Top Ten Freaky Fatwas of 2011

Published January 10th, 2012 - 15:09 GMT

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A Moroccan man of science -  Head of the Moroccan Institute of Studies and Research - no less, this year put out the fatwa (a shade on the morbid side of life) that a husband may still sleep with his wife even if she’s dead...We can only imagine what he has to say about marital rape then.
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Image 1 of 11: A Moroccan man of science - Head of the Moroccan Institute of Studies and Research - no less, this year put out the fatwa (a shade on the morbid side of life) that a husband may still sleep with his wife even if she’s dead...We can only imagine what he has to say about marital rape then.

Egyptian Mohamad Zughby has ordained that Muslims can eat the meat of 'jinn'—Muslim spirits -- since they supposedly can take on other earthly creature forms. Jinn, this Sheikh reminds us, can reconfigure themselves to adopt the likeness of camels, sheep, goats, cattle. Familiar food types!
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Image 1 of 11: Egyptian Mohamad Zughby has ordained that Muslims can eat the meat of 'jinn'—Muslim spirits -- since they supposedly can take on other earthly creature forms. Jinn, this Sheikh reminds us, can reconfigure themselves to adopt the likeness of camels, sheep, goats, cattle. Familiar food types!

A Fatwa to Kill: Youssef Qaradawi, Egyptian scholar, addressed Copts & Muslims in Egypt, staunchly supporting the revolution. In Libya, he used his influence to rouse the rabble to kill their dictator: One Friday prayer, he authorized the murder of Gaddafi, deeming it 'halal' and a even a duty: 'to get closer to God, you must kill Gaddafi'.
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Image 1 of 11: A Fatwa to Kill: Youssef Qaradawi, Egyptian scholar, addressed Copts & Muslims in Egypt, staunchly supporting the revolution. In Libya, he used his influence to rouse the rabble to kill their dictator: One Friday prayer, he authorized the murder of Gaddafi, deeming it 'halal' and a even a duty: 'to get closer to God, you must kill Gaddafi'.

Not just child-play: The same Moroccan man preaching the husband-right to Necrophilia (til death do us part), also went on to say in the same fatwa breath that singles  - of either sex presumably -  could perform sexual acts with toys, or masturbation.
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Image 1 of 11: Not just child-play: The same Moroccan man preaching the husband-right to Necrophilia (til death do us part), also went on to say in the same fatwa breath that singles - of either sex presumably - could perform sexual acts with toys, or masturbation.

Egyptian Sheikh Amr Satouhie condemns Egypt's National Party members to singledom:
Chief of the Islamic 'Proselytic' Committee at Al Azhar, ordered Egyptians not to marry their daughters off to anyone with links to Mubarak's home National Democratic Party (since it is now an emblem of rampant corruption).
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Image 1 of 11: Egyptian Sheikh Amr Satouhie condemns Egypt's National Party members to singledom: Chief of the Islamic 'Proselytic' Committee at Al Azhar, ordered Egyptians not to marry their daughters off to anyone with links to Mubarak's home National Democratic Party (since it is now an emblem of rampant corruption).

Unforgettably, the fruit 'n' veg man who was very soon viewed 'bananas': This Imam living in Europe issued his own fatwa deeming all fruit & vegetables resembling the male phallic organ (penis) off limits for women- in the kitchen or in the market. Ladies, you'll have to let your menfolk handle the groceries & peeling, chopping. Too bad, guys.
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Image 1 of 11: Unforgettably, the fruit 'n' veg man who was very soon viewed 'bananas': This Imam living in Europe issued his own fatwa deeming all fruit & vegetables resembling the male phallic organ (penis) off limits for women- in the kitchen or in the market. Ladies, you'll have to let your menfolk handle the groceries & peeling, chopping. Too bad, guys.

Ladies give up your seats! Yemeni Al-Habib Omar Bin Muhamad ordained that women should not sit on chairs. Why ever not? Because they expose themselves to fornication by 'jinn'. (Those sneaky devils!) Well not quite devil but spirits relating to Islamic doctrine. This restriction begs the question, what alternative arrangements has he in mind?
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Image 1 of 11: Ladies give up your seats! Yemeni Al-Habib Omar Bin Muhamad ordained that women should not sit on chairs. Why ever not? Because they expose themselves to fornication by 'jinn'. (Those sneaky devils!) Well not quite devil but spirits relating to Islamic doctrine. This restriction begs the question, what alternative arrangements has he in mind?

The Freedom and Justice Party is a stairway to heaven! Ahmadi Qasem, a Muslim Brother, in the run up to parliamentary elections, endowed the Muslim Brotherhood's FJP as another way of worshipping God, since you are serving the good Egyptian people. So by voting them into power, you are earning your blessings. An effective campaign gimmick?
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Image 1 of 11: The Freedom and Justice Party is a stairway to heaven! Ahmadi Qasem, a Muslim Brother, in the run up to parliamentary elections, endowed the Muslim Brotherhood's FJP as another way of worshipping God, since you are serving the good Egyptian people. So by voting them into power, you are earning your blessings. An effective campaign gimmick?

You've heard of eating of the Eucharist, or holy bread, but this fatwa makes a bizarre ruling on 'pastry' for Muslims. Somalian Jihadists have prohibited the consumption of 'sambousak'- the popular savory snack enjoyed at Ramadan. Apparently its triangular form holds Christian symbolism of the Holy Trinity of God, so is off-limits. Dear Lord...
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Image 1 of 11: You've heard of eating of the Eucharist, or holy bread, but this fatwa makes a bizarre ruling on 'pastry' for Muslims. Somalian Jihadists have prohibited the consumption of 'sambousak'- the popular savory snack enjoyed at Ramadan. Apparently its triangular form holds Christian symbolism of the Holy Trinity of God, so is off-limits. Dear Lord...

On with the revolution! The Committee for Muslim Scientists of Syria released a long-considered fatwa enjoining all to participate in the Syrian uprising.  It commits Muslims to standing by the people's struggle for freedom from the injustice of the Syrian regime, helping them to restore their freedom and dignity.
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Image 1 of 11: On with the revolution! The Committee for Muslim Scientists of Syria released a long-considered fatwa enjoining all to participate in the Syrian uprising. It commits Muslims to standing by the people's struggle for freedom from the injustice of the Syrian regime, helping them to restore their freedom and dignity.

Saad al Din al-Hilali caused a ruckus in his dubious followers when he gave beer the OK for Muslims. This Azhari Egyptian scholar grounds his fatwa in Imam Abu Hanifa's words that wine is haram, while barley or date-bases are halal, provided you don't get 'drunk'. Define drunkenness? When drunk, you don't know your own son, he volunteers.
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Image 1 of 11: Saad al Din al-Hilali caused a ruckus in his dubious followers when he gave beer the OK for Muslims. This Azhari Egyptian scholar grounds his fatwa in Imam Abu Hanifa's words that wine is haram, while barley or date-bases are halal, provided you don't get 'drunk'. Define drunkenness? When drunk, you don't know your own son, he volunteers.

In the Middle East, as with revolutions, there's no shortage of controversial fatwas. These are a source of debate for some, and entertainment or flippant disregard for others who refuse to engage seriously with some of the more bizarre, seemingly absurd rulings made in the name of Islam.

Fatwas, thankfully, have always lived in the realm of individual jurisprudence or subjectivity that makes them by and large, not binding for the whole of the Muslim faith. 

Still, Muslim scholars, theologians and sheikhs can command a whole lot of authority and must use their fatwa power responsibly.

In Sunni Islam any fatwa is non-binding, whereas in the Shia faith, it could be considered by an individual as absolute. The person who issues a fatwa is called, a Mufti. This is not necessarily the case, since many Muslims argue that anyone trained in Islamic law may give an opinion (fatwa) on its teachings. 

Most Islamic opinions (millions and squillions in the course of Islamic history to date) deal with mundane issues faced by Muslims in their daily life, such as the customs of marriage, finances, moral questions, and modern soceity.  A smaller number of fatwa issued on controversial subjects, such as war and politics sometimes get broad coverage in the press.

Fatwas, contrary to common belief since the infamous Salman Rushdie affair, are not always issued on pain of death. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 pronounced a death sentence on the author of The Satanic Verses.

While the person issuing the fatwa may intend to represent the teachings of Islam accurately, this does not mean that that person's interpretation will gain universal acceptance. There are numerous contradictory fatwa, guiding or restricting certain behaviors. This puts the burden of choice on the individual Muslim, who, in case of conflict, will be forced to decide whose opinion is more likely to be correct.

Mocked fatwas are never few and far between in the Muslim world and we all love to reference, hate on them, laugh at them or even prefer to ignore them. Some are a source for debate, others an invitation for mockery or bashing. Some of the latter fit into a class of their own as 'bogus' fatwas. Like the Saudi Muslim Sheikh who tried to ban an airport on account of its phallic design, 2011.

Here's a look back at some of the year's bizarre and controversial fatwas. Weird is the word!

When Fatwas took on the Arab Spring

In 2011, some used the fatwa in favor of the revolutions, others in favor of the ruling authorities or regimes. Others still, in the name of peace and preventing blood-shed. Fatwas fed curfews or banned protesters from the streets to avoid the killing of people in crowds and funeral gatherings. Some Sheikhs issues fatwas to avoid aggravating sectarian schisms. Fatwas were used to gain votes!

In his capacity as Head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Youssef Qaradawi, the notorious theologian, put out a fatwa for the murder of Gaddafi, stating that he would take responsibility for his blood. Well that seemed to do the trick; on his head be it!

Another learned scientist, issued a fatwa that, while still prohibitting Muslims from the consumption of wine, seemed to allow beer, or alcohol produced by any fruit but the grape. One could drink barley-based or date-based alcohol provided they didn't fall drunk. This ruling received a lot of attention by an incredulous following. With beer and even some Arak, or aniseed spirit (of the none-grape based variety) now on the agenda for the Muslim erstwhile sober-abiding masses, no holds would be barred. This esteemed scholar had opened the gateway to the minefield of 'tolerance' in humanity. 

 

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