Fatwas are not necessarily binding on Muslims: Islamic Scholars

Woman receptionist

Recent Darul Uloom's fatwas advising Muslim women against working as receptionists and its decrees on tattoos and perfumes may have caused a stir, but Islamic scholars are of the view that such decrees are not necessarily binding on Muslims.

Most of the scholars believe that fatwas cannot be mandatory for everyone as their application may differ according to situation and context.

They, however, were of the view that fatwas pertaining to general faith should be followed by every Muslim.

A fatwa (decree) is not binding on everybody, according to Professor Akhtarul Vase, head of department of Islamic studies at Jamia Milia Islamia.

"Fatwas cannot be mandatory for everybody to follow. Usually, a fatwa is an answer to a specific question. So here it's important to understand the context and situation in which that question was asked. For example, the recent fatwa which says Muslim women cannot work as receptionists, this cannot be binding on everybody," he said.

Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri Masjid, Mufti Mukarram Ahmed said, "Fatwa should not be considered as an order or a directive. It is an Islamic outlook which people can follow. It is the duty of every Muslim to follow what has been said in Shariyat (Islamic law)."

On a daily basis, Darul Uloom issues 30-40 fatwas, they are even issued online. Similarly, Bareilly Markaz also issues fatwas, the scholars said.

Recently, several fatwas issued by Darul Uloom made headlines, which included one saying that prayers of those who have tattoo on their bodies or have sprayed perfume with alcohol in it, is not valid.

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