Hanif, Mohammed Ahsan (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Restricted to Repository staff only until 10 July 2021.
This study examines Western fatwā councils and all of the different aspects related to them. It looks at their modus operandi, the way they operate, choose, research and discuss topics, issue fatwas and then disseminate those fatwas. The study also undertakes field research to determine the way in which general Muslims as well as imāms and Muslim lecturers view the councils. At the same time, the research also portrays the views of some of the members of the councils with regards to the councils.
The thesis focuses on a number of issues; firstly it defines ‘Fiqh for Muslim Minorities’ and strongly endorses it as a justified branch of Islamic law. Secondly, it highlights the historical roots to fatwā councils and how have they developed over time, thereby showing that scholars have throughout Muslim history gathered to discuss and debate religious issues. It takes an in-depth look at Western fatwā councils, discussing their formation and main aims and objectives. The research goes into detail regarding their modus operandi and the way they function. Another element of the study is to analyse the edicts of Western fatwā councils and see to what extent they agree with one another, other worldwide fatwā councils as well as classical opinions of jurists on the same or similar issues. The research also commissions social research whereby the views of the general Muslim public as well as imams and Muslim preachers are gauged.
This study finds that there is a great need for fatwā councils, particularly in the West and that they play a very important role for Muslims in Western societies. The issues they discuss and the edicts they issue often deal with important and pertinent topics. Western fatwā Councils have made great strides since their inception. At the same time the study finds that Western fatwā Councils fall short in having raised sufficient awareness about them and their work. Councils also fall short in allowing easy access to their work, the dissemination of their work and in connecting with Western Muslims in their languages.
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