Comment: 13 Ridiculously Bizarre Fatwas Given by Islamic Scholars

Another faux fatwa anthology is making the rounds. This one comes from Parhlo. The article’s analysis and examples are severely flawed. The article’s analysis comes in its introduction.

Well, we can’t really comment on the thought process behind issuing these fatwas, but to a common mind they hardly make any sense. Being a Muslim I know how important Fatwas are in Islam, however in the past few years their importance have decreased, not because of changes in our religion but only because of some scholars have issued some pointless fatwas. This shows that they have very little or no knowledge of Islam or Muslims. Here are some Bizarre Fatwas issued by some Islamic clerics, which are nothing but false and are portraying a wrong image of Muslims…

It is interesting how the article laments the poor state of fatwas and blames Muslim scholars for this state, all while ignoring the role of non-scholars. The article declares that the fatwas were issued by people who lack scholarship and ignores how those fatwas issued by non-scholars ever even came to be known. A fatwa can only be issued by a scholar. Someone who has little or no knowledge of Islam or Muslim cannot be a scholar. So how can it be the fault of scholars when a non-scholar issues a non-fatwa, and people aware of its illegitimacy then spread it through various forms of media as an example of failed Islamic legal scholarship, where it is then spread even wider by the general public – including a large number of Muslims who denounce it as a legitimate example of illegitimate scholarship?

The article fails to ponder the role and motivations of the Muslim journalists, bloggers, activists, and others who spread these reports even though they denounce the rulings. I can understand how some non-Muslim journalists and blogger are motivated by the potential for traffic which leads to ad revenue. I can also understand how some activists and politicians are motivated by the opportunity to influence public opinion against Islam, Muslims, or a segment of the Muslim population. What I cannot understand is why any Muslim with the slightest concern for Islam and their fate in the Afterlife would intentionally spread rulings that they themselves consider to be both illegitimate and invalid.

The article claims to include thirteen “ridiculously bizarre fatwas given by Islamic scholars.” There are even more problems beyond the article’s admission that the examples were issued individuals who “have very little knowledge of Islam or Muslims” – thus negating that rulings were issued by scholars and with it that the examples are even fatwas. One of these additional problems is that many of the examples are well-known hoaxes. Some of them were exposed on this blog’s fatwa analysis articles. Many others were exposed via articles on pathos. Several of the article’s sources even clarify that the ruling is publically rejected by recognized muftis and fatwa institutions. A second problem is that many of the faux fatwas come from questionable sources. At least one of them comes from an individual who has made his career by lying about Islam.

Muslims who share articles full of questionable material (like this one from Parhlo and the examples it includes) should think carefully about their own motivations which prompt sharing it and the likely outcomes of doing so. The rulings contained in these articles are illegitimate and invalid. Spreading these poorly-researched articles without clarifying the status of their contents does not contribute towards helping people find legitimate guidance. It does, however, contributed to a general mistrust of and disdain for Islam, Muslim scholars, and Muslim scholarship. The Parhlo article’s introduction laments the current state of affairs. Everyone – including Parhlo – needs to examine whether their actions exacerbate to this state of affairs or help alleviate it.