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This article is about Islamic scholars. For clothing, see Mufti (dress).

A mufti (/ˈmʌfti/; Arabic: مفتي‎‎ muftī; Turkish: müftü) is an Islamic scholar who interprets and expounds Islamic law (Sharia and fiqh).[1] Muftis are jurists qualified to give authoritative legal opinions known as fatwas.[2] Historically, they were members of the ulama ranking above qadis.[2]


A mufti will generally go through a course in iftaa, the issuance of fatwa, and the person should fulfill the following conditions set by scholars in order that he may be able to issue verdicts (fatwas):[3]

  1. Knowing Arabic,
  2. Mastering the study of principles of jurisprudence,
  3. Having sufficient knowledge of social realities,[4]
  4. Mastering the study of comparative religions,
  5. Mastering the foundations of social sciences,
  6. Mastering the study of Maqasid ash-Shari`ah (Objectives of Shari`ah),
  7. Mastering the study of Hadith,
  8. Mastering legal maxims.


In the 1800's,and still seen today, Muslims relied on building trust with people and forging partnerships, a very important aspect of Islamic life. The Mufti was an example of this. In a time where people were often self-financed and independent, kinship often substituted for markets where preexisting bonds of trust facilitated cooperative ventures. These kin-based partnerships had many limitations. For example, if seeking a Mufti's advice, the wealth and relationship of the family to the Mufti can cause seniority and sentiment to dictate decisions. Hence, there was social gains from institutions supportive of these cooperative ventures across these groups. This dependency on trust, and personal relationships has been said to have been the cause of the Middle East's descent from it's Golden Commercial Age. [5]

European parallels[edit]

According to University of Pennsylvania professor George Makdisi, the term mufti is a direct equivalent of the later western term professor, meaning one who is qualified to profess independent opinion on a subject (same as fatwa). According to him, this was the highest level of academic credentials in classical Islamic academic tradition, above mudarris (doctor meaning teacher), and faqih (meaning Master)--a hierarchy later adopted in Western academic tradition.[6]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "mufti". thefreedictionary. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b William L. Cleveland, Martin Bunton (2016). A History of the Modern Middle East. Westview Press. p. 561. 
  3. ^ Reaching the status of mufti by Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf Mangera.
  4. ^ Ask the scholar, Islam online 
  5. ^ Kuran, T. (2011). The long divergence: How Islamic law held back the Middle East. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  6. ^ George Makdisi (1989) Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West

External links[edit]