Classical Islam Fatwa Board tackling contemporary issues.
The Fatwa Board has been set up by a group of Muftis, under the guidance and support of leading Ulamaa, with the intention of creating a source of authentic help for the Ummah, concerning any contemporary issues that may arise in present and future times. The Muslim Ummah is daily encountering situations that they do not understand, and are faced with controversies to which they have no answers. At present, with technology that daily advances, and a society that is on the climb, we, the Muslim Ummah, are coming across many problems, circumstances and quandaries, for which we need answers and guidance.
Allaah Most High says:
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger Muhammad , and those in command among you (your leaders and authorities in all fields, such as the Imaams of Jurisprudence in Fiqh). (And) if you dispute regarding any matter, then refer it to Allah (find the solution in the Qur’aan) and His Messenger (or find the solution in the Sunnah), if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. This is best and more suitable for final determination (best in terms of the end result, as you will not be basing your decisions on your personal opinions).” (an-Nisaa 4:590
Abu Dardaa reports that the Prophet said, “The Ulamaa (scholars of Islam) are the successors of the Prophets.” (Tirmizhi, Abu Dawood)
As the verse quoted above says, the source for these answers are those in authority. Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas, Mujahid and Hasan al-Basri the earliest commentators of the Qur'an, may Allah be pleased with them, have said that “those in command” fittingly applies to scholars and jurists ('Ulamaa' and Fuqahaa') since, they are the succeeding deputies of the Holy Prophet and the proper regulation of religion is in their hands. This view corroborates with the Hadeeth above that indicates that the true Ulamaa hold authority, on the basis that they are the successors of the Prophets.
The Concept of Fatawaa
We can further understand the concept of Fataawa from a simplified version of an excerpt of Ma’aariful Qur’aan mentioned below.
The practical form of the obedience to Allaah’s command varies according to the circumstances and situation.
1. First of all come commands about something which Allah has Himself revealed very explicitly in the Holy Qur'an and which do not need any explanation - for example, the extremely serious crime of shirk and kufr (the ascribing of partners to the divinity of Allah, and disbelief); the worship of Allah, the One; the belief in Akhirah, the life-to-come, and in Qiyaamah, the Last Day; and the belief in Sayyidina Muhammad al-Mustafa as the Last and True Messenger of Allah; the belief in and the practice of Salaah (prayers), Sawm (fasting), Hajj (pilgrimage) and Zakah (alms) as fardh (obligatory). All these are direct Divine commands. Carrying these out means a direct obedience to Allah .
2. Then, there is the second part consisting of Ahkaam (commands), which need to be explained. Here, the Holy Qur'aan often gives a terse or unspecified command, the explanation of which is left to the Holy Prophet . Now, the explanation or elaboration of the subject, which the Holy Prophet takes up through his Ahaadeeth, is also a kind of wahiy (revelation). Finally, the word and deed of the Holy Prophet as it is in the end, becomes the interpretation of the Divine command. For example, the injunction of observing Salaah is mentioned several times in the Qur’aan, but the method of Salaah is no where to be found therein. This was explained and taught by the Prophet .
Although obedience to the Divine commands of this nature is in actual fact obedience towards Allaah , but, speaking formally, since these commands are not physically and explicitly in the Qur'aan as such - they have reached the community through the blessed words of the Holy Prophet - therefore, obedience to them is academically said to be an obedience to the Messenger , which, in reality, despite being in unison with obedience to the Divine, does have a status of its own if looked at outwardly. Therefore, throughout the Holy Qur'aan, the command to obey Allah has the allied command to obey the Messenger as a constant feature.
3. The third category of Ahkaam (commands) are those which have either not been explicitly mentioned in the Holy Qur'an or in the Hadith at all. Or they do appear in the Hadeeth, but the narrations about such commands found in the enormous treasure house seem to be conflicting. In the case of such Ahkaam, Mujtahid 'Ulamaa (scholars having the highest multi-dimensional expertise in religious knowledge through original sources) look deep into the established texts of the Qur'aan and Sunnah along with a close study of precedents and parallels offered by the problem in consideration, giving their best thought and concern to arrive at the appropriate rule of conduct while staying within the parameters of the imperatives of the sacred texts.
This being so, the obedience to these rules is one and the same as the obedience to the Divine command because it has been, in all reality, deduced from the Qur'aan and Sunnah. But, when seen formally, these are known as juristic edicts or Fataawa as popularly understood, and are attributed to religious scholars.
The blessed verse of the Qur’aan Majeed mentioned above clearly states “return it to Allaah and his Messenger”. This 'reverting back to Allaah and the Messenger' takes two forms:
1. Revert to Ahkaam, the code of commands, as mandated in the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah .
2. If the textually-mandated Ahkaam do not exist, the act of reverting back will be accomplished by analogical deduction as based on their precedents.
The verse also clearly instructs all laymen, to not rely on their own judgments, but to refer all unclear matters to the Ulamaa who are capable of guiding them.
Seeking Knowledge is Obligatory
The Prophet said: “To seek sacred knowledge (to the extent that one can distinguish between right and wrong, and thereby carry out what is necessary and abstain from what is forbidden) is an obligation upon every Muslim.” (Ibn Majah)
The Hadeeth highlights the importance of seeking answers to situations in which one is uncertain of, in order to ensure that he/she is living a life totally in compliance with Sharee’ah (Islamic Code of Law).
In collaboration with our Q & A section, The Fatwa Board will inshaAllaah provide answers to questions and situations, which affect the lives of Muslims. We have designed a three-stage procedure whereby questions pertaining to rulings commonly found in the authentic books of Fiqh (Jurisprudence) will be answered by our Q & A board of scholars. If the nature of the question is such that it requires Ijtihaad (multi-dimensional expertise in religious knowledge through original sources), it will be passed on to the next level of scholars, the Muftis. However, if the matter is so controversial that they too are unable to come to an appropriate conclusion, it will be passed on to the third level, the senior Muftis, who will then issue the final verdict. Leading Muftis will approve these answers. Once the answer is submitted, it will be circulated among the Muslims in order to inform and update them on the recent Fataawa (verdicts). In this manner, we seek to create a unifying body, which provides Fataawa (verdicts) that are approved and supported by senior scholars. We feel the need for this especially in recent times, where there is no unified board of Muslim Scholars that unanimously publicize the true Islamic point of view in controversial situations, such as the recent bombings.
InshaAllaah we pray that this Fatwa Board will be of great service to the Ummah (Muslim Nation) and of immense help to us in understanding our situations better, during this period in time where things change at an overwhelmingly rapid rate.
We pray that Allaah , the Most Merciful and Most Kind) blesses us with divine assistance in this project. Ameen
Page created: 17/05/2008
Page last updated: 25/05/2008
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