In recent years, the term “fatwa” has been widely used throughout the media, usually to indicate to embarrass someone or some group of people by doing barbarian activities. The limited use of this term has resulted in a limited understanding of its meaning.
Though, there has been debate over internet over the issue whether issuing Fatwa is right or wrong and this debate seems to be never ending depending on ones personal views.
Recently Sonu Nigam who spoke against azaan. Fatwa was issued against Sonu Nigam by the Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, vice president of the West Bengal Minority United Council, issued a threat against Nigam, stating: “If anyone can shave his hair, put a garland of old torn shoes around his neck and tour him around the country, I personally announce an award of Rs 10 lakh for that person.”
In reply to this, Sonu Nigam shaved his head by his barber friend
Last month also Fatwa was issued against the famous news anchor Rohit Sardana on the Ram Mandir construction in which Babri Masjid Action Committee convenor Zafaryab Jilani and Mufti Manzoor Ziyayi who is the advisor of the Haji Ali Dargah Trust also participated, he had some strong words to say to those who were playing with Hindu sentiments.
A fatwa is not by definition a pronouncement of death or a declaration of war. A fatwa is an Islamic legal pronouncement, issued by an expert in religious law (mufti), pertaining to a specific issue, usually at the request of an individual or judge to resolve an issue where Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), is unclear. Typically, such uncertainty arises as Muslim society works to address new issues – issues that develop as technology and society advance. “Can a Muslim be involved in cloning?” for instance.
We might compare a fatwa to the legal ruling of a high court or the Supreme Court, depending on the authority of the mufti behind it. However, a fatwa is not binding as is the verdict of the secular courts; while correct and applicable to all members of the Muslim faith, the fatwa is optional for the individual to respect or not.
Although there is no central Islamic governing authority today – the last having been dismantled with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, there are generally accepted standards for granting anyone the authority to issue a fatwa. This is an extremely rigorous standard requiring many years of training and study. The fatwa is not based upon the mufti’s own will and ideas, but rendered in accordance with fixed precedents from the sources of Islamic law.
It is not allowed for anyone to give a Shariah explanation (fatwa), except one
- who knows the Holy Quran completely including what verses are abrogated and by which verses they were abrogated, and which verses resemble each other in the Quran and whether a chapter was revealed in Makkah or Madina.
- He must know the entire corpus of the Hadith of the Prophet (s), both those which are authentic and those which are false. He must know the Arabic language of the time of the Prophet (s) with its grammar and eloquence as well as know the poetry of the Arabs.
- Additionally, he must know the culture of the various peoples who live in each different nation of the community.
If a person has all such attributes combined in himself, he may speak on what is permitted and what is forbidden. Otherwise he has no right to issue a fatwa
It often happens that different Islamic clerics issue contradictory, or competing, fatwas. This divergence of opinion is not considered an issue in Islam; in fact, a well-known saying states that such differences among scholars are God’s mercy, for they allow for different conditions and temperaments among people.
Below is the link of the story, where Mika Singh also criticised the Sonu Nigam