'Fatwas' only for guidance, says Darul Uloom

'Fatwas' only for guidance, says Darul Uloom

“It is up to the individual to accept the directions given in fatwa or reject them. He cannot be coerced or forced to obey them,” said senior cleric Mufti Habibur Rehman who is in charge of the seminary’s Darul Ifta (department of fatwa).

The seminary has drawn flak from different quarters for issuing “fatwas” affecting the lives of Muslims.

Rehman said “fatwas” are issued only in response to specific queries and they contain specific instructions pertaining to the issue raised. “Fatwas are issued in the light of sharia (Islamic edicts) and they specify the position of the religion,” he said. Rehman said it was wrong to force the people to obey “fatwas”. The cleric blamed the media for “blowing” “fatwas” out of proportion.

Rehman also defended the sacking of former “mohtamim” (vice-chancellor) of Darul Uloom Maualana Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi. Rehman said Vastanvi was sacked only after he refused to resign.

The seminary, in the past, has issued “fatwas” on whether Muslim girls should wear jeans or whether Muslim women should work in offices. It had once said the earnings of Muslim women working in offices was “haram” (illegal in the eyes of Islam) as they (Muslim women) cannot wear veil in the offices. In another “fatwa,” the seminary had banned cycling by Muslim girls above the age of 13 saying they cannot remain in veil while cycling and it was “un-Islamic”.

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