Now a Fatwa Is Needed Against Fatwas

By Mufti Yasir Nadeem al-Wajidi

For the last few years an anti-Fatwa global campaign in our media has been going on to distract  the masses from and create a gap between them and the religious scholars, i.e. the ulema and thus make the masses oblivious of their religion and way of life.  The saddening and worrying aspect of this campaign is that it has affected a large number of common Muslims. The [disrespectful/foul] language being used on social media against the fatwas issued by our respectable religious institutions is a testimony to the impact of this campaign on the community that once used to accept these decrees unquestionably and with great respect and reverence.

The only mission of the Satanic media is to conspire against Muslims and their faith and thus lead them away from their Iman and its related responsibilities. However conspiracies against anyone succeed only when the targeted one becomes oblivious of its own responsibilities of remaining on guard of such activities against and leaves the field open for the conspirator.  A thief/burglar succeeds in entering a well secured property, no matter how much it is fortified, only when the keeper becomes careless and goes to bed leaving its doors unlocked. Regretfully I have to admit that our own lot has played a big role in this social demeaning and degradation of fatwas. These elements have either sold their conscience over to the enemies or unfortunately have in their days of education and training fell victim of the degradation and decline in their academic and practical training standards themselves.

Now-a- days some of the ‘muftis’and those who are running some of the newly established madarsas in the neighbourhoods of Deoband have been churning out [controversial] fatwas [on a number of unnecessary and baseless issues] with such a speed and in numbers that the media hardly faces shortage of topics [to create and spread further controversies]. And the irony on top of all is that these nonsensical fatwas are attributed to Darul-uloom Deoband, thus defaming this world-renowned seminary.

Now-a- days some of the ‘muftis’and those who are running some of the newly established madarsas in the neighbourhoods of Deoband have been churning out [controversial] fatwas [on a number of unnecessary and baseless issues] with such a speed and in numbers that the media hardly faces shortage of topics [to create and spread further controversies]. And the irony on top of all is that these nonsensical fatwas are attributed to Darul-uloom Deoband, thus defaming this world-renowned seminary.

Recently some madarsas being run in the neighbourhood of Deoband have issued a number of fatwas declaring some public figures as apostates, the latest of which is against Salman Khurshid. The former minister on his tweeter account has refuted the allegation and declared one of his actions as ‘respect for others’.

This is not to defend Salman Khurshid. Only Allah knows, or he himself, whether he is a Muslim or not. The question is: did these takfeeri [those who declare others as apostates] maulvies,  before issuing any such fatwa, contact  the person in question and had sought a clarification from him?

[I am sure] These guys will not have studied the sixth volume of, Imdadul-Fatawa, by Hazrat Thanvi, Akfarul-Mulhideen by Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri and volume one of Jawaharul-Fiqah by Mufti Shafi Saheb.

Hazrat Mufti Shafi Saheb in his treatise writes, ‘The early Muslim scholars, companions of the Prophet, and those who were educated by the Prophet’s companions, experts of Islamic jurisprudence and consensus makers, have all directed to practice extreme caution on this issue. The interpreters of jurisprudence and scholars have regarded this aspect as of extreme importance and very difficult and have warned to be very cautious and vigilant to enter into this territory.’ He adds, ‘Of all the answers penned by Abul-Maali in response to the questions asked by Abdul Haq, he was asked only one. In his reply he asked to be excused [from issuing such a fatwa] because, he said, that one mistake in this field  would land one in dire trouble; to declare a Muslim apostate or vice versa is a very dangerous thing.’

Hafiz Ibn-e-Hajar Asqalani says: ‘If the fatwa is aimed at defaming someone, then it is not allowed. The Shari’ah enjoins to hide the fault of others and guide them instead. On a number of occasions extremist stance and behaviour makes the other party more intransigent and stubborn.’

This should also be borne in mind that Imam Ahmad-bin- Hanbal did highlight the erroneous beliefs of Jahmites but never called them kafir. He practiced caution in declaring anyone as apostate.

Do these muftis mushrooming in the neighbourhood of Deoband have the intelligence, knowledge and vision that would warrant them to treat as sacrosanct a responsibility as issuing a fatwa like some sort of a play? Look at the irony that the Hanafi jurist and Qazi of  Anbar,  Abul-Maali- Ibn-e-Qudamah refuses to issue a fatwa of Kufr [apostasy] but these sellouts acting as media agents feel no hesitation or qualms in issuing such decrees as much as they like. A Mujtahid [expert of Islamic jurisprudence] like Imam Ahmad practiced extreme caution but these guys feel no compunction in issuing such decrees.

What on earth do they want to establish by posing in front of cameras and issuing fatwas? With such practices they are defaming Islam itself. Are they not aware that if the aim of the person seeking a fatwa is to create mischief then issuing a fatwa is not allowed? Have they ever studied the basic principles and conditions of how and when to issue a fatwa? But, alas when the only purpose of these people is to appear before a television camera and issue a fatwa, then who cares about the intentions of the fatwa seeker?

What on earth do they want to establish by posing in front of cameras and issuing fatwas? With such practices they are defaming Islam itself. Are they not aware that if the aim of the person seeking a fatwa is to create mischief then issuing a fatwa is not allowed? Have they ever studied the basic principles and conditions of how and when to issue a fatwa? But, alas when the only purpose of these people is to appear before a television camera and issue a fatwa, then who cares about the intentions of the fatwa seeker?

This should also be borne in mind that the punishment of apostasy is very harsh in Islam but only the government [of an Islamic country] of the day can enforce these punishments. That is why in those days it were the Qazis [judges] who used to decide whether someone was an apostate or not. Since there is no Islamic government anywhere in the world, now the question of punishment  under Shari’ah laws is out of question.

However, all the decisions that used to be decided by the Caliph are now decided by the community and its organisations. For example the arrangement for the congregations of Eids and Fridays used to be the responsibility of the government but today this is done by Muslim institutions.  Same principle applies to issuing the decree of apostasy i.e. until an assembly of qualified muftis does not reach to a consensus such a decree cannot be issued.

Even on petty issues all the muftis in our Darul-Iftas have to reach to a consensus. When the scholars of Deoband declared Qadianis as kafir this was a collective and unanimous decision and was not simply decided by an individual.

Therefore, in circumstances as they are, I appeal to all the authentic Darul-Iftas of the country to agree upon and reach a consensus as to which institution should be accredited and powered to issue decrees on sensitive issues. This should be discussed at the platform of madarsa coordination committee.

Similarly institutions should cancel the degrees, issued by them to the muftis who have been repeatedly blundering and issuing fatwas irresponsibly. The institutions to which these elements are associated and who in the name of fatwa are creating mischief should take disciplinary action against them. If these muftis are running such institutions issuing such decrees themselves then the public should stop helping and cooperating with them altogether.

Similarly institutions should cancel the degrees, issued by them to the muftis who have been repeatedly blundering and issuing fatwas irresponsibly. The institutions to which these elements are associated and who in the name of fatwa are creating mischief should take disciplinary action against them. If these muftis are running such institutions issuing such decrees themselves then the public should stop helping and cooperating with them altogether.

These measure may sound stringent but in order to protect the sanctity  and the importance of fatwas such actions are MUST. First we need to set our own house in order only then will we be able to fail foil the conspiracies against the ummah.

Mufti Yasir Nadeem Al Wajidi is a Chicago based Imam. He is a postgraduate of DarulUloomDeoband and holds Ph.D. from International Islamic University Malaysia.

Translated by Urdu Media Monitor.Com from Mufti Yasir’s Facebook. Its Urdu version has appeared in a number of Urdu publications.

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