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.