Image 1 of 10: Baby burkas: Sheikh Abdullah Daoud caused controversy last month when a clip of him telling parents to cover up their female tots hit the web. In an interview with Al-Majd TV, which seems to date back to last year, the Saudi cleric says the veil will protect little girls from sexual molestation.
Image 1 of 10: ‘Halal’ for some: Eating got easier for Muslims this year when fatwa Sheikh, Mohamed al-Jazlani, publicly said yes to non-Muslim food. According to the religious scholar, everything, except meat, that is cooked or prepared by non-Muslims is “halal” to eat.
Image 1 of 10: Freedom fatwa: In ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, many were shocked this year when influential cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Qassim al-Ghamdi, issued a fatwa allowing women to travel alone, to uncover their faces and eat alongside men. However, many have ignored the liberal scholar in favor of keeping Saudi society strict.
Image 1 of 10: No to civil marriage: The topic of the illegal union was thrust into the spotlight when a Lebanese couple’s un-holy matrimony hit headlines this year. While Lebanon’s political leaders looked quietly pleased, the country’s top Sunni Muslim authority branded any Muslim politician who approved the legislation an “apostate”.
Image 1 of 10: 3G fatwa: In Iran, four grand ayatollahs issued a crackdown on speedy internet, claiming mobile operator, Rightel, shouldn’t be allowed to use 3G. The clerics claimed the service would damage the country’s religious and political systems.
Image 1 of 10: Something smells fishy: Following the European Union’s decision to allow farmers to use pig proteins in their fish feed, Egyptians across the EU have been calling for an official fatwa on whether they should ditch the seafood to avoid an unwanted catch of pork.
Image 1 of 10: A close shave: Last year, Egypt barred bearded police officers from the force. But luckily for the hairy cops, Salafi Sheikh, Yasser Brohami, issued a fatwa calling on the president to bring them back. In February, an Egyptian court ordered the Interior Ministry to reinstate the bearded officers.
Image 1 of 10: Surf’s up: In 2010, Sheikh Saad El-Ghamdi issued a controversial fatwa banning women from logging in online without a male chaperone. Two years on and the fatwa was still causing a stir as Saudi Sheikh, Mohamed El-Aly, hit out at the ruling, calling for males and females to have the same rights...online at least.
Image 1 of 10: Killing the competition: Last month, controversial preacher Mohamed Ahmed Abdullah, accused Egypt’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Ali Gomaa of issuing a fatwa sanctioning the killing of the country’s opposition. Others have since shot down the accusation.
Image 1 of 10: Searching for the spotlight: Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh has hit out at the arbitrary releasing of religious edicts by Muslim preachers, calling these controversial fatwas nothing more than a desperate cry for attention.
While many a Sheikh is content to sit by, study the holy texts and distribute advice to the pious, others are a little more keen on the spotlight. According to the grandest of them all, the Saudi Mufti, Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, all those headlines are driving the ordinary cleric into a “fatwa frenzy”.
A fatwa, meaning religious declaration, is usually reserved for the important issues in history. But with a potential slot on Al Arabiya or Al Jazeera TV at stake, more and more Sheikhs are turning to fatwas to get their faces in the public eye.
For the fame-seeking Sheikh, the wilder the declaration, the more air time and so preachers have begun issuing fatwas as crazy as putting babies in burkas or cracking down on 3G providers.
No matter what the topic, be it fish food or hairy police officers, you can be sure that somewhere in the darkest reaches of the Muslim world there is a cleric with one eye on the holy texts and another on the headlines.
Here we take a look at some of the freakiest fatwas the region has seen and the clerics shouting “haram!” just inches behind them.
What is your favorite freaky fatwa? Are these scholars just after the attention or do they really believe what they're saying? Share your comments with us below!