Friday, July 06, 2007


Every once in a while I stumble on some terrible Fatwa(edict) by some Saudi, Pakistani, or Egyptian cleric. Let me give a few examples:

* "Fatwa against production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons." What is the point?

* Fatwa Against Terrorist Acts in Spain.

*A fatwa proclaiming trademark counterfeiting ‘The crime of the 21st century." This was a tactic used by Proctor and gamble to combat counter fitting in Saudi or some other Muslim country (2005)

* "Woman can only be left alone with a strange man if she breastfeeds him."(2007. This one was withdrawn by the mufti in question after some uproar. I found this in Black Iris's page)

*"Muslims should not play soccer like the Europeans do because it violates the Prophetic tradition (hadith) against imitating Christians and Jews"

Some specifics of this last fatwa:

"One should not use the terminology established by the non-believers and the polytheists, like: 'foul,' 'penalty kick,' 'corner kick,' 'goal,' and 'out of bounds.' Whoever pronounces these terms should be punished, reprimanded, kicked out of the game, and should even be told in public: 'You have come to resemble the non-believers and the polytheists, and this has been forbidden.'" (2005)

And one can find hundreds of other examples.

What did the Fatwas of these clerics bring to Islam or to Muslims?

Did they improve the lives of Muslims?

Did they help them progress?

Really, what is the point of a post hoc fatwa like the one about terrorism in Spain? Did terrorism stop elsewhere after it was issued? It looks like it was issued for political reasons.

Did these Fatwas help people go to "heaven" or avoid "hell."

Or did these Fatwas damage the image of Muslims all over the world, and create many enemies for Islam?

In this modern age, I see very little value in the ramblings of the mostly illiterate clerics (they sure can read, but they do not comprehend). I think the individual at this point in time can and should judge for himself. The need for fatwa probably arose at a time when few people could read, had access to books, or had any education in logic or moral philosophy.

With the wide spread literacy and availability of massive amounts of information at libraries and on the internet, the question of availability of resources has been rendered moot.

The only thing that I would call for is a proper education in moral philosophy to equip the person to make a sound judgment.

In my opinion it does not help if the Muftis doing the fatwas are better educated or if they have higher IQs. I have a problem with the fatwa concept as a whole being done by a third party(the mufti) and I would rather leave things up to the individual after education in moral philosophy as well as scriptures.

I would much rather see something similar to Protestantism happen to Islam; with Protestantism, the hold of the Catholic Church and papacy was significantly reduced. Similarly, I would like the same thing to happen to the Fatwa centers in Mecca and Cairo; I would like to see their hold on people shrivel, I would like to see more and more people thinking for themselves.

However, if people want to stick to fatwas (their problem), then there should be some sort of acid test to prevent the above mentioned fatwas from making it out of the fatwa center; something like:

*If it does not make sense to 70% of the people, then it should be discarded.


*If 70% of the people think the fatwa is retarded, then this fatwa should be withdrawn.

Of course, this would require testing the fatwa beforehand, using statistical sampling methods, on a sample of the general public to determine if it is palatable or not.

This should be done even if the fatwa in question had Hadiths to back it up, or if it was issued by the most distinguished Islamic scholar(s). Ultimately, religion has to make sense to it's adherents.

Anyway, if things were up to me I would issue a new "Fatwa" banning all other "Fatwas" excluding mine :-)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Survival group against God?? LOL. Good luck with that. Truth is, no one knows the exact time this will happen except the man upstairs, however, I firmly believe that there are people placed here by God that post the warning signs and it's up to you to take heed.
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