JEDDAH – Dr. Ghais Bin Abdul Lateef Aal Al-Sheikh, member of the Council of Senior Ulema, has praised restructuring of the body ordered by King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. He described it as a step to “eliminating loopholes and the issuing of fatwas (religious edicts) by unauthorized people.”
Aal Al-Sheikh believes the appointment of scholars from different schools of thought to be a substantial step that will lead to jurisprudential advancement to meet the growing needs of society. “The structure of the council involves scholars of different ages and specializations who will enrich our work through their knowledge and experience in the field,” he says.
“The King has entrusted members with the huge responsibility of guiding the people towards genuine Islamic values. Members will have to show that they measure up to his aspirations for the country and its people.”
According to Aal Al-Sheikh, a careful reading of Islamic history shows that one of the factors in the progress of the Islamic nation (Ummah) lies in issuing authentic fatwas.
“The Fatwa has never been captive to any one school of thought. This explains why our great Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) is notable for its flexibility with which it copes with all the requirements of life without deviating from its purposes decreed by Almighty Allah,” he said.
“This is one of the manifestations of the legislative wonders and miracles of Islam,” Aal- Al-Sheikh continues. “When the Prophet (peace be upon him) died, his companions spread out in the countries conquered by Muslims, thus the rulings they gave served as guidelines for those who succeeded them in the task. This helped in safeguarding the Fatwa from chaos and sedition.”
Other scholars also praised of the King’s appointment of members mastering the four main schools of thought in Islam (Hanbali, Maliki, Hanafi and Shafi’i), saying it will give the council ample options in the interest of the Islamic Ummah based on the Holy Qur’an and Prophet’s Traditions (Hadith).
The scholars added that it will enable them to seek out the most authentic evidence and testimony found in any of the four schools of thought.
“The appointment of members from the four schools will enable them to base their ruling on all the four schools of thought instead of deriving it from one school rather than another,” said Dr. Bin Saleh Al-Sadlan, Professor of Postgraduate Studies at Imam Muhammed Islamic University in Riyadh. “This gives them more options when issuing an edict, and can only be in the interest of the country and people.”
Dr. Aid Nami, Chairman of the Excellence Research Center at Imam Muhammed Islamic University in Riyadh, agreed. “The members have been carefully selected for being specialized in the subtle branches of Islamic Fiqh as well as their mastery of the four schools of thought to yield an integrated edict which has taken into consideration the opinions of all these schools. By all standards the gathering of thoughts and meeting of minds represented by these scholars will enrich the Fatwa process.” – Okaz/SG