Deck the halls with boughs of fatwa, Imam Luqman Ahmad

We should have learned by now that in the zealous rush to implement moral authority, we were victimized by a plethora of premature fatwa, many of which were unqualified and harmful.

Qayyim al-Jawziyya alluded to necessity of understanding people’s cultural practices, before throwing fatwas at them. He said:

“This is a major foundation that every mufti (legist) or ruler needs; he must be both well-versed (in peoples traditions) as well as matters of command and prohibition and then apply them both simultaneously.

Otherwise he will do more harm than good. If he is not intimately aware of an issue in which people have particular understanding, a transgressor will appear to him as the transgressed and the truth will appear to him as falsehood and vice versa.”

Ibn Qayyim went on to say:

“Because of his ignorance of the people, their traditions, their conditions and their habits, he will not be able to distinguish (between truth and falsehood), Thus, it is imperative that (the scholar) understands the machinations of the people, their deceptions, their cultural traditions and their habits because fatwa (religious rulings) change with the changing of time, place culture and condition, and all of this is part of the religion of Allah.”- Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (D. 751 A.H.) quoted from: “Ii’laan al-Muwaqqi’een an Rabbil aalameen” vol. 4, p. 157

American Muslims need to be certain that the teachings of Islam in this country are not tainted by geo-politics, anti-Americanism, racial prejudices, cultural in-sensitivities, or previous experience as a colonized people.

We’ve had fatwas come into the country that deranged and rearranged peoples social balance in their own families unnecessarily.  The fiqh of Christmas is above many people’s heads because Muslims view blacks as having no civilizational worth. So our culture and any good theirin mean nothing to other Muslims. That is how scholars obfuscated Muslims about our holidays and cultural events. There was even a fatwa making football haram.

Granted, this is a difficult topic. Nevertheless, it is one that must be addressed if we have any hope of changing our condition. As Muslim Americans, our first duty is to our Lord, and our number one priority is our own salvation.  As American Muslims, we have the God given right to look out after our own spiritual self-interests.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

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