CAIRO: The fatwas of scholars who belonged to past eras should be reconsidered because they may be based on customs that have long changed, undersecretary of Al-Azhar Abbas Shouman said at Dar al-Iftaa’s international conference Monday.
To issue a fatwa, or a religious opinion, has become challenging because most of the matters set forward have not been tackled by old scholars and have no corrolaries in Islamic history.
Further, self-proclaimed scholars give themselves the liberty to issue fatwas while putting sectarian and political affiliations into consideration, “to the extent that it is possible in many cases to determine the identity of the issuer of the fatwa from its wording,” Shouman said.
Dar al-Iftaa, Egypt’s institution tasked with issuing religious opinions, is facing many challenges because many of the fatwas circulated amongst Muslims just represent the viewpoint of their issuers, rather than scientific grounds and evidence, he added.
Dar al-Ifta kicked off a two-day international Fatwa conference Monday to counter radical extremism entitled “Fatwa: Current Reality and Future Prospects,” with the participation of 50 countries.
New areas of sciences have been developed and overlap in the process of issuing a fatwa, such as social, economic, political, medical and applied sciences; therefore it is difficult for someone specialized in Islamic Sharia only to properly adapt the issue according to his jurisprudence, Shouman said during the first session of the conference.
“Thus, we are in dire need for a collective endeavor in which those proficient in these sciences to sit side by side with Sharia scholars concerned with devising a sharia ruling on the issue in question.”