Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: | Size: 13 MB Fiqh of Muslim Minorities sheds light on the principles. Minorities (Fiqh al-Aqalliyyat): The Case of the Palestinian Muslim .. Alwani preceded Al-Qaradawi in publishing works on Fiqh al-Aqalliyyat. Most Muslims perceive Muslim minorities as an integral part of the larger Muslim community, umma. . 10 Y. al-Qaradawi, Fiqh of Muslim Minorities (Vol.

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This article examines the kind of expertise that is provided by Muslim actors specialized in Islamic Law muftis to their coreligionists in Europe. It seeks to understand how the production of this expertise the fatwa is organized and managed, and to what extent it is shaped by ot discourses in the West.

The article thus seeks to fill a relative gap in the scholarship on Islam in Europe which has often reduced fatwas to ahistorical and fundamentalist rhetorics.

Taking the Qarafawi Council for Fatwa and Reseach as a case study, the qaradai describes the settings, actors and logics of the production of fatwas in the European context. Social scientists working on Islam in Europe seem to have by and large neglected the genre of fatwas. In the current context of institutionalization of Foqh authority in Europe and a growing interest and concern for Muslim minorities in the Islamic heartlands, fatwas are also an adequate place to explore the links between the production of local Islamic discourses and the circulation of transnational ones.

They often give rise to heated debates within the Muslim musoim of Europe, in peer study groups as in Internet fora, in mosques as in printed magazines—debates which, like their equivalents in the Arab world, are saturated with questions of authenticity, legitimacy and authority Hamzah, It is also sometimes portrayed as a realistic response od the current shortage of absolute mujtahids Al-Sharq al-Awsat The institutionalization of collective fatwa bodies can therefore be said to constitute one of the strategies through which the ulama have attempted to remain relevant in the face of the fiiqh of modernity Zaman, Whether the ECFR succeeds in this project depends, of course, on the way integration is defined—and on who defines it—at any particular juncture.

These observations are complemented by readings of the texts issued by the ECFR and over twenty interviews conducted with members and close observers. Although it has not always been the ground on which Muslim discussions on their presence in Europe have taken place, fiqh seems to have become in the context of the global Islamic Revival an increasingly important discursive constraint.

The discussions and decisions reached at those meetings—on issues of Muslim settlement in Europe, mudlim, interest-bearing transactions, the headscarf, and others—were not widely publicized.

By establishing the ECFR, the leaders of the FIOE of which the UOIF is one of the main members sought to institutionalize these ad hoc reflections and provide the necessary framework for disseminating the collective opinions.

With a few notable exceptions, qaradadi have been held in a hotel or conference room of an Islamic centre located in the suburb of a European capital, reflecting the geographical distribution of the Muslim diasporic communities. The functional, purpose-built Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland ICCI in Clonskeagh—in the southern outskirts of Dublin—has provided a secluded location particularly amenable to these debates.

Since the early s it is here that the secretary-general finalizes and then disseminates the general statement of each meeting of the ECFR. Located at the periphery of the European Union, in a country where debates on Islam have until recently been less vivid and less hostile than elsewhere, the ICCI’s current prominence as the headquarters of the ECFR is the product of the convergence between three main factors.

The Egyptian state provides religious expertise: From to the ECFR convened diqh in eight different cities: On occasion, however, the meetings of the ECFR have been overshadowed by negative media coverage including paparazzi standing outside the hotelas happened in London in July Like other religious communities, Muslims qaraawi Europe are polarized.

The homogeneity of the setting—a scarcely decorated conference qardawi the bleak landscapes of European suburbia where the meetings are usually held provide a sharp contrast to the global interconnectedness and media exposure of qafadawi scholarly debates taking place inside. Fiqh al-aqalliyyat has become an established field msulim research, drawing interest qarxdawi attention from a large spectrum of religious scholars, Muslim activists, policy minoritiees and social scientists—from Australia and the United States to Malaysia and China.

Journalists dispatched from Cairo record the proceedings and write daily reports of the debates minlrities www. Although the primary discursive field in which the ECFR operates is arguably located in the Muslim world, and particularly the dynamics of the Islamic Revival, the Council’s active engagement in national and European debates about the integration of Muslims has drawn attention from mainstream media such as the BBCThe GuardianLe Monde and The Wall Street Ot.

Sincethe debates are even broadcast live through the ECFR’s website www. This remarkable public orientation makes the scholars acutely aware that by issuing a collective fatwa, they are taking position in a larger debate about the relevance of Islamic Law in the modern world. Islamic scholarship, however, still appears rooted in the heartlands of the Islamic world. Although this percentage increased further at the turn of the millennium as the leadership of the ECFR pursued a policy of inclusion of muftis based in the Muslim world to prevent criticism from other Islamic institutionsthe policy seems to have been reversed since the establishment of the International Union of Muslim Scholars in London in Qaradwi While all the French-based scholars come from North Africa and work or have worked closely with the Union des organisations islamiques de France, the scholars in the UK exhibit greater heterogeneity.


The cosmopolitanism and heterogeneity of the group are nevertheless quite striking. Many of them are definitely part of what we might call the orthodox establishment. Mobile figures who travel around the Fiwh world, some members of the ECFR are also regular speakers at various international fiqh conferences organized by the Muslim World League, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Religious Endowments and its newly established Global Centre for Wasatiyyaand other public or private institutions across the Arab world.

They publish in the prestigious Islamic legal periodicals that have sprung up in the Muslim world since the s.

Dossier Islamic law and Muslim minorities | Women Reclaiming and Redefining Cultures

Qaradawi, Mawlawi, Bin Bayyah, Ajil Nashmi and others have their own personal websites; Qaradaghi is currently the deputy-director of www. In addition to published fatwa collections, a few have their own weekly fatwa shows in satellite TV stations: Although some of these figures are based in the West, most of them actually reside in the Gulf.

Despite visa restrictions, many of the scholars from the Muslim World also meet their counterparts based in Europe when they travel to the West to participate in the conferences and festivals of the Muslim Diaspora such as the meeting of French Muslims at the Bourget organised by the UOIF in France, the annual conference of the Muslim Association of Britain, etc.

In the internal discussions they speak with the self-confidence of men supported by a vibrant historical tradition.

They deliver the opening speeches and chair the sessions, which do not start before they arrive, moderating and often setting the tone of the collective discussions. The collective fatwas borrow extensively from their individual fatwas—especially those of Qaradawi.

And yet, for those members who reside outside Europe, their membership of a European Council is considered problematic. These scholars are usually based in Europe and include members of the FIOE the institution which has founded the ECFR and which is widely perceived to control the internal proceedings. Although formally trained in Islamic Law and its adjunct sciences, most of the Europe-based scholars do not have the impressive religious credentials of their Middle-Eastern partners.

These scholars speak less in the collective meetings, and more tentatively; they tend to be more sensitive and vulnerable to local state policies and public debates, and worry more about how the fatwas will be received in their national contexts.

They relate their fiqh positions primarily to the expectations of their communities and to the wider aims of the movement. The ability to cultivate a space of scholarly minorrities that cuts across these boundaries depends upon the success of the deliberative process to establish a form of consensus.

These questions are usually sent by letter, fax or munorities to the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, where the ECFR’s secretary-general receives, organizes, and sometimes forwards the questions to members known for their expertise in the field. The institutional framework of the ECFR and the limited time of each session do not allow all questions to be answered.

Certain issues deemed to be consensual—such as the obligation for a Muslim woman to wear the headscarf—will simply not be discussed. Issues deemed to be too politically-sensitive such as foqh may also be put aside.

Except in those cases where the petitioner is known to one of the scholars, the questioner is a complete stranger.

Sometimes factual information considered unimportant by the petitioner—but crucial for the mufti’s interpretive work—may be missing: Under what precise circumstances did the husband pronounce a triple talaqand were there any conditions—such as anger or drunkenness—that might invalidate the pronouncement?

To borrow a commonly-used metaphor, the petitioner’s absence makes the diagnosis of the spiritual illness difficult, rendering the provision of a remedy minoriteis the form of a fatwa all the trickier. Sometimes the formulation of the question hints clearly at what the desired answer is: On the other hand, a question which is seen as lacking a commitment to traditional fiqh may elicit a contemptuous answer, even when that answer clashes with the logic of the ECFR’s project.

By contrast, a leading question which clearly tries to muslkm the boundaries of traditional fiqh but shows an awareness of and sensitivity to the Islamic legal tradition has a chance of minoritiies the energy of the Council’s members.

Muslim minorities (Fiqh al-Aqalliyyat)

The scholar who drafts the fatwa proposal is expected to engage with the authoritative Islamic texts especially the Qur’an and Sunna ; to disclose the reasoning that underlies the opinion; and to inscribe the ninorities issue in a broader narrative structure. This methodology founds the regulatory power which the muftis attribute to their fatwas. While some fatwas seem to be formulated in neutral terms, others are quite passionate about their subject matter.

In recent years the sessions of the ECFR have been largely structured around the presentation of research papers and the drafting of authoritative opinions on issues that do not necessarily originate in questions from Muslim communities.


These texts do not strictly-speaking partake in the same moral universe of the fatwa which I have described above, but they seek to bind their muslmi through a mode of interpellation that also draws on the performative power of Muslim ethical speech Caeiro, In the absence of minoritied specific question, how do the scholars go about producing a text that will be disseminated in their name?

What are the criteria that define an apt statement in this context? And what precisely is to be debated? Sometimes the choice clearly responds to concerns internal to Muslim communities. Family issues—especially marriage and divorce—arguably absorb most of the time fiqb the imams officiating in mosques across Europe. Fiah few sessions of the ECFR have been devoted to discussing the general frameworks as well as the precise rules of Muslim family matters in Europe.

Fiqh of Muslim Minorities

Does engaging Tantawi’s comments on France’s right to ban the hijab from its public schools diminish the impact of Shaykh Al-Azhar’s opinion or merely contribute to the public display of Muslim divisiveness? To what extent should the ECFR qaradaai public debates in conflating integration and anti-terrorism agendas? Both typically require numerous drafts, lengthy discussions, and some patient negotiation.

A previously-issued fatwa by a recognized religious authority is often the starting point of the discussion. Many of the relevant fatwa collections are available electronically and easily accessible during the meetings.

Staff from IslamOnLine covering the session for the website may distribute printouts of the relevant fatwas from their online fatwa database the Arabic fatwas are in fact often the individual opinions of some of the scholars attending the meeting such as Qaradawi, Mawlawi or Ali al-Qaradaghi. The members disagree on whether the ECFR should try to revise these fatwas or simply endorse them.

Growing increasingly frustrated about the collective discussion on investing in the stock exchange, the Ninorities burst out—to kf laughter—with the following remark: After the first draft is read aloud, passages are dropped, elaborated or modified. Since the authority of the fatwa is deemed to be directly juslim to its proximity to a general consensus, the ECFR’s leadership tries to accommodate qwradawi of the objections which are formulated by the members.

Voting by show of hands —the constitutional method of resolving qaradaei issues within fatwa bodies in general—is rarely practiced. Although it is theoretically possible to attach a dissenting opinion to the text of minirities collective fatwa, this is seen as diminishing the authority of the ruling and therefore discouraged.

In one instance concerning the possibility of acquiring a house through an interest-bearing loan, the failure of the ECFR’s leadership to attach the dissenting opinion of three scholars to the published text of the fatwa led to their resignation Caeiro, But consensus sometimes is difficult to reach; many issues including the following: Some—like the status of meat products slaughtered by non-Muslims—have been indefinitely postponed.

When a consensual answer appears impossible, the leadership of the ECFR may decide to produce the fatwa of one of its leading scholars instead: They discuss the following questions: How should one articulate minorifies injunctions with general rules? What importance can be given to marginal opinions from the fiqh heritage which contradict the views of the majority of the scholars?

The making of the fatwa

What are the meanings and fields of application of reform? Since the Prophet forbade interfaith inheritance in an authentic hadith, but also stated that Islam does qaradqwi harm the believer, should European converts to Islam be allowed to inherit from their non-Muslim relatives?

Furthermore, if Muslims can be in a state of necessity for such funds, does one measure the necessity in individual, regional, or global terms? These and other distinctions guide the ECFR muftis in their deliberations. But fiqh has not abolished the subjectivity involved in determining the appropriate balances and in facilitating the life of believers without illicitly transgressing the textual limits. In Europe, however, it connects with more specific questions about the integration of Muslims.

In order to do so the muftis sometimes draw flattering comparisons between Islamic norms and positive laws, or try to show how the former are in conformity with human nature. But the fatwas and resolutions of the ECFR also have to be made relevant for the variety of Muslim communities and the heterogeneity of European contexts. A discussion about the French headscarf debate only a few months before the government’s decision to ban it from public schools had materialized is instructive here since it revealed sharp divisions between the French-based members of the UOIF and others.

Wary of the consequences of openly defying a proposed law which had gathered almost universal support in France, the leaders of the UOIF sought a fatwa from the ECFR stating that Muslim girls could go to public school without the headscarf—in other words, a reiteration of their own position since the s.