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Islamic scholars question relevance of fatwas

Last Updated: Sunday, July 11, 2010 - 16:04

New Delhi: From banning wearing of wig during prayers to prohibiting having test tube baby. Islamic scholars are now raising questions on the relevance of a number of such fatwas issued by the country`s largest seminary the Darul Uloom Deoband.

Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiuddin Khan says it is not proper to issue fatwas "on every issue".

"It is essential to understand that these fatwas are merely a point of view and it depends on an individual whether to follow them or not," he says.

On the seminary`s fatwa website, the edicts have been divided in 39 categories.

In one such query to the clerics, a man has asked if it is appropriate for him to wear his wig during the namaz, to which they replied that it is inappropriate.

In another case, a man had asked that if he goes to another planet and finds an alien there, should he click its picture. The reply was that Islam forbids clicking pictures of
living beings.

A man sought the seminary`s advice when his six-year-old daughter wanted to learn to ride the bicycle. The clerics said that the girl can ride the bicycle till the age
of nine, not beyond that.

The Darul Uloom has also issued fatwas stating that it is forbidden under religion to donate organs or to have test tube babies.

According to a fatwa, a condom can be used by a man only if his wife is unwell or too weak to bear a child.

Also a person can work in a bank only as a watchman or as a messenger but not at any other post, the seminary said.

Ashgar Ali Engineer, Islamic Scholar and social worker, says that these days Muslims do not blindly follow such edicts.

"Such fatwas create confusion among people. The ulemas speak bookish language and don`t consider the problem practically," he says.

"Our ancestors were living in different conditions and whatever they said, is considered holy by our clerics and they feel that these should be followed. But the reality is that
the society has changed," he says.

Engineer says that there are several instances from the life of Prophet Mohammad where men and women worked together.

According to Wahiuddin Khan, "It is important to correctly interpret the Quran, to understand its complete meaning and not just take a segmented approach."


First Published: Sunday, July 11, 2010 - 16:04

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