Islamic scholars favour fatwa, decry its abuse

Ref: Five Islamic scholars on Wednesday told the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court that the fatwa was not contradictory to the existing laws of the land and it could not be stopped on the basis of a High Court verdict.

They also said, the fatwa is constitutional and religious right of the Muslim people. If fatwa is stopped, Muslims would be deprived of what the holy Quran decreed, they added.

They also urged the Supreme Court to take the initiative to form a Shariah board to stop the abuse of fatwa by village arbitrators.

The scholars were placing their opinion before the Appellate Division of the apex court during hearing of an appeal challenging the 2001 HC verdict that declared all fatwas illegal. The apex court will continue hearing the appeal on Thursday.

The five scholars – Mufti Kefayet Ullah, Mufti Ruhul Amin, Mufti Kafil Uddin Sarkar, Mufti Mizanur Rahman Sayed and Dr Abdullah-al Maruf – placed their opinions in accordance with SC directives.

Mufti Kefayet Ullah told the court that fatwa is a rule for the Muslims and it would not be contradictory to the existing laws of the country.

Muftis would just give their opinion when needed. They would not force people to abide by it and it would not be mandatory, he said.

Fatwa is needed for all Muslims from birth to death as it is related to the existence of Muslims.
Criticising the village arbitration’s decision, the Islamic scholar said the decision was not fatwa at all. Hence, the abuse of fatwa has to be stopped, he noted.

Mufti Ruhul Amin told the Appellate Division that every people have a constitutional right to give their opinion. Therefore, fatwa is constitutional and a religious right of the Muslim scholars, he added.

He also said that fatwa is the rule of the Muslims. All fatwas provided by Islamic scholars are acceptable, he added.

Mufti Kafil Uddin Sarkar told the apex court that as per the Holy Quran, Islamic scholars could give fatwa for the greater interest of the Muslim people.

He also said that fatwa means interpretation of Islamic principles. If fatwa is banned, the principles of the Holy Quran and Sunnah will be affected and the Islamic knowledge will also be hampered seriously, he added.

He urged the court to form a Sariah board so that the village arbitrators would not able to abuse the fatwa.

Mufti Mizanur Rahman Sayed said fatwa is related to the existence of Muslims and it is a part and parcel of Islam and Islamic culture.

The innovative problems created in future would not be solved if fatwa is banned. All Muslims would be affected, he added.

Dr Abdullah-al Maruf told the apex court that the High Court issued the rule illegally as it has no power to issue such a rule as per the Constitution.

Hence, the HC verdict that declared fatwa illegal should not be upheld in the apex court considering the greater interest of the Muslim people, he added.

The HC on January 1, 2001 had declared illegal all punishments imposed in the name of fatwa after a hearing on a suo motu ruling of the HC.

The court issued the ruling following a newspaper report on hilla marriage (marriage with a third person). Mufti Mohammad Toyeeb and Abul Kalam Azad challenged the verdict at the SC the same year.

The apex court started hearing on the appeal on March 1.

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