With questionable fatwas coming out of the woodwork almost every week, Parliament’s Religious Committee is making efforts to staunch their flow.
Second guessing whether or not to have that beer? There’s a fatwa for that. Wondering why you often fine snowmen a bit too… sensual? There’s a fatwa for that too. Maybe you’re thinking about ditching your career path for a bright future in cryptocurrency mining (you massive tool)? Not so fast, haboob, there’s a fatwa for that too.
Hyperlinks aside, you get the idea; for a while now, Egypt’s various religious outlets and authorities seem to be churning out fatwas almost as fast as we churn out… other things. So in response; a new draft law designed to combat the sporadic and unkempt nature of recent fatwas (Islamic edicts) is scheduled for consideration by Parliament’s Religious Committee this coming plenary session. Media as of late has contained more than its fair share of iffy, and more often than not, unlicensed preachers shooting out edicts on anything from necrophilia to whether or not you should add that girl from accounting that you’ve been fixated on for a creepy amount of time.
The new law states that it is prohibited to take in any fatwas unless they’re properly issued through an official religious body; the likes of the Council of Grand Scholars of Al-Azhar, Dar Al-Iftaa, the Islamic Research Complex or the General Fatwa Department at the Ministry of Religious Endowments. In addition to clearly stating that religious learning and preaching coming out of Al-Azhar aren’t to be considered fatwas, and that fatwas can only be delivered through officially licensed media outlets.
The move comes in as part of a slew of efforts to combat the rise of extremism and terrorist activity in recent days, as well as the unjust and just plain odd types of fatwas giving Egyptians far and wide a massive headache. “The role of fatwas is stabilizing society,” says Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, going further to add that “unfortunately, some have been allowed to issue flawed fatwas that distort Islamic Sharia and violate Islam's true teachings.” Though there have been efforts to firmly punish those accused of inciting sedition with odd fatwas, and even ‘Fatwa Kiosks’ spread around Cairo’s metro system for a time, it seems to have not done as much as previously envisioned.