Fatwas: The Big Picture

An analysis of randomly selected Deoband fatwas

Fatwas have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Headlines and news reports give readers the impression that muftis who issue these fatwas are working against heavy odds to keep Muslims backward and that most of their energy is spent on keeping women in check. The realty is far from what media, liberal Muslims or even Muslim scholars would like to admit. Most will be surprised to know that the majority of Muslims have never asked for any fatwa in their life. Out of 11 thousands Deoband fatwas online, only 2% are categorized as “Women’s issues.” An analysis of fatwas issued by Darul Uloom Deoband reveals that a majority of them are pretty harmless as they deal with issues like meaning of names, interpretation of dreams, or other personal issues. And if you look carefully there are many examples of good fatwas as there are fatwas that can be considered bad.

Frontpage of The Times of India, Delhi Edition, May 11, 2010

Disturbed by the recent spate of articles on a one-line month-old fatwa I wrote an article questioning the media’s obsession with fatwas and incorrect reporting when it comes to Muslim issues. My article “Everybody loves a bad fatwa” generated a lot of response. Journalists, politicians, Muslim leaders and liberal Muslims took notice. While common Muslims agreed with my charges against media; journalists and editors tried to defend their position by either saying that they always tell their organization not to over-emphasize on these issues but fail or they tried to kept the argument limited to the fatwa, safely ignoring their own role in its propagation. In the end, no one has been able to explain why a month-old fatwa has remained for days on the front-page of newspapers and prime-time of TV channels.

As if to prove my point, articles continued to be published without regard to any fact-checking or journalistic merit in them, by various media outlets. One article by Yoginder Sikand in which he listed a number of “anti-women” fatwas after a “random search” of Dar-ul-Ifta website of Darul Uloom Deoband that he happened to “chance upon” one night, was published by the Times of India, Outlook, Rediff, and Economic & Political Weekly. Yes, the article was important enough to be published by four different publications, as it fully agrees with the image that the media has of Indian Muslims.

Secular or Liberal Muslims, who are heard in major media only on Muslim issues, dutifully utilized this opportunity to question fatwas and the role of ulema. Like others, Javed Anand writing in the Indian Express also completely ignored the media’s role in stereotyping Muslims, instead he reserved his criticism for people like me who “can’t see the wood for the trees.” He suggested that educated Muslims questioning media should “quit pondering over fatwas in isolation” and should “see the big picture.”

So that’s what I decided to do. Look at the “big picture” as suggested by Mr. Anand and also test Mr. Sikand’s random search method to evaluate the Darul Uloom Deoband’s fatwa factory. There are thousands of muftis all over India and many fatwa-issuing institutions but since it is always Deoband that finds itself in the news (may be because they put their fatwa online) so I decided to restrict my research only to Deoband fatwas.

Fatwa factory

The website of Darul Ifta (abode of fatwas, place where fatwas are issued) of Darul Uloom at Deoband [http://www.darulifta-deoband.org] was launched in April 2007. It has issued over 11 thousand fatwas in the last 37 months or an average of 308 fatwas a month or 10 fatwas a day. Darul Ifta, which works only four days a week, employs four people to process about 30-40 questions that it receives every day. Answers to a question may take days to weeks depending on the complexity of the question asked.

Unlike other fatwa sites that give lengthy fatwas with lot of reference to the Quran and ahadith, Deoband muftis have championed the one-liner fatwas. Most of the answers are just one or barely a few sentences long. A few may contain some Arabic text referring to a particular Quranic verse or hadith or refer to an old fatwa in some other books. All fatwas customarily end in “Allah knows best,” a sort of disclaimer denying any responsibility for error in their judgement.

One other thing to keep in mind here is that fatwas as reported in the media may seem to be the work of some mad mullahs, but there is method to this “madness.” Mufits work under a framework and intellectual tradition seeking guidance from the Quran and ahadith(traditions of Prophet Mohammed), and a body of religious work developed by academic research of over 1400 years . So fatwas can restrict women’s movement and their employment opportunities but unlike what some media organization reported, they can never say that women’s earning is haram.

Method

To use a bit more rigorous method of evaluating the fatwas instead of Yoginder Sikand’s way of doing a “random search” late at night, I decided to truly randomize the fatwa search and then look carefully at the fatwas selected through this process. In statistics, randomness is a term which means that there is no recognizable pattern or it refers to an incident that can happen only by chance.

Microsoft Excel was used to generate over 30 random numbers. MS Excel has an option to generate random numbers between 0 and 1; 32 numbers were generated this way and the cells formatted to see five digits after decimal points. Each fatwa, whether in Urdu or English, issued by Darul Ifta gets a unique number. Random numbers generated in the previous step were used to look for truly random fatwas. This removes any bias that I might have in selecting fatwas that will agree with my theory.

For searching purposes, decimal points were ignored and numbers were considered as integers. Therefore, a random number 0.29512 becomes 29512 for the purpose of this analysis. The search for a random fatwa start with that five-digit number and looking in both English and Urdu collections. If I didn’t find any fatwa numbered 29512 in either language then the last digit was removed and searched again. If I was unable to find a fatwa for 2951 then removed the next digit and continued doing so till a fatwa can be found. So, in this example a fatwa in English numbered 295 was retrieved. Of the first 25 random numbers generated only two (35181 and 92022) did not yield any fatwa. So a total of 27 numbers were used to find 25 randomly selected fatwas. For the purpose of this analysis I limited my random search for fatwas to 25.

Click here for fatwa analysis spreadsheet.

Findings

As of June 2, 2010 there are 11,395 fatwas on the site, out of which 7,679 are in Urdu (67%) and 3,725 in English (33%). The first thing that jumps out when looking at the numbers is that only 2% of total fatwas are under the category of “Women’s issues” – 151 in Urdu and 87 in English.

The 25 fatwas that were randomly selected for analysis were from all the categories and instead of depending on Darul Ifta’s assigned category I assigned them my own based on the text of the question asked. Let’s first look at some big picture issues here before we delve into the fatwas themselves.

Of the 25 fatwas, 16 are in Urdu (64%) and 9 are in English (36%) language. Language wise my randomly selected fatwas are in agreement with language distribution of all fatwas on the site, this gives me confidence that set of fatwas selected for this analysis is a good representation of all the fatwas on the site.

Ten questions from India and 7 from Pakistan formed the bulk while rest 8 came from six different countries. Besides India and Pakistan, three questions came from the United States, and one each from Australia, China, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom.

Fatwas

All twenty-five fatwas were categorized based on their dominant subject matter. Five fataws were women related issues. Four fatwas each asked for dream interpretation, theology, and personal issues. Three on business (or finance) and three others were sectarian in nature. Two fatwas were about the meaning of names.

Topics Number of fatwas % of total fatwas
women 5 20
dream 4 16
theology 4 16
personal 4 16
business 3 12
sectarian 3 12
name 2 8
total 25 100

Now let’s look at these fatwas in detail. The first thing you notice is that five or 20% of randomly selected fatwas can be said to be women related. To be fair, this piece of information can be cut both ways. One can argue that it is one of the most popular categories suggesting that indeed ulema are obsessed with women issues and trying to control them. One can also argue that 80% of their fatwa are not directly related to women and considering that some of these questions were asked by women themselves therefore the assertion that ulema are obsessed with women issues is not true. Since these questions are asked by Muslims around the world therefore questions in a particular topic is a reflection of what is on the mind of people asking these questions rather than the ulema answering them. In fact, it is a very democratic process as the agenda here is set by the users and not Darul Ifta.

One thing to notice is that while Darul Ifta categorizes only 2% of their total fatwas as “Women’s issues,” 20% of randomly selected fatwas in this analysis were found to be women related. This could be because a fatwa may have been classified differently by Darul Ifta. For example, fatwa number 5049 deals with triple talaq and has been placed under “Talaq” category while I have put it under “Women.” Similarly, a fatwa (#8257) may have multiple questions and only one aspect of it may relate to women and I have placed that too under “Women.”

Let’s take a different approach and see how many fatwas are really advisory in nature and doesn’t affect how a man or woman practices his faith or behaves in larger society. Four fatwas are personal in nature, four about dream interepration and two asking about the meaning of names can come under the category of being advisory and non-controversial. Personal fatwas are answers to questions that affect the person asking it. So under this category we have questions asking about permissibility of combing hair after maghrib prayers, cleaning ears with ear buds, whether bath is needed after a particular type of sexual discharge, can one have his or her back towards Kaba. So a total of 40% of fatwas are those that will never make it for an interesting newspaper copy and Muslims however liberal can not claim that these are keeping the community backward.

Of the four fatwas under “theology,” none can be considered controversial. One asks about the permissibility of making congregational dua after farz prayers in jamaat. Another one asks about whether Quranic verses can be used to treat the affects of Jinn. One fatwa declares that all shares in the sacrificial animal need to be for the same purpose and the last question in this topic asks for the authenticity of a hadith. so far we have looked at 56% of the fatwas and none can be considered controversial, regressive, or in plain language bad.

It is a fact that barring some notable exceptions, most madrasas in South Asia are sectarian in nature. Contrary to popular media belief, madrasas invest a big chunk of their time and resources refuting or accusing other sects than thinking about other religion or jihad, for that matter. It comes a surprise that only 12% of the total fatwas can be classified as sectarian. Of the three fatwas- one was about an aalim, one advises that it is better to attend a Deobandi madrasa than go to Madina University (thought to be preaching Wahabi ideology there) and one reluctantly allows praying behind a Jamaat-e-Islami or Barelvi imam but adds that it is not desirable. Sectarianism occupies the minds of madrasa teachers and administrators but it seems that for a majority of Muslims that is not a major issue that needs some guidance.

Three fatwas that deal with business or finance- forbids taking LIC policies to save taxes since LIC deals with interest; credit card, including paying its annual fee, is allowed as long as full payment is made every month; and believe it or not, income from tobacco business is considered halal by Darul Uloom.

Of the five fatwas on women, one confirms that triple talaq is valid and two deals with hijab/purdah. There is no surprise here, their positions on these matters is well-known. The other two fatwas, though, are very interesting, one says that it is allowed to touch a sick women to help her and the other allows for abortion to save pregnant woman’s life.

Masjid al-Rashad in Darul Uloom’s campus

Fatwa followers

Folks in the media and liberal Muslims with tunnel vision forget that fatwas are nothing more than advice for a specific situation or question and issuing mufti or darul ifta has no power to enforce or make it binding. Unlike the judicial system mufits do not generally pronounce judgements suo moto. Fatwas are initiated when a person asks the religious opinion on a matter concerning him or her. So in a way it is very democratic as the general Muslim population sets the agenda of what issues are important to them.

As noted before, Deoband’s Darul Ifta, on average, issues 10 fatwas a day. There are many more fatwa-issuing institutions all over India, still, this number is pretty low. TwoCircles.net reporters talked to a few Muslims in Patna and Lucknow and we were surprised to learn that none of the people that we talked to ever asked for a fatwa. Surely, some of them can recall important fatwas but the source of this information was always media. So, inadvertently media is helping in the propagation of Darul Uloom’s fatwas that they so despise. Another confirmation of low usage of fatwas came through a survey on TwoCircles.net’s website where 70% of Muslims responded no to the question whether they have ever asked for a fatwa. Only 30% respondents have at least once asked for a fatwa. So fatwa usage remains low and its affect minimal no matter how one looks at it.

Watch: Indian Muslim opinion about Fatwa

Conclusion

All in all, fatwas issued by Darul Ifta department of Darul Uloom Deoband is a mixed bag although the majority of fatwas are personal in nature or do not in anyway help to keep the community backward or deserve a mention in any newspaper let alone the front-page. Of the rest of the fatwas, taking the “liberal Muslims” point of view, four can be considered bad since these validates triple talaq, enforces hijab or purdah, or doesn’t allow one to purchase LIC policies because it deals with interest. At the same time, there are at least three fatwas that even “liberal Muslims” will agree that they are good in nature- helping a sick woman, credit card usage, and abortion to save mother’s life. Fatwa about income from tobacco business being halal can be considered good or bad depending on one’s point of view so let’s keep it aside.

So out of 25 randomly selected fatwas, four can be considered bad, three are good and the rest are neutral. I hope that this exercise has been able to prove that the muftis at Deoband are not “misogynists,” not even obsessed with women and in fact there are several examples of fatwas that will prove “liberal Muslims” wrong about their perceptions of ulema. There are fatwas that approve inter-caste marriages, allows one to teach about interest and banking, advises against corporal punishment, declares that a divorced women can keep her children and the father has to pay the expenses, allows taking of loan on interest for education, and permits that girls can study together with boys if there are no girls-only institution in the area.

Journalist and researcher Nasiruddin Haider Khan who has studied Muslim women issues was able to get fatwas against female foeticide, sex selection, and in favor of family planning from many different sources. He uses these fatwas to create awareness about these serious issues. In his jihad for gender justice within Muslim community he uses these fatwas as one of the tools.

Another side to this picture which is often overlooked that changes in Muslim society and the world in general is pushing muftis to rethink and change their positions. Using time-tables & clocks to determine prayer times, use of loud-speakers for azans, use of photographs for ID purposes, in matters like these muftis have softened their positions, a sign, that they are not immune to change in the world around them.

Those who want to see the big picture, here it is. A picture big enough, not colored by ideology but driven by scientific method to give us a better view of the fatwas coming out of Darul Uloom Deoband. Those who are sincere about reform among the Muslim community need to come out of the pages of English dailies and take their intellectual jihad to the mosques and madrasas.

Courtesy: TwoCircles.net

Related:

Darul Uloom Deoband: TCN series.

Politics Of Fatwa In India

By Navaid Hamid,

Indian Muslims are not aloof from the global Muslim community which is feeling the brunt of a crisis from within. They suffer from an identity crisis in spiritual, social and political spheres. Muslim intellectuals today follow western modules in order to pretend that they are secular and liberal. On the other hand, Muslim clergy fails to give weightage to changed times, conditions and social realities while pronouncing edicts – opinion – fatwas – on issues of social importance while Muslim politicians are not only busy safeguarding their petty interests but also feel shy to actively take up the case of the community to which they belong. Most of the time, the only common thread between all of them is a visionsless approach to deal with a crisis.

The recent fatwa issued by the Islamic seminary of Deoband in India on the issue of working Muslim women says “it is unlawful for Muslim women to do any job in government or private institutions that entails men and women working together and women having to talk to men without the veil.” It created a storm not only in the national media but also within the Muslim community and has given another excuse to the detractors of the Muslim community to attack the fundamentals of Islam.

The fatwa came in response to a querry which said, “Can Muslim women in India do government or private jobs? Shall their salary be halal or haram or prohibited?”

Common Muslims are confused and seem to be lost between Islamic luminaries on one side and ultra secularists and media on the other. The national media flashed the news that an Islamic seminary has decreed that “it is ‘haram’ and illegal according to the Sharia for a family to accept a woman’s earnings”, inspite of the fact that the seminary had responded only to the first part of the query and kept silent about the other part for reasons best known to the mufti.

Almost all national dailies and major news channels carried the news prominently and it received wide attention and condemnation by every Tom, Dick and Harry of the secular tribe without verifying the contents of the fatwa in its totality.

After verifying the contents, I was confused as others too may have been, as nowhere in the fatwa, the clerics have quoted any Hadith or Quranic injunction to substantiate their ruling. Moreover, the fatwa concludes with a rider: “Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) knows best” which relieved me to some extent because, yes, it is the Almighty alone who knows the best and not men who respond to social issues with a religious brush without clear references from Islamic scriptures.

No practicing Muslim would disagree that in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society like India, every Muslim – man as well as woman, must guard his/her modesty. Do the revered clerics doubt the integrity of the Muslim women? Unfortunately, the fatwa is giving that impression which is contrary to the basic tenets of Islam which do not discriminate between man and woman.

It is not the Indian Islamic seminaries alone which issue such contentious religious edicts. In the recent past, a Malaysian Islamic scholar issued a fatwa prohibiting the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims in Malaysia. During a recent visit to Malaysia, I tried to understand the views of a highly respectable politician. I was not impressed by his response that “Malaysia is not in the Arab peninsula. We have a different culture and the argument by those who have given and support the fatwa needs to be understood in the right context.” How can one justify the appropriation of of Allah (God) by Muslims? And if this is correct, there should be one answer for this applicable to the whole Muslim world.

The understanding of Islamic jurisprudence in the contemporary world is a matter of great importance. A good number of scholars have argued for the opening of the avenues of “Ijtehad”. The renowned Islamic scholar and author of Radical Reform : Islamic ethics and Liberation, Tariq Ramadan, recently proposed “radical reform in the way we deal with the scriptures – rethinking the classical way of reading the scriptural resources and also addressing the contemporary challenges of promoting and applying Islamic ethics of our time”. Tariq Ramadan holds the firm view that “Muslims need to go from adaptional reform to transformational reform, which is not to adapt ourselves to the way things are, but to propose applied ethics to change them for the better.”

The so-called “liberals” in the Indian Muslim community always try to hijack issues for gaining publicity and shed crocodile’s tears on the plight of Muslim women whenever there is a semblance of conflict between Islamic scholars and common Muslim masses.

These “liberal” Muslims never speak on the general empowerment of Muslim women. They even vigorously opposed the demand of the educated Muslim women to have their due share in the political empowerment through the Women Reservation Bill.

These liberals have also never voiced their concern on the plight of the Muslim women of West Bengal where they have been marginalized the most during the last 33 years of the Left parties’ rule. I have not read a single statement of these so-called “liberals” when the goons of the CPM raped, attacked and killed hapless Muslim women of Nandigram not long ago.

Most of these liberal, ultra-secular Muslims have made personal gains in the shape of cosy posts and rewards from all political parties. Most of them have always been on the right side of the establishment from Shiv Sena to BJP to Congress. And every ruling party paid them handsome rewards for their dissenting and discordant voice.

Lyricist Javed Akhtar deserves congratulations for getting a “good Muslim” certificate by Balasaheb Thackeray in Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Samna for confronting and denouncing the Deoband fatwa. I admired this renowned lyricist not only because of his famous lyrics but also because of his courage to stand out and share dais with the Shiv Sena around 10 years back when the Sena was in its peak demonizing Muslims of Maharashtra and for his “special love” for Vajpayee when he had recited Vajpayee’s “poems”.

I was also amused to read a reaction of Shabnam Hashmi, a good friend of mine, who indeed is a secularist at heart and a courageous activist. She was correct when she reiterated that she does not recognise Deoband and I do agree with her because time and again she had reiterated that she is a non-believer. What amused me was the second part of her statement in which she said that this fatwa will not impact educated women like “herself” but that “there was a certain section in the society that would have to bear the brunt of such pronouncements.” I can only assure Shabnam that the fatwa on working Muslim women has little importance in the contemporary lives of the Indian Muslims at large.

Most of the electronic channels have an impression that by attacking and highlighting the conflicts in the Muslim society they would gain more funds by improving their TRP. The same is the case with the print media. Every media house is in a blind race to give prominence to views expressed by muftis of Deoband. The invented story that a fatwa said that it is “haram and illegal according to Sharia for a family to use a woman’s earning” found prominence in the media. The irony is that the fatwa is available official website of the Islamic seminary of Deoband. When the seminary denied the fake story published by the media, there were few takers for their denial. The damage was done. From the mufti who pronounced the fatwa to the liberal Muslims to media, everybody played a role in damaging the image of Islam and Muslims and used it to further their politico-economic ambitions.

(The writer is Secretary, South Asian Council for Minorities (SACM) and Member, National Integration Council)

Everybody Loves A Bad Fatwa

Everybody loves a bad fatwa. And why not? It fills column space for newpapers; It brings in viewers for Television channels; it plays into the image of Muslims as a backward community for communalists; and it gives activists a chance to reinforce their secular credentials. Never mind that this fatwa will not change the lives of millions of Muslims and text of the fatwa could be not what has been reported or maybe the said fatwa doesn’t even exist.

Fatwa is nothing but a religious opinion from a religious scholar to a question asked by a Muslim on a particular situation that he or she may be facing at the time or might face in future and doesn’t know what should be an appropriate way to act in light of Islamic teachings. A mufti then issues a fatwa or opinion based on his understanding of the question and Islam. Just as different medical doctors will have a difference of opinion regarding a diagnosis and treatment plan, it is common for different muftis to give different opinion for the same question.

Media circus


Frontpage of The Times of India, Delhi Edition, May 11, 2010

At least once every year, on a slow news day, some enterprising journalist finds a fatwa that will fit the stereotype about Muslims being backward or Muslim scholars being ignorant or out of touch with the real world or all of the above reasons, and will publish a news story based on this ‘prized’ fatwa. Let’s take the example of the fatwa issued by Darul Uloom Deoband that is making the round in news cycles this week.

The fatwa in question was issued more than a month ago and one can ask the question, why is there a sudden interest by the media in this particular fatwa? A fatwa that is only a sentence long has had numerous newspaper column space and hours of airtime devoted to it. The media bosses have decided that it is an important fatwa because it has all the right keywords to keep the attention of readers & viewers, and therefore will keep a flow of revenue coming in.

One has to question the motive of the major media regarding the publicizing of a fatwa. There is more to this than meets the eye when the Indian media that is obsessed with breaking news and exclusives these days picks up a fatwa that was issued more than a month ago. Within 24 hours of this news being flashed on NDTV on May 11th, 2010, all major media networks of India had reported it. And every new report had added information that was not even there. Let’s look at the fatwa first.

Question number 21031 to Darul Ifta (house of fatwas) of Darul Uloom Deoband asked by someone in India states: “Asalamu-Alikum: Can muslim women in india do Govt. or Pvt. Jobs? Shall their salary be Halal or Haram or Prohibited?” Answer published on April 4th, 2010 simply answers it as: “It is unlawful for Muslim women to do job in government or private institutions where men and women work together and women have to talk with [to] men frankly and without veil.”

Headlines

Now let’s look at some of the headlines of news reports about this fatwa:

Fatwa against working Muslim women: NDTV
Fatwa to working Muslim women: Don’t talk to male colleagues: NDTV
Women’s earnings haram, says Deoband: The Times of India [Print edition]
Deoband fatwa: It’s illegal for women to work, support family: The Times of India[Online]
Don’t talk to male colleagues: Darul Uloom’s fatwa to all working women: DNA
Muslim women can’t work: Deoband: Samay Live
Darul Uloom says Muslim women can’t work in public: India Today
Now, fatwa against working women: Indian Express
Women Working with Men Un-Islamic: Deoband: Outlook
Fatwa against men-women proximity at workplace: Zee News

In case you ever wondered why there isnt a successful supermarket tabloid in India, here is your answer. There is no need for one because major media houses in India do that job very well.

A Crisis Of Faith: 20 Years Of Rushdie Fatwa

Salman RushdieIn his Mathnawi the great Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi tells a story about Moses and a shepherd. Moses happens upon the shepherd and hears him address God: “If you were here, God, I would serve you. I’d comb your hair and wash your clothes. I’d kill the lice on your body. I’d milk my goats and offer you a bowl of fresh milk.” Moses, highly offended, accuses the shepherd of blasphemy and threatens him into silence. But then Moses himself is reprimanded by God for coming between Him and the shepherd, for causing a break instead of a union. Continue reading A Crisis Of Faith: 20 Years Of Rushdie Fatwa

Muslims In Introspection Mode

Zakir NaikSomething good is happening in the Muslim world. A man with a half Muslim parentage will soon take oath to the highest office in America. The Malegaon blasts are being fairly investigated, something the community has been demanding. Recently Muslim scholars, activists and clerics got together and issued fatwas delinking Islam with terror. Continue reading Muslims In Introspection Mode

Indian Deobandis Against Terrorism: Reiterating A Historical Tradition

Following the massive anti-terrorism convention organized by the Dar ul-Ulum Deoband two months ago, literally dozens of such public meetings have been held by Muslim groups, particularly those led by Deobandi ulema, across India. Ulema who have addressed these rallies have insisted that terrorism has no room in Islam, some of them going so far as to issue fatwas to that effect, and also calling for inter-communal harmony. Continue reading Indian Deobandis Against Terrorism: Reiterating A Historical Tradition

Islam, Muslims And Terrorism

Quran

Islam is being invariably associated with terrorism both in media as well as in political circles, especially in Western countries. When they hear it being condemned by Muslim theologians, it is celebrated as something unusual. It is strange irony of both misunderstanding and motivated propaganda that if a small band of Osama’s followers give call for jihad, it is taken as authentic Islamic call and if it is condemned by mainstream Islamic theologians, it is accepted with mixed feelings of celebration and skepticism. Continue reading Islam, Muslims And Terrorism

The Case Of A Missing Fatwa

Indian Express carried a news today that Darul Uloom Deoband denies issuing any fatwa regarding Muslims killed during Gujarat genocide of 2002.

No fatwa issued regarding Guj victims: Darul Uloom
Agencies
Posted online: Thursday , February 28, 2008 at 06:00:45
Updated: Thursday , February 28, 2008 at 06:20:45

Muzaffarnagar, February 28: Leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband denied that it has issued any fatwa (edict) saying Muslims who were killed in the Gujarat riots should be treated as martyrs under Shariat law.

The incharge of the fatwa department Mufti Habibur Rehman said that reports in a section of the press saying Gujarat victims should be treated as martyrs were ‘incorrect’.

The seminary has not issued any fatwa regarding the victims of the Gujarat riots, he said.

But Darul Ifta (fatwa department) of Darul Uloom has on their website a fatwa issued just 10 days ago.

Those who were killed in Gujarat, what is their status, can we call them Shahid according to Islam?
Answer: 2767 12 Feb, 2008

(Fatwa: 71/71=L)

Those who were killed during riots in Gujrat are real shaheed; they may be called as shaheed.

وکذا یکون شھیداً لو قتلہ باغ او حربی الخ (الدر المختار مع الشامی: 3/160، ط زکریا دیوبند)

and Allah (Subhana Wa Ta’ala) Knows Best

Darul Ifta, Darul Uloom Deoband

I am not sure who messed up here, Darul Uloom or the IE but someone should have cross checked it on their website and the responsibility of that falls on the newspaper.

The strange thing about this strange news is why Darul Uloom will deny this fatwa which definitely exists. Even if it didn’t exist do they not believe that a Muslim who dies because of his faith will be considered shaheed?

Deoband: “Terrorism is Un-Islamic”

Deoband SeminaryDeoband took a creditable step of hosting a conference on anti-terrorism and resolutely condemning terrorism to be un-Islamic. It is a good step which should have happened a few years back. Yet der aye aur taqriban durust aye. The conference was attended by more than 10,000 religious leaders from across the country. But the declaration could have gone a bit further by being more specific about the terror acts in India. Also this declaration should not be seen as an end in itself but should become the starting point of a more mature dialog. Continue reading Deoband: “Terrorism is Un-Islamic”

Quran, Hadith And Women

Muslim Woman MosqueWhat is position of women in Qur’an and hadith? It is very interesting to compare what is stated in qur’an about women and what do we find on women in hadith literature? And here I am not referring to ahadith from an other source but from what is known as Sihah Sitta (.e. six most authentic sources of hadith). I wish our Ulama reflect on the contrast between how Qur’an treats women and how ahadith treat them. Much of woes of Muslim women will be over if we follow Qur’an rather than these ahadith. Continue reading Quran, Hadith And Women