Standardisation of Fatwa In Malaysia: Issues, Concerns And Expectations

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Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil

Abstract

The establishment of the institution of fatwa can be traced back before the independence of Malaysia. In the beginning, a Mufti was placed under the respective Islamic Councils. To a certain extent, a Mufti was also a judge (kadi) and presided over cases in the Shari’ah courts. Legally, a Mufti’s views are not considered as fatwas. Only fatwas issued by the respective States’ Fatwa Committees are regarded as fatwas. A fatwa is binding upon Muslims of the state where it is issued after being consented to by the Sultan and later gazetted. The problem is that more often than not, conflicting fatwas at state and national levels do occur, and this has led to confusion and problems. This article attempts to analyse the problems surrounding the conflicting fatwas. It suggests that the standardisation of fatwas at state and federal levels could be done by requesting the respective States’ Fatwa Committees to abide by the fatwas issued by the National Fatwa Committee. It is also suggested that fatwas issued by the respective States’ Fatwa Committees should be brought up to the National Fatwa Council for standardisation. It is also suggested that a Grand Mufti should be appointed on rotational basis like the selection of the Yang Di Pertuan Agong, after being consented to by the Council of Rulers. However, the position of Gand Mufti will not supersede the position of the respective States’ Muftis.

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