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King’s order on fatwas to ‘prevent confusion’

Last updated: Saturday, August 14, 2010 3:32 AM

RIYADH/JEDDAH – The order of King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to restrict the issuance of religious edicts (fatwas) to members of the Board of Senior Ulema is a wise action and would prevent confusion, said Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Aal Al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti.
The royal order issued Thursday also banned tackling of any subject that is considered of “strange views or obsolete.”
As to the hosting of seekers of religious knowledge on some TV channels, the Grand Mufti said: “I hope there would be coordination with them and they should contemplate on this directive and they should know that it has been issued by the ruler.
The objective is to prevent committing mistakes so as not to deviate from the consensus opinion and start forbidding some matters and making others permissible without proof.”
On the question of allowing some religious scholars and famous sheikhs to issue fatwas, Aal Al-Sheikh said these matters would be taken into consideration in future and would be looked into.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Saleh Bin Abdul Aziz Aal Al-Sheikh, Minister of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance said the order will definitely check issuance of unwanted fatwas and would ensure that proper religious guidelines are issued by the competent authority.
The minister warned that the approach of the Holy Book, the Sunnah and the guidance of the worthy ancestors is to be strict concerning fatwas.
He pointed out that the jurisprudential rule is that the Shariah has come for the interests of the Muslims and to increase these interests as well as to prevent and curb evil and malicious acts.
The minister said the characteristics of the person issuing religious edicts include being mature, just and being knowledgeable in the Shariah judgments and on the people’s conditions and intentions.
“If he does not know the real condition of the people, a distorted picture could be presented to him. Therefore, the person who issues religious edicts should verify all matters and weighing the advantages and disadvantages.”
Dr. Ali Abbas Al-Hakami, member of the Board of Senior Ulema and member of the Supreme Judicial Council, described the royal order as “historic” that would put a limit to anomalous fatwas that cause confusion in the society.
Dr. Al-Hakami said this wise decision would achieve the Muslims’ interest because the public issues concern all and hence, they should be controlled by restrictions preventing deviant or anomalous edicts contradicting the consensus of Muslim Ulema. – Okaz/SG
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