The Sixth Ordinary Session of the European Council for Fatwa and Research
European Council for Fatwa and Research
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
of the Sixth Ordinary Session of the European Council for Fatwa and Research that was held in its Headquarters in the Islamic Center in Dublin from the 28th of Jumada al-Ula to the 3rd of Jumada al-Akhira/1421 AH, corresponding to the period from 28th of August to the 1st of September/2000 AD.
Praise be to Allah, the Worlds’ Sustainer and peace be upon our Master Muhammad and on all his family and Companions.
With the Blessings of Allah Almighty and His Grace the Sixth Ordinary Session of the European Council for Fatwa and Research was held in its Headquarters in the Islamic Center in Dublin (the Republic of Ireland) from the 28th of Jumada al-Ula to the 3rd of Jumada al-Akhira/ 1421 AH corresponding to the period from the 28th of August to the 1st of September 2000AD under the presidency of His Eminence Shaikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the President of the Council (may Allah protect him) and at the presence of most of the members.
Mr. Mirza al-Sayigh, the Chairman of Al-Maktoom Charitable Committee, participated in the opening session and complimented in his speech the positive role the Council plays to serve Muslims in the West. He confirmed the commitment of Al-Maktoom Committee to cover all financial costs that are required for sustaining the Council’s activities and for holding its sessions. The Council’s President thanked in his opening speech that benevolent initiative and prayed for the reward of its sponsor His Highness Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoom, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and the Minister of Finance and Industry of the of United Arab Emirates.
The Council inspected its agenda that included the periodical report of the General Secretariat and took the decisions necessary for administrative and financial activities, the most important of which were forming the Research Committee headed by His Eminence Dr Abdul-Majid al-Najjar, and another committee for Fatwa headed by His Eminence Shaikh Abdullah bin Yusuf al-Judai’ and appointing the latter Secretary for the Council. It is noteworthy to mention that a number of the Council members specialized in financial affairs held a meeting with the officials of an Irish bank and discussed with them the possibility of finding Islamic alternatives for the current usurious dealings, and it was agreed that cooperation would continue with the Council in this respect.
The Council then discussed a number of issues and took the proper decisions concerning them, some of them by consensus and some by majority. The most important are the following:
Surrendering al-Quds (Jerusalem) Is a Betrayal of Allah, His Messenger and the Faithful
It is impermissible for anyone to give up any part of Islamic land, for Islamic land is not actually the property of a certain president, prince, minister or any group of persons to be given up under any pressure or circumstance. Rather, it is incumbent upon individuals and groups to endeavor through all means to resist the occupation and to liberate the blessed al-Quds and restore it to the realm of Islam.
If any generation of the Ummah (Muslim Nation) should get powerless or idle, it is not entitled to impose its powerlessness or idleness on all the oncoming generations of the Ummah till the Day of resurrection, by giving up what it is not entitled to give up.
Therefore, the Council issues the fatwa that it is haram (prohibited) to sell the land in al-Quds or anywhere else in Palestine to the enemies, or accept compensations for it, in respect of the homeless refugees, for the countries of Islam shall not be given up or compensated for in any way, and whoever does so betrays Allah, His Messenger and the Faithful.
If this ruling is true for any Islamic land, how about this land in the Honorable al-Quds, the first of the two qiblas and the location of al-Masjid al-Aqsa and the third of the three sacred cities next to Mecca and Madina and the destination of the Prophet’s Isra’ (the miraculous journey from Mecca to al-Quds) and the starting point of al-Mi’raj (ascending to heavens). It is enough that Allah Almighty honored it in His Saying:
“Glory be to (Allah) Who did take His Servant for a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest (al-Aqsa) Mosque whose precincts We did bless” (17:1)
Therefore, al-Quds is reverenced by every Musim whether in the East or in the West. It touches his very heart and penetrates its depths, for he loves it and is keen to protect it and protect its sanctified features and care for its affairs. For its sake the Palestinian issue has become the Muslim’s Issue number one; they hurry to it, protect it and for its sake they defend and fight and they never hesitate to sacrifice themselves and their valuables.
Palestine is not for the Palestinians alone; it is for all Muslims, both Arabs and non-Arabs. It is for all Arabs whether Muslim or Christian.
It is not permissible for the Palestinians alone to decide the fate of al-Quds and deprive the Muslims around the world of their right. This consequently makes it compulsory on Muslims, anywhere, to do their duty and try their best to defend al-Quds and al-Masjid al-Aqsa. It is a common obligation on them. They have to collectively defend it with their selves, property and whatever they own. Otherwise, Allah’s punishment would be their lot:
“O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to go forth in the Cause of Allah you cling heavily to the earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life as compared with the Hereafter. Unless you go forth He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place. But Him you would not harm in the least, for Allah has power over all things” (9:38-39)
When the Crusaders occupied al-Quds in the past, it was freed by non-Arab Muslims, such as the Turkish ‘Imad al-Din Zanki and his son Nur al-Din Mahmud the Martyr, and his student Salah al Din al Ayyubi, the Kurd through whom Allah emancipated al-Quds.
Muslims everywhere – more than a billion and a third – are still ready to spend generously and sacrifice willingly for the sake of the beloved al-Quds. This is felt by everybody in the Muslim Nations beginning with Philippines and Indonesia in the East up to Mauritania in the Arab West although this is not strongly and obviously reflected by some Muslim rulers, unfortunately.
Al-Quds is a dear part of the abode of Islam and the land of Islam and the Homeland of Islam. Muslims have been in it for fourteen centuries; they did not take it from Jews, for the presence of Jews in it stopped hundreds of years ago and their state had disappeared hundreds of years before that. The Jewish State in Palestine endured for just a few hundreds of years. Yabusi Arabs and others were in it for thousands of years.
‘Umar bin al-Khattab received al-Quds from Safrinus, its Christian Patriarch, and one of the conditions ‘Umar stipulated was that Jews should not live with them in it.
The sovereignty over al-Quds must be Islamic, Arabic and Palestinian. This does not prevent Christians or Jews from performing the religious rites with the freedom and tolerance characteristic of Islam throughout successive ages.
“And Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most people do not know (that).” (12:21)
Decision no. 2/6
- the Ruling of Organ Transfer and Its Various Types:
- The Council confirms the decision of the Islamic Fiqh Academy in Mecca (of the Muslim World League) No.( ) and the decision of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Jeddah (branching from the Organization of Muslim World Conference) No.26 (4/1) concerning the issue of somebody’s benefiting by the organs of somebody else whether living or dead. Following is its text:
Definition and Categorization
First: An organ means a part of a human body, such as tissue, cells, blood and other organs like the cornea of the eye, whether the organ is still attached to the body or has been separated from it.
Second: Profiting which is the topic of the research: it is the use that is required by the necessity imposed on the user to preserve his life, or one of the fundamental functions of his body, such as sight and the like, provided that the user enjoy a life that is legally respected.
Third: Utilization is divided into the following categories:
- Transferring the organ from a living person
- Transferring the organ from a dead person
- Transferring from fetuses
The First Type: Transferring an organ from a living person that includes the following varieties:
- Transferring an organ from a position in the body to another position in the same body, such as transferring skin, cartilage, bones, veins, blood, etc.
- Transferring an organ from the body of a living person to the body of another living person. The organ in this case may be one that is necessary for maintaining life or
The organ that life cannot continue without may be a single organ or not a single organ; the former is represented by the heart and liver, the latter by the kidneys and lungs. As for the organs that life can continue without, they are of two types: some that have a fundamental function in the body or some that do not; some that are spontaneously renewed, such as blood, and some that are not; some that have an effect on ancestry and genes and general personality, such as the testis, ovary and the cells of the nervous system, and some that do not have any effect on any of them.
The Second Type: Transferring an organ from a dead person:
Death is of two types:
a- the death of the brain through the medically irreversible final stoppage of all its functions.
b- the complete medically irreversible dysfunction of the heart and the respiration system. In both cases the decision of the Academy in its Third Session is taken into consideration.
The Third Type: Transferring from fetuses.
This is benefited by in three cases:
– The case of miscarriage
– The case of fetuses aborted for a medical or criminal reason
– The case of “zygotes cultured outside the womb”
Legal Shari’ah Rulings
First: An organ is permissible to transfer from the body of a person to another position of his body provided that the benefit expected from this operation is definitely more that the harm resulting from it, and provided that the operation is carried out to replace a missing organ or restore its usual shape or function, or to remedy a defect or remove an ugly appearance that harms the person psychologically or physically.
Second: It is permissible to transfer an organ from the body of a human being to the body of another person if such an organ is spontaneously renewed, such as blood or skin. It is necessary to ascertain that the donor is legally qualified and the operation is legally permissible.
Third: It is permissible to make use of part of an organ that has been removed because of an ailment for the good of another person, such as taking the cornea of the eye of a certain person when his eye has been removed because of an ailment.
Fourth: It is prohibited to transfer an organ on which life depends, such as the heart, from one person to another.
Fifth: It is prohibited to transfer from a living person an organ the removal of which would disrupt an essential function in his life even if life itself remained intact, such as transferring the corneas of both eyes. But if the transfer stops part of an essential function, the problem then requires investigation and inspection as will be shown in Eighth.
Sixth: It is permissible to transfer an organ from a dead person to a living one whose life depends on that organ, or if the soundness of an essential function depends on it, provided that the deceased had given his consent before he died or the heirs gave their consent after his death, or provided that the Muslim ruler give his consent if the deceased is not identified or has no heirs.
Seventh: It should be noted that the agreement that transferring the organ in the cases shown above is permissible is conditional, in that it should not be done through selling it, for a human being should never be subjected to sale. But if the user should offer money in order to get the required organ when necessary or as a reward or a sign of acknowledgement, the issue then requires inspection and consideration.
Eighth: All other cases and situations apart from the ones mentioned above that are relevant to our topic require research and investigation and must be submitted for study and research in another session in the light of the medical criteria and Shari’ah rulings.
(B) The Council also confirms the decision of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Jeddah No.57 (8/6) concerning transplanting reproductive organs. Following is its text:
First: Transplanting reproductive glands: Since the testis and ovary continue carrying and excreting the genetic characteristics (the genome) of the donor even after transplanting them in a new receiver, transplanting them is legally prohibited.
Second: Transplanting the organs of the Reproductive System: Transplanting some of the reproductive organs that do not transfer genetic characteristics, excluding the genitals, is permissible if there is a legal necessity and in accordance with the legal controls and norms illustrated in decision No.26 (1/4) of this Academy. Allah knows best.
- The Council also confirms the decision of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Jeddah No.54 (5/6) regarding transplanting the cells of the brain and the nervous system. Following is its text:
First: If the source of the tissues obtained is the adrenal gland of the patient himself and he has immunological acceptance, since the cells are taken from the body itself, it is legally permissible.
Second: If the source is an animal fetus, the method is not objectionable if it can be successful and entails no legal perils. Physicians have mentioned that the method turned to be successful between various species of animals. It is hopeful that it will be successful by taking the required medical precautions to avoid immunological rejection.
Third: If the source of obtaining the tissues is living cells from an early fetus (in its tenth or eleventh week), the ruling may be as follows:
The first method: taking directly from the human fetus that is in its mother’s womb by surgically opening the womb. This method entails the death of the fetus just on taking the cells from its brain. This is legally prohibited unless it has been carried out after a natural unintentional miscarriage or a legal abortion to save the mother’s life and after being sure that the fetus is dead. The conditions that will occur about the subject of benefiting by fetuses in decision no. 95 (8/6) of this Course should be observed.
The second method is the method the near future may carry with it, that is culturing the brain cells in a culture tray to benefit by them. This will be legally permissible if the source of the cultured cells is legal and has been done in accordance with the legal norm.
Fourth: the brainless (anencephalic) infant: Since it has been born alive, it is impermissible to take any part of its organs till it is proved dead by the death of its brainstem. There is no difference between it and other normal infants in this respect. If it dies, taking any part of its organs should be done according to the rulings and conditions observed in transferring the organs of the dead, such as recognized permission, the absence of an alternative, actual necessity, etc. that are included in decision No.26 (1/4) of the Fourth Session of this Academy. Legally there is no objection to keeping the brainless infant under emergency instruments till after the death of the brainstem—that can be diagnosed—to keep the vitality of the organs suitable for transferring to benefit by them by transferring them to somebody else with the above mentioned conditions.
2-Specifying the one that would benefit by the organs and the means for that
The European Council for Fatwa and Research, after discussion, added the following points concerning transferring organs:
- If the donor or his heirs specify a certain person to benefit by the donated organ, or authorize some authority to specify the receiver of the organ, this must be achieved if at all possible. If this is impossible for a voluntary or medical reason, the donor’s heirs must be consulted; otherwise the issue must be referred to the authority in charge of the Muslims’ interests in non-Islamic countries.
- If a person wrote a document to donate one of his organs posthumously, the rulings of the will would be applied and it would be impermissible for the heirs or others to change the will.
- If there is a law that states that whoever does not declare his unwillingness to let his organs be benefited by posthumously is considered as willing, then the absence of manifest refusal is regarded as implicit consent.
Congratulating non-Muslims on Their Festivals
This issue is certainly important and sensitive particularly for the Muslims residing in the counties of the West. The Council has received a large number of questions from the brothers and sisters who live in those districts and co-exist with their non-Muslim citizens and have developed between themselves and many of them such relationships as are required by life, such as neighborhood in residence, and fellowship in work or at school. A Muslim may realize under certain circumstances that he is obliged to a non-Muslim, such as the supervisor that helps the Muslim student sincerely and the physician that treats the Muslim patient sincerely, etc. As it is said, man is the captive of benevolence. A poet said: “Do favor to people and enslave their hearts. Often does benevolence enslave man.”
Then, what is the attitude of the Muslim towards these peaceful non-Muslims who are not hostile to Muslims and do not fight them for their religion and have not exiled them from their countries or instigated others to exile them?
The Holy Qur’an has set up the constitution of the relationship between Muslims and others in two verses in the Book of Allah Almighty in Surat al-Mumtahinah which was revealed concerning the pagan polytheists. Allah Almighty says:
“Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) faith nor drive you out of your home from dealing 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 of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). Those who turn to them (in these circumstances) do wrong.” (60:8-9)
The two Verses distinguish between those who are peaceful to Muslims and those who fight them:
The former (the peaceful), according to the Verse, are to be treated kindly and justly. To treat somebody justly means you take what is your due from him, but to treat him kindly means that you give up some of what is due to you. To be just means to give others their full right without curtailing it, but to be kind means that you offer them more than their right out of favor and benevolence.
As for those whom the other Verse forbids to turn to, they are those who showed hostility to Muslims and fought against them and drove them out of their homes unjustly, just for they would say: “Our Lord is Allah,” as Quraish and the Meccan polytheists did for the Messenger (peace be upon him) and his Companions.
Qur’an has chosen the word “birr” (kindness) for dealing with peaceful (non-Muslims); it is a word that is used in conjunction with the greatest right on man next to Allah’s right, that is “the parents’ birr” (kindness to parents).
The two Shaikhs (Bukhari and Muslim) narrated on the authority of Asma’ bint Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her) that she came up to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: “O Allah’s Messenger! My mother has visited me and she is a polytheist and she is desirous (i.e. to be communicated with and given gifts). Shall I be kind to her?” He said: “Be kind to your mother,” although she was a polytheist. It is known that the attitude of Islam towards the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) was milder than that towards pagan polytheists. The Holy Qur’an permits eating with them and marrying from them, i.e. eating of their slaughtered animals and marrying their women, as Allah Almighty says in Surat al-Ma’idah:
“The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. And (lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among those to whom the Book had been revealed before you” (5:5)
The requirements of marriage and its fruits are represented by the presence of affection between the two spouses, as Allah Almighty says: “And among His Signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquility with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts)” (30:21)
How can it be that a husband does not love his wife, the manager of his home and his life partner and the mother of his children? Allah Almighty, describing the relationship between spouses says:
“They are (like) garments for you and you are (like) garments for them” (2:187) i.e. with all the advantages gained from garments, such as protection and decency, feeling of security, warmth, etc.
Among these requirements and fruits is relationship by marriage between the two families which is one of the two basic natural relationships among human beings, as mentioned in the Qur’an:
“It is He Who has created man from water. Then has He established relationships of lineage and marriage” (25:54)
Another characteristic of marriage is the presence of motherhood and its stressed rights on the children in Islam. Is it an act of benevolence and good company that her child does not congratulate his mother on such a great festival? What about his attitude towards his maternal relatives, such as the grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, nephews and nieces who are all entitled to the rights of kith and kin? Allah Almighty says:
“But kindred by blood have prior rights against each other.” (8:76)
Allah Almighty also says:
“Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and giving to kith and kin” (16:91)
Thus, if the right of motherhood and kinship requires that a Muslim, whether male or female, benevolently keep in touch with mother and relatives reflecting the good behavior of a typical Muslim, his broadmindedness and his faithfulness to his relatives, other rights require that a Muslim should have the appearance of a well-mannered human being. The Messenger (peace be upon him) advised Abu Dhar, saying: “Fear Allah wherever you are, and follow a bad act with a good one to annul it, and behave well with people.” He said “behave…with people” and not “behave well with Muslims”.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged (gentleness) in dealing with non-Muslims and warned against (violence) and stiffness therein. When some Jews visited the Prophet (peace be upon him) and twisted their tongues with the greeting, saying: “Assamu upon you, O Muhammad!” (“Assamu” means “destruction and death”) and ‘Aisha said: “And assamu and curse be upon you, O Allah’s enemies,” the Prophet (peace be upon him) blamed her for that. Thereupon she said: “O Allah’s Mesenger! Haven’t you heard what they have said?” he said: “Yes, I have and replied: ‘And upon you.’” (meaning “death will be your fate as it will be mine”) He added: “O ‘Aisha! Allah likes gentleness in all affairs.” The legality of congratulating these people on this occasion is emphasized, if – as the questioner said – they also congratulate the Muslim on his Islamic festivals. We are ordered to reward good with good and to respond to a greeting with a better one or, at least, with a similar one, as Allah Almighty says:
“When a (courteous) greeting is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or (at least) of equal courtesy” (4:86)
It is inappropriate for a Muslim to be less generous and less noble of character than others. On the contrary, he must be nobler and more perfect of character, as is indicated by the Tradition: “The most perfect believers are the noblest of character.” And as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I have been sent (as Messenger) to perfect noble morals.”
This is further stressed if we want to invite them to Islam and bring them nearer to it and make them incline to Muslims. This is our duty and it cannot be done through mutual antipathy but through good communication. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was of noble character, and generous intimacy with the polytheists of Quraish throughout the Meccan era although they would harm him and assail him and his Companions. They even—for their confidence in him (peace be upon him)—used to trust to him their dear valuables. When he migrated to Madina he left Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) behind and ordered him to return the trusts to their owners.
Thus, it is permissible for a Muslim individual or the Islamic Center to congratulate them on this occasion, verbally or through cards that do not contain a sign or religious statements that disagree with Islamic tenets, such as the Cross, for Islam denies the very concept of the Cross:
“But They did not kill him nor did they crucify him. Rather, a likeness of that was shown to them” (4:156)
The familiar words of congratulation on such occasions do not include any approval of their religion or satisfaction with it; they are just words of courtesy familiar among people.
It is permissible to accept gifts from them and reward them for that. The Prophet (peace be upon him) accepted the gifts of non-Muslims, such as al-Muqawqas, the Ruler of Copts in Egypt and others. Such gifts should not be things that are unlawful for Muslims, such as wine and pork.
Here we should not forget to mention that some Jurists, such Shaikh Ibn Taymiyah and his student the Scholar Ibn al-Qayyim, were strict in the matter of the festivals of polytheists and the People of the Book and in participating in them. We agree with them on objecting to Muslims’ celebrating the festivals of polytheists and the People of the Book. We see some heedless Muslims celebrate Christmas as they do Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, perhaps more zealously. This is impermissible, for we have our own festivals and they have theirs. But it is unobjectionable for these people to be congratulated on their festivals by those (Muslims) who have mutual relationships with them, as that of kinship, neighborhood, fellowship, or other social relationships that require good communication and gentle companionship that sound tradition recognizes.
As for national and social festivals, such as the festival of independence, union, childhood, motherhood and the like, it is all right for a Muslim to congratulate others on them or even participate in them, as a citizen or a resident in these lands, provided that he avoid the unlawful practices that take place on such occasions.
Escorting the Funeral of non-Muslim Relatives
Islam enjoins that parents be treated kindly and benevolently even if they are non-Muslims. Allah Almighty says:
“Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and that you be kind to parents” (17:23)
Allah Almighty also says:
“Yet accompany them (both) in this life with justice.” (31: 15)
Islam also strongly recommends and encourages having contact with relatives.
The obligation of showing kindness and having contact is confirmed on the occasions of happiness and merriment and on the occasions of perils and afflictions, the most important of which is death, that brings relatives together when they are deprived of one of them. Man by his nature is inclined to express his feelings towards his dead relative or acquaintance, Therefore, we read in the authentic hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him): “The Prophet (peace be upon him) visited his mother’s grave and wept and caused those around him to weep, and then said: ‘I asked my Lord to permit me to appeal for forgiveness for my mother, but He did not give me permission. But I asked Him for permission to visit her and He gave me permission. So, visit graves for they remind you of death.” Narrated by Muslim, Ahmad and the authors of al-Sunnan with the exception of al-Tirmidhi.
Moreover, Islam called for respecting the human being, whether believer or disbeliever, in his life or posthumously. It is authentically narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (peace be upon him) once stood up when a funeral of a Jew passed by whereupon somebody told him that the deceased was a Jew. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said: “Isn’t it a soul?” So how about its being the soul of a father, mother or a close relative?
Consequently, it is permissible for a Muslim to attend the funeral of his non-Muslim parents or relatives. He can also attend the religious ceremonies that are usually held for the dead in churches and synagogues, provided that he does not participate in the prayers, rites and other religious affairs. He may also attend the burial ceremony, with the intention of observing the right of kindness and benevolence to relatives and sharing with the family its sorrow, and promoting the relationship with the relatives and avoiding whatever would lead to alienation and severance in case he were absent on such occasions.
Burying a Muslim in the Graveyards of Non-Muslims
There are certain legal (of Shari’ah) rulings concerning the Muslim’s affairs when he dies, such as giving him a ritual bath, shrouding him and performing a prayer for him, besides burying him in the graveyards of Muslims, as Muslims have their own way of burial and preparing graves, such as simplicity and facing the qibla, and avoiding the imitation of polytheists, arrogant well-off people and the like.
It is known that the people of any religion have their own cemeteries; Jews have their own cemeteries, Christians have their own and Pagans have their own also. No wonder that Muslims should have their own cemeteries also. Muslims living in non-Muslim countries should endeavor—collectively—to have cemeteries of their own whenever possible, for this will enhance their existence and preserve their personality.
Should they fail to have a cemetery of their own, they should, at least, have a particular patch somewhere in the cemetery of non-Muslims to bury their dead persons in it. Otherwise, if both alternatives are not available, the deceased may be buried wherever possible, even if it were in other than Muslims’ cemeteries, for Allah places no burden on a soul greater than it can bear. In this case it does not harm a Muslim to be buried in the cemetery of non-Muslims when he dies; the Muslim will be benefited in the Hereafter only by his own endeavor and righteous deeds and not by the place of his burial.
“Man can have nothing but what he strives for.” (53:39)
And as Salman al-Farisi (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Land does not sanctify a person, but a person is sanctified by his own deeds.” Principally Shari’ah recommends that the deceased be buried wherever he has died. This would be more convenient than transferring the deceased to an Islamic country as some Muslims do, which would involve difficulties and loss of money.
The Muslim cemetery’s being distant from the relatives of the deceased does not justify his burial in a non-Muslim one, for visiting graves has been primarily recommended for the good of the visitor for the sake of admonition and remembrance, as is expressed in the Hadith: “I once forbade you to visit graves. But now I recommend that you visit them, for that would make the heart tender and let tears flow and remind one of the Hereafter.” Narrated by Ahmad and Al-Hakim on the authority of Anas. A Muslim, however, can pray for the deceased and ask forgiveness for him and the reward will reach him by the Grace of Allah Almighty wherever that Muslim may be.
Decision no. 6/6
The Fulfillment of Bonds and Covenants
Signing the bond in any transaction renders it obligatory on both parties by virtue of Shari’ah, and neither of them is entitled to withdraw from it unilaterally without the consent of the other party, for this would be disobedience to the order of Allah Almighty and His Messenge (peace be upon him) that has been confirmed by Qur’anic and Sunnah texts. Allah Almighty says:
“O you who believe fulfil (all) obligations.” (5:1)
Allah Almighty also says:
“And fulfil the Covenant of Allah when you have entered into it and break not your oaths after you have confirmed them ; indeed you have made Allah your surety.” (16:91)
The Holy Qur’an strongly blames those who are lenient in respect of covenants and break them after their confirmation in many Verses, such as:
“As for those who sell the faith they owe to Allah and their own solemn plighted word for a small price, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter, nor will Allah speak to them or look at them on the Day of Judgment, nor will he cleanse them (of sin) and they shall have a grievous chastisement.” (3:76)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) considered breaking covenants a branch of hypocrisy, for the basic traits of hypocrisy are “Four; whoever is characterized by them all is a stark hypocrite, and whoever is characterized by one of them has one trait of hypocrisy till he gives it up…” The Prophet (peace upon him) then mentioned among these traits : “If he gives a pledge he will break it treacherously.” Narrated by the two Shaikhs on the authority of Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar.
It is not necessary to have the bond written down, for mutual verbal consent is enough to render the bond valid. But either party has the option of Majlis, as we think. If another bond seems better while the two parties are still together at the location of the bond, he is entitled to withdraw, as is illustrated in the authentic Hadith: “The two contractors (buyer and seller) have the option (to withdraw) unless they have separated.” Narrated by al_Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of “Umar. So, the Hadith offers an opportunity for the person who has made a contract rashly to withdraw. A similar situation is that of a person who feels he has been badly defrauded in which case his issue is referred to an authority of arbitration to give him the option of fraud if it seems appropriate, according to Hanbali School and others.
A Muslim can avoid the predicament of withdrawal from the bond after concluding it by stipulating for himself the option for a number of days during which he can withdraw from the transaction. This is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised one of his companions to do when he complained of being often cheated in sales. He said to him: “If you conclude a bargain say: ‘No cheating’ (as is narrated in the two Sahihs), ‘and I have three days’ option’ (as added somewhere else outside the two Sahiha).” Muslims are to abide by their conditions.
Apart from that, a Muslim has to keep his word after having said it; for this is one of the values recommended by Islam so that dealings become stable and the life of people becomes harmonious and straight.
A poet once said: “I will not say ‘yes’ one day to follow it with ‘no’ even if I lose (my) property and children.”
Islam even deems it unlawful for a Muslim to compete with his brother to win a bargain the latter has been about to conclude, by bidding a higher offer. This occurs in the authentic Hadith: “A Muslim shall not compete with his brother in a bargain (the latter has been about to conclude).” Allah knows best.
Insurance and Reinsurance
The Council discussed the research and the papers submitted thereto on the subject of insurance and the prevalent practices in Europe. It inspected what had been issued by fiqh academies and scientific conferences and forums on this concern. It has given the following conclusions:
First: We take into consideration what is included in the decisions of some fiqh academies, such as the unlawfulness of commercial insurance (that is based on fixed premiums without giving the insured a share of the profits of the firm or charging him for its losses), and the lawfulness of cooperative insurance (that is based on regular cooperation among the insured who will exclusively receive the profits, if any; the firm’s role being only conducting the insurance portfolio and investing its assets). But there are cases and environments that require finding solutions to special situations and meeting their requirements, particularly the state of Muslims in Europe where commercial insurance is popular and is badly needed to ward off the various dangers they often face in their everyday life, for an Islamic alternative (cooperative insurance) is not available and is difficult to set up at the present time. Therefore, the Council gives the fatwa that commercial insurance is permissible in the following and comparable cases:
- cases of legal obligation, such as insurance against others on vehicles, machines and equipment, laborers and officials (social security or pensions) and some cases of health or study insurance, etc.,
- cases of needing insurance to avoid severe difficulty because of which the risk involved in the system of commercial insurance may be tolerated. Following are some examples:
- insuring Islamic institutions, such as mosques, centers, schools, etc.,
- insuring vehicles, machines, equipment, houses, and professional and commercial institutions against dangers that cannot be covered, such as fires, thefts and the breakdown of various facilities, and
- health insurance to avoid heavy costs the insured and his family may have to bear in the absence of free health care, or its slowness or low technical standard.
Second: postponing the topic of life insurance in all its forms to another Session to fulfill its study.
Third: The Council urges wealthy and intellectual men to try hard to establish Islamic financial institutions, such as Islamic banks, and Islamic firms for cooperative insurance as far as possible.
Decision no. 8/6
Appeal for Divorce from a Fasiq (disobedient to Islamic morals and principles) Husband
Marriage is a heavy covenant and a sacred tie that brings man and woman together according to the Book of Allah Almighty and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him) and renders each of them something like a garment for the other, as Allah Almighty says in depicting this relationship between them:
“They are (like) garments for you and you are (like) garments for them” (2:187) with all the connotations the word “garment” carries, such as nearness, attachment, covering, warmth and ornament.
Therefore, each spouse should live with his/her partner benevolently and patiently. It is not permissible for the husband to divorce his wife just to harm her, for this would lead to destroying this common institution and break the wife’s heart, and may separate between her and her children from him unjustifiably and unnecessarily. Hence, separating between a husband and his wife is a major sin that leads to Hellfire. It is an action that Satan loves most, as is mentioned in some Hadiths.
If it is unlawful for a husband to harm his wife by divorcing her without an excuse, it is similarly unlawful for the wife to appeal for divorce from her husband without a material excuse. It is narrated by Ahmad and al-Tirmidhi on the authority of Thawban (in a Hadith deemed good by al-Tirmidhi) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Any woman who asks her husband to divorce her without being harmed (by him) will never smell the scent of Paradise.” The Hadith implies that if she appeals for divorce because of a harm or a reasonable cause, she is not sinful.
Can the husband’s fisq (deviation from Islamic norms) be a solid cause compelling or permitting the wife to appeal for divorce? Of course, deviated people differ in the extent of their deviation and the way they treat their wives. Some may want their wives to help them continue their deviation, by serving alcohol to him, for instance, which is haram (unlawful), in which case she can appeal for divorce to avoid the possible sin she may incur.
A husband may treat his wife badly, harm and oppress her, and therefore, she is given her right to ask for divorce, especially if he persists in that behavior and is not expected to repent or become straight. Some husbands are neither of the former or the latter type and they treat their wives decently. Their case is a controversial one. Most Jurists see that one that does not perform the prayers out of idleness is not an apostate or disbeliever but a disobedient fasiq; therefore, divorce must not be imposed. What we incline to is that if a wife hopes that her husband will return to Allah and that he can be influenced by advice and admonition and his state can improve, she has to be patient with him, even if he is fasiq (deviated) due to ignoring prayers and drinking alcohol, particularly if she has children from this husband and she is afraid that they may be dispersed and lost. This is permissible provided that the husband does not regard ignoring the prayers or drinking wine as lawful; otherwise, he would commit stark disbelief that must separate between him and his wife through divorce.
Defining the Beginning of the Two Months of Ramadan and Shawwal 1421 AH.
The European Council for Fatwa and Research discussed the beginning of fasting and the beginning of breaking fasting for the year 1421 AH. The Council emphasizes its former decision, which was taken in its Third Course in the city of Cologn in Germany, and it states the following:
“The beginning of the month of Ramadan and its end are confirmed through visual sighting (of the crescent) whether with the naked eye or by observatories, if the sight is verified in any Islamic country through a recognized legal method, in accordance with the gracious Prophetic order in the authentic Hadith: “If you see the crescent start fasting, and if you see it (again) break your fast,” and “Fast on seeing it and break your fast on seeing it.” This is valid only if the unquestionable scientific astronomical calculation does not deny the possibility of seeing it in any country. If this calculation confirms the impossibility of the legally recognized sighting in any country, it will render as invalid the witness of the witnesses that is not unarguable or that is the result of illusion, error or telling a lie, for the witness of the witnesses is only probable whereas the calculation is definite and what is probable cannot counter what is definite, let alone supercede it, according to the consensus of the scholars.”
The Council confirms the following: it does not mean by astronomical calculation “astrology” that is dispraised and rejected by Shari’a, nor does it mean by it what is written down in calendars common is Islamic countries, as some Shari’ah scholars wrongly think. Rather, we mean by the calculation the findings of modern astronomy that is based on definite scientific mathematical principles and that has so enormously developed in our age that man has been able to reach the moon and other planets through it, and Muslim scholars have excelled in it in various countries.
The European Council confirms that the beginning of the blessed Month of Ramadan of this year cannot be before Monday, November 27, 2000 AD, for definite astronomical calculations confirm that the astronomical birth of the moon for the blessed Month of Ramadan, with Allah’s permission, will be exactly at 23:12 GMT, on Saturday, November 25, 2000 AD, corresponding to 2:12 a.m. Meccan time, on Sunday, November 26, 2000 AD.
The beginning of the Month of Shawwal of this year itself cannot be prior to Wednesday, December 27, 2000 AD, for the definite astronomical calculations confirm that the astronomical birth of the moon for the Month of Shawwal of the same year will be exactly at 17:23 GMT, on Monday, December 25, 2000 AD, corresponding to 20:23 Meccan time of the same day.
Therefore, fasting in the Month of Ramadan cannot start before Monday, November 27, 2000 AD even if some mass media were to announce that. Nor can the first day of the Month of Shawwal—the first day of the blessed Fitr Festival—occur prior to Wednesday, December 27, 2000 AD, even if some mass media were to announce that, for astronomical calculation is definite and the evidence of an eye-witness is probable as has been mentioned, and what is probable cannot counter with what is definite. The claimed seeing, when the moon has not been astronomically born, would be regarded as an error, an illusion or a lie.
Legal seeing (of the crescent) for starting fasting and terminating it in any country is valid only after the above- mentioned astronomical birth.
The Council is pleased to congratulate all Muslims on this gracious occasion and call upon them to unify their attitudes, work hand in had, return to Allah Almighty and spend these days with worship and obedience.
The Council discussed the following issues and postponed taking decisions on them, for further research and study:
- The bourse (financial markets)
- The conversion of a wife to Islam while the husband remains a non-Muslim
- Life insurance
- The issue of the meat of cattle and poultry (a committee is to be formed for field follow-up)
- The moral rights of programs and the ruling about copying or duplicating them.
The Conclusion of the Proceedings of the Session
Before concluding the proceedings of the Session the members, in coordination with the General Secretariat, agreed to fix the dates of the next two Courses as follows:
The Seventh Course: Shawwal 29—Dhul Qa’da 4, 1421 AH, corresponding to January 14-18, 2001 AD.
The Eighth Course: Rabi’ al-Akhir 26—Jumada al-Ula 1, 1422 AH, corresponding to July 18-22, 2001 AD.
The President of the Council then concluded the proceedings of the Course by forwarding sincere gratitude to Al-Maktoom Charitable Committee for its continuous support for the Council and to the brothers working in the Islamic Cultural Center in Ireland for hosting this Course and for their generous hospitality, nice welcome, good reception and highly appreciated organizational effort. Likewise, the Council offers its thanks to the Irish Government which has granted the required visas to the members of the Council facilitating its being held on its land satisfactorily.
Peace be upon our Master Muhammad, his Family and Companions, and
Praise be to Allah, the Sustainer of the Worlds.