Grand Mufti

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The Grand Mufti (Arabic: مفتي عام‎‎ muftī ʿām , "general expounder" or كبير المفتين kabīr al-muftīn , "the great of expounders") is the highest official of religious law in a Sunni or Ibadi Muslim country. The Grand Mufti issues legal opinions and edicts, fatāwā, on interpretations of Islamic jurisprudence for private clients or to assist judges in deciding cases. The collected opinions of the Grand Mufti serve as a valuable source of information on the practical application of Islamic law as opposed to its abstract formulation. The Grand Mufti's fatāwā (plural of "fatwā") are not binding precedents in areas of civil laws regulating marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In criminal courts, the Grand Mufti's recommendations are generally not binding either.

The painting of an Ottoman Grand Mufti by Jean Baptiste Vanmour.

History[edit]

Muftis are Muslim religious scholars who issue influential legal opinions (fatwas) interpreting Sharia (Islamic law).[1] The Ottoman Empire began the practice of giving official recognition and status to a single mufti, above all others, as the Grand Mufti.[2] The Grand Mufti of Istanbul had, since the late 16th century, come to be regarded as the head of the religious establishment.[3] He was thus not only pre-eminent but bureaucratically responsible for the body of religious-legal scholars and gave legal rulings on important state policies such as the dethronement of rulers.[3] This practice was subsequently borrowed and adapted by Egypt from the mid-19th century.[2] From there, the concept spread to other Muslim states, so that today there are approximately 16 countries with sizeable Muslim populations which have a Grand Mufti.[4] The relationship between the Grand Mufti of any given state and the state's rulers can vary considerably, both by region and by historical era.

Types[edit]

State-appointed Grand Muftis[edit]

Nations with elected Grand Muftis[edit]

  • In countries such as Australia where the office of Grand Mufti receives no official seal of government imprimatur, clerics can be elected to the position by one segment of the Islamic community in that country and yet not be recognised by other Muslim communities in that country.[6]

Nations with collective Grand Muftis[edit]

  • Indonesia has a system of collective mufti, in which the position of Grand Mufti is held by the Indonesian Ulama Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia). This assembly can make fatāwā.
  • Malaysia also has a unique system of collective mufti. Nine of the fourteen Malaysian states have their own constitutional monarchy; nine are ruled by their own constitutional monarch while the country is led by a monarch elected from the nine. These nine monarchs have authority over religious matters within their own states: therefore, each of these nine states have their own mufti who usually controls the Islamic Council or Islamic Department of the state. At the national level, a National Council of Fatwa (Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan) has been formed under the Department of Islamic Advancement of Malaysia (Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia or JAKIM). JAKIM appoints five Muftis for the five states which do not have monarchs. The muftis of the nine monarchical states, together with the five officials appointed by JAKIM in the National Council of Fatwā, collectively issue fatāwā at the national level.
  • Sri Lanka has a system of collective ulama from different traditions of Islam. The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama has a President who oversees the decisions but does not necessarily have the powers to overturn any decisions made by rest of the ulama. The concept is similar to a democratic coalition system. The current President is Ash-Sheikh Mufti M.I.M. Rizwe.

Prominent past Grand Muftis[edit]

List of current Grand Muftis[edit]

States recognised by the United Nations[edit]

State Grand Mufti Office assumed
 Albania Skënder Bruçaj March 2014
 Australia Ibrahim Abu Mohamed September 2011
 Bangladesh Abul Qasim Noori
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Husein Kavazović November 2012
 Brunei Abdul Aziz Juned 1 September 1994
 Bulgaria Mustafa Hadji 2008
 Egypt Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam February 2013
 India Saeed Ahmed Palanpoori
 Iraq Rafi' Taha al-Rifa'i al-Ani
 Jordan Abdul Karim Khasawneh 23 February 2010
 Kazakhstan Yerzhan Mayamerov 2013
 Kosovo Naim Tërnava 2008
 Kyrgyzstan Maksatbek Toktomushev 2014
 Lebanon Sheikh Abdul Latif Deryan 10 August 2014
 Macedonia Zenun Berisha
 Malaysia Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri (Mufti of the Federal Territories)[7] 20 June 2014
Mohd Tahrir Samsudin (Mufti of Johor)[8] 13 November 2008
Syeikh Muhamad Baderudin Ahmad (Mufti of Kedah)[9] 2009
Mohamad Shukri Mohamad (Mufti of Kelantan)[10]
Abd Halim Tawil (Acting Mufti of Malacca)[11]
Mohd Yusof Ahmad (Mufti of Negeri Sembilan)[12] 1 April 2009
Abdul Rahman Osman (Mufti of Pahang)[13]
Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor (Mufti of Penang)[14] 7 June 2014
Harussani Zakaria (Mufti of Perak)[15] December 1985
Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin (Mufti of Perlis)[16] 2 February 2015
Bungsu Aziz Jaafar (Mufti of Sabah)[17] 10 August 2012
Kipli Yassin (Mufti of Sarawak)[18]
Mohd. Tamyes bin Abd. Wahid (Mufti of Selangor)[19] 16 March 1998
Zulkifly Muda (Mufti of Terengganu)[20] 1 April 2013
 Montenegro Reif Fejzić
 Nigeria Ahmad Abubakar Gumi
 Oman Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Khalili
 Pakistan Muhammad Rafi Usmani 1984
 Palestine (list) Muhammad Ahmad Hussein July 2006
 Russia Ravil Gainutdin 1 July 1996
 Syria Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun July 2005
 Uzbekistan Usman Alimov 8 August 2006
 Zimbabwe Ismail ibn Musa Menk

Sui generis entities[edit]

Entity Grand Mufti Office assumed
Caucasus Allahshukur Pashazade 1992
 Europe Muhammad Shabbir Ahmed Patel

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vogel, Frank E. (1999). Islamic law and legal system: studies of Saudi Arabia. pp. 16–20. ISBN 978-90-04-11062-5. 
  2. ^ a b Vogel, Frank (1999). Islamic Law in the Modern World: Legal System of Saudi Arabia. p. 5. ISBN 978-9004110625. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Faroqh, Suraiya N. (ed.) (2006). The Cambridge History of Turkey: Volume 3, The Later Ottoman Empire, 1603-1839. p. 213. ISBN 978-0521620956. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Janin, Hunt Janin; Kahlmeyer, André (2008). Islamic law: the Sharia from Muhammad's time to the present. p. 85. ISBN 978 9004110625. 
  5. ^ "Title four, chapter one, article 78". THE CONSTITUTION OF THE TUNISIAN REPUBLIC (Unofficial english translation) (PDF). UNDP and International IDEA. 26 January 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Alexander Moore (1998). Cultural Anthropology. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 389. ISBN 0-939693-48-8. 
  7. ^ Mufti of the Federal Territories
  8. ^ Mufti of Johor
  9. ^ Mufti of Kedah
  10. ^ Mufti of Kelantan
  11. ^ Mufti of Malacca
  12. ^ Mufti of Negeri Sembilan
  13. ^ Mufti of Pahang
  14. ^ Mufti of Penang
  15. ^ Mufti of Perak
  16. ^ Mufti of Perlis
  17. ^ Mufti of Sabah
  18. ^ Mufti of Sarawak
  19. ^ Mufti of Selangor
  20. ^ Mufti of Terengganu