Friday, July 20, 2007

Drive-through Fatwas

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

click to enlarge

I was driving a bunch this last week and was listening to world news podcasts on my iPod instead of hate radio. One story was about Dar Al-Iftaa and their fatwa issuing machine.

Fatwas are in reality just religious rulings. Questions like "how much inheritance should I leave my brother?" and so forth are answered, but they are not only giving in person, they are given via satellite television just like the 700 Club, plus there is also phone, email and even fatwas delivered via text message.

The Muslim world is beginning to see fatwa issuance as getting out of control and they are moving to have an official governing body to oversee all of Islam's fatwa edicts. But not everyone is in love with Dar Al-Iftaa...

Sheikh Safwat Hegazi's recent fatwa that it is halal to kill Israeli civilians on Egyptian land is one such potentially disastrous ruling; and arguably neither Dar Al-Iftaa's ruling to the contrary nor Sheikh Safwat's own retraction will render it entirely harmless. While acknowledging Hegazi's line of thinking as a response to frustration with Israel's aggression and impunity, Nosseir argued that with the correct interpretation of Qur'an , the fatwa is invalid, citing Verse 6 from Surat Al-Momtahena, to make her point: "Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily Allah loves those who deal with equity."

To avoid such fatwas, Nosseir suggests drawing up a Dar Al-Iftaa committee of religious scholars from the various modern sciences as well as Sharia: "Different scientific spheres are now needed to substantiate a religious ruling." To meet on a monthly basis, such a committee would manage to cover a given topic from every conceivable angle, coming up with a solid statement: "So eventually we would be able to consolidate the value of the fatwa and make people more eager to follow it," she opined. "With all due respect to the early scholars of Islam, we need to look into our daily issues with a different eye, ijtihad [independent thought] in Islam is allowed till doom's day." Significantly, she appears to agree with El-Magdoub: "I think the people who should participate in such a committee should be volunteers, not commissioned and not paid, to ensure they are doing so out of their own free will. We strongly need such committee, but we lack the determination."

Evidently, there exists in Islamic culture a need for fatwas that center around mindless killing. How they overcome this is anyone's guess.

My money is on the use of a lot of bombs, guns and grenades.