Muslim confidence in validity of fatwas and their dissemination channels

A recurring topic on my blog is how fatwas are reported through newspapers and social media. Usually I explain or dissect fatwas circulating through English audiences. One of my recent analytical briefs for Tabah Foundation looked at it from a different angle: the confidence Sunni Muslims place in the validity of fatwas based on how they are communicated. I alluded to some of the findings and recommendations earlier on when discussing Mars One fatwa media distortions.

Reporters and newspapers with Muslim readership might want to take note, since Muslims have very little confidence in anything they write related to fatwas.

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#iḥsānology collected – week 2

This is the second collection of short summaries of content from Shajarat al-Maʿārif which I post to my Twitter and Facebook accounts. See week 1 for more details. I have started including numbers at the end of entries to facilitate referencing the Arabic text.

This collection covers from 22 March 2014 through to 31 March 2014. Most of the entries here concern injunctions related to excellence in inward matters, such as intentions, attitudes, and perspectives.

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New fatwa permits sexual relations during Ramadan daytime

My morning reading material includes an article from Morocco World News entitled PJD Member “Authorizes” Sexual Relations During Ramadan Daytime. I do not know anything about Moroccan politics and the greater context of the article, so I probably do not react to the article or shiver from the title’s scare quotes as is intended. Reading the article shows that the fiqh issues the title refers to are about travelers engaging in sexual intercourse during the day, and non-traveller engaging in foreplay while fasting. Both of these actions fall within the realm of the permissible – even if they are best avoided or offensive. The fiqh presented in the title is tame once you read the article.

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Science fiction as a vehicle for Islamic didacticism and better futures

Over the weekend I mused that science fiction would be a great vehicle for contemplating possible Muslim futures, and for exploring and introducing ideas related to Islamic theology, law, and ethics. The first time I thought about the possibility of didactic Islamic fiction was when I was a guest of Knoxville’s Muslim community during Ramadan in (I think) 2004. Someone asked about didactic fiction. We were able to find books like Kalila wa Dimna and Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, but we could not think of anything where points relevant to Islamic disciplines were taught or explored in fictional form. I started thinking again about the possibility of fiction where Islamic civilization or disciplines play a central role after reading G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen, Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow with its Jesuit philosophy, and George Alec Effinger‘s Marîd Audran series. Others have written about Islamic fiction and science fiction. Here are a few thoughts from me.

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Health risks, wastage, the environment & our eating habits

Earlier, I wrote a few thoughts concerning the reasoning that led one sheikh to conclude that all-you-can-eat buffets are unlawful. I also presented an alternative approach for it being lawful. The gist of the article was that it was difficult to get it to work as a valid sales transaction [Ar. bayʿ], but not difficult to get it to work as a valid rental [Ar. ijārah]. Here I would like to make a few comments that are related to the context of the issue but not to the technicalities of the transaction itself. These comments concern the consequences of our eating habits, including public health, wastage, and environmental impact.

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Hijab and court testimony in Jordan

According to this article, there is a new Jordanian court ruling that prevents women from delivering testimony unless they wear hijab. The article quotes a statement from the Women’s Union that

The Amman Sharia Court of Appeal has accepted the lawyer’s objection to a female witness from testifying for not wearing the hijab, which the court said would affect the fairness and honesty in her testimony from 3/2/2014.

According to the fatwa, which the court’s decision was based on, women who aren’t covered up are “sluts,” and that gives those women a bad name. Furthermore, the court was unable to support this fatwa apart from with something written in the introduction of a book by Egyptian Islamic Theologian Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi.

There are several claims in the article related to Islamic law that I find to be strange. Here are two oddities.

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