What is Fatawa….? 

The word “fatwa” has become well known around the world. People often hear that a Muslim cleric or scholar has issued a “fatwa”. In some cases, this word has been associated with very negative things, such as a death sentence on a person or a severe punishment. The word “fatwa” has been made popular by media outlets looking for more sensational stories in order to capture the largest possible audience. In their pursuit of ratings, the media need to find an enemy that they can portray as evil and vicious, because such stories trigger fear in viewers and make them interested in following such stories in the media. Media outlets love to find words such as “fatwa” that they can use in their reports. This gives the report a more serious tone, and makes it appear as if the reporter is an expert on the subject, because no one knows what this word means and no one has heard it before. However, the media turns such a word into a keyword that catches the eye and the ear or the average person, all in the pursuit of more viewers and higher ratings.
So what does the word “fatwa” actually mean? It is an Arabic word, and it literally means “opinion”. Related words in Arabic are “afta”, which means to give an opinion, and “yastafti”, which means to ask for an opinion. In fact, in Arabic countries, an opinion poll is called an “istifta”, which is simply a different form of the same word. As you can see, there is nothing sinister or scary about the word itself. So why do media outlets not just say “opinion” so that everyone can understand what they are talking about? Would you care about the opinion of some cleric in Iran or Afghanistan? Probably not. But the use of a foreign sounding word such as “fatwa”, along with all of the negative and evil connotations that it carries, will catch the attention of a good number of people. This translates into more viewers, higher ratings and more advertising dollars.
This was the linguistic meaning of the word “fatwa”. In a religious context, the word “fatwa” carries more meaning. This is because when a Muslim has a question that they need to be answered from an Islamic point of view, they ask an Islamic scholar this question, and the answer is known as a “fatwa”. This “fatwa” carries more weight than just the random opinion of any person on the street. Muslim scholars are expected to give their “fatwa” based on religious evidence, NOT BASED ON THEIR PERSONAL OPINIONS. Therefore, their “fatwa” is sometimes regarded as a religious ruling.
Hence, media should stop misusing the term fatwa, personal statement/opinion of any Tom dick harry is not fatwa and muslim are not bound to follow the so called fatwa.

Any person wearing skull cap n sporting beard is not scholar of islam or representative of whole muslim community.
When a muslim needs to know the ruling of Islam in a particular case or matter, he/she consults a qualified Islamic scholar to ask for the same since not every Muslim is knows all such intricate matters. The answer given by the scholar or cleric in the light of Islamic rulings is called “fatwa”.


76 comments on “What is Fatawa….? 

  1. funny thing is that Fatwas have become such a business, you can get one off the internet and shake it around like its law!!! A fatwa is a non binding opinion that a local mufti is suppose to give that does not affect another person. So if a wife wants to a buy a house on riba and gets a fatwa the husband does not have to accept it. These day fatwas have become more trouble than good, muftis in the west should shut up!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Jazak allahu khairun for the information.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] via What is Fatawa….?  — Shake Your Conscience ! […]

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done! As an historian, it is very traceable how divisive and emotionally manipulative the “legacy media” ( papers, TV news, magazines) has been. The cliches like, if it burns, it earns”, or “if it bleeds, it leads” demonstrate their use of artificially created sensationalism.
    May we find a more even-handed way to convey news that respects dialogue!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. This article is very interesting and informative. Very well written, Imran! Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s a whole new insight..ludos for this info

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you Imran Ali for clearing the doubts and misconception about FATWA.You described it very vividly. Thank you once again. I will put it on my face book page so layman like me can also benefit. salamut raho and keep us informed more and more please

    Liked by 2 people

  8. A post finally, alhamdullilah! Thank you for your insight brother. Wassalam.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Very interesting, Imran, and thank you for the excellent explanation regarding the word. I confess to not understanding the meaning of fatwa fully, so I appreciate your post.
    Just to let you know, I found a comment from you in my ‘Spam’ a couple of weeks ago. I’ve retrieved it and will respond asap. Apologies for the delay, and I’ve no idea why WordPress sent it to Spam! I’ve found a few in there from fellow bloggers lately, so I’ll have to check a little more often.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. i want your email address Imran beta

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Nice work, Keep it brother. May Allah bless you for the wonderful job

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Really great lesson here:) It is the first time I hear the word, “fatwa”, but now I know a good background if I hear it come up.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Imran, it is a well written post. I agree with you, when people use foreign words they confuse their audience now add the propaganda of fear and you have a dangerous mix.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. there’s a saying “opinions are like arseholes everyone has one .” 😊a very enlightening article 😊☺😊

    Liked by 4 people

  15. As salam o alaikum brother.. I’ve nominated you for The Blog-aholic Award: https://zarawritesz.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/the-blog-aholic-award/

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Congratulations, I am so happy to have tracked you down as a nominee by papatia of my Blog-aholic Award.
    Congratulations and well done.
    Now I am able to also follow you and see what you have to share.
    Happy Blogging Blog-aholic

    Liked by 2 people

  17. This article is very interesting, I like ! Congratulations and well done! hug 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Islam is one religion that is highly misunderstood and framed

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Interesting. Didn’t know the word could have a positive connotation. Thanks for the education.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. This is so informative especially for people like me from non-muslim background who gets to hear this word so many times on news and which always leaves me confused if it is a negative word.However now my doubt is clear!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you thank you ….
      People hardly distinguish the diffrence between information and knowledge defacto these two r chalk and cheese,polls apart

      Thank you for your visit and comment.

      May God bless !

      Liked by 1 person

  21. You’re absolutely correct on the part where media use foreign sounding words to grab the attention of the people. While many are ignorant to its actual meaning, they readily trust the media on the fatwa issued.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Even I didn’t know the source of this word… ty. Btw in Turkey we also say “istishare”

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Quite interesting.

    Thanks for checking out my blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for the clarification. We can only be hurt by what we don’t understand. People are the same across the globe. We search for acceptance and understanding.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Good thoughts about Fatawa.u r right bt now a days it has become an order for opposition of religion by ulemas.it is dangerous for international peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Wonderfully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Very well explained…and yes not everyone wearing a beard, or who have read few books on Islam can come up with fatwas of their own. It requires years of research, understanding, and wisdom. Great article, keep up the good work

    Liked by 2 people

  28. So we aren’t born emotionally intelligent, it’s something we need to work on? or can we even inherit it?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Intelligent question

      Researchers have transmitted fear of a specific smell down two generations of mice, using a mechanism of inheritance that responds directly to environmental factors. They say a similar effect may be significant in some human psychiatric disorders.

      The study at Emory University in Atlanta is one of the most striking demonstrations so far of “epigenetics”, a phenomenon causing increasing excitement among evolutionary biologists. It involves biochemical marking of DNA in response to experience, in a way that may affect the activity of genes for several generations.

      The scientists made laboratory mice fear the odour of acetophenone, which is rather like cherry blossom, by giving them a mild electric shock whenever they were exposed to it. They then found that the offspring of these sensitised mice recoiled when they first smelled it, although they were conceived by in-vitro fertilisation and had no contact with their parents. The sensitivity even appeared in the second generation.

      Publishing their results in Nature Neuroscience, the authors suggest that epigenetic inheritance may also be important in humans. “Knowing how the experiences of parents influence their descendants helps us to understand psychiatric disorders that may have a transgenerational basis, and possibly to design therapeutic strategies,” says Kerry Ressler, professor of psychiatry at Emory.

      Both mother and father mice passed on acetophenone sensitivity to their biological offspring. But it was not transmitted to fostered pups, showing that social interaction was not involved. Nor were the smell-sensitised offspring more nervous in general.

      The scientists do not understand the biochemical mechanism that induces the epigenetic changes in the sperm and eggs of the sensitised mice. But they did find a modification to the DNA of the odour receptor gene that responds to acetophenone.

      “There is some evidence that some of the generalised effects of diet and hormone changes, as well as trauma, can be transmitted epigenetically,” Ressler says. “The difference here is that the odour-sensitivity learning process is affecting the nervous system – and apparently, reproductive cells too – in such a specific way.”

      Questions remain but scientists who are enthusiastic about epigenetics welcome the results so far. “It is high time public health researchers took human transgenerational responses seriously,” says Marcus Pembrey of University College London.

      “I suspect we will not understand the rise in neuropsychiatric disorders or obesity, diabetes and metabolic disruptions generally without taking a multi‑ generational approach.”

      Liked by 1 person

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