By Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran
1 July 2018
Anyone with an interest can notice the
chaos related to the issuance of Fiqh rulings in the past few years. The
revolutionary tide, the formation of fundamentalist movements and the
resurgence of political Islam groups have coincided with the fragmentation of
many countries’ structure, unrest in their institutions and breakdown of their
relations to the point that large areas of the region ended up being managed by
militias and other countries.
Despite their great history, several
countries are losing the essential prerequisites of statehood to eventually end
up as failed states and enter into a dark history where officials in these
countries adhere to the order of the ‘Wali al Faqih’. Nevertheless, the most
dangerous aspect related to the issuance of Fatwas and rulings by ISIS,
al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood is the latter’s establishment of Fiqh
groups claiming they represent the Ummah. They attempt to break down religious
institutions in each country in order to issue their disastrous Fatwas and
The positive thing in light of all of this
chaos is how moderate countries have stepped in to strengthen the work of local
religious institutions and to revamp them in a way that is relevant to the
different facets of life and developments. The UAE cabinet issued a decision on
June 25 to form the Emirates Fatwa Council under the chairmanship of Sheikh
Abdallah bin Bayyah.
As reported by the UAE News Agency (WAM),
the Council "will aim to combine relevant efforts, visions and objectives,
and organize the work of government authorities, institutions and individuals
related to Fatwas. The Council will issue general Fatwas concerning various
topics, upon the request of official authorities, institutions or individuals.
It will also grant licenses to issue Fatwas, train muftis and develop their
skills, and conduct related studies and research.” It will also oversee the
Fatwa Centre in the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, WAM
This council restrains the chaotic Fatwas
issued by the ignorant and extremists and restores the prestige of Fiqh after
many charlatans has taken it as their profession. Issuing Fatwas has its
conditions. Not everyone who has memorized Sharia or Hadith can issue Fatwas.
Indeed, there are personal conditions related to the understanding and
knowledge of the signs and purposes of the Sharia, along with having
Many of the problems facing Muslims today
are because of the Fiqh renewal, like some did in terms of issuing provisions
including their exaggerated opinions about jihad. This approach has been
adopted by groups of extremists and theorists such as Sayyed Qutb.
In the end, if Islamic countries want to
take the route to development, they will first need to control the disruptive
religious rhetoric coming from Ifta and speech platforms, and media programs
that describe themselves as legitimate religious sources, while they are purely
fundamentalist movements. Without this restraint, bitter experience will repeat
itself. The experience of the UAE should be praised and highlighted. Allah has
full power and control over His Affairs, but most men know not.
Fahad Shoqiran is a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the
Riyadh philosophers group. His writings have appeared in pan-Arab newspaper
Asharq al-Awsat, Alarabiya.net, among others. He also blogs on philosophies,
cultures and arts.