Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No individual "fatwas" please

Of late, Muslim scholars are tempted to issue religious edicts or "fatwas" including by Malaysian "ulamas" commenting on political and social issues. It is in fact "unauthorized".

According to chairman of the Cairo-based Cultural Establishment for dialogue between civilizations and a noted Islamic thinker, Abdul Malik Mansour, there is a need to establish religious institutions dedicated to the issuing of fatwas.

He was referring, in particular, to satellite tv channels in the Arab world for hosting men who issues "fatwas" without referring to recognized religious institutions.

In Malaysia, the National Fatwa Council is the established authority and not individuals.

Fatwas issued by unauthorized individuals should be rejected, added Abdul Malik.

"Fatwa is a religion and not an opinion. It should not be issued according to someone's wishes and opinions," he said.

Source: Islamicnews


Anonymous said...

Rakyat harus diberi penerangan jelas mengenai apa itu fatwa. Ini adalah kerana ada sesetengah rakyat yang masih keliru dengan apa itu fatwa. Dan tak kurang juga yang suka membuat fatwa sendiri dan ada juga yang mengingkari fatwa yang dikeluarkan...

Anonymous said...


Satu survey rasmi yang dibuat di Perak pada Feb 8 menunjukkan jelas rakyat Perak MENOLAK keputusan Sultan dan tindakan Barisan Nasional mengambil alih Perak!!!!

Baca kat sini untuk selanjutnya...

Alamak BN hancur koyak rabak dah ni... nak buat camama ni bro...

Anonymous said...

Kuda Ranggi,

I am glad that you have posted this write-up in your blog.

I was really upset at the bashing of the National Fatwa Council through media and blogs a few months back. But what saddened and surprised me is the attitude taken by the Islamic Development Director-General. Instead of explaining or answering to critisms, the Director General "pointed out that the discussions generated by various quarters over the council's decision showed that Malaysians were interested in understanding Islam better".(Star 26 November 2008) I beg to differ with his view. I think it is more of ignorance of what is a fatwa, why they are made and why fatwas in Malaysia are binding. I am not so concerned about the misunderstanding of the non-Muslims as it is acceptable for them not to know the religion of Islam, although it hurts me deeply when they rediculed and labelled the National Fatwa Council with remarks such as 'religious biggots' and 'morons'. What perturbed me most is the fact that educated Muslims who does not understand their own religion choose to blatantly bashed at the National Fatwa Council not realising that their comments create more confussion about their religion amongst the ignorant Muslims as well as paint a bad picture of Islam to the non-Muslims community.

Let me quote examples of the ignorance of a few educated Muslims that could evoke confussion of this divine religion. There is one that says, "If we need to clarify, then perhaps we should have the National Fatwa Council make a ruling on the following:i.e quoting Surah An Nisa Verse 3. What sort of fatwa should the National Fatwa Council make when the Quranic injuction is clear, the qualification being justice. As to the meaning of justice, this issue had been dealt with by the Hadiths of the Prophet as well as consensus amongst the Mujtahidin Ulema'. A blogger while critisicing the Council seek to explain to his reader that "Anyone can make a fatwa" and "The concept of a fatwa given by human beings in relation to human conduct or religion is non-existent in the Quran". Apparently his facts are not correct and as such could cause confussion. Before I dealt with that, allow me to explain what is a fatwa. A fatwa normally means an opinion arrived at by way of ijtihad or personal reasoning. It is a considered opinion taken on a matter in the absence of a ruling in the Quran, Sunnah and Ijma'(Consensus of Opinion). If the fatwa is related to the Quran and the Sunnah, then it must be on the point that it is not self-evident in the source. This explanation hopefully could answer the confussion as to why fatwas are not made with regards to issues like corruption, murder, theft,etc. The rational argument in support of ijtihad is to be sought in the fact that the nusus (clear textual rulings)of the Shariah are limited, but new experiences in the life of the community continue to give rise to new problems. It is therefore imperative for the learned members of the community to attempt to find solutions to such problems through ijtihad.

As to the blogger's assertion that "Anyone can make a fatwa", let me state here that only a jurist(faqih) may pratice ijtihad. This is explain by the requirement of ijtihad, namely the qualifications that must be fulfilled for attainment to the rank of mujtahid. When these requirement are met, it is inevitable that the mujtahid must also be a faqih. Thus the defination of ijtihad precludes self-exertion by layman in the inference of ahkam(laws,values and ordinances). The mujtahid must be a Muslim and a competent person of sound mind who has attained a level of intellectual competence which enable him to form independent judgement. He must also be knowledgeable in the various disciplines of religious learning inter alia knowledge of Arabic, the Quran and the Sunnah, the Makki and Madinese contents of the Quran, the occasions of its revelation(asbab al-nuzul) and the incidence of abrogation therein. A person who fail to meet one or more of the requirement of ijtihad is disqualified and may not exercise ijtihad.

As to the blogger's view that "The concept of a fatwa as an opinion given by human beings in relation to human conduct or religion is non-existent in the Quran, the Ulema' have stated that the Quranic verse that relate to ijtihad are all in the nature of probability(zawahir) of which there are numerous. For example in Surah An Nahl verse 44 "If ye relies not, ask of those who possess the Message". Abdullah Yusuf Ali in his commentary state "Those who possess the Message" may also mean any men of Wisdom, who were qualified to have an opinion on such matters". The ahl al-dhikr in this verse refers to the Ulema' regardless as to whether they actually knows the correct ruling of an issue or not, provided they have the capacity to investigate and find out.(Al-Amidi,IV,14;al-Kassab,Adwa,p.121)

I am sorry for taking a lot of space in your blog. I am also from Kelawei and the last time we met was at my house where you attended a wedding.Hope to meet you soon.