National board of scholars issues comprehensive fatwa banning deep-space missions

A national board of scholars has issued a fatwa banning all deep-space missions. This ban is even more comprehensive than last month’s scandalous fatwa banning one-way missions to Mars. Both fatwas cite concerns for safety as the primary reason for their ban. Read more about the latest fatwa here and here. UPDATE My more serious … Read more…

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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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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Media Distorts Mars Fatwa, Making Mons Olympus From a Molehill

(This is the second of two op-ed pieces I wrote concerning this issue. The first is here.)

Last week, reports began circulating through some media outlets that a fatwa committee underneath GAIAE, the UAE’s General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment, had issued a fatwa prohibiting Muslims from taking one-way voyages to Mars and, by analogy, from doing so with the Mars One project. The story soon spread through the media like wildfire. Mars One issued a respectful response, requesting that GAIAE retract their fatwa.

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The Mars One Fatwa That Never Was

Last week, mainstream media, blogs, and social media were abuzz about a fatwa. While fatwas normally do not attract much attention within the Muslim world, this one managed to grab the attention of droves of Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide. In just the past twelve days, it was picked up by numerous western and Arab media outlets and mentioned over 10,000 times on Twitter. Despite the large number of different media outlets who repeated the story, the content of all of these reports and tweets led back to the exact same solitary newspaper article. A primary source was given for the fatwa, but the text of the fatwa could not be found on their website. Within days, the primary source issued an official press release through government channels disavowing any connection to the fatwa.

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Latest episode in the “Gang rape” fatwa frenzy

Earlier I wrote about the media’s (and public’s) infatuation with scandalous fatawa, like the “gang rape” fatwa currently making its rounds. This latest fatwa story made its way into English via an article in [Human Events] which attributed the fatwa to “Salafi Sheikh Yasir al-‘Ajlawni,” currently residing in Jordan and formerly in Damascus. Another piece … Read more…