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Fatwa Committees



Overview

In Islamic literature, fatwa (scholarly opinion) or Ifta’ is defined as the elucidation of a legal ruling with no binding effect (al-Qasimi, 1986). In general, it is an explanation of a scholarly opinion and/or commentary made by Islamic scholars on a certain Islamic matter. A fatwa serves as a means of clarifying any issue that arises in the Muslim society which carries a significant effect as it provides for guidelines and rules to be followed. Fatwa is issued by Mufti, the most authorised person to provide for explanation and answers to a particular matter.


Jawatankuasa Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Ugama Islam Malaysia /
Fatwa Committee of The National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia

Establishment:

The Fatwa Committee of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia was established in the early 1970s, where it convened for the first time at a conference called the Fatwa Committee Conference of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs of Malaysia. The Fatwa Committee Conference of the National Council took place 18 times and was last held on 14 May 1980. Later, the use of the word Conference was changed to the word Muzakarah. From June 1981 onwards, the National Council Fatwa Muzakarah Committee was held for the first time.

The National Council Fatwa Muzakarah Committee must consider, decide and issue fatwas on any matter relating to Islamic matters referred to it by the Conference of Rulers. It serves as a medium for research and legal coordination in the country.

However, the issuance of fatwa can only be made by the 'Sahibus Samahah Mufti' and State Fatwa Committee. It is a distinctive value compared to other countries since the issuance of fatwa falls under state jurisdiction; with a total of 14 Muftis from each state. Each state has the right to issue and gazette fatwas through relevant acts, enactments and ordinances. The gazette of the fatwas is only made available in Malaysia.

Process of issuing a fatwa:

Comparison of Process of Issuance of Fatwa

MKI Muzakarah Committee Meeting MKI Muzakarah Committee Muzakarah
  • The process of issuing fatwa begins with orders of the Conference of Rulers Meeting to the MKI Committee to provide legal/ fatwa views on an issue that arises in society.

  • The issues submitted will be studied, prepared with relevant information and presented in the MKI Muzakarah Committee Meeting by the members.

  • When the Meeting has issued the views of the law/fatwa, such views will be forwarded to the Conference of Rulers through the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia.

  • The views of the law/fatwa that have been approved by the Conference of Rulers will be brought to the State Fatwa Committee without being amended and subsequently gazetted as the state fatwa.

  • The process of issuing the fatwa is through a request from the Muslim community or certain parties.

  • The issues presented will be studied, with a relevant working paper prepared and subsequently presented in the MKI Muzakarah Committee by the members.

  • The views of the law/fatwa decided in this Muzakarah will be brought to the State Fatwa Committee and the state can amend the decision or accept it without any amendment.

  • Concurrently, the views of the law/fatwa decided in this Muzakarah will also be drafted for the approval of the Conference of Rulers through the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia.

  • Here, certain expert parties will be called upon to provide views and clarifications on issues that are unclear or when there is a need to acquire detailed explanations and briefings so that all MKI Committee Members would be able to obtain accurate information in producing and issuing a decision.

The Members of the Fatwa Committee of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia:

A. A chairman appointed by the National Council for Islamic Affairs Malaysia (MKI) among its members:

Datuk Haji Wan Zahidi bin Wan Teh
Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Fatwa MKI Bahagian Pengurusan Fatwa Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia

 B. Mufti of each participating state or a person representing the State in Islamic Religious Affairs:

Dr Loqman bin Tuan Haji Guru Hj Abdullah
Sahibus Samahah Mufti WP
Pejabat Mufti Wilayah Persekutuan, Tingkat 10, Menara Pusat Islam, Jalan Perdana, 50519 Kuala Lumpur
https://www.muftiwp.gov.my/

Y.A.D. Dato' Dr. Haji Anhar bin Haji Opir
Sahibus Samahah Dato' Seri Utama Diraja Mufti Selangor
Jabatan Mufti Negeri Selangor, Tingkat 7 & 8, Menara Utara, Bangunan Sultan Idris Shah Persiaran Masjid, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan.
https://www.muftiselangor.gov.my/

Dato' Hj. Zamri Bin Hashim
Timbalan Mufti Perak (**the State Mufti of Perak is deceased)
Pejabat Mufti Negeri Perak Darul Ridzuan, Tingkat 5, Kompleks Islam Darul Ridzuan, Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab, 30000 Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan
http://mufti.perak.gov.my/

Sahibus Samahah Dato’ Hj. Yahya Bin Ahmad
Mufti Negeri Johor
Jabatan Mufti Negeri Johor, Tingkat 3, Kompleks Islam Johor, Jalan Masjid Abu Bakar, Karung Berkunci 725, 80990 Johor Bharu, Johor Darul Takzim
https://mufti.johor.gov.my/

Datuk Wira Haji Abdul Halim bin Tawil
Mufti Negeri Melaka
Jabatan Mufti Negeri Melaka, Aras 2, Imarah A. Kompleks MAIM, Jalan Bukit Palah, 75150 Melaka.
http://www.muftimelaka.gov.my/

Dato’ Haji Mohd Yusof bin Haji Ahmad
Mufti Negeri Sembilan
Jabatan Mufti Negeri Sembilan, Tingkat 3, Bangunan SUK Lama, Karung Berkunci 45, Jalan Dato' Hamzah, 70990 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus
https://muftins.gov.my/

Datuk Mohamad Shukri bin Mohamad
Mufti Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan
Pejabat Mufti Negeri Kelantan, Kompleks Balai Islam Lundang, Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra, 15200 Kota Bharu, Kelantan Darul Naim
https://www.muftikelantan.gov.my/

Prof Madya Dr. Haji Mohamad Sabri Haron
Sohibul Samahah Mufti Negeri Terengganu
Jabatan Mufti Negeri Terengganu, Tingkat 1, Pusat Pentadbiran Islam Terengganu, Kompleks Seri Iman, Jalan Sultan Mohamad, 21100 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu Darul Iman
http://mufti.terengganu.gov.my/

Dato’ Sri Haji Abd. Rahman bin Haji Osman
Mufti Negeri Pahang
Jabatan Mufti Negeri Pahang, Kompleks Islam Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, Jalan Istana Permai, 26600 Pekan, Pahang Darul Makmur
https://mufti.pahang.gov.my/

Dato' Dr. Haji Wan Salim bin Wan Mohd. Noor
Mufti Negeri Pulau Pinang
Pejabat Mufti Negeri Pulau Pinang, Tingkat 48, KOMTAR, 10000 Pulau Pinang
https://mufti.penang.gov.my/

Dato’ Syeikh Fadzil b Haji Awang
Mufti Negeri Kedah
Jabatan Mufti Negeri Kedah, Aras 3, Bangunan Mahkamah Syariah & Jabatan Mufti, Kompleks Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, Bandar Mu'azam Shah, Anak Bukit, 06550 Alor Star, Kedah Darul Aman
https://mufti.kedah.gov.my/

Dato' Arif Perkasa Dr. Mohd. Asri bin Zainul Abidin
Mufti Negeri Perlis
Jabatan Mufti Negeri Perlis Tingkat 1, Blok A, Bangunan Dato' Mahmud Mat, 01000 Kangar, Perlis
https://muftiperlis.gov.my/

Datu Haji Kipli bin Haji Yasin
Mufti Negeri Sarawak
Pejabat Mufti Negeri Sarawak, Aras 15, Majma' Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, Lorong P.Ramlee 5 Off Jalan P.Ramlee, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak
https://muftinegeri.sarawak.gov.my/

Ustaz Bungsu@Aziz bin Haji Jaafar
Mufti Negeri Sabah
Pejabat Mufti Negeri Sabah, Tingkat 6, Blok B, Wisma MUIS, Jalan Sembulan, Beg Berkunci 2070, 88999 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
https://mufti.sabah.gov.my/

C. Nine religious scholars and professionals, as well as Muslim experts, selected and appointed by the Conference of Rulers:

  • Tan Sri Sheikh Ghazali bin Haji Abd. Rahman
    Penasihat Perundangan Syariah Jabatan Peguam Negara No. 7019, Jalan 16, Taman Selayang Baru, Batu Caves, 68100 Selangor.

  • Dato’ Dr Musa B Ahmad
    Pejabat Naib Canselor Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) Aras 5, Bangunan Canselori Bandar Baru Nilai, 71800 Nilai Negeri Sembilan

  • Dr Arik Sanusi bin Yeop Johari
    Pengarah, Seksyen Syariah, Bahagian Penasihat, Jabatan Peguam Negara No. 45 Persiaran Perdana, 62100 Putrajaya

  • Prof Madya Datin Dr. Paizah binti Haji Ismail
    No.5, Jalan 11/6, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan

  • Dr. Zhari bin Ismail
    Discipline of Pharmaceutical Chemistry Pusat Pengajian Sains Farmasi Universiti Sains Malaysia 11800 Pulau Pinang

  • Dr. Ashraf bin Md. Hashim
    Head of ISRA Consultancy Department (I-Con) International Shari'ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) Lorong Universiti A, 59100 Kuala Lumpur

  • Dr Mohd Farid bin Mohd Shahran
    Pengarah Pusat Kajian Syariah, Undang-undang dan Politik Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM) No 2, Langgak Tunku Off Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim, 50480 Kuala Lumpur

  • Prof Madya Dr Fauzi bin Hamat
    Jabatan Akidah Dan Pemikiran Islam, Akademi Pengajian Islam, Universiti Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur

  • Penasihat Undang-Undang
    Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia Aras 7, Blok A, Kompleks Islam Putrajaya No. 23, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman Presint 3, 62100 Putrajaya

D. A Muslim member from the Judicial and Legal Service or from the legal profession who is selected and appointed by the Conference of Rulers.

 


The Commission of Fatwa under Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI)

Establishment:

The Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) is the dominant body that is referred to by the Indonesian government and the public to address any Islamic matters. It was founded on 26th July 1975 in Jakarta. MUI was a conference for Muslim leaders to meet and converse about the Muslim community and the issues surrounding them. The body has a special commission (Komisi) called the Commission of Fatwa. The Commission of Fatwa is responsible to issue fatwa to unify public opinion among Muslims and to protect aqidah from deviant matters that might affect its purity. However, the fatwa presented by the Commission is only advisory and not compulsory. Nonetheless, the fatwa issued is usually followed due to its authority. The Commission also advises the government of Legal Islamic Laws in the formulation of regulations and policies.

Process of Issuing a Fatwa:

Annual Seminar

  • Annual seminar held by MUI, attended by Islamic scholars and professionals all around the country.
  • Issues that are brought in the seminar will be discussed collectively (ijtihad jama’i).
  • Subsequently, a decision will be handed over to the Fatwa Commission after a consensus on the issue has been reached by the scholars.
  • Fatwa Commission will announce the fatwa publicly.

Issues by the Community

  • The Muslim community will raise any issue/matter to be brought before the Fatwa Commission.
  • The committee members of the Fatwa Commission will hold a meeting to discuss the matter.

Members of Commission of Fatwa Indonesia:

Initially, the Commission consists of seven (7) members, but the numbers vary. The composition is renewed every five (5) years through recruitments. The meetings are attended by the Chairman, members of the Commission, and external parties such as independent ulama’/scholars relevant to the matter in discussion.


Jabatan Mufti Kerajaan Brunei
Mufti Department Of The Government Of Brunei

Establishment:

On the 21st of October 1986, the Department of Syariah Affairs (Jabatan Hal Ehwal Syar'iah) was established when the Department of Religious Affairs (Jabatan Hal Ehwal Ugama) was converted into the Ministry of Religious Affairs (Kementerian Hal Ehwal Ugama). Since its establishment, the Department has been administered by a Director and assisted by an Assistant Director. Since then, the Department of Syariah Affairs has carried out its responsibilities in accordance with the Religious Council and Kadis Court Act Chapter 77. Four divisions are governed by the Department, inclusive of the Government Mufti Department.

On the 7th of November 1994, by order of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Government Mufti Department was established separately under the Prime Minister's Department. From here onwards, the Government Mufti (Mufti Kerajaan) is directly responsible to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in exercising his duties as Government Mufti.

Functions of the Government Mufti Department:

1. Scientific Affairs (Fatwa and Irsyad Hukum)The Scientific Affairs consists of three major divisions, namely the division of ‘Ifta, Buhuth & Irsyad and the division of Tasyri’. The main function of Fatwa is being conducted by these three divisions. The ‘Ifta, Buhuth and Isryad Division is responsible to conduct research and development based on Islamic law. The division also provides guidance in terms of general and legal guidance through the issuance of Fatwa, Irsyad and Ilmu to the public to increase their knowledge while simultaneously resolving any doubtful legal issues. Cooperative relationships with local and international research institutions are also being established to further conduct in-depth research and development of Fatwa. The Tasyri’ division on the other hand, carries out legislative work functions such as legal research for improvements and betterment of the Muslim community in the country while assisting them in establishing legal texts in the view of the Government Mufti’s rulings. Such legal texts will then be submitted to the authorized institution to incorporate the rulings into the laws and regulations of the country.

2. Administrative AffairsThe Administrative Affairs is a department consisting of a number of major divisions, the Secretariat of Fatwa, Publication and Information, Planning and Finance, the Brunei Darussalam Islamic Library and the Special Affairs. The two divisions which are interrelated to the issuance of fatwa are the Secretariat of Fatwa and the division of Publication and Information. The Secretariat of Fatwa’s main function is to administer and manage the Government Mufti Department and anything related to it while providing a platform for the community to seek legal clarification. The division of Publication and Information is responsible for the work of disseminating Islamic Knowledge through the publication of books, newsletters, magazines and the sale of books published by the Government Mufti Department. The division also provides for Wakaf Ilmu services as a platform for the community to do jariah. The Planning and Finance division is responsible for the financial structure of the department.

Process of issuing fatwa:

The detail of the process of fatwa issuance can be found in the Religious Council and Kadis Court Act Chapter 77 which provides that the issuance should be in accordance with the firm belief of mazhab Syafi’e. If it is found that a fatwa is not absolute from the firm belief of mazhab Syafi’e but is not opposed by the Sultan; or it is contrary to the public interest but is not opposed by the Sultan, the Religious Council and the Legal Committee (Jawatan Kuasa Undang-Undang) may, with special permission from the Sultan, to comply with the absolute belief of three others mazhabs, Hanafi, Maliki or Hambali to further provide explanations if it deems necessary. Once a fatwa has been unanimously approved by the members of the Legal Committee and other experts present in the discussion of fatwa, the fatwa shall be issued in the name of the Religious Council. In the event that no unanimous vote is attained by the Legal Committee, the fatwa shall be issued to the Council and be voted by the experts.


Fatwa Committee of Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura

Establishment:

The Fatwa Committee of Singapore is established in 1968 when Singapore’s Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA) came into effect. Before its establishment, the issuance of fatwa was made by Chief Kadi, a local religious teacher and in some circumstances, fatwas issued by Mufti of Johor were also referred to.

The body is assisted by Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) that acts as the Secretariat of the body and is responsible for the up and running duties in issuing a fatwa in Singapore. As the Secretariat of the Fatwa Committee, MUIS gathers all relevant information and references of contemporary issues to be distributed to the Fatwa Committee to ensure the efficacy of fatwa issuance. To further enhance the efficiency of the issuance process, MUIS in 1999 has established a department known as the Office of Mufti that is responsible for providing religious guidance to the community through research on fatwa matters and conducting educational programs.

Process of issuing a fatwa:

As set out in AMLA, the Fatwa Committee determines its procedures of issuing a fatwa based on the necessity to address such matter. At present, Mufti as the Chairman is mandated to decide whether a fatwa should be issued. If such matter is not submitted to the Fatwa Committee, the Office of Mufti will respond to address the matter.

In general, meetings will be conducted by the Fatwa Community to issue a fatwa. The quorum of the meeting is fulfilled with the attendance of Mufti as the Chairman and two other members of the Fatwa Committee, one of them being a member of the MUIS Council. The issuance of the fatwa must be made based on a unanimous decision of the Fatwa Committee. If no consensus is reached, a fatwa cannot be issued. The matter will then be referred to the MUIS Council for further discussion.

Members of the Fatwa Committee:

The members are formally appointed by the President of Singapore based on the recommendation of MUIS Council as well as the Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs. All members will serve a three-year term on every appointment. Essentially, the Committee must consist of a Mufti as the Chairman, two qualified members, being the members of the MUIS Council and two independent ulama’. The members are as follows:

  1. Mufti Dr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir as the Chairman;
  2. Ustaz Ali Bin Hj Mohamed;
  3. Ustaz Mohamad Hasbi Bin Hassan;
  4. Ustaz Fathurrahman Bin Hj M Dawoed;
  5. Ustazah Dr Rohana Binte Ithnin;
  6. Deputy Mufti Ustaz Mohd Murat Bin Md Aris as the Secretary;
  7. Deputy Mufti Ustaz Dr Mohammad Hannan Bin Hassan;
  8. Ustaz Dr Badrul Fata Bin Muhd Ridwan;
  9. Ustaz Dr Firdaus Yahya;
  10. Ustaz Dr Mohamed Bin Ali;
  11. Ustaz Dr Mohammad Rizhan Bin Leman;
  12. Ustazah Dr Sakinah Binte Saptu;
  13. Ustaz Dr Shaik Ahmad Bin Syed Buhari;
  14. Ustaz Ahmad Haris Bin Suhaimi;
  15. Ustaz Irwan Hadi Bin Mohd Shuhaimy;
  16. Ustaz Kamaruzaman Bin Afandi;
  17. Ustaz Mahmoud Mathlub Bin Sidek;
  18. Ustaz Mohammad Yusri Yubhi Bin Mohd Yusoff;
  19. Ustaz Mohd Kamal Bin Mokhtar;
  20. Ustaz Muhammad Ma'az Bin Sallim;
  21. Ustaz Muhammad Saiful 'Adli Bin Ayob;
  22. Ustaz Muhammad Tarmizi Bin Abdul Wahid;
  23. Ustazah Nadia Hanim Binte Abdul Rahman; and
  24. Ustazah Siti Nur 'Alaniah Binte Abdul Wahid.

UAE Council for Fatwa

Establishment:

The UAE Council for Fatwa was established in 2018 upon the approval of its formation by the UAE Cabinet to coordinate fatwas and unify their resources. The governmental body is the official reference for issuing fatwas and Islamic rulings in the country. Muftis are being trained there to develop their skills while studies are also conducted in coordination with the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments to review issues relating to national policies.

Process of issuing a fatwa:

Fatwas may be issued by the Council through three (3) different channels. Issues may be addressed to the Council through e-Fatwa, calls or text messages.

Through e-Fatwa, any organisations or individuals may submit any concerns relating to Islamic matters through awqaf.gov.ae. Responses will be made by the Council in the form of emails and a fatwa will be issued.

Queries may also be made through calls (8002422) nationally and internationally (0097122052555).

Religious decrees may also be sought through text messages at 2535. SMS responses are usually generated within 24 hours and a fatwa will be issued.

Members of the UAE Council for Fatwa:

The UAE Council for Fatwa is chaired by Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies. Experts and those who specialise in Islamic Shariah from and outside UAE make up the Council’s members, two of whom are women.

Other members include:

  1. Omar Habtoor Dheeb Al Darei as the director of the Fatwa Council;
  2. Shamma Al Dhaheri from Awqaf;
  3. Abdullah Mohammed Ahmed Al Ansari and Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Youssef Al Shehi from the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments;
  4. Ahmed Abdulaziz Qassem Al Haddad from the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai;
  5. Salem Mohammed Al Dobi from the Islamic Affairs Department in Sharjah;
  6. Ibrahim Obaid Ali Al Ali from the Umm Al Qaiwain Court;
  7. Hamza Yusuf an American scholar and director of Zaytuna College in California; and
  8. Prof Amany Burhanuddin, head of the Indonesian Council of Scholars for Women and Youth.

Australian Fatwa Council

Establishment:

The role of issuing fatwas in Australia can be illustrated by looking at the establishment of the Australian Fatwa Council (AFC); and the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC).

In 2019, the Australian Fatwa Council was established to essentially produce fatwas or Islamic verdicts in resolving any contemporary matters issued by the Muslim community in the country. The organisation was established by ANIC with the view of serving the community through spiritual guidance and sustenance of Islamic values.

Members of Australian Fatwa Council:

As provided on AFC’s website, the appointment of the members is based on nominations, qualifications, experience and competency. Current members are as follows:

  1. Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamad as the Chairman of AFC and Mufti of Australia;
  2. Imam Abdulsalam Zoud;
  3. Imam Mohammad Khamis;
  4. Imam Yahya Safi;
  5. Imam Shabbir Ahmed;
  6. Imam Khaled Issa;
  7. Imam Loauy Abdulbaqi;
  8. Imam Alaa Elzokm;
  9. Imam Abdullah Hawari;
  10. Imam Iftikhar Ahmed; and
  11. Imam Esmet Purdic.

Glossary:

  • Muzakarah: Discussion or convocation of a certain issues by religious persons.

  • Aqidah: A belief, creed or doctrine.

  • Ijtihad Jama’i: Collective interpretation in determining new judicial judgment of a certain issues by religious group of persons (ulama’)

  • Ulama’: A body of Muslim scholars who are recognized as having specialist knowledge of Islamic sacred law and theology.