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More on Violent Examples[edit]

Note added Feb. 2007: I wrote the few paragraphs below some time ago. The article now bears no resemblance to the article I was writing about; it is much improved! The paragraphs below are no longer relevant, seems to me.

This entry is a bit strange and conflicted, I am afraid. The article begins by admonishing that the extreme fatawa we have heard so much about are anomalous and "Such fatwas, however, have caught the attention of the western media and become widely renowned, especially among critics of Islam." This properly points out that the western media has likely gone overboard with reporting such things (they go overboard on most everything, e.g., the Michael Jackson trial). The latter part of this sentence seems odd - "critics of Islam"? Sounds rather defensive. Otherwise, perhaps an explanation, with examples, of how the critics of Islam have used the extreme examples of fatawa is in order; that would be relevant to a general understanding of fatwa.

The aim of the article should be to give curious, uninformed people (such as myself) a balanced description of fatwa and the issues surrounding them; it seems to me to fail to do that. I found the section describing how the various flavours of Islam sometimes do not agree on fatawa, together with the cases in which one fatwa might take precedence over another, to be most illuminating.

On the other hand, the entry goes on to list only examples of extreme, violent fatawa, including that of Mr. Bin Laden, together with a description of all the various reasons why Mr. Bin Ladin issued his fatwa. Come now, this is rather wandering off course, is it not? It starts to seem like propaganda, I am afraid; why is Mr. Bin Ladin's (& Co.) fatwa, widely recognized as extreme and deviant, even relevant here? (It is relevant on the Wiki page pertaining to Mr. Bin Ladin, to be sure.) The article gives most attention to the extreme/deviant fatwa, but complains about that sort of attention in its introduction. Surely in the history of Islam there must be more important fatawa than that of Mr. Bin Ladin's?

Perhaps the entry could have a section listing examples of normal fatawa, a section listing examples of fatawa important to the history of Islam, and another section listing extreme or extraordinary fatawa.

The article is in rather good shape just now and I recommend against messing with it except in one area - the examples. Sadly the fatwa against Rushdie remains famous and must be mentioned. It seems to me that no other political fatwa should be included. For one thing they rapidly become obsolete and irrelevent. Surely some one can find a few harmless fatwas to include as examples. 17:23, 7 November 2006 (UTC)


The Arabic at the beginning reads [fata:wa:] with ya read as long [a:] (I forget what that's called). But this is commonly seen as fatwah, suggesting to me it's singular [fatwah] (with usually silent [h]) and the form given here looks like a broken plural.

I haven't got access to an Arabic dictionary and can't find anything reliable on the Web for now. Can someone more skilled in Arabic please check? Gritchka 14:07 27 Jun 2003 (UTC)

  • "ya" as long a is called "alif maqsura".--KASchmidt 05:11, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

Violent fatwas[edit]

I understand the reasoning that including several death- and war-related fatwas gives a skewed impression. Nevertheless, I hate to delete information that many people would find useful and important. What about restoring the links, and adding something in the article that would put them in context, along these lines: "A fatwa can call for the death of a named individual, or some similar act. Although these are very rare (compared with the vast majority of fatwas, which address more pedestrian subjects), they generally attract a disproportionate amount of public attention." Would that be accurate? JamesMLane 22:17, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Removed part of sentence[edit]

Removed the "though the fatwa has not been lifted by Dar-al-Islam" part.

Dar-al-Islam is an extremely generic term, refering to the totality of lands where Islam is dominant, reminiscient of the term Christendom. The fatwa was issued by Khomeini and Khomeini alone, in an extended sense post-revolutionary Iran can also be viewed to be an caretaker of that fatwa.

"Dar-al-Islam" on the other hand can not lift or impose fatwas, only individual clerics can. Islamic clerics around the world have quite different views on many issues. It is hence non-sense to say that a certain cleric imposed a certain fatwa, and that "dar-al-islam" has never lifted it.


The two examples are not exactly representative of what a fatwa is and really sends the wrong impression I believe. gren 08:43, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)

More POV[edit]

We have two fatwa examples, both of which are "kill this person". Is this the usual tone of a fatwa? I have seen/heard of others that seemed to have a political manuevering aspect to them, cleric A denouncing public persona B.

Are fatwas always big sweeping proclamations? Are they always "thou shalts"? Are there more mundane fatwas in the spirit of "children should remain silent while daddy is trying to pay his bills on AOL"? If fatwas are sometimes less politically and socially charged, then one of these would be a better illustration of fatwa.

If, instead, they are generally a tool of politics, then these might have to suffice.

But the litany of persecution that Rushdie et al endured probably belongs elsewhere. Williamv1138 15:33, May 17, 2005 (UTC)

No, it is not at all the usual tone of a fatwa; the vast, vast majority of them are uninteresting proclamations like thou shalt pay thy employees promptly and thou shalt not charge interest even to unbelievers. The death sentences and declarations of war just tend to get more attention in Anglophone media, that's all. —Charles P. (Mirv) 15:50, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

Since it has been repeatedly pointed out that the two examples given were not at all representative and writing so much about them here produces a profoundly distorted picture of what a fatwa is, I trimmed both drastically and moved the details to the articles on Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasrin. I also removed category:Freedom of expression, because it's not applicable to the broad subject, but only to a few specific examples. —Charles P. (Mirv) 23:11, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

  • I've changed "most infamous" to "best known", as the former seems rather POV, accurate as it may be. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 02:42, 24 May 2005 (UTC)


This article makes me sick. CoolGuy 03:40, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

stop the madness[edit]

How can we keep the scope of this article reasonable? Every time a "kill this person" fatwa hits the news, someone will want to add it here, as in the following text:

Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi, the deputy governor of Zamfara state in Nigeria, issued a fatwa in November 2002 calling for the death of journalist Isioma Daniel for comments suggesting that Muhammad may have chosen a wife from one of the Miss World contest. [1] Other Muslim authorities have questioned the validity of the fatwa. [2]

. . .but this is a terrible way to write an informative article on the general topic, and (as has been repeatedly pointed out) creates a highly skewed picture. Perhaps a list of famous fatwas or somesuch is necessary? —Charles P. (Mirv) 14:21, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

Hello, I'm the someone!
I think a list of famous fatwas is a good idea: it leaves this entry to discuss the generalities of fatwas, and another page can cover the nitty-gritty. Would you be able to do the honours? (I'm relatively new at this, so I'd rather someone more experienced with wiki code do this).
On a side note, I definitely think the fatwa about Isioma is noteworthy, as the journalist in question has moved to Norway as a result.
Thanks, Andjam 15:46, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
I don't mean to call you mad; it's just that, as I explained, many people seem to think that any fatwa which makes the news should be covered in detail here. This has seriously messed up the article in the past, as evidenced by the fact that most of the discussion on this talk page focuses on this problem. Anyway, I'll work on spinning out the material on specific fatwas to a separate list, if everyone agrees that this is a good way to handle the issue. —Charles P. (Mirv) 17:31, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
I know you didn't mean to call me mad. I was trying to be funny. And disagreement with your proposal ... *crickets chirp* ... ok, sounds like a good idea. Andjam 13:17, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

It seems to me that Shiite (Shi'a Islam) muslims are more organized in dealing with their fatwas and their scholars. I mean they have criteria to go by on who issues a fatwa and who interprets it. I think maybe because their line of successive leaders was never broken (i.e. by the crusaders or monguls or western colonization). They say that their twelfth Imam is still alive, well, and in charge! Should this make sence because Allah promised to preserve his book until day of judgement? HAE

I've gone ahead and created a list of famous fatwas. I also added some info to the Salman Rushdie entry there (people associated with "The Satanic Verses" who were killed), and also some info you (Mirv) understandably culled from Taslima Nasreen.

What should be done to the fatwas currently listed in this article? Retain, strip down, or delete? Andjam 06:27, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

  • I deleted the fatwas in the article except one. bin Laden's fatwa should work as an example. I'm not sure though if the article needs a "counter-fatwa." Regarding the Shiite way in dealing with fatwas, they indeed have a clearer way on who's authorized to proclaim a fatwa in the first place, which minimizes the "irresponsible" fatwas, like many, IMHO. -- Eagleamn 14:12, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

If fatwas are issued by "qualified Islamic scholars" only then Osama bin Laden's cited texts cannot really be fatwas. Even PBS describes bin Laden's text as "a fatwa, or declaration of war" -- although maybe they too have sloppy writers... Overall, this list is extremely biased to support the West's views that fatwas only serve to declare death sentences. (talk) 00:45, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Fatwas and secular law[edit]

I read the bit about fatwas not being binding in some circumstances, but I'd be curious to know if fatwas can potentially still be binding even if they contradict secular law. I've heard that in Islam, there is no division between the secular and the religious, so maybe my question doesn't make sense.

Some historical background about fatwas may also be useful, eg what was the first fatwa, are fatwas a core part of Islam, and if not, why did they arise? Andjam 12:48, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

Who can issue a fatwa?[edit]

'(neitherr one is considrred a scholar qualllified to issue Fatwas, merely Jihadists'

How does this square with

'Because Islam has no centralized priestly hierarchy, there is no uniform method to determine who can issue a valid fatwa and who cannot.'

Doesn't this mean it's POV as to whether or not Mr. Bin Laden can issue a fatwa?

If there's uncertainty, would it be better if we listed as the main example the one against Rushdie? Andjam 13:35, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

I think it's misleading to say that "Islam has no centralized priestly hierarchy..." Example - Shi'a Ayatollahs, Grand Ayatollahs... I think to say that it has no "centralized" priestly hierarchy is understood by those who understand to be in direct contrast to a Christian idea of centralized priestly hierarchy which is organized in a very specific and strictly 'centralized' way, but I think it's important not to simplify the issue to such an extent as to be misleading in this way.

Who can issue a Fatwa:[edit]

Being born and raised Muslim Sunni and have been a Sufi of North African Tariqas for 12 years I think I can answer this, I can go to a Clerric and asskkk him a mundaane question about ritual purity and technically it's a Fatwa. More complicated issues like, is Sulman Rusdie attacking the religion therforee it's ok to kill him takes a scholar to answer. Now a Fatwa is merly an OPINON or an interpretation of a Qur'anic passage, an it iss NOT bindding. So when I watch a Jihadist on TV, he's no scholar or any of that, say: kill, you know where he's coming from. While he is entiteled to his opinion, which might Technically qualify as a Fatwa, he's no scholar, and the Fatwa has littlle impact if any. --The Brain 00:25, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

Binding Fatawa[edit]

I appreciate the situation being expressed, but I think it is improper to say "Contrary to what is believed by ... the majority of Muslims, a fatwa is not binding on all persons professing the Muslim faith."

If certain people hold something to be binding upon themselves, then clearly, it is.

Perhaps we should say something like "contrary... majority of Muslims, Muftis do not hold their fatawa to be binding on anyone but themselves and their own followers." (I would make this change myself, but I don't know if it's correct. Do all Muftis feel this way? Almost all Muftis, Most Muftis, Many prominent Muftis, I don't know...) Fool 17:20, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Well, claiming that "Muftis do not hold their fatawa to be binding on anyone but themselves and their own followers" is not quite true either. In fact, most Sunni Muftis claim that their fatwa is binding on every Muslim, which is clear in bin Ladin's fatwa for instance, in which he claims all Muslims must adhere to it, even though the majority disregard it. Shi'as' view is completely different, however, and your description may apply to it, since Shi'a's system clearly states that each fatwa is binding only to the follower of its source. AFAIK. -- Eagleamn 18:17, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
I see (and that's why I didn't make the change myself). The Al-Azhar fellow cited seems to concur with the view presented. Can we cite a respected opposing view (other than Bin Ladin)? Fool 19:14, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
Basically the term "fatwa" is very broad. It includes from very faundamental concepts to very minor and sometimes even "trivial" matters. I can't think of any example right now, but perhaps this [3] resembles a fatwa in the compelling form yet a bit trivial IMHO, and this [4] for a non-complling and minor, and the list goes on. All in all, I think there is a "rule of thumb" that Sunnis follow, I'm not sure about the Shi'a POV regarding this, that is, one is permitted to ask any source he follows and trusts, however, he may not ask another for an easier fatwa, for example. I guess the religious studies we had to take back in formal schooling finally paid off..! -- Eagleamn 20:39, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
P.S.: I just remembered now, Shi'a - in general - tend to stick to one and only one souce of their choice and take all their fatwas from it, and not anyone else.
May I request you add something to the article about this? Fool 15:00, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
See this: Marja -- Eagleamn 01:24, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
I've added it myself. PS: What is the plural of Mufti? I wrote "Muftis". Fool 16:14, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
I think Muftis should be fine. If you mean the literal Arabic form, it's "Muftieen". -- Eagleamn 20:39, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Fatwa against nukes[edit]

This doesn't need to be in both Fatwa and List of famous fatwas, does it? Andjam 07:05, 24 November 2005 (UTC)

Nope. Removed. -- Eagleamn 09:11, 24 November 2005 (UTC)

Other uses[edit]

I added a bit about extreme statements on religious or political subjects being called fatwas. I remember that Pat Robertson's statements on Chavez was called a fatwa, if you look on google there's some 42,000 articles that have the term "Pat Robertson" and fatwa in them.
JesseG 03:24, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Many of the uses of the word fatwa for Pat Robertson's comments use the word as synonymous for "hit job". The consensus for this page is that this page should not give undue prominance to these kinds of fatwas. Also, do google hits alone equate to noteability? Andjam 04:00, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
It's good in the context of describing word use. It would segue nicely from "are not at all representative, despite the attention they draw in media, but have become widely renowned" in fact. (Changed) Fool 16:01, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Let's not be coy[edit]

I moved to the 2nd paragraph the statements about how the overwhelming majority are mundane, and a few are death sentences or declarations of war. I mentioned the Salman Rushdie fatwa in this paragraph and was amazed that anyone had thought it was a good idea for the article to edit it out. When a Westerner hears "fatwa", that's the one that comes to mind, and it must be discussed.

I've been told that once a fatwa is issued, it's irreversible if the issuer of the fatwa dies, though this seems to be contradicted by the tone of this article. How often does this situation come up? Tempshill 04:25, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Because a Fatwa is an opinion, it can't be reversed after death. Of course more convincong opinions can override it. Angrynight 01:40, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

What fatwas ARE...[edit]

What Fatwas are: Legal opinions concerning Islamic law by Muslims (which Muslims is debatable). They are not blanket condemnations of people- but actions. Even Usama's (you know which Usama) fatwas are against "Those who...[insert action here]" Fatwas cannot be initiated against people because they are not warrants. They are used as such... but they are not. More importantly according to Islamic doctrine. no one can be judged until their death, and even then man's judgement is unimportant. Fatwas are very much like court rulings, they apply to everyone in the same situation-if they don't they are not true fatwas. So called "mundane" fatwas are in fact important to some- mundane is a POV word. Whether or not I should recite the Quran when someone dies may not be important to some but it may be important to me. Considering that this article is FIRST on a google search for the term, we have a responsibilty towards utmost accuracy. If we agree on nothing else it is that.Angrynight 04:03, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Fatwas: Awesome?[edit]

I think so.Exeunt 15:17, 29 November 2006 (UTC)


Do we really need a section on slang meaning of Fatwa? IMO this page discusses a profound concept within a religion, and it seems to dilute or "sillify" the page by adding a section on American slang. We're not Urban Dictionary after all. --Popoi 16:32, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Usage in Western Media[edit]

Removed the assertion that 'Western media frequently uses the term incorrectly'. There was no evidence provided for the claim and although it's probably true that Western media focuses on rulings such as the Rushdie case and similar, there's no evidence provided that there's a general misunderstanding. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cloudsoup (talkcontribs) 12:38, 1 June 2008 (UTC)


Could we have a better wording for the introduction, as at present it defines a fatwa as an "opinion" but goes on to discuss whether or not they are "binding". Opinions are not something that are "bound". DionysosProteus (talk) 13:25, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

Isn't the arabic term فتوى (fatwa) translated into English as "opinion"? (talk) 19:19, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Chronology of 'Some Contemporary Fatwa'[edit]

Suggest that this section lists contemporary Fatwa in order of proclamation (or reverse order if people prefer), in order not to privilege some over others. Including more fatwa in this section should give a more balanced view of the variety of fatwa. Nsa1001 (talk) 21:47, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Scriptural Reasoning Fatwa[edit]

Contary to Gordonofcartoon's edit, the fatwa is question is issued by the Sharia Court/Committee of the Islamic Cultural Centre and London Central Mosque. The facsimile of the actual document is reproduced on the website of a registered charity, the Scriptural Reasoning Society, the organisation is question being referenced within the fatwa itself and so it is both also self-referring to the organisation about itself.

Gordonofcartoon's assertions of "not notable" are hardly valid given that the fatwa in question is adopted by the largest Scriptural Reasoning community in the UK, and referred to elsewhere.

Given the other website and blogs, fatwa blogs, etc on this article, the edit was clearly arbitary and prejudicial.

Cf. Wiki article Church of England which publishes canons from the website, Yusuf al-Qaradawi which has a number of references linking to fatwa websites and blogs, etc.

--Scripturalreasoning (talk) 07:42, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

As I said elsewhere, this is just an organisation-to-organisation communication, self-published on the website of what appears to be the recipient. There is no sign of third-party reportage by significant sources outside the transaction (e.g. newspapers), raising problems of notability and sourcing, and it's undue weight to place it among the many well-sourced ones that have been notable enough to appear in regional and national news. Gordonofcartoon (talk) 13:37, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm curious if fatwa is a cognate for the Latin Fata (origine of the word fate) the latin word meant "spoken by the gods." Cheers —Preceding unsigned comment added by Indiansummermh (talkcontribs) 21:01, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

English plural[edit]

The more common English plural appears to be "fatwas". Merriam Webster does not give the Arabic plural, and Google NGrams show much more usage for "fatwas".,fatawa&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3 -- JHunterJ (talk) 12:07, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. Also, the article is inconsistent on whether the Arabic plural is fatāwā or fatawā. Jpatokal (talk) 12:09, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

Contradiction under "Popular misconceptions"[edit]

Under the "popular misconceptions" section, it states that the scope of fatwas is generally not absolute in that Muslims may disagree with individual fatwas. However, the last sentence of the section says, "On the other hand, some fatwas are absolute." This is not explained and seems to contradict the rest of the section. Kansan (talk) 20:05, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Agreed, and removed. NW (Talk) 15:53, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Controversial fatwas[edit]

Maybe this cource can be used for something in that section: [5]. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 17:53, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to 3 external links on Fatwa. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

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N Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers. —cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 04:20, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Inappropriate tone?[edit]

"Egypt is host to thousands of ancient statues and drawings that do not seem to have bothered Muslims for the past 1400 years." This doesn't sound very encyclopaedic. Equinox (talk) 17:20, 23 October 2015 (UTC)