Muftis didn't invent the Holocaust, but they've had other horrible ideas

Last week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused former Jerusalem Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini of giving Hitler the idea for the Holocaust. Comics and pundits around the world rejoiced! Bibi’s boo-boo has fueled raucous tweets and memes poking fun at his latest misread of reality. But it’s also tossed up a lesson in Islam, with people everywhere talking about muftis.  

Miffed by your missing mufti intel? Check out Al Bawaba’s exclusive guide (link here). Then read up on 10 men who represent the good, bad, and ugly of muftiness.

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Abdul Aziz Al ash-Sheik

Saudi mufti Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh declared that, "All churches in the Arab Peninsula must be destroyed", interpreting an Islamic hadith quoting the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) on his deathbed. Mehmet Görmez, Turkey’s most senior imam, blasted the fatwa as contradicting the peaceful teachings of Islam. Al-Sheik is still active in KSA.

Muhammad Metwally El-Shaarawy

Egyptian Muhammad Metwally El-Shaarawy earned the title "preacher of the century” for his skill at conveying the meaning behind complex Quran verses in simple language. Famed as the only non-Saudi to give the khutbah (Islamic speech) at Mount Arafat during Hajj, he is not officially a mufti, although he is a reference point for other muftis.

mufti Saleh Al-Fawzan

Saudi mufti Saleh Al-Fawzan has odd views on slavery. He said, “Slavery is part of Islam, part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long there is Islam.” He dismissed the modernist view that Islam abolished slavery, saying, “Whoever says so is an infidel.’ Serving since 1991, he’s best known for his fatwa against all-you-can-eat buffets.

Ali Gomaa

Egyptian scholar Ali Gomaa may be the most explicitly anti-extremist cleric in mainstream Sunni Islam. He said, "Terrorists are criminals, not Muslim activists.Terrorism is the product of corrupt minds, hardened hearts, and arrogant egos. Corruption, destruction, and arrogance are unknown to hearts attached to the divine." He served until 2013.

Noah Qudah

Former Jordanian ambassador to Iran Noah Qudah was a scholar and a gentleman, serving as Jordan Grand Mufti 2007 to 2010. Qudah was one of 138 Muslim signatories to “A Common Word between Us and You”, which called for peace between Muslims and Christians in 2007. He died in 2010, leaving a legacy of religious tolerance.

Rashad Khalil

In 2007, Rashad Khalil, former dean at Cairo’s al-Azhar University, said that nudity during sex invalidates marriage. Uh-oh. One scholar argued that anything that brings spouses "closer” is holy, and the school's fatwa committee chairman concluded naked couples can peek, but should hide under a blanket when getting down to business.

Yasser Borhami

Muslim activist and preacher Yasser Borhami founded Egypt’s Salafist Call, which - after the 2011 Egyptian revolution - created the ultra-conservative Al Nour political party. He issued a fatwa banning women from wearing “body part revealing” clothes in front of their kids, but they’re cool to save the skin-tights for the husbands.

Saad al-Din al-Hilali

Dr. Saad al-Din al-Hilali, head of Al-Azhar University’s Department of Comparative Fiqh, was slammed last year for saying then-Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al Sisi was “a prophet sent by Allah to save Egypt”. His fatwas declare beer as halal, and state that belly dancers who die on duty go to heaven, as they died “doing their job”.

Abdul Bari Zemzemi

Moroccan cleric and parliamentarian Abdul Bari Zemzemi issued over 2,000 fatwas including one giving men the right to have sex with their newly deceased wives, and another allowing women to masturbate using phallic-looking objects as a tactic to deter adultery. He retired from politics in 2011 to focus on...more fatwas. He also operates a taxi.

Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein

Jerusalem Grand Mufti Muhammad Ahmad Hussein denies there may have been a Jewish Temple at the Temple Mount, but insists that the al-Aqsa Mosque has topped the disputed holy site “since the creation of the world”. Hussein was appointed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas in 2006; he previously endorsed suicide bombings against Israelis.

Abdul Aziz Al ash-Sheik
Muhammad Metwally El-Shaarawy
mufti Saleh Al-Fawzan
Ali Gomaa
Noah Qudah
Rashad Khalil
Yasser Borhami
Saad al-Din al-Hilali
Abdul Bari Zemzemi
Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein
Abdul Aziz Al ash-Sheik
Saudi mufti Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh declared that, "All churches in the Arab Peninsula must be destroyed", interpreting an Islamic hadith quoting the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) on his deathbed. Mehmet Görmez, Turkey’s most senior imam, blasted the fatwa as contradicting the peaceful teachings of Islam. Al-Sheik is still active in KSA.
Muhammad Metwally El-Shaarawy
Egyptian Muhammad Metwally El-Shaarawy earned the title "preacher of the century” for his skill at conveying the meaning behind complex Quran verses in simple language. Famed as the only non-Saudi to give the khutbah (Islamic speech) at Mount Arafat during Hajj, he is not officially a mufti, although he is a reference point for other muftis.
mufti Saleh Al-Fawzan
Saudi mufti Saleh Al-Fawzan has odd views on slavery. He said, “Slavery is part of Islam, part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long there is Islam.” He dismissed the modernist view that Islam abolished slavery, saying, “Whoever says so is an infidel.’ Serving since 1991, he’s best known for his fatwa against all-you-can-eat buffets.
Ali Gomaa
Egyptian scholar Ali Gomaa may be the most explicitly anti-extremist cleric in mainstream Sunni Islam. He said, "Terrorists are criminals, not Muslim activists.Terrorism is the product of corrupt minds, hardened hearts, and arrogant egos. Corruption, destruction, and arrogance are unknown to hearts attached to the divine." He served until 2013.
Noah Qudah
Former Jordanian ambassador to Iran Noah Qudah was a scholar and a gentleman, serving as Jordan Grand Mufti 2007 to 2010. Qudah was one of 138 Muslim signatories to “A Common Word between Us and You”, which called for peace between Muslims and Christians in 2007. He died in 2010, leaving a legacy of religious tolerance.
Rashad Khalil
In 2007, Rashad Khalil, former dean at Cairo’s al-Azhar University, said that nudity during sex invalidates marriage. Uh-oh. One scholar argued that anything that brings spouses "closer” is holy, and the school's fatwa committee chairman concluded naked couples can peek, but should hide under a blanket when getting down to business.
Yasser Borhami
Muslim activist and preacher Yasser Borhami founded Egypt’s Salafist Call, which - after the 2011 Egyptian revolution - created the ultra-conservative Al Nour political party. He issued a fatwa banning women from wearing “body part revealing” clothes in front of their kids, but they’re cool to save the skin-tights for the husbands.
Saad al-Din al-Hilali
Dr. Saad al-Din al-Hilali, head of Al-Azhar University’s Department of Comparative Fiqh, was slammed last year for saying then-Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al Sisi was “a prophet sent by Allah to save Egypt”. His fatwas declare beer as halal, and state that belly dancers who die on duty go to heaven, as they died “doing their job”.
Abdul Bari Zemzemi
Moroccan cleric and parliamentarian Abdul Bari Zemzemi issued over 2,000 fatwas including one giving men the right to have sex with their newly deceased wives, and another allowing women to masturbate using phallic-looking objects as a tactic to deter adultery. He retired from politics in 2011 to focus on...more fatwas. He also operates a taxi.
Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein
Jerusalem Grand Mufti Muhammad Ahmad Hussein denies there may have been a Jewish Temple at the Temple Mount, but insists that the al-Aqsa Mosque has topped the disputed holy site “since the creation of the world”. Hussein was appointed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas in 2006; he previously endorsed suicide bombings against Israelis.