On Tuesday 17th October 2017, the International Conference for Fatwa titled ‘The Role of Fatwa in Creating a Stable Society” was held in Cairo, Egypt, hosted by the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr Shawqi Allam.
The three-day conference, organised by the General Secretariat for Fatwa Authorities Worldwide, was attended by delegations from 80 countries to discuss Fatwas and their impacts on societies.
In attendance at the conference was Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb Shaykh al-Azhar, Grand Mufti of Egypt Dr Shawqi Allam, Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) Muhammad bin Abdul Karim, and the chairman of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE) in the UAE Mohammed Matar al-Kaab Issa, who all inaugurated the conference on Tuesday.
In his speech, Egypt’s Grand Mufti Dr Shawqi Allam said that the challenges Egypt and the world are facing are due to ‘misleading Fatwas’ that threaten security and peace. “Since the world rises up against terrorism, religious intellectuals too should confront extremist thoughts and spread the teachings of our tolerant religion instead,” Allam added. He further noted that the conference is considered an ‘opportunity to achieve this goal, as the conference’s importance is not limited to discussing the issues of terrorism and extremism, but it expands to include misleading Fatwas that confuse our society.”
In his keynote speech, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb Shaykh al-Azhar, said that Islam’s teachings and legacy face an unprecedented wave of distortion at the hands of those who issue Fatwas without licences and adequate knowledge. “Unfortunately, some have been allowed to issue flawed Fatwas that distort the Islamic Shari’ah and violate Islam’s true teachings,” he said, urging Islamic scholars and clerics to take utmost care when issuing Fatwas.
The Grand Imam further said, “While some unlicensed figures were allowed to issue bizarre Fatwas, others issued flawed Fatwas that go against Islam’s teachings, such as equalising women and men in matters of inheritance.” The Grand Imam said, “Those who take charge of issuing Fatwas in the Arab and Islamic world should be people with a high level of learning, integrity and uprightness. They should be so because they are the ones entrusted with giving Fatwas to those who seek answers on religion and life.”
The Grand Imam also said that Muftis – or those who are officially entrusted with issuing Fatwas – should have a deep background of Islamic learning and honesty in order to explain Islam’s noble values to the people. The Grand Imam deplored that “Islam as a religion faces a ferocious campaign on its teachings and rules. It is the religion which comes on top of world religions facing attacks, with many trying to blame it for terrorist acts.” The Grand Imam added, “It is no coincidence that countries which spark civil wars in Islamic countries do this in combination with calls aimed at destroying Islam’s heritage and promoting their agenda.”