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Articles


The Issuance of Fatwas: Chaos and Cure

Author : Dr. Hassan Abu_Arqoub

Date Added : 23-11-2022


The Issuance of Fatwas: Chaos and Cure

 

The Arab-Muslim World is witnessing chaos on the political, economic, and religious levels. The symptoms of this disease are embodied in the enormous chaos of Fatwas on the religious arena. This is to the degree that non-specialists have used and abused media outlets, via modern means of communication, to deliver Fatwas that spread like wildfire. 

Unfortunately, the people of knowledge and piety as well as Fatwa institutions have been denied the right to deliver Fatwas leaving this door open to all and sundry.

Fatwa is an extremely serious matter as it is tantamount to signing on behalf of Almighty Allah, and every person will be held to account for what they have said or done. Allah says {What means}: "And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)." {Al-Isra`, 36}. This verse clearly states that Allah prohibits His servants from pursuing that which they have no knowledge of and thus pass judgment without knowledge. {Tafseer At-Tabari. V.10:257}. When a Muslim is asked about a certain matter that he doesn`t have an answer for or wasn`t acquainted with the opinions of the scholars in that regard, he/she should say: "I don`t know." This is because it is prohibited for a Muslim to pass judgment on behalf of Allah for doing so is considered lying against Allah and His Messenger (PBUH). Allah says {What means}: " But say not - for any false thing that your tongues may put forth,- "This is lawful, and this is forbidden," so as to ascribe false things to God. For those who ascribe false things to God, will never prosper." {An-Nahil,116}. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Whoever tells a lie about me deliberately let him take his place in Hell.” {Bukhari & Muslim}.

Unfortunately, in some situations, Fatwas issued by the unqualified led to the death of many people, the destruction of a lot of property, and the loss of the moral compass of many. 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al-'As (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying: "Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people, but He takes it away by taking away (the lives of) the religious scholars till none of the scholars stays alive. Then the people will take ignorant ones as their leaders, who, when asked to deliver religious verdicts, will issue them without knowledge, the result being that they will go astray and will lead others astray."[Al- Bukhari and Muslim].

 

The above implications of Fatwa aren`t new for they have been dangerous since they existed. Jabir said: We set out on a journey. One of our people was hurt by a stone, which injured his head. He then had a sexual dream. He asked his fellow travelers: Do you find a concession for me to perform tayammum? They said: We do not find any concession for you while you can use water. He took a bath and died. When we came to the Prophet (PBUH), the incident was reported to him. He said: They killed him, may Allah kill them! Could they not ask when they did not know? The cure for ignorance is inquiry. It was enough for him to perform tayammum and to pour some drops of water or bind a bandage over the wound (the narrator Musa was doubtful); then he should have wiped over it and washed the rest of his body. {Related by Ahmad and Abu Dawoud}. As reflected in this Hadith, great evil has resulted from that Fatwa. Therefore, we should put an end to the evil resulting from the issuance of Fatwas without knowledge, as doing so is vital for the preservation of religion, lives, and wealth. In other words, disciplined Fatwa preserves the higher objectives of Sharia.

Some proposed methods for combatting the Fatwa issued without knowledge are as follows:

First: Spreading religious knowledge via different media outlets through allocating weekly radio and television programs where the Muftis of the Iftaa `Department provide answers for different religious questions. This is to fortify the community against the chaos in Fatwas offered by non-specialized individuals.

Second: Employing lessons, Friday Sermons, seminars, and lectures delivered in different venues to raise awareness on the danger of issuing Fatwas without knowledge.

Third: Facilitating access to Fatwa through using modern means of communication and employing Muftis in all parts of the kingdom to answer religious questions of the people to prevent their resorting to the ignorant and those who claim religious knowledge.

Fourth: Holding the unqualified individuals who take charge of issuing Fatwa into account as well as punishing those who dare to pass Fatwa without knowledge.

Fifth: Regulating Fatwa affairs by identifying the institutions and individuals entitled to deliver Fatwas.

All Muslims-Individuals and gov. or nongovernment institutions-should work on finding "specialists" from amongst the people of knowledge and piety and establish scientific institutions in charge of delivering Fatwas in a reliable scholarly manner. This is to spread Islam and clarify the Sharia rulings that are based on reliable evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah. By doing this, people will not seek Fatwas from the ignorant or those who claim to possess religious knowledge and whose Fatwas merely cause trouble and provide no solutions.

 

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