How much do you know about Fatwas in Islam?

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10 Questions

What is a fatwa?

A legal opinion in response to a query in Islam

Who can solicit a fatwa?

Men and women from all social classes

What is the basic prerequisite for issuing fatwas under the classical legal theory?

Religious knowledge and piety

What is the role of a mufti in the classical legal system?

To provide legal opinions for difficult cases or potentially controversial verdicts

Who can issue a fatwa?

Both qualified women and men

What is the difference between a fatwa and a court decision?

A fatwa is nonbinding, while a court decision is binding and enforceable

What are the qualifications of a mufti?

Must be trained as a jurist and of good character and sound mind

What is the Akhbari school of jurisprudence's view on ifta?

It holds a different view than the currently predominant Usuli school

What is the role of public fatwas in Islamic history?

To play an important role in religious legitimation, doctrinal disputes, political criticism, or political mobilization

What happened to muftis in the course of Islamic history?

They were gradually incorporated into government bureaucracies

Study Notes

  • Fatwas are legal opinions issued in response to a query in Islam.
  • They can range from a simple yes/no answer to a book-length treatise.
  • Fatwas were solicited by men and women from all social classes.
  • A mufti was often a well-known figure in his neighborhood.
  • In theory, a mufti was expected to issue fatwas free of charge.
  • Fatwas have played three important roles in the classical legal system.
  • Judges generally sought an opinion from a mufti with higher scholarly authority than themselves for difficult cases or potentially controversial verdicts.
  • Author-jurists collected fatwas by muftis of high scholarly reputation.
  • The basic prerequisite for issuing fatwas under the classical legal theory was religious knowledge and piety.
  • Fatwas may allow a choice between lenient and strict interpretation of sharia on a certain matter.
  • A mufti must be an adult, Muslim, trusted and reliable, of good character and sound mind, trained as a jurist, and not a sinner.
  • Aspiring jurists would normally study for several years with one or several recognized scholars.
  • Starting from around 1200 CE, legal theorists began to accept that muftis of their time may not possess the knowledge and legal skill to perform ijtihad.
  • Among Twelver Shia, the Akhbari school of jurisprudence holds a different view on ifta from the currently predominant Usuli school.
  • Fatwas by qualified women as well as men can be issued.
  • A fatwa is nonbinding, while a court decision is binding and enforceable.
  • Muftis were gradually incorporated into government bureaucracies in the course of Islamic history.
  • Some fatwas that were public or political in nature played an important role in religious legitimation, doctrinal disputes, political criticism, or political mobilization.
  • Muftis were often expected to support government policies.
  • Public fatwas often prompted an otherwise unresponsive court system to provide redress.

Test your knowledge on the fascinating world of fatwas with this quiz! From their origins as legal opinions in Islam to their role in the classical legal system, this quiz covers a range of topics related to fatwas. Discover the qualifications required to become a mufti, learn about the different types of fatwas, and explore their political and social significance throughout Islamic history. Sharpen your understanding of this important aspect of Islamic law and take the quiz now!

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