Fatwa Drama-Behind the curtain..

Everyday there is a new fatwa occupying the newspaper columns..Fatwas ranges from Sania’s skirt to Zardari’s flirt and now finally a newer version,Harbhajan asked to apologize for dancing..Religious people are busy making fun of themselves..Today,the word fatwa is something associated with a joke.Everybody seems to be busy issuing fatwa on how others should behave,how I should walk,How I should laugh,How I should pee etc etc etc..Amidst the suffocating world of fatwas,I’d like to share some insight into how and what of it ,and see for yourself how these people today have playing circus -fatwa circus..



I have seen people(mostly non-Indians) looking for fatwas on every single thing in life..Most of them fail to understand that Fatwa is just an opinion of a scholar and we are not bound to follow it ..As every person in this world has an opinion,Scholar too has on opinion,but only dumb people would follow it blindly just for the sake of it..No matter who says it,the point lies in choosing the right and wise..What we see and hear is only ‘fatwa’ by ‘Sheikh’ Osama ..A rant is not a fatwa..But we hardly hear about radical Deobands issuing and signing fatwa on terrorism..Media is busy digging scoops..So pls don’t blame them for this.Let us look ourselves what is difference between a rant and a fatwa.


In his book, Al-Fatwa Bayna al-indibat Wa-at-tasayyub, Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, states the following:

“Lexically, the Arabic word fatwa means to give a satisfactory answer regarding a certain issue.



In the technical language of Shari`ah, the word fatwa clarifies the Islamic ruling in an answer given to question or a set of questions usually related to an Islamic issue. It does not make any difference whether the questioner is a person or a group of persons.


It stands to reason that fatwa is not an easy task, but rather an arduous one. Both the Rightly-Guided Caliphs as well as all the Companions of the Prophet used to show extreme caution before giving Fatwas. Sometimes, they’d completely decline from carrying out the process. They held deep respect for the person who did not hasten in delivering Fatwas. When asked about a certain religious issue, the Prophet’s Companions , used to forward Fatwas to one another, passing them around in an attempt to avoid shouldering the heavy responsibility of answering them.


The Prophet,said: “He who issues Fatwas without having sound religious knowledge will bear the burden of the one to whom he issued a Fatwa.”


Imam Ahmad said that the one nominated to hold the position of Mufti, should possess the following characteristics:

1. He should have a pure intention to guide the questioner and never to misguide him.

2. He should have deep insight, equanimity and tranquility.

3. He should have a firm religious background and deep knowledge.

4. In his capacity as a religious leader, the Mufti should have adequate means to earn his livelihood.

5. Finally, he should be aware of daily life and contemporary issues.”

Moreover, Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, adds:

“Not every individual has the right to issue Fatwas and make pronouncements on matters. A Mufti must be qualified and of profound knowledge. He has to be able to know the evidence, the wording and apparent meaning of the texts, what is Sahih (authentic) and what is Da`if (weak), An-Nasikh wal-Mansukh (the abrogating and the abrogated), what is specific in application and what is general, and what is stated in brief and what is mentioned in detail.

This needs lengthy experience and practice, knowledge of the various branches of Fiqh and where to look for information, knowledge of the opinions of the scholars and jurists, and memorization or knowledge of the religious texts. The Mufti should be knowledgeable and rich in life experience. We cannot imagine him to live in an ivory tower and turn a blind eye to life around him.

Undoubtedly, issuing Fatwas without having qualification to do so is a grave sin. Allah has warned us against that, saying: “And speak not, concerning that which your own tongues qualify (as clean or unclean), the falsehood: “This is lawful, and this is forbidden,’ so that ye invent a lie against Allah. Lo! Those who invent a lie against Allah will not succeed.”(An-Nahl: 116)”



 When it comes to contemporary issues,and on how to deal with different fatwas on single topic..

The eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, adds: “When there are conflicting Fatwas, the Muslim is supposed to choose the opinion which he deems sound according to his true conscience.


I wonder why this small logic doesn’t enter some people’s thick head.God has not made us just to act as puppets dancing to somebody else’s tune.. Use some brain and read and learn,rather than just follwoing bainwashed concepts.. I hope the post put some light into understanding what the technical term fatwa means..



If muslims have issues with people teasing them about some ‘fatwas’ as like Salman’s and Sania’s and like ,it is our own fault that we are not talking loud and for letting radicals speak for us..Its high time that the majority  stood up and talk against these random and rubbish ‘fatwas’..Respect and follow the right one and have courage to talk against the wrong ones..I hope I made some sense..


Thanks for reading..


Edited to add :

Read a more comprehended article regarding this,

What is a fatwa?

A fatwa is an opinion delivered by a learned scholar versed in Koran and Hadith, or the sayings and practices of the Prophet Muhammad, on a specific issue. However, it is not an edict or a law, and Muslims are not bound to follow it.

“Fatwa is a religious opinion coming from a scholar, who is qualified to give an opinion on a matter,” Jamal Badawi, professor of religious studies at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, N.S, told CBC News. “It is like any law, people can choose to follow it or disobey it — just a moral authority.”

Why are fatwas issued? What purpose do they serve?

A fatwa could be issued on any matter, says Badawi, from a difficult problem of law to an everyday issue. “It could be fatwa on how to pray, what kind of charity that you should pay, how to fast,” he says. And, some fatwas are prompted by current events, says Badawi.

“When there are events of that magnitude that affect a larger number of people, this sometimes is a good justification for an Islamic scholar or council of scholars to come forward in order to remove any misunderstanding, and misconception,” he says.

Fatwas serve two purposes, according to Badawi, who is also a member of the European Council of Fatwa and Research. He says fatwas bring awareness about an issue and “clarify the true image image of Islam in the minds of the public.”

Although fatwas are not law, Muslims may follow them, depending on their comfort level, says freelance journalist Zuhair Kashmeri.








  1. give them education and good cultural environment and let them decide how to behave and live ..

    • Nimmy
    • October 11th, 2008

    Exactly Raj..Islam is a religion that has no concept of priesthood as to dictate how they should beahve and live..Yet some/most people look out at others/scholars to makes rules on how they should live their life,0bcoz they are too busy to look into matters themselves and hence mug up somebody else’s ideas..and i find it a dangerous tendency..So had this post..

    Good day to you..

  2. assalamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah, sister
    Mashallah, your blog looks really good!

    Some things that I wanted to point out:
    1) We do not get our fatawa from newspapaers. If that were the case, then Shia Muslims like me would have been reading the BBC for Ayatullah Sistani’s fatwas subsequent to the invasion of Iraq. There are some Muftis who post at Sunni Path (it helps to know who they are, since some of them are too modest to put “mufti” next to their name). Mufti Ebrahim Desai‘s fatawa can be accessed at askimam.org. Mufti ibn Adam al Kawthari’s fatawa are on the Dar ul Ifta website. And if you are in the States, there are some masajid headed by `ulama throughout the country.

    2) A fatwa from a qualified mufti is not just an opinion. The muqallid(ah) of the madhhab to which the fatwa applies is bound by it.

    3) Qaradawi is most definitely not a scholar and certainly not a mujtahid or a mufti. Check out Sh. Faraz Rabbani’s advice about him.

    4) Several `ulama from Darul Uloom Deoband have signed or sent fatawa related to the Amman Message, the language of which specifically condemns terrorism.

    5) Munajjad is a salafist. Their `aqidah and fiqh are distinctive form that of Sunni Islam. See related articles on Sunni Path, Sidi Mas`ud’s website, and related others for more information related to the differences between Sunni Islam and the salafist sect.

    6) Islam does not have a priesthood in the sense that we do not require an intermediary between ourselves and Allah when we worship, ask forgiveness, etc. This is how we are distinguished from the Catholic Church. However, mujtahids and muftis have existed in Islam since the very dyas of Prophet Muhammad. It is not a novelty for a mujtahid to issue a ruling based on his interpretation of the Qur’an, the Prophetic Sunnah, etc. using his qualified efforts to derive them a ruling on an issue.

    Keep reading and learning, sis. You have come a long way in a short amount of time, mashallah.

  3. your post is worth reading. keep it up.

    • manoj
    • October 11th, 2008

    as far as i know, the interpretations differ. fatwa might be required from a religious scholar in case of confusion on a particular issue/topic.

    again there has to be revision, to decide whether it is
    binding or not.

    • Milind Kher
    • October 11th, 2008

    The most ridiculous fatwa that I have come across is women in Egypt being asked to suckle their adult male colleagues so that they are rendered mehram for them.

    This sort of stuff caricatures Islam and these maulvis need to be pulled up for this.

    • Amit
    • October 12th, 2008

    As I understand it, the issue with Deoband fatwa against terrorism was two-fold:

    1. It came too late and one has to wonder what took them so long to say something that had been obvious to everyone else. Still, better late than never.
    2. It was not an unqualified criticism of terrorism. Qualifications always dilute such declarations and provide loopholes to people.

    Let’s hope it’ll have a positive effect, though I remain skeptical.

    • Nimmy
    • October 12th, 2008

    @Pink,Welcopme to my blog.. 🙂

    Thanks for your contribution.I am not much into a particualr scholar’s viewpoint..By quoting Qardawi,by no way it implies that i am hos fan or believer..I read and i accept what i feel right.may it be from Shia scholar or sunni scholar or even nation of islam..I don’t even try to remember names of scholars..I am not very sure if i am technically right,but i don’t care bout this sectarian issues bcoz Allah and His Prophet don’t belong to any..To me,they matters..Not like some Sunnis who is bothered about Sahaba,and neither like Shias who is othered about Ali,much more than the basics..

    I understand you viewpoint,yeah it true,its not simply an opinion,but an educated opinion..But then again,we have issues with them when these very same people make some stupid and crazy fatwas like that of al-azhar and all..In that case,we reject them..They are humane like us right..If they can learn,we too can learn..and yeah,i undersatdn that we have no time for deep study in religious texts and since Imamas dedicate their life on studying this,they are obviously more learned..but then again,we need not gulp them completely..Understand it and then assimilate it..thatz what my whole point is…

    Salam to you and thanks for your words..Keep coming and share views and opinions with us…

    • Nimmy
    • October 12th, 2008

    @Dhana,Welcome 🙂 Thanks..

    @Manoj,I agree..But then again,there are different fatwas on a single confused topic..for eg,Smoking..Some scholars say it is haram ,some say makhrooh(undesireable)..So whom do we take into account..?

    See,these are small things..But there are many people out there who may forgo it at the sake of a scholar’s opinion..At the end of the day,i believe we should make choice ourselves.and that is why we are made humans with brains and not some wooden dumbos.

    As far as I read it,i understand that Sunnis are not bound to follow it and shias are bound to follow it..Even Deobands say that fatwa is an opinion and people are not bound to follow it..But then again the question comes,if not bound to follow,what is the use of it bcoz it doesn’t become a rule/law..Apart from a few controversial fatwas,almost all of them are guiding ones and help us understanding the matter better..I was trying to say that fatwa is the basis or foundation on which we should draw our own conclusions.Technical aspects of binding or not need no discussion at all..If it is good,it is to be assimilated and if not,to be rejected..My whole point is,Fatwa is nothing divine ,it is a guide/opinion from a learned person..

    Good day

    • Nimmy
    • October 12th, 2008

    @Milind,I agree..But we have to admit that crazy fatwas alone get global attention while most or none of them regarding promoting interfaith relationships,about ecomony and all ,hardly gets any attention and is discussed..

    @Amit,Welcome 🙂

    Very true..I agree with your viewpoint..Of course very much late but as I said,better late than never as it comes from the most radical group..Atleast they bothered to take such a stand ,inspite of being seen as trade centre of Taliban ,pakistan and Iraqi jihadists..And thatz why i think they deserve appreciation..In fact it is not something great..As mature citizens of a nation,all of us ought to work against evil elemenst among us..But it is a fact that religion is so tied up to a majority of us,that it deserves lot of faith and courage to talk about elements within ones religion or community..

    And yeah i am also skeptical about how this fatwa would make real time effects..I hope for the best..Atleast it would help in alienating the evil elements from the society.

    Err,i think i messed with words..Sorry..Keep coming 🙂

  4. This post was damn informative and terribly necessary. So fatwa is not binding???? Then why did Rushdie run when there was a fatwa against him? Or was that just fear of some radicals getting to him?
    I think this was a brilliant post – so many things about Islaam are cast in such a bad light these days – posts like these are necessary.

    • Nimmy
    • October 12th, 2008

    @Akshaya…Thanks for those great words dear 🙂 you amde my day..

    Rushdie went away bcoz of people and not fatwa..lol,i am a muslim and i care least about Rushdie..If he use or misuse his freedom of speech in this world,it is his dumbness and simply bcoz of his novel,nothing is going to happen to my Lord or His Prophet..Sometimes,some conservative people overreact..Just leave then to their fate,unless they comes beyond rants,to violence..

    If you carefully read Zardari’s flirt-fatwa-news,you can see that certain remarks by clerics at Lal masjid where wrongly named as fatwa..So was no fatwa involved,but we all read in newspaper so..

    Amost all what we see and hear in media has degraded to ‘views’ and not ‘news’..

    • manoj
    • October 12th, 2008

    Yes Nimmi. Do one need fatwa to understand terrorism is bad.

    I dont think I sought one’s opinion before I took my first puff of smoking!! I dont think anyone does this.

    I dont know what is the relevance of salman rushdie here. He is still alive; may be because he did not try going to Iran!!

  5. 8. on October 12, 2008 at 5:15 am8 Nimmy
    I read and I accept what i feel right, may it be from Shia scholar or Sunni scholar or even Nation of Islam.

    assalamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah, sister
    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Have you seen the article entitled “The Myth of a ‘Ja’fari’ Madhhab“? It is by Muhammad Qadiri. Its basic import is that it is not possible for a Sunni Muslim to follow any Shia rulings. This is because Shia Islamic rulings have been derived using a completely different methodology that is based on the belief that the Prophetic Sunnah is legitimately transmitted through the 12 Shia Imams, as well as through Prophet Muhammad himself. To accept the validity of any Shia Islamic ruling is essentially the same as agreeing with the Shia belief that the line of succession after Prophet Muhammad was supposed to have begun with Imam `Ali and continued to Imam Mahdi – even accepting that Imam Mahdi is alive today and is in occultation. This is impossible for the Sunni Muslim (the inverse is likewise impossible for the Shia Muslim). Such is the nature of the divide between the two. The case is very similar with the Nation of Islam, since their belief that a Prophet came after Prophet Muhammad renders them kuffar. Rulings coming from that sect would be based on the acceptance of a Prophet after Prophet Muhammad, and no Muslim would tolerate such a thing.

    I don’t care bout this sectarian issues bcoz Allah and His Prophet don’t belong to any.

    Adhering to the rulings that come from one madhhab does not automatically make one sectarian. There will not be a need to pick up arms and meet people from the other madhahib in the street for a duel. What it does do is to set one’s Islamic practise straight by complying with the order of Allah to set aside a class of `fuqaha who study the religion intensively and to ask those who know. Both of those ayat are cited and explained in Sh. Nuh Keller’s Why Muslims Follow Madhhabs. It is a very insightful read.

    We have issues with them when these very same people make some stupid and crazy fatwas like that of al-azhar and all.

    This is why Al Azhar is discredited in the modern era to the point where no traditional Sunni Muslim takes seriously the rulings issued from it. We have instead the Dar ul `Ulum Deoband, the United Ulama Council of South Africa, Mufti ibn Adam al Kawthari, Mufti Nazim Mangera, Mawlana Tanhawi, Mufi Ebrahim Desai, Mufti Taqi Uthmani… The way that I came across these names was to read the QA section of the <a href=http://www.sunnipath.comSunni Path website. Several other names, as well as titles of books of fiqh, will pop out rather often and become recognisable. I have also seen some good reading material and plenty of mention of the names of reliable mujtahid `ulama and reliable (sometimes even classical) Islamic texts at the <a href=www.sunniforum.com/forumSunni Forum discussion forums. Both Sunni Path and Sunni Forum have an interactive Q&A section.

    In that case,we reject them. They are human like us.

    You are absolutely right. Not everyone who claims to be an Islamic scholar is truly a qualified mujtahid who is capable of issuing religious edicts. One of the aspects of the Sunni Forum discussion forums is the amount of students of the religion who post there, in addition the shuyukh who post and reply to the Q&As. They are an excellent help in determining who is who in the world of reliable `ulama.

    Keep in touch; never stop reading, asking, and learning. Fi aman Allah.

  6. Nimmy, a heartfelt thanks for this post, had always wondered what this whole business was all about.

    Hope they also bring out one fatwa against ignornace….

    • Nimmy
    • October 13th, 2008

    @Pink,yes I understand your point..Thank you so much for your elaborate and informative comment..Keep contributing to further discussions.Salam

    @Pinku,Thanks 🙂 I feel happy if atleast one person gets my point..All my readers are helping me learn more mtylsef and share it..and yeah,we need a fatwa against ignorance and mostly against people to refrain from making wrong impressions..Good day

    • Milind Kher
    • October 13th, 2008


    There is no “myth” of a Jafari madhab. If you read the book FIVE SCHOOLS OF ISLAMIC LAW, you will find that the Jafari Madhab is also regarded as a valid madhab.

    The Shia Imams are held in high esteem by Ahle Sunnat too, so accepting a Shia hadith should not be an issue unless it is a hadith that concerns succession.

  7. salam, Milind
    I have addressed this issue several times. The madhahib are equally legitimate schools of fiqh in Sunni Islam. To call Shia Islam a fifth madhhab is to imply that all five schools are equally legitimate and interchangeable (that it, one is not better than the other). The cold, hard truth is that they are not.

    For the Sunni perspective on this five madhahib nonsense, see “The Myth of a ‘Ja’fari’ Madhhab.” For my own perspective as a Shia Muslim, see my most recent post (either post #4 or something after it) to “Takfir Of Sunni `Ulama On Shia Islam.” Someone raise the issue on the thread; and even though I wanted to talk about something else entirely, I feel very strongly about this issue and so responded.

    • Milind Kher
    • October 15th, 2008

    Salaam Pink

    I read the “Myth of a Jafari Madhhab”.

    It is pure nonsense. It does not recognize that Shias regard Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) as the sixth Imam.

    It does not recognize too, that Imam Abu Hanifa actually learned Islam from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.)

    Shia fiqh is very well developed and I do not believe that the fuqoha would have felt a need to borrow from the fiqh of Ahle Sunnat

  8. You need to see this thread on Sunni Forum.

    • Milind Kher
    • October 16th, 2008


    I saw the thread on Sunni Forum. When Al Azhar clearly upholds the Jafari fiqh, the opinions of a few ragtag bloggers are not important.

    Also, we have to ceaselessly work for unity within the Ummah. If the Ummah is at peace with itself, it will be at peace with others.

    • Nimmy
    • October 16th, 2008

    I am glad about discussin between Pink and Milind..Thanks for the opportunity to learn more ..We need to work more for the unity of muslims as a whole.not any particular sector alone..I belive,once we settle all isuues within ourselves,there will be much more peace to us and can stand united against enemies..I feel sad when sunnis and shia fight with each other,instead of fighting the forigen enemies..More people are dying in this infighting than US bombings..

    • najeeb
    • October 16th, 2008

    I am with Nimmy and Milind on this – what is important is whether you are convinced or not, whether it makes sense or not and the unity of the Umma. As Milind mentioned Imam Hanifa was a disciple of Jafari.

    But if everyone has his/her opinion, then there will be the question of coherence! May be conherence is not necessary. In a certain perspective, islam is devoid of dogma. That is, as per my understanding, it does not teach or tell you what exactly the truth is and how you will experience it at the individual level. It leaves it to you.

    As I have read elsewhere, there were many other madhabs which are non-existent now. Is it then realy necessary to follow one madhab and stick to one always?

    Btw, Imam Gazali in his autobiographical book, ‘Deliverence from Error’ examines four ways of seeking truth, ie theology, Philosophy, ta’lim (authoritative instruction, aka Batiniyah) and sufism. He sort of shows that truth can’t be attained by mere acceptance of the prouncement of an infallible imam.

    • Nimmy
    • October 17th, 2008

    Thanks for sharing the info Najeeb..Honestly,i am not much into minute detals or laws of religion..If that alone makes me plunged into hell,i am fine with it..bcoz i believe spirituality is the path in which me and Go alone makes sense..Any law or interpretation will not make much difference bcoz afterall it is all about intentions of the heart..

    • Milind Kher
    • October 17th, 2008


    You are absolutely right. Allah has provided multiple paths leading unto Himself, because different people have different temperaments.

    I do believe , as the Quran says, that whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day will be saved, irrespective of caste and creed.

    A merciful God will not willy nilly shove most of His creation into hell.

  9. I like this quote: ‘Educated people QUESTION what they are told… Uneducated people DO what they are told!’

    • Milind Kher
    • October 19th, 2008


    What you are saying is true. It has always been the uneducated people who have plunged into everything without mentally assessing.

    In fact, many highly educated and intelligent people are atheists. Therefore, there is a strong case for educated and intelligent people who mean well for their respective religions to come forward and take the lead.

  10. You guys are so funny. You’re not willing to judge things based on your own opinions, so you have other people spend their whole lives studying holy books so they can issue a fatwa, that you judge based on your own opinions. Lol!

    • Nimmy
    • October 20th, 2008

    @Milind..**cough cough** Can you pls tell what is the analogy between “EDucated people and atheists” ..Well,that implies most of thesits are uneducated illogical dumbos..lol..Also,i have seen people saying “im atheist/agnositc” bcos they think such a label is more fashinalbe and trendy and modern…lol…

    @Watercat 🙂 But you see,I don’t think there is any harm or anything illogical in refering to scholars for advice..What do we do when we have a doubt in mathematics?We go to the professor who ahve spent lot of time on studying and we try to get help from them in understanding the matter and finally resovle the problem oursleves..Same here..But i agree that lot of people are into “blind obidience…

    • manoj
    • October 20th, 2008

    1. there are websites related to islamic issues, where people seek clarifications; which can be taken as ruling/fatwa on that topic. this is individual’s responsibiity to check the authenticity of the source.

    2. recent gimmick of ‘fatwa’ through a press conference are one’s effort to seek public attention. may be deoband’s ‘meeting’ can be taken as an exception.

    3. i dont think the educated people are atheists; JIH, RSS heirarchy and supporters are educated enough.

    • Milind Kher
    • October 20th, 2008


    The atheists/agnostics, more often than not give very cogent and logical arguments, which the faithful are not really able to match.

    This is why there is a crying need for the educated amongst the faithful to take up these things.

  11. Milind, those are not “a few ragtag bloggers” who have denied the validity of the Shaltut “fatwa.” Musa Ferber is not a ragtag blogger. Neither is Faraz Rabbani. Nor is Qadiri. Faraz Rabbani is a shaykh – an upper-level Sunni scholar. Musa is a student of Islam who has been studying the Hanbali madhhab for years now. Qadiri is a Sunni `alim. No qualified Sunni `alim has validated any authenticity for the Shaltut fatwa, any more than anyone would validate any supposed authenticity for Tantawi’s assertion that French schoolgirls can drop the hijab in order to attend shcool.

    • Milind Kher
    • October 31st, 2008


    The Shias honestly do not need any third party validation for the authenticity of their faith.

    Just as Muslims do not need to prove that they are patriots, Shias do not need to prove they are Muslims.

    In our gatherings we always refer to Sunnis as our Sunni brethren, never as rafizis or kafirs.

    Unity is the need of the moment, not sectarian bickering.

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