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Authority to Issue Fataawa


My question here is very simple. I am trying to understand Islam but must admit that I find it difficult, especially as it relates to all these "rules" about what is allowed and not. I read the Qur'an (and the Bible and many Buddhist texts...) and I am amazed at the number of twisted interpretations by clerics who dictate to others how they should behave. Who are these people telling people what to do? Especially on issues absolutely not covered in the Qur'an? How many people are authorized to issue "Fatwas"? Based on what authority?


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

A human being has to know that he is a slave to Allah, The One and Only, Who Created him from a sperm, provides him with means of living since he was in his mother's womb, a dark place where no one can reach, neither a mother to feed him or a father to take care of him. Such a fetus is fed through an umbilical cord. After that, Allah has made it easy for it to come out to this world.

A Muslim has to remember that Allah has Created seven matching Heavens (one above another), has set the moon a light among them, and set the sun high as a source of light (a lamp).

Glory be to Him! He has made planets running in their orbits, and stars and galaxies running in their circuits; none is allowed to move before or after its fixed time. Allah knows everything that has ever existed in the past, that is existing now and that will be in the future, on land or in sea, even if a leaf drops from a tree, He Knows it.

Allah Says (what means): {Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His slaves) All-Aware (of everything).} [Quran 67:14]

Since Allah, Glory be to Him, is The All-Knowing and The Lenient, He has chosen and laid down to His slaves the religion of Islam that fits their nature and form of creation. It is He Who has created man and it is He who knows what amends his state and the best way to manage affairs.

Islam, the upright and easy path, is Allah's religion that does not include any form of difficulty or discomfort.
Allah Says (what means): {He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty.} [Quran 22:78]

Know that when Allah, The Great and Almighty, closes the doors that may lead to sin and what is forbidden, He opens gates of goodness, reward and what is lawful.

As for your question about those people who impose on others how to behave, we state that there are no clergymen in Islam, since all Muslims are "clergymen" and scholars are part of them.

Allah has ordered people to ask learned men who have knowledge about Islam. Thus, scholars rank high in Islam. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “A learned person is as much superior to a worshipper as I am superior to an ordinary man amongst you.” [At-Tirmithi]

Fatwa has a high rank, since issuing the Fatwa is, in fact, informing of Allah's ruling concerning an issue. So, if an unqualified person undertakes to issue a Fatwa, he is to be jailed and punished. However, our scholars do not oblige others to follow their interpretative judgments.

As for making comparison between the Quran and books of other religions, then books are of two kinds:

1) Books which are basically man-made; not revealed from Allah.

2) Books revealed from Allah but have been distorted by their people, and the originality no longer exists in them.

We state that such comparison is a form of grievous unfairness, since the Quran is the Divine Book that Allah has guaranteed to keep safe without any form of distortion. Such a book contains knowledge and secrets of the past and present that provide evidence of its uncontestable truth: It is Divine in letter and spirit.

As a final word, we advise you to be a companion of scholars and those who call to Allah in order to acquire from their knowledge. Then, we suggest that you read Islamic books that present Islam in its clear and complete form. You may then understand Islam and satisfy your need.

Allah knows best.

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