European Council for Fatwa and Research
Eleventh Ordinary Session
European Council for Fatwa and Research
held in the Headquarters of the Islamic Association in Sweden, in the Islamic Center (Stockholm—Sweden)
during the period
1-7 of Jumada al-Ula, 1424 AH
to 1-7of July, 2003 AD
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Praise be to Allah, the Sustainer of the Worlds, and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and on all his descendants and his Companions.
With the Blessings and Grace of Allah Almighty and in response to a generous invitation from the Islamic Association in Sweden, the Eleventh Ordinary Session of the European Council for Fatwa and Research was held in the Islamic Center (Stockholm, Sweden) during the period 1-7 of Jumada al-Ula, 1424 AH corresponding to 1-7of July, 2003 AD under the presidency of His Eminence Imam and Scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the President of the Council and with the presence of most of its Members.
At the opening ceremony in which the officials of the Islamic Association in Sweden participated, in addition to delegates from the diplomatic corps, institutions, sectors and Islamic Centers and members of Muslim community Professor Ahmad Ghanim, the Chairman of the Association welcomed the President and Members of the ECFR who were holding their Eleventh Session in Sweden. He complimented the efforts of the Council in the European arena in the field of Fatwa and research and the methodology of moderation, the good results of which have been reflected on the Muslims in the West.
Then His Excellency Imam and Scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the President of the Council delivered a speech in which he thanked the Islamic Association in Sweden for hosting the Eleventh Session of the Council, and the Government of Sweden for the facilities it offered, which led to holding this Session of the Council on its lands. His Excellency also called upon the Muslims to abide by their religion, which is the greatest grace Allah Almighty bestowed on mankind. He stated that one of the characteristics of the Islamic Ummah is that it cannot unanimously adopt an error or a wrong notion, and that Allah Almighty supplied it in every age with some individuals to purify Islam from the assertions of liars, the distortions of zealots and the interpretations of ignorant people. His Excellency also stressed the moderation of Islam that calls for rejecting both excess and neglect, and on the quality of leniency in its instructions and that investigating the juristic heritage confirms that the example of the lenient and tolerant is Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him), and next to him the prominent Companions and their followers, and that the golden rule is to be lenient in giving Fatwa and to give glad tidings when preaching, He added that Islamic Shari’ah entered various countries and different civilizations without being impatient with nor intolerant towards new problems or issues, and the existence of the various schools of jurisprudence became a source of comfort and mercy, and that Muslims today are in need of disciplined or controlled ‘Ijtihad’ that combines the proper comprehension of jurisprudence with the knowledge of reality through weighing the partial texts against the general purposes which the Ummah respects.
The Council then considered its agenda and listened to the General Secretariat’s report, upon which it took the necessary administrative decisions, including the formation of the Religious Dialogue Committee. It also listened to the report of the Research Committee and thanked all those who had participated in producing the third issue of the Council’s Scientific Journal. The Council then discussed a number of issues listed on its agenda and answered several of the questions addressed to it and took the following resolutions and fatwas:
First: The Resolutions
Determining the times for prayers in regions that lack the legal (Islamically specified) signs
The Council looked into the papers and studies that its members presented regarding the determination of the times for the prayers in the regions that lack some of the specified signs that are acceptable in Shari’ah. After discussions and deliberations, the Council decided the following:
First: In terms of Shari’ah there is no objection to continue depending on the views of Ijtihad currently adopted in Europe, such as performing the Maghrib (sunset) and Isha’ (night) prayers together, and what the Muslim World League’s Islamic Fiqh Academy approved in its Resolution that adopts the proportional estimation that is based on 18 degrees for Fajr (dawn) and 17 degrees for ‘Isha’ that is applied in most of the European countries, and also the personal opinion (Ijtihad) that is based on considering 12 degrees for both Fajr and ‘Isha’ prayers which is currently adopted in some European countries.
Second: The Council confirms Resolution no. 6 taken on 12th of Rajab 1406 corresponding to 23rd of March 1986 by the Muslim World League’s Islamic Fiqh Academy concerning the polar region that states: “All times shall be estimated with the time calculation at the latitude of 45 degrees” namely, the proportional estimation.
Third: Due to the need of these countries for a practical application of calculating the times of prayers in the various regions where some or most of the signs are missing, the Council asked some of its specialized Members to prepare a juristic study as well as scientific mathematical research that compare between various opinions of ‘Ijtihad’ and submit all that to the Council in its next Session to take the proper comprehensive decision, and Allah knows best.
Cloning between spouses
To complete its discussion of cloning in its previous Session, the Council took up the issue of cloning between spouses that it had postponed to be discussed in this Session. After considering the studies and papers prepared on this topic, the Council confirms its previous Resolution that prohibits cloning in humans without offering any exception to cloning from spouses, in order to keep the original ruling of the prohibition of cloning in humans as no evidence prevails to justify such an exception. However, the Council continues to monitor this matter and will consider its aforementioned stand in the event of a development or the arising of new information.
The Council surveyed the studies presented to it regarding this subject and after discussing them it arrived at the following conclusions:
First: the definition of euthanasia
The word (euthanasia) is a Greek word in origin and it consists of two components: the prefix ‘eu’ which means ‘good, nice, merciful, or facilitated’, and the suffix ‘tathanos’ which means death or killing.
Therefore, the word ‘euthanasia’ linguistically means ‘merciful death or killing’ or ‘good or facilitated death’. In the terminology of modern science the word ‘euthanasia’ means “facilitating the death of an incurable patient at his own pressing request presented to the treating physician.”
Second: The various types of Euthanasia
Euthanasia comes in a number of different means:
- Direct or deliberate Euthanasia:
This is done through giving the patient a lethal dose of curare or barbiturates or other derivatives of cyanide with the intention of killing. This has three cases:
- a) the voluntary case, when the process is carried out at the pressing request of the patient who desires to die while he is fully conscious, or according to an already written testament.
- b) the involuntary case, which is the case of a sane unconscious adult patient. The action to end his life is taken on the decision of the physician who thinks that killing him is for his or her own good, or according to the decision of the patient’s guardian or relatives who think that killing is in the his or her best interest.
- c) the involuntary case where the patient is unreasoning, whether a child or insane. The action is taken according to a decision made by the treating physician.
- Assisted suicide:
In this case the patient ends his (or her) life by himself according to instructions given to him by another person that provides him with the information and devices that help him to die.
- Indirect Euthanasia:
This is done through giving the patient doses of tranquilizers or sedatives to abate the severe pains. With time the doctor will have to increase the doses to control the pains. It is a procedure preferred by therapists, but large doses may lead to difficulties in breathing and dysfunction of the cardiac muscle, which will result in death that has not been intended by itself though anticipated beforehand.
- Passive euthanasia
This is achieved by refusing to treat the patient or interrupting the treatment necessary for his survival, including the removal of the apparatus of artificial breathing from the patient in the resuscitating room when it is confirmed that his (or her) brain is dead and there is no hope of restoring his consciousness.
Third: The legal aspect of Euthanasia:
Although the common medical traditions in the countries of the world and the majority of the physicians still reject and strongly abhor the practice of euthanasia, and although the valid laws in most of the countries of the world consider the killing of a human in any way a crime punishable by law, euthanasia is being increasingly practiced in a number of European countries under the guise of misleading names that make the authorities overlook it or make the courts refuse to apply the legal penalties against those who commit it. These events have almost become a daily practice in a country like Holland so much so that euthanasia has become something legalized by the Dutch authorities.
Fourth: The justification offered by supporters of Euthanasia
It seems that the practitioners of euthanasia depend on certain justifications, such as
- The irreligious philosophy prevalent in the West, which measures the value of life by one’s contributions of production and creativity in and towards society. If one becomes dependant on others, it seems one had better die.
- Euthanasia would relieve the patient and free him from the suffering, agony and pains that he cannot endure.
- Euthanasia would reduce the suffering of the patient’s relatives and friends who take care of him or her, and it would also spare the costs and economic burdens the family or the society bear. Besides, the advocates of euthanasia see that the patient has a personal right to decide his or her fate and has the right to be killed if he or she demand so.
Having considered the different legal stances Western countries take concerning Euthanasia, both in approval or rejection, the Council decided the following:
- The prohibition of the direct active euthanasia and the prohibition of suicide and assisting in bringing it about, for according to Shari’ah killing a patient suffering from a terminal illness is not permissible for the physician, the patient’s family or the patient himself. The patient whatever his illness and however sick he (or she) is shall not be killed because of desperation and loss of hope in recovery or to prevent the transfer of the patient’s disease to others, and whoever commits the act of killing will be a deliberate killer. The Qur’anic text confirms without a shadow of a doubt that homicide is forbidden absolutely, as Allah Almighty says: “And take not life, which Allah has made sacred, except by way of justice and law.” (VI: 151) and as Allah Almighty also says: “Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder or for spreading mischief in the land—it would be as if he killed all mankind.” (V: 32)
- It is unlawful for the patient to kill himself (or herself) and it is unlawful for somebody else to kill him (or her) even if he is given leave to kill him. The former case will be suicide and the latter will be aggression against the other by killing him, for his permission does not render the unlawful act lawful. The patient does not posses his own soul to permit somebody else to take it. The Prophetic Hadith is known regarding the prohibition of suicide in general. The person that commits suicide will be tortured in Hell Fire the same way he (or she) killed himself. If he believes that suicide is lawful, he will be a disbeliever and will abide in the Fire forever; otherwise, he will be severely punished.
- It is impermissible to kill the patient for fear that his (or her) disease may transfer through contagious infection, even it he is terminally sick (such as one suffering from AIDS). It is not permissible to kill him to prevent the spread of disease, for there are many other means to do so, such as quarantine and preventing others from mixing with the patient. On the contrary, the patient must be protected as a human being and be provided with the required food and medicine till his or her life comes to its natural end. In the noble hadith narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim, we read: “Allah created no disease but created something to cure it.” In the hadith narrated by al-Tirmidhi we read: “O Allah’s Servants! Seek treatment, for Allah does not create a disease but creates a treatment for it.” In the hadith narrated by Ahmad we read: “Allah created no disease but created something to cure it. Some may know it and some may not.” So, these prophetic hadiths give us hope of discovering cures for what we term today ‘incurable’ diseases. Indeed, we have witnessed the discovery of cures for what people considered at one time incurable diseases. Therefore, it is impermissible to kill the carrier of the disease because it is incurable, nor on the pretext of protecting the healthy people from it.
- As to facilitating death by withdrawing the artificial resuscitating apparatus from the patient who is clinically regarded as “dead” or “practically dead” because of the damage to the brainstem or brain, with which human beings live and feel; if the action of the physician is merely stopping the treatment instruments, it will be no more than giving up the treatment, in which case his action is legal and permissible, bearing in mind that these instruments can preserve the apparent life of the patient – represented by breathing and circulation – though the patient is actually dead, for he cannot conceive, feel or be sensitive to anything because of the damage of the source of all that, namely the brain. Keeping the patient in that state would waste vital resources and would prevent other maybe curable patients from benefiting from the instruments being occupied for the practically dead patient.
Arbitrations in quarrels
The Council looked into the studies submitted by Members of the Council concerning the Shar’i (legal) arbitration in the West. Following deliberations, it decide the following:
First: The Council approved the ‘Arbitration by-law’ (enclosed with the fatwa), which will be submitted to legal experts, and if they should suggest certain amendments, those will be submitted to the Council in its next Session.
Second: The principle is that a Muslim, when in need of arbitration, must choose Muslim arbitrators or arbitration establishments that are committed to the rulings of Islamic Law. Otherwise, it will be permissible to resort to non-Muslim arbitrating bodies for the sake of achieving what is required according to Shari’ah.
Third: Arbitration is not permissible in whatever is the right of Allah Almighty, nor in a case where the ruling on it requires the confirmation or invalidation of a ruling concerning somebody other than the parties involved in the arbitration, over whom the arbitrator has no authority, nor in a case that is exclusively the responsibility of the judiciary to look into.
Islamic Discourse in the age of Globalization
The Council discussed the topic of the Islamic discourse in the age of globalization, and after looking into the relevant papers and studies and exchanging views, arrived at the following:
Our Islamic discourse in the age of globalization is in need for alteration and development. This does not mean alteration of the Islamic constant precepts and objectives, but the alteration of the methods of da’wah, the ways of illustration and the arts of teaching, for we used to speak to ourselves so that others did not hear us. But now what is said at any place reaches the farthest ends of the world at the same moment, as the world has become a small village. The juristic rulings that are said to Muslims are not the same as those said to non-Muslims, starting with the Islamic dogma and all that follows. What is said to a new Muslim is not the same as what is said to an original Muslim. Similarly, the discourse varies with the variation of the school to which the preacher belongs and whose opinions he expresses. It is preferable that the rhetoric be characterized by the spirituality of the mystic, the commitment of the hadith scholar, the reasonability of the scholastic scholar and the scientific nature of the jurist, and that it take from every source the best of what it possesses. We are in need of turning from the chaotic form and appearance to reality and essence; from speaking and arguing to performance and work; from passion to scientific reasoning, from branches and tails to heads and sources; from making things more difficult and repulsive to making them easier and promising; from stagnancy and imitation to Ijtihad and renewal; from bigotry and alienation to tolerance and openness, from exaggeration and laxity to moderation and intermediacy; from violence and grudge to gentleness and mercy; and from divergence and disunity to integrity and solidarity.
As to the methodology of the religious rhetoric as the Holy Qur’an has depicted it, it can be understood from the following points:
First: The obligation of preaching on every Muslim, each according to his ability, as is confirmed by evidence from the major sources of Shari’ah..
Second: The divinity of preaching (da’wah), for it is an invitation to Allah Almighty and not to nationalism, zealotry or a language. People should free themselves from worshipping each other and all should be worshipping slaves of Allah alone.
Third: preaching Muslims with wisdom and good exhortation.
Wisdom means the following:
- Gathering all the scientific convincing pieces of evidence and the brilliant intellectual proofs.
- Talking to people in their tongue and not just in their language; namely, by talking to every people with what suites their reality, problems, levels, challenges, pains and hopes.
- Being gentle through adopting the approach of leniency in fatwa and of giving glad tidings in da’wah.
- Arranging the principles and priorities first and then call for the branches thereafter.
- Stepping up gradually from doctrines and ethics to the branches and ends.
As to good exhortation, it is:
addressing the hearts and noble sentiments to motivate them towards good. The Holy Qur’an stresses the importance of good exhortation that is conveyed nicely, through a well chosen subject and style and weighing between admonition and encouragement through authentic texts, not through imaginary tales and various narrations, nor through frightening the laymen with death and the torture in the grave so much so that they get scared, despaired and disappointed. It is not good exhortation to provocatively pray that Allah destroy all polytheists, Jews and Christians, orphan their children and turn their wives into widows, while there is no authentic text that permits such supplication.
Fourth: Arguing with the opponents benevolently
This is one of the realistic features of Islam, for it orders that Muslims be exhorted well and that non-Muslims be argued with by a better approach, i.e. superior, higher and gentler approach. Another feature is to choose common interests with the opponents that are numerous, such as facing the waves of atheism and immorality, crime, pollution of the environment, human rights and freedoms, the family, maternity and childhood, and common human ethics. Points of divergence and matters of controversy should not be stressed.
Another feature of arguing gently is not to attack the opponent or slight his doctrines and opinions, and not to make him feel defeated or show your ecstasy of triumphing over him (or her).
Fifth: Adhering to the constant precepts and principles when presenting Islam. The renewal of Islamic rhetoric does not mean introducing Islam broken-winged or disarmed, or just as a relationship between the individual and his Lord and not a perfect life program for the individual, the family, the society and the state. Nor does it mean the omission of the Qur’anic verses talking about those who differ with us, or the omission of the fixed penalties in the criminal law, or the omission of Jihad from international relations, or the omission of the military expeditions from the Sirah (The Prophet’s biography).
Sixth: Changing some names without changing the essence, such as calling them on meeting “non-Muslims”, for this will not change the reality in anyway, remembering that the Qur’an did not talk about the people of the scripture except with the loftiest ways, and it did not address non-Muslims with the name “infidels” except in two Verses in special contexts concerning the mixing up of doctrines and the suggestion that they worship Allah on one day and their false deities on another. Omar ibn Al-Khattab changed the name of Jizyah (tribute) levied from the Christians of Taghlib to “zadah” or “sadaqah” and doubled it. What matter is the objective and meaning and not the utterances and structure.
Among other examples is the use of the word “citizens” instead of “dhimmis” (free non-Muslim subjects living in a Muslim country), the word “brotherhood” to express international relations, for all the Prophets addressed their peoples with the language of brotherhood. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stood up for the funeral of a Jew, saying: “Is it not a soul?” In terms of Shari’a there is no harm whatever to deal with non-Muslims as brothers in humanity and citizenship and to have relationships with them so that they may observe the merits of Islam and good traits of Muslims, for Islam adopts mercy and gentleness in dealing with all human beings, unless they are aggressive transgressors.
As to the characteristics of Islamic rhetoric in the age of Globalization, it must take into consideration the location, time, circumstances and language of the addressees so that it may be effective clear speech, as the Qur’an states several times. It must also take into consideration the nature of closeness that has made the whole world a single village, which requires looking for suitable expressions and subjects. It must also:
- believe in the Divine Revelation (wahy), without ignoring the mind.
- be keen to benefit by contemporarity and adhere to originality.
- call for spirituality without neglecting materialism.
- call for earnestness and straightforwardness without forgetting recreation and entertainment.
- adopt universality without neglecting localism.
- Looking forward to the future without renouncing the past.
- adopt leniency in fatwa and giving glad tidings in da’wah.
- be fair to women without oppressing men.
- condemn unlawful terrorism and support lawful jihad.
- preserve the rights of the minority without being unfair to the majority
- call for Jihad without overlooking the constant precepts.
Added to all that, the following controlling criteria about Ijtihad should be taken into consideration:
- No Ijtihad after fully exerting one’s effort.
- No ijtihad is permissible in definitive matters.
- It is impermissible to regard probable things definitive.
- Linking Fiqh to hadith.
- Being cautious of succumbing to the pressure of reality.
- Welcoming any new beneficial thing.
- Not ignoring the spirit and needs of the age.
- Transferring to collective Ijtihad.
- Tolerating the error of the Mujtahid (the doer of Ijtihad)
In conclusion we have to change the style of Islamic rhetoric in the age of globalization in such a way as to bring the runaways and the opponents closer to Islam and its constant dogmatic, ethical and legislative precepts, to remove the numerous misgivings caused by the provocative rhetoric that led others to be hostile to us, and to convey Monotheistic Islam to all the inhabitants of the earth.
Jihad: Rejecting its alleged connection to terrorism
The Council discussed the topic of Jihad and denying its connection to terrorism, and after considering the relevant papers and studies and an extensive deliberation, it concluded the following:
The comprehensive overall perspective of the texts of the Holy Quran and the authentic Sunnah (heritage) of the Prophet show that the basis of the relationship between the Muslim and others is one of mercy, love, benevolence, mutual communication, knowing one another, peaceful co-existence, solidarity, and wishing good and guidance for everybody, for Allah Almighty says: “O mankind! We have created you from a male and female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other.” (XLIX: 13) And Allah Almighty also says: “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who do not fight you for (your) Faith, nor drive you out of your homes, to deal kindly and justly with them, For Allah loves those who are just. Allah only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith and drive you out of your homes and support (others) in driving you out, to turn to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances) that do wrong.” (LX: 8-9) To this relationship is connected the concept of Jihad which was sometimes in the past or is now misunderstood and wrongly applied.
Jihad has a number of meanings: Jihad (strife) against self through purifying it, Jihad through funds, through writing, speaking, science and technology, or even through the Qur’an itself, i.e. by showing and conveying the truth revealed in it, as Allah Almighty says: “But strive against them with it (the Qur’an) with the utmost strenuousness.” (XXV: 52)
Another kind of Jihad is that in the battlefield, that is referred to in the Qur’an with the word meaning “fighting” for the sake of lawfully defending oneself and counterattacking aggression, as is agreed upon by the jurists according to the Saying of Allah Almighty: “And fight in the Cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits, for Allah does like aggressors.” (II: 190) and His Saying: “To those against whom war is made, permission is given to (fight) because they have been wronged; and verily, Allah is able to give them victory.” (XXII: 39)
Jurists have unanimously agreed that Jihad is lawful to resist all types of oppression, such as ethnic cleansing, military occupation of their lands, as well as religious persecution, as Allah Almighty says: “And fight them until there is no more persecution and the religion becomes Allah’s. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against those who practice oppression.” (II: 193) Allah also says: “And fight them until there is no more persecution and the religion in its entirety becomes Allah’s. But if they cease, verily, Allah sees all that they do.” (VIII: 39)
This sort of Jihad is also closely related to the legal human rights of all mankind, particularly in our contemporary age, for both purposes of resisting aggression and stopping oppression, bearing in mind that fighting should be the last resort after exhausting all peaceful means. Moreover, there are strict conditions and restrictions on the conduct of the Muslim in the battlefield, such as refraining from harming except those aggressive fighters, not destroying possessions or terrorising peaceful people, as Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and his rightly-guided Caliphs showed.
Islam invalidated all types of fighting that pursue personal benefit, national or ethnic glory, usurpation of the lands and property of others, or fighting to coerce people to embrace Islam, for Allah Almighty says: “There is no coercion in religion.” (II: 256) and “And had your Lord willed, those who are on earth would have all believed. Will you then compel mankind to become believers?” (X: 99)
Thus it becomes obvious that Jihad in Islam has nothing to do with reckless actions that some people have practiced or are practicing and which lead to nothing but more suffering and bloodshed.
We understand also that Jihad with its conditions, rulings and restrictions cannot be incorporated in the framework of what is called today “terrorism, as some mass media allege. “Terrorism” as a contemporary term means: the organized illegal use of violence, or threatening with it, with the intention of killing innocent people, such as murdering, kidnapping, destroying possessions and polluting the environment on the part of any individual, group, organization or state.
The worst terrorism is occupation in all its forms; therefore, the legal resistance of occupation is not within the framework of terrorism, as the international laws and conventions state.
The Council wishes to remind Muslims residing in the Western countries in particular to fulfill the duties of citizenship, such as respecting the laws, preserving peace and public security, positive and effective participation in the progress and reform of their societies and states, and abiding by the requirements of Shari’ah and the duties of citizenship, such as being good to neighbors, co-existing peacefully and cooperating in benevolence.
It is noted that the conditions and restrictions of using force also apply to sectarian or political controversies that arise among Muslims themselves. The principle therein is to adopt peaceful civil Jihad that is secured by contemporary laws, such as strikes, sit-ins, peaceful demonstrations, and also enjoining good and discouraging evil – within the framework of the law – and being patient and perseverant.
It is known that the use of violence and force to change a regime or evil would lead to the opposite of the desired results. It is known that one of the rules of forbidding what is wrong is that it should not lead to what is worse than it.
Therefore, the Council advises the Muslim youths to avoid encouraging shedding the blood of the innocent and aggression against their possessions and to resort to the means of peaceful Jihad instead, including what Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) referred to in his saying: “The best kind of Jihad is a truthful word before an unjust ruler.”
Within the framework of these general concepts we can understand the texts of the Holy Qur’an and the authentic noble Sunnah of the Prophet, which were and are misunderstood by some people as a result of separating these texts from the circumstances that coincided with the advent of Islam and the storming of the enemies against it and assailing its followers.
The Council recommends that these important issues be studied and understood in a way that will lead to the correction of the misconceptions that contradict the totality of the texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah and disengage some texts from their contexts, regardless of the prevalence of these misconceptions in the past or at present.
A husband married for five years complains that his wife does not observe the prayers and that as a result, his children do not perform the prayers except when he is present with them. His wife also treats the children cruelly (She for example, beat her child and broke his arm, slapped her daughter leaving the impression of her fingers marked on her cheek for several weeks.) When her husband discussed with her a certain matter, she would say: “O Allah! Kill me”, for example, or “relieve me of this world!” What is the ruling of Shari’ah on this woman? Should her husband divorce her?
Answer: Whoever does not perform the prayers out of laziness but does not believe that it is not obligatory is a ‘fasiq’, disobedient to Allah Almighty in the opinion of the majority of scholars.
Form your question one understands that your wife does not observe the prayers out of laziness; therefore, you should advice and admonish her and remind her and be patient with her and treat her gently and help her with all that you can so that she may fulfill her obligations towards Allah Almighty and her children. As to what you mention of her indifference and violence against her children, it may be caused by casual circumstances she is experiencing, so you have to try hard to deal with the matter, seeking aid through supplication and then through strengthening your relationship with other Muslim families in your community. Divorce is not the correct solution, nor is it obligatory as you inferred in your question, for that would entail the disintegration of the family and the loss of the children. Never despair of reforming her, for the believer does not despair of Allah’s soothing Mercy. Allah Almighty says: “Truly, no one despairs of Allah’s Soothing Mercy except those who have no faith.” (XII: 87) Some of the prophets, such as Noah and Lot, kept patient with their wives and did not despair of preaching them benevolently although they were infidels.
What is the ruling on bringing out the zakat incumbent on the property of the Muslims residing in Western countries and sending it abroad in spite of the need of the Muslims and their institutions in these countries and the lack of sufficiency and indispensability of this zakat?
The principle is that the Zakat should be disposed of in the country of the zakat itself, unless there is sufficiency or there is a need outside the country that should be well determined. This is the verdict of majority of Shafi’ites, Malikites And Hanbalites in the light of the hadith of Muadh (may Allah be pleased with him), where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Tell them that Allah has enjoined on them alms that will be taken from the rich among them and returned to the poor among them.” (agreed upon), and in the light of the procedure followed during the era of the rightly-guided Caliphs, when the zakat was given to the poor people of the country where the zakat was levied, because sending it outside the country would disagree with its objectives, the most important of which is bringing about sufficiency among the Muslims of a certain country. Therefore, the Muslims on whose wealth zakat becomes incumbent and whose wealth is in the Western countries should give some of their zakat to the Islamic institutions that are based on reviving the commitment to the obligations of sufficiency in these countries, such as Islamic centers, mosques, and the da’wah institutions and Islamic schools, etc. till sufficiency is realized.
A woman was married to a man who used to drink alcohol, beat her and treat her badly. She ran away from him to another country with her son or daughter to marry another man who did not know that she had already been married. The second husband knew the fact after the death of the first husband. What is the ruling of Shari’ah on this case? What is the ruling on the contract of marrying the second husband? Shall she return to him with the first contract or should there be a new contract? Does she have to observe ‘Iddah’ (waiting period) for her first husband?
This woman is sinful and disobedient because of running away from her husband, from whom she had not been separated in a legal way, and because she married another husband. She has to repent before Allah Almighty for that, as Allah Almighty says: “And those who, when they have done an act of indecency (illegal sexual intercourse) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins – and none can forgive sins but Allah – and do not persist knowingly in what (wrong) they have done.” (III: 135)
As to the second marriage it is invalid, and it is a suspicious marriage because the second husband concluded the marriage contract without knowing that the woman was still the wife of the first husband. Most jurists opine that the children of a suspicious marriage shall belong to their father.
Owing to the invalidity of the second marriage, it must be corrected with a legal contract. The wife does not have to observe Iddah for her first husband, if more than four months and ten nights have elapsed since she knew of his death.
Many Muslims resort to special insurance companies to secure a reasonable pension in the future, for the state in some cases does not secure a pension for them in the future. The method is that these companies accept the deposit of a specific monthly or annually amount and stipulate that it remain with it for at least five years. The amount is usually deposited for fifteen years on average. During this period the person would have saved the amount plus certain (not fixed) profits, besides health insurance. In case of death a certain amount would be given to his heirs. The amount along with the profits will be returned to him at the end of the contract or a certain pension is given to him according to the amount he has deposited.
Is the deposit of such amounts and this process permissible?
Is it permissible to work in these companies?
The Council discussed the content of the question on insurance and reviewed its previous resolutions on the topic of insurance in all its forms in its Sixth and Eighth Sessions. It concluded that the form mentioned in the question does not belong to the form that the previous resolutions of the Council permitted, but it belongs to the forms of life insurance through the commercial insurance companies that have been prohibited by resolutions taken by the Fiqh academies, such as the Muslim World League’s Islamic Fiqh Academy that confirmed Fatwa no. 51 on 4/4/1379 AH of the Committee of Prominent Scholars in Saudi Arabia, and also the decision of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy no. 9/9/2 that states that the contract of commercial insurance of a fixed premium with which the companies of commercial insurance deal involves great risk (gharar) that renders the contract invalid. Therefore, it is prohibited in Shari’ah. The alternative contract that respects the Islamic principles of dealing is the contract of cooperative insurance that is based on solidarity. Thus, from this review and from investigating the content of the question and the reality of the kind of insurance asked about, the Council opines that that is impermissible because it involves risk that is prohibited and usury that is unlawful in Shari’ah.
I am a young man working in the field of finance and live in Switzerland. My job involves offering financial consultation to individuals and companies (to choose the best financial solutions that would realize their objectives according to their own financial situations). This is a field that involves both Muslims and non-Muslims. With Muslims I suggest only unsuspicious solutions according to what is in the Islamic jurisprudence (i.e. what most people know and does not require a specialist in the fiqh of dealings). As to non-Muslims, I see that these restrictions are irrelevant because what is unlawful for Muslims is not unlawful for others unless they embrace Islam (the penalty for drinking alcohol cannot be executed on a non-Muslim). This is what I understand.
My question is: Am I wrong in doing this or not? Is this work of mine free from Shar’i confusedness or not? If there is confusedness in it, what is its nature? What are the limits and conditions that I should observe?
As to suggesting solutions free from confusedness to Muslims, it is a lawful acceptable deed, but dealing with non-Muslims should also be so. The limits of Islamic dealing should remain with them also, for the Muslim is legally required to suggest only such solutions as accepted in his religion both to the Muslim and non-Muslim. It is impermissible, for example, to advice a non-Muslim to run prohibited or usurious projects, due to the Shar’i evidence that prohibits that. Allah Almighty ordered His noble Messenger (peace be upon him), if he judges between people, to judge with justice according to Allah’s revelation, or not to respond to them, as Allah Almighty says regarding the people of the scripture: “If they do come to you, either judge between them, or decline to interfere. If you decline, they cannot hurt you in the least. If you judge, judge in equity between them, for Allah loves those who judge in equity.” (V: 42)
We have received from World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office of East Mediterranean the following question:
You will be aware that WHO has been, for about a decade, carrying out a campaign to exterminate rickets so that they may disappear completely from the globe. This will obviously save the world as a whole a large number of cases of disability and death and keep this abominable disease away from mankind forever, Allah willing.
The vaccine used in immunizing children against rickets is prepared from the virus that causes it on tissue culture; namely, consisting of multiplying cells that form a cellular tissue wherein the cells are stuck together. In order to have a successful culture we must disunite these cells from each other. This disintegration is accomplished by using an enzyme called (trypsin) that is taken from the pig. Trypsin is added in very tiny or almost negligible amounts, for enzymes function at extremely low concentration. Trypsin is added to the cells that are cohered in a tissue to disintegrate them from each other in a very short while. Then the cells that have been separated from one another are washed so well that no traces of trypsin are left behind. Then the viruses of rickets are planted on them to proliferate. These then proliferated viruses are harvested and to them is added a suitable solution that arouses no confusedness and then they become ready for preparing the vaccine from which two or three drops are administered to each child orally.
Some of our Muslim brothers in several regions in the world, particularly in Eastern Asia – out of piety (!) – give the fatwa that it is impermissible to give this vaccine to the Muslim children because of the use of trypsin that is prepared from the pig.
Our view on the subject was as follows:
- Allah prohibits eating pork, and trypsin has nothing to do with pork (flesh of swine)
- The very tiny amount of the added trypsin -assuming it was unlawful – is too little to have any effect, according to the rule “if water exceeds the amount of two qullas (a measure) it carries no filth”, while filth exists in it.
- The added trypsin is washed so well that no traces of it are left behind – even if we regarded it unlawful because of its impurity.
- Necessities permit unlawful things even if the three previous pleas were not sufficient.
Would you please show the legal (Shar’i) ruling in the light of the abovementioned criteria, keeping in mind that the refusal of some Muslims to immunize their children with this vaccine will expose the children of the Muslims only to the risk and give a bad impression concerning hindering a process aiming at eradicating the disease from all over the world forever, Allah willing, for this eradication would be incomplete as long as there remains even a single child carrying the virus of the disease.
The Council investigated the topic mentioned above and after probing into the objectives of the Shari’ah and its outcomes, the juristic rules and the jurists’ sayings regarding what may be excused, decided the following:
First: The use of this liquid medicine had been proved medically useful and it leads to immunizing the children and protecting them against rickets, Allah Almighty willing. Moreover, there is no alternative to it yet. Therefore, its use therapeutically and preventively is permissible, for the prevention of its use would lead to major evil and destruction. The fields of fiqh are widely tolerant regarding these impurities – assuming that this liquid were impure – particularly when we know that this impurity is consumed up through proliferation and washing. Besides, this case belongs to the area of necessities or needs that are treated as necessities, and it is well known that one of the most important objectives of Shari’ah is to bring about interests and benefits and to ward off evil and harm.
Second: The Council exhorts the Imams of Muslims and those in charge of their centers not to be too strict and literal in these matters of Ijtihad that would realize important benefits to the children of Muslims since they do not conflict with the definitive texts.
Topics on the agenda of the next Session
The Council added to the agenda of its next Session, besides the postponed topics of “mawaqit” (prayer and fasting times) and Stock Markets the following topics:
- The Fiqh of minorities and the controlling criteria of fatwa therein.
- The need that is considered as a necessity and the controlling criteria of its applications to the Fiqh of minorities.
- The outcomes of deeds and their impact on the Fiqh of minorities.
- Milk banks for children.
The Council reminds the Muslims of the following:
- that they observe all rights, and give good impression and be a good example through their speech, behavior and manners. It also exhorts them to invent things and innovate and encourage invention and innovation on all levels.
- It exhorts the Muslims who live in Europe to earnestly try to establish companies and financial institutions in various fields, and to contact the cooperative insurance companies prevalent in the West to agree with them on removing what is unlawful in Shari’ah (such as usury).
- The Council exhorts them to work hard to secure the recognition of the state where they live of Islam as a religion, and the Muslims as a religious minority like other religious minorities in respect of enjoying their full rights, and managing their personal affairs, such as marriage and divorce in accordance with the rules of their religion. Therefore, in this respect the Council exhorts the Muslims to form Shar’i committees to regulate their personal affairs according to the rulings of the noble Islamic Law and centers of arbitration, and meanwhile complying with the prevalent laws. In this respect the Council appreciates the move of the French Government to form an Islamic Council to represent Muslims in France.
- The Council reminds Muslims emphasizing its recommendation that they comply with the texts of the Qur’an and the Sunnah and the consensus of the jurists of the Ummah pertaining to the obligation of fulfilling the requirements of the pledge of security and the conditions or terms of citizenship and residence.
Among the most important things that they should live up to are the following:
- to believe that the souls, property and honesty of non-Muslims are sanctified according to the pledge they entered these countries with and without which they would not have been allowed to enter them and continue staying in them. Allah Almighty says: “and fulfill the pledge for it will be enquired into (on the Day of Judgment).” (XVII: 34)
- to respect the laws of the countries that have received and protected them and enabled them to enjoy all the securities of decent living. Allah Almighty says: “Is there any reward for good other than good?” (LV: 60)
- to avoid all means of unlawful (haram) earning of all sorts, such as seeking to obtain the benefits of social security although they work or trade.
- To exert themselves as much as possible to bring up the new generation, both boys and girls, according to Islamic principles through establishing schools, and educational and recreational centers to protect them against deviation.
- The Council also exhorts Muslims in general and those living in the West in particular to adhere to Allah’s religion, to brotherhood, tolerance, moderation, cooperation in matters of righteousness and piety, to adopt quiet dialogue and sound methods in settling matters of controversy away from the approaches of bigotry and the routes of extremeness and violence that distort the image of Islam and badly defame Muslims in general and the Muslim minorities in particular. The enemies of Islam and those who are ignorant of it would then manipulate such practices to defame Islam and warn others against it and its followers and provoke other nations against them. Allah Almighty says: “Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.” (LVI: 125)
- The Council confirms that Islam is the religion of peace for all mankind with its various races, colors, ethnics and religions; therefore, it rejects violence and terrorism of all forms and sources. It calls upon the world to observe the values of human civilization, justice and equality among people and human rights that international laws and conventions advocate and heavenly religions make incumbent.
Conclusion of the Session proceedings
Before ending the proceedings of the Session, the Members, coordinating with the General Secretariat, agreed on appointing the time of the next Session, Allah Almighty willing, as follows:
The Twelfth Session will be held in the Headquarters of the ECFR in Dublin, during the period 7-11 of Dhul Qi’dah, 1423 AH corresponding to the period 31 December 2003 – 4 of January, 2004 AD.
His Excellency Yusuf al-Qaradawi, President of the Council concluded the proceedings of the Session by offering sincere thanks to those working in the Islamic Association in Sweden, and the Islamic Center in Stockholm for hosting the Session and for their efforts, hospitality and generous reception and for their appreciated efforts in organizing the session. The Council also thanked the Swedish Government that granted travel visas to the Members of the Council to facilitate satisfactorily holding it on its lands.
Gratitude was also offered to al-Jazeera Channel, Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper and the ‘Europiyya’ journal for covering the proceedings of the Council. The Council wished to once again thank Al Maktoom Charity Organization and express its appreciation for its support and continuous covering of the expenses thereof, praying to Allah Almighty to reward those running it with the best compensation in this life and in the Hereafter.
May peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his Descendants and Companions, and praise is due to Allah, the Sustainer of the Worlds.