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in Islamic law, an opinion made by a judicial/religious scholar (a muftimufti
, in Islamic law, attorney or judicial/religious scholar who writes his opinion (fatwa) on legal subjects for private clients or to assist judges in deciding cases.
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) on a legal, civil, or religious matter. The fatwa is usually a valuable source of information on any subject for private individuals or for judges or other authorities, and it is normally used as a guide and does not have the force of law. Under normal circumstances, a fatwa is legally binding only in matters of marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Fatwas are often issued to raise awareness and provide clarification regarding a specific issue for Muslims, who then may or may not follow them. Over the centuries, hundreds of thousands of fatwas have been produced. They came to the attention of many Westerners in 1989 when Iran's Ayatollah KhomeiniKhomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah
, 1900–1989, Iranian Shiite religious leader. Educated in Islam at home and in theological schools, in the 1950s he was designated ayatollah, a supreme religious leader, in the Iranian Shiite community.
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 issued a fatwa calling for the death of author Salman RushdieRushdie, Sir Salman
, 1947–, British novelist, b. Bombay (now Mumbai, India). He is known for the allusive richness of his language and the wide variety of Eastern and Western characters and cultures he explores.
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, whom he accused of blasphemy. Another well-known and deadly fatwa was issued by Osama bin Ladenbin Laden, Osama or Usama
, 1957?–2011, Saudi-born leader of Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization devoted to uniting all Muslims and establishing a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
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 in 1998 and called for Muslims to execute Americans and their allies.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

An Islamic religious scholar is called an 'alim, a word meaning "one who possesses knowledge." Specifically, it refers to a man who has extensively studied the Qur'an and related commentaries. Some 'ulama (the plural of 'alim) specialize in learning the text from memory and reciting it in a ritualistic style known as tajwid. Others act as judges, basing their verdicts on Qur'anic texts. Such a judge is called a faqih ("one who understands deeply"). Other scholars are called mufti. These are the ones who define Muslim action in society. When a mufti pronounces a legally or morally binding Islamic law, the judgment is called a fatwa.

The Qur'an alone cannot possibly cover modern ethical dilemmas. What should a Muslim do, for instance, when given the responsibility to end life support for a loved one dying of cancer or heart failure—a choice Muhammad could never have conceived during his lifetime? Only one who has studied enough Muslim tradition to apply the "spirit" of older laws to the morality of new social issues can decide the question. The issuance of a fatwa helps establish a precedent for future cases, enabling Islam to change with the times while remaining true to its roots and tradition.



(Arabic, “opinion”), in Muslim countries, a juridical decision regarding the correspondence of a given action or phenomenon to the Koran or to the sharia (the body of formally established sacred law in Islam). Afatwa is rendered by a high religious authority, such as a mufti or shaykh al-lslam, and is usually given in the form of a question and answer. Since the Middle Ages, Muslims have been required to obtain afatwa on every important question, including declarations of war and conclusions of peace.

References in periodicals archive ?
The most recent fatwa stirring controversy was against footballer Mohamed Salah.
The fatwa has kicked up a row because prawn is a popular dish in the city and many fatwas in the past have allowed it.
Many Islamic scholars and clerics have upheld the fatwa, contending that the religious body's stand was in line with the Islamic law.
Nevertheless, the reported fatwa component has not been highlighted in the media.
The MILF urged both its political and military wings to pursue the fatwa 'vigorously to ensure that this violent extremism or radicalism shall not take root in any part of our communities, because it has no basis whatsoever in any of the teachings of Islam.
The fatwa matches others issued by other regional clerics in recent years.
Surprisingly, even the Iranian government which had issued Fatwa against Salman Rushdie, through its Embassy in New Delhi, defended the film, asserting that it does not insult Islamic values.
Sumaidaie added that after the events of June 10, 2014 and the occupation of Nineveh as well as the entry of terrorist armed groups and danger, which experienced by Sunni population of those regions and provinces multiple Fatwas issued directly by many Sunni Clerics as well as by Dar Fatwa of Sunni to fight extremist groups.
The fatwa urged every Pakistani especially religious figures to support and cooperate with the volunteers and staff working for the cause in realizing the larger vision of making Pakistan polio free.
The fatwa is the strongest Islamic condemnation yet of Muslims joining Islamic extremists.
MUSLIM leaders have issued a fatwa condemning British jihadis.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of Scholars of Iraq Group Khalid Al-Mulla announced forming battalions under the name "National Defense Battalions" in the Sunni provinces in response to the fatwa of the Supreme Religious Authority as well as the fatwa of Sunni scholars which called for Jihad against the terrorists.