Islamic scholars discuss rules to change Fatwa


Makkah : Rules governing a change in Fatwa were discussed at the international conference here yesterday. In third and fourth sessions of the conference, organized by the Muslim World League, participants highlighted the importance of issuing a Fatwa and urged set conditions for altering a Fatwa. The sessions were attended by Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdulaziz Alu Al Sheikh, who is also head of the MWL founding council, Dr. Abdullah Al Turki, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, and Dr. Saleh Al Marzouki Al-Bgumi, Secretary General of the Islamic Fiqh Academy, an affiliate of MWL, which is organizing the event.

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The third session was chaired by Dr. Saleh Bin Humaid, Chairman of the Shoura Council where prominent Ulema and scholars presented their papers. The speakers said it becomes incumbent upon a scholar to issue a Fatwa if he is the only one capable of doing it. Issuing of the Fatwa becomes a collective duty if there are two or more Muftis in a country, they said. A Mufti, when ignorant of a matter, should refrain from issuing a Fatwa, they added. The participants said a Mufti should neither become lenient in permission without evidence nor lean heavily on people with the strictest Fatwa which they cannot endure. They added that moderation is the right path. The researchers urged the Muftis to exercise caution in issuing a Fatwa. They noted that some Muftis irrationally throw out some Muslims outside the purview of Islam even when they commit an unintentional sin. By doing so, the mufti in question will be sowing the seeds of discord among Muslims that would even lead to bloodshed.

A Fatwa leads people to the right path and is issued according to the situation obtaining at a given time. With the change in situations, Fatwas also change accordingly, they asserted. In the fourth session chaired by Dr. Abdulsalam Al Abadi, Secretary General of the International Islamic Jurisprudence Academy, researchers focused on the responsibility of the Ulema to tackle new and modern issues. This entails the necessity of Ijtihad to manage such issues. Meanwhile, prominent scholar and President of the International Union of Islamic Scholars Sheikh Yusuf Al Qardhawi criticized “semi-literate” scholars who issue Fatwas through satellite channels and other means of mass media. He also criticized some students of Islamic studies for entering the field of issuing edicts.

“Whoever reads a book cannot become a Mufti to issue Fatwas on serious issues,” he said in the conference’s opening session on Saturday. Sheikh Al Qardhawi said differences on issuing edicts will never cease as there are both moderate and hard-liner scholars. On behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Makkah Governor Prince Khaled Al Faisal opened the International Conference on Fatwa and its Regulations on Saturday. More than 170 scholars from around the world gathered at the headquarters of the Muslim World League (MWL) for the five-day event organized by the Islamic Fiqh Academy, an affiliate of MWL.