Former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi spoke recently about the vital importance of doing in-depth research to ensure a quality fatwa, particularly if it touches on technical fields. Describing such a fatwa as a “contemporary fatwa”, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi went on to list 4 aspects that a fatwa issuer must consider before issuing any fatwa.
“Begin With Thorough Studies”
Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi emphasized that fatwa issuers must recognize the vital importance of doing in-depth and thorough studies particularly when technical issues are involved before issuing contemporary fatwas. Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi puts it this way: “The issuing of contemporary fatwa, especially those that are related to technical fields, must begin with thorough studies”.
Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is the chairman of the Malaysian Islamic Understanding Institute (Ikim) made this comment on the sideline of the “Strengthening the Fatwa Institution: Facing the challenges as a source of Syariah in Malaysia” roundtable discussion.
The Four Aspects
Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that the body that issued fatwa rulings must look into four aspects, namely:
1. Mastering the Al-Quran and hadis (or hadith, the sayings or actions of Prophet Muhammad).
2. Using the right methods in issuing the law.
3. Understanding the climate that influenced new issues.
4. Applying the laws from the original source.
Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that a mufti’s responsibility is more than just issuing fatwa, more so in today’s internet world where many pressing and sensitive questions are raised and debated online across various social media platforms, causing polemics in society.
Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi added: “People become confused with the various opinions laid out. This is where mufti come in, to provide the answers”.
Think About It
Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has hit the nail on its head. Indeed research is needful, even vital, when issuing contemporary fatwas. Failure to do so can create ridiculous fatwas that put Islam and Muslims to shame. Take for example a past fatwa by an Islamic scholar that insisted that the sun revolves around the Earth. Clearly that fatwa issuer did not do his research before issuing such a ridiculous fatwa. Or how about another past fatwa that insisted that the Earth is flat? Ridiculous? Yes! But that’s the result of not doing research, overlooking science, history and mathematics.