will Win the Million?" (modelled on the British show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?) was un-Islamic.[13] The Sheikh of Cairo's Al-Azhar University later rejected the fatwā, finding that there was no objection to such shows since they spread general knowledge.

In Syria, Grand Mufti Ahmad Badruddin Hassoun issued a fatwa prohibiting every type of smoking, including cigarettes and narghile, as well as the selling and buying of tobacco and any affiliation with tobacco distribution (see also Smoking in Syria).

Yusuf al-Qaradawi released a fatwā on April 14, 2004, stating that the boycott of American and Israeli products was an obligation for all who are able. The fatwā reads in part:

If people ask in the name of religion we must help them. The vehicle of this support is a complete boycott of the enemies' goods. Each riyal, dirham …etc. used to buy their goods eventually becomes bullets to be fired at the hearts of brothers and children in Palestine. For this reason, it is an obligation not to help them (the enemies of Islam) by buying their goods. To buy their goods is to support tyranny, oppression and aggression. Buying goods from them will strengthen them; our duty is to make them as weak as we can. Our obligation is to strengthen our resisting brothers in the Sacred Land as much as we can. If we cannot strengthen the brothers, we have a duty to make the enemy weak. If their weakness cannot be achieved except by boycott, we must boycott them.

American goods, exactly like the great Israeli goods, are forbidden. It is also forbidden to advertise these goods, even though in many cases they prove to be superior. America today is a second Israel. It totally supports the Zionist entity. The usurper could not do this without the support of America. "Israel’s" unjustified destruction and vandalism of everything has been using American money, American weapons, and the American veto. America has done this for decades without suffering the consequences of any punishment or protests about their oppressive and prejudiced position from the Islamic world.[14][15]

Sheik Sadeq Abdallah bin Al-Majed, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan, issued a fatwā that prohibits vaccination of children claiming it is a conspiracy of the Jews and Freemasons.[16][17]

Indian Muslim scholars issued a fatwā of death against Taslima Nasreen, an exiled controversial Bangladeshi writer. Majidulla Khan Farhad of Hyderabad-based Majlis Bachao Tehriq issued the fatwā at the Tipu Sultan mosque in Kolkata after Juma prayers as saying Taslima has defamed Islam and announced an "unlimited financial reward" to anybody who would kill her.[18]

In 1998, Grand Ayatollah Sistani of Iraq, issued a fatwā prohibiting University of Virginia professor Abdulaziz Sachedina from ever again teaching Islam due in part to Sachedina's writings encouraging acceptance of religious pluralism in the Muslim world.[19]

In June 1992, Egyptian writer Farag Foda was assassinated following a fatwa issued by ulamas from Al-Azhar who had adopted a previous fatwa by Sheikh al-Azhar, Jadd al-Haqq, accusing secularist writers such as Foda of being "enemies of Islam".[20] The jihadist group Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya claimed responsibility for the murder.[21]

In 1951 Egypt issued a fatwa on Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola citing it was safe for Muslims to drink both beverages since "they do not contain narcotic or alcoholic substances, nor do these analyses show the presence of pepsin. From the bacteriological point of view the beverages are free of microbes harmful to health." [22]

Osama bin Laden issued two fatwās—in 1996 and then again in 1998—that Muslims should kill civilians and military personnel from the United States and allied countries until they withdraw support for Israel and withdraw military forces from Islamic countries.[23][24]

In 2003, on his television show John Safran Vs God, Australian comedian John Safran tricked Sheikh Omar Bakri into placing a fatwā on Safran's colleague Rove McManus by showing him falsified evidence seeming to indicate that McManus had been making fun of Islam.

In 2005, the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwā that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that Iran shall never acquire these weapons.[25][26]

Another example of a fatwā is forbidding the smoking of cigarettes by Muslims.[27]

In September 2007, the Central Java division and Jepara branch of the Indonesian organisation Nahdlatul Ulama (the Awakening of the Religious Scholars) declared the government's proposal to build a nuclear power station nearby at Balong on the Muria peninsula haram or forbidden. The fatwā was issued following a two-day meeting of more than a hundred ulama to consider the pros and cons of the proposal addressed by government ministers, scientists and critics. The decision cited both positive and negative aspects of the proposal, which it had balanced to make its judgment. Key concerns were the question of long-term safe disposal and storage of radioactive waste, the potential local and regional environmental consequences of the plant’s operation, the lack of financial clarity about the project, and issues of foreign technological dependence.[28]

In 2008, undercover reporting by a private TV channel in India showed several respected clerics demanding and receiving cash for issuing fatwās. In response, some were suspended from issuing fatwās and Indian Muslim leaders announced that they would create a new body that will monitor the issuing of fatwās in India.[29][30]

In 2008, a Pakistani religious leader issued a fatwā on President Asif Ali Zardari for "indecent gestures" toward Sarah Palin, U.S. Vice Presidential candidate.[31]

In 2008, Indian Ulama from the world renowned seminary of Deoband have categorically issued a fatwā against terrorism and mentioned that any sort of killing of innocent people or civilians is Haram or Forbidden.[32] The fatwā also clarified that there is no Jihad in Kashmir or against India as freedom of religion is guaranteed by the state as any state that guarantees freedom of religion can not have Jihad sanctioned against it.[33] This fatwā was reiterated in 2009 where Indian Home Minister P. Chidrambram hailed the move.[34] The full text of the fatwā in English is available here[35]

Deoband Ulama in India have repeatedly mentioned that the Taliban government in Afghanistan was Un-Islamic. This was most recently reiterated at a convention in Karachi recently.[36] These include the idea of establishing shariah rule with force in the name of Jihad and levying of "jizya" on Sikh citizens of Pakistan, which was termed as nothing more than extortion by armed gangs.[37] The stand was explained by Maulana Abu Hassan Nadvi as below

This can't be called a war in the name of Islam. Even during a legitimate jihad, which is fought not by a rag-tag army of misguided youth but by the state against identified aggressors, Islam has set certain principles like you can't harm the old, sick, women and children. You can't attack any place of worship. But terrorists kill people indiscriminately. They are earning Allah's punishment.

Suicide bombing in any form has also been declared haram and forbidden by Indian ulama.[38] This stand is also supported by Saudi scholars such as Shaykh Muhammad Bin Saalih al-'Uthaymeen, who have issued fatawā declaring suicide bombings are haram and those who commit this act are not shaheed (martyrs).[39]

Controversial fatwas

Fatwas have the role of explaining religion and guiding the faithful in modern matters that were not previously tackled by scholars or specifically addressed by the Quran or the Hadith of Prophet Mohammed. Some fatwas stand out as controversial and often lead to hardship, violence and misunderstanding of religion.

In 2012, Sheikh Murgan Salem al-Gohary of Egypt, a former Taliban, has issued a fatwa calling for "the destruction of the Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids in Egypt," because "God ordered Prophet Mohammed to destroy idols."[40] Egypt is host to thousands of ancient statues and drawings that do not seem to have bothered Muslims for the past 1400 years. These monuments are a major attraction to tourists and scientists interested in ancient Egyptian culture, and not worship. It is unclear why the pyramids were added to the fatwa because they are tombs of pharaohs and not statues or idols. During the 1980s foreign tourists were the target of terrorist attacks by extremist groups.

In 2012, Abdul-Azeez ibn Abdullaah Aal ash-Shaikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, issued a religious edict prohibiting contact and cooperation with foreign media outlets because they seek to "spread chaos and strife in Muslim lands." He added that contacting foreign media outlets to "divulge the country’s secrets or address various matters" was tantamount to "treason and major crime." He said that "It is not permissible and is considered betrayal and assistance to the enemies of Islam." Also, "A believer has to help keeping security, that of his nation and community, and protecting his religion."[41] This fatwa is vague and itself is in need of another explanatory fatwa. Foreign media appears to have been singled out because it is mostly free and does not conform to Saudi Arabian government censorship. The fatwa uses the strongest possible terms (i.e., "haram" or unlawful, "treason," "betrayal," and "major crime.") for the simple act of contacting the press. This fatwa needlessly endangers the lives of ordinary citizens and members of the media. It also threatens the financial interests of legitimate global business. In democratic societies, journalism and the media play an indispensable role in educating the public and combating corruption.

In 2011-2012, Abdel-Bari Zamzami of Morocco issued a series of religious edicts that a man has the right to engage in sexual intercourse with his wife up to six hours after her death [42] despite recognizing that such an action is despicable in mainstream society, Zamzami persisted in backing his original fatwa, claiming marriage does not end in death.[43] Zamzami also announced that it is against the religion to take to the streets after the King delivers a speech; this fatwa made the population, as well as the media question his intentions.[44]

In 2012, The Indonesian Ulema Council has issued an edict for Muslims not to wish Christians a happy Christmas. The edict said that wishing a happy Christmas was akin to confirming the "misguided" teachings of Christianity.[45]

In 2013, the Grand Mufti in Kashmir issued a fatwa terming singing as un-Islamic forcing Kashmir's only all-girls rock band to abandon it.[46]

In 2014, Indian Supreme Court has issued a verdict that Shariat courts have no legal sanction and no one is bound to accept a fatwa in India.[47]

Quotes

  • "In Sunni Islam, a fatwā is nothing more than an opinion. It is just a view of a mufti and is not binding in India." ― Maulana Mehmood Madani, president of the Jamaat-e-Ulema-e-Hind[48]
  • "The current fashion for online fatwās has created an amazingly legalistic approach to Islam as scholars - some of whom have only a tenuous grip on reality - seek to regulate all aspects of life according to their own interpretation of the scriptures." ― Brian Whitaker, The Guardian[49]
  • Excerpts from an interview given by Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Al-Obeikan, vice-minister of Justice of Saudi Arabia, to the Arabic daily Asharq al awsat on July 9, 2006, in which he discusses the legal value of a fatwā by the Islamic Fiqh Academy (IFA) on the subject of misyar marriage, which had been rendered by IFA on April 12, 2006:
Asharq Al-Awsat: From time to time and through its regular meetings, the Islamic Fiqh Academy usually issues various fatwās dealing with the concerns of Muslims. However, these fatwās are not considered binding for the Islamic states. What is your opinion of this?
Obeikan: Of course, they are not binding for the member Islamic states.
Asharq Al-Awsat: But, what is the point of the Islamic Fiqh Academy's consensus on fatwās that are not binding for the member states?
Obeikan: There is a difference between a judge and a mufti. The judge issues a verdict and binds people to it. However, the mufti explains the legal judgment but he does not bind the people to his fatwā. The decisions of the Islamic Fiqh Academy are fatwā decisions that are not binding for others. They only explain the legal judgment, as the case is in fiqh books.
Asharq Al-Awsat: Well, what about the Ifta House [official Saudi fatwā organism]? Are its fatwās not considered binding on others?
Obeikan: I do not agree with this. Even the decisions of the Ifta House are not considered binding, whether for the people or the state.

Other meanings

Some fatwās have drawn a great deal of attention in Western media, giving rise to the term fatwā being used loosely for statements by non-Muslims that advocate an extreme religious or political position, and loosely or as slang for other sorts of decrees. Examples of such uses include the statements "The pope issued a fatwā"[50] and "According to sources in today’s Tibetan resistance, the Chinese Communist 'fatwā' to silence Patterson has never been rescinded."[51]

See also

References

  1. ^ Hallaq, Wael B. "Fatwa". Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  2. ^ MacFarquhar, Neil. "The media relations department of Hizbollah wishes you to die: Unexpected encounters in the changing Middle East", PublicAffairs, 2009, ISBN 978-1-58648-635-8
  3. ^ http://www.questionsaboutislam.com/shariah-islamic-law/what-is-a-fatwa.php
  4. ^ Makdisi, George (April–June 1989). "Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West". Journal of the American Oriental Society 109 (2): 175–182 [175–77]. JSTOR 604423. doi:10.2307/604423. 
  5. ^ Huda al Saleh (2009-02-15). "Loading". Asharqalawsat.com. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  6. ^ Saudi King Abdullah sacks conservative adviser
  7. ^ Sandels, Alexandra (August 19, 2010). "SAUDI ARABIA: Cleric who urged grown men to drink breast milk of unrelated women taken off air". Los Angeles Times. 
  8. ^ "Boycotting Products of the US & Its Allies: Obligatory? - IslamonLine.net - Ask The Scholar". IslamonLine.net. 2003-03-22. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  9. ^ Middle East Information Center. "Middle East Information - MEIC Issues and analysis of the Middle East: Conflicts, News, History, Religions and Discussions". Middleeastinfo.org. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  10. ^ A Reporter Translates Middle East Customs. Morning Edition, 4 May 2009.
  11. ^ Yohanan Friedmann: Prophecy Continuous. Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and Its Medieval Background. 2 Auflage. Oxford University Press, Neu-Delhi 2003, S. 44.
  12. ^ "Pokemon faced with fatwa". BBC News. 2001-04-09. 
  13. ^ "'Millionaire' fatwā rejected". BBC News. 2001-07-26. 
  14. ^ "Boycotting Israeli and American Goods - IslamonLine.net - Ask The Scholar". IslamonLine.net. 2004-04-18. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  15. ^ "Ulama’s Fatwa on Boycotting Israeli and American Products - IslamonLine.net - Ask The Scholar". IslamonLine.net. 2003-06-30. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  16. ^ http://memritv.org. "Clip". Memritv.org. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  17. ^ "Clip Transcript". Memritv.org. 2007-07-28. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  18. ^ Associated Press of Pakistan - Indian Muslim scholars issue Fatwa against Taslima[dead link]
  19. ^ http://www.uga.edu/islam/sachedina_silencing.html
  20. ^ Bar, Shmuel (2008). Warrant for Terror: The Fatwas of Radical Islam and the Duty to Jihad. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 16, footnote 8. 
  21. ^ de Waal, Alex (2004). Islamism and Its Enemies in the Horn of Africa. C. Hurst & Co. p. 60. 
  22. ^ Liebesny, Herbert J., The law of the Near and Middle East readings, cases, and materials, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1975, 42-3
  23. ^ "Bin Laden'S Fatwa". Pbs.org. Retrieved 2009-06-21. [dead link]
  24. ^ "Online NewsHour: Al Qaeda's 1998 Fatwa". PBS. Retrieved 2006-08-21. 
  25. ^ "Iran, holder of peaceful nuclear fuel cycle technology". Mathaba.net. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  26. ^ http://www.dfa.gov.za/foreign/Multilateral/inter/iaea_iran/200508_iran_statement1.doc
  27. ^ "Islamic Glossary: Fatwa". Islam.about.com. 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  28. ^ Richard Tanter, "Nuclear fatwa: Islamic jurisprudence and the Muria nuclear power station proposal", Austral Policy Forum, 13 December 2007, 07-25A.
  29. ^ Clerics issue fatwas for cash The Times of India. Sept 18 2006
  30. ^ India's Cash-for- Fatwa Scandal Time Magazine Sep 21 2006
  31. ^ CJ: Rohini Verma. "Zardari gets Fatwa for flirting with Palin". Merinews.com. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  32. ^ "Front Page News : Monday, June 28, 2010". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  33. ^ Not Specified (2008-02-28). "Deoband fatwa ruffles feathers of Kashmiri separatists". Jammu-kashmir.com. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  34. ^ TNN, Nov 4, 2009, 04.33am IST (2009-11-04). "Chidambaram reaches out, seeks Deoband support in war on terrorism - India - The Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  35. ^ "Muslims for Secular Democracy". Mfsd.org. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  36. ^ "DAWN.COM | Pakistan | Deoband ulema term all Taliban actions un-Islamic". Dawnnews.net. 2009-06-20. Retrieved 2010-06-28. [dead link]
  37. ^ "Indian clerics flay imposition of 'Jizya' on Pakistani Sikhs". Indianexpress.com. 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  38. ^ Wajihuddin, Mohammed (2009-10-17). "Muslim clerics denounce Taliban threat". The Times Of India. 
  39. ^ Shaykh Muhammad Bin Saalih al-'Uthaymeen
  40. ^ "‘Destroy the idols,’ Egyptian jihadist calls for removal of Sphinx, Pyramids". 
  41. ^ "Talking to foreign media is ‘haram:’ Saudi Grand Mufti". 
  42. ^ Necrophilia fatwa
  43. ^ Necrophilia despicable but okay
  44. ^ Fatwas criticism
  45. ^ "Christmas greetings chime despite edict". 
  46. ^ "Times of India article, dated 4th Feb 2013, "A day after fatwa, Kashmir's all-girl band calls it quits"". The Times Of India. 
  47. ^ "Shariat courts have no legal sanction and no one is bound to accept a fatwa". Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  48. ^ "outlookindia.com". outlookindia.com. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  49. ^ Whitaker, Brian (2006-01-17). "January 17, 2006". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  50. ^ D. Bartles-Smith, Signs Of The Times, Number 26, 2007
  51. ^ caption of an image in

Further reading

  • "World of Fatwas: Shariah in Action" by Arun Shourie, Publisher:Harper Collins India, Language : English

External links