Tuesday, November 26, 2013

TEN QESTIONS on FATWA PRODUCTION

ON FATWAS: TEN QUESTIONS

Fatwas are non-legal binding and one can choose to follow or not, since there is no central authority in Islam. They are merely legal opinions produced by those claiming authority in the religion of Islam. I have these questions though for us to explore:

1. if the argument is that only experts can issue fatwas, who then are the experts in matters of human spirituality and from which (legitimate) school of thought ought an expert come from?

2. in addition, what ideological basis will the fatwas be produced?

3. in matters of "ijtihad" or reasoning (accordingly, preferable sources of construction of knowledge after the Quran and hadith) to arrive at the fatwas, what method is used and where would the source of information come from?

4. in addition, what is the nature of the "sociology of knowledge" would the non-legal-binding-religious opinion. a.k.a. fatwas emanate from and in addition, what constitute the idea of an "Islamic scholar"?

5. does this mean one can only draw his/her arguments from "purely Islamic sources"? (what are 'Islamic sources, in this case)?

6. how would one apply the principles of "epistemology" or in philosophical discourse "Theory of Knowledge" to the study of the genealogy or the production of fatwas?

7. if the fatwas are derived form the hadiths (traditions), how does one authenticate the tens of thousands of hadiths?

8. if they are derived from the Quran, how does one ascertain the definite-mess and the denotative-connotative aspects of the verses that some of them also "cancel" each other out depending on the time they were "revealed"?

9. if they were directly revealed, as believed, how much is human agency involved in the compilation of the scripture itself, through the process of textual construction produced via human biases build into the selection and editing process?

10. in addition, how "cultural" is the character of fatwas and how much of these "freshness of ideas of religious interpretations" can withstand the test of postmodernity and deconstructionism as ways to appreciate the dialectical nature of knowledge?

these are some questions I have. Please share them and let us enlighten each other with satisfactory answers ... -- ar

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