“It was difficult to visualise that a madarsa beginning so humbly … was destined to become the centre, within a couple of years, of the Islamic sciences in Asia …
The dark, joyless world of Darul Uloom Deoband fatwas
So far, more than seven lakh fatwas have been issued from this department …
… The fatwas of Darul Uloom (are) highly esteemed in and outside the country; besides the masses, the law courts in the country also honour them and consider them decisive”.
By Kanchan Gupta on September 11, 2013
The dark, joyless world of
Darul Uloom Deband fatwas Many of us are aware of the fact that Darul Uloom Deoband is one of the major theological centres of Islam. We also get to read about the occasional fatwa issued by Deobandi maulanas that hits the headlines. The last time this centre of Islamic theology was in the news was when Maulana Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi, a moderniser, was viciously hounded out of the Vice-Chancellor’s office by the entrenched orthodoxy. But few have bothered to look beyond the little that is known about Darul Uloom Deoband or understand what makes Maulana Nomani describe the successful campaign to keep Rushdie away from the festival and out of India as a “victory for democracy”.
Darul Uloom was not always a well-endowed, sprawling campus teeming with kaffiyeh-sporting young men eager to learn the intricacies of Islamic theology. When it was set up on May 30, 1866, it was no more than a nondescript madarsa. As the official website says, “It was difficult to visualise that a madarsa beginning so humbly … was destined to become the centre, within a couple of years, of the Islamic sciences in Asia … Before long, students desirous of studying the Holy Book and the Sunnah, the Shari’ah and the Tariqah (the spiritual path), began to flock here in droves … and within a short-time the radiant rays of knowledge and wisdom illumined the heart and mind of the Muslims … with the light of faith (Iman) and Islamic culture.”
Apart from teaching theology, the maulanas of Deoband also issue fatwas, or rulings based on their interpretation of Islam. That task is undertaken by Darul Ifta, described by its official website as “one of the most significant departments of Darul Uloom”. Darul Ifta, set up in 1892, “has always been (the) centre of attraction and held great respect and trust in public and court circles. So far, more than seven lakh fatwas have been issued from this department … The fatwas of Darul Uloom (are) highly esteemed in and outside the country; besides the masses, the law courts in the country also honour them and consider them decisive”. It would, therefore, be appropriate to suggest that a reading of these fatwas, issued in response to specific queries, would help understand the worldview of the Deobandis. Reproduced below is a random selection of fatwas issued by this seminary as they appear on Darul Ifta’s website; only spellings have been corrected:
Question 9400: In a non-Muslim country who can give the punishment of rajm (stoning to death)? Is a private individual allowed to administer this punishment? In a non-Muslim country if a Muslim wants to purify himself of his sin of zinah should he go to a country where the punishment of rajm is administered?
Fatwa 1249/1249=M/1429: In non-Islamic countries, the penalty of rajm (stoning to death) is not implemented. No individual is allowed to administer the punishment. Such a person should only repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness.
Question 2019: If someone does blasphemy against Hazrat Mohammed or uses derogatory language for his character, then what should be his punishment in India? What should be the punishment under Islamic law?
Fatwa 1386/1226=B: Punishing a criminal or a guilty is the duty of a Government not individuals like we and you. In India, though we do not have an Islamic Government we should try our level best to get such a perpetrator punished according to the Indian Constitution. In an Islamic country, the culprit of blasphemy is to be killed.
Question 27497: Goa is a tourist place where olden time churches are there, though mass not taking place now in these churches but people visit these churches for sight-seeing for the art of the churches. Can a Muslim visit such places even though mass not taking place?
Fatwa 2695/H=1083/th=1431: Please explain if it is for any good purpose, otherwise it is better to leave it. It is mentioned in Hadith that the good effect of one’s Islam is that he gives up nonsense things.
Question 14869: What is the ruling on a person who believes in the validity of other religions beside Islam? He believes that one can reach god even by following other religions beside Islam. He believes that there can be saints (awliya) in other religions beside Islam. And that not all present day People of Book will go to hell.
Fatwa 1386/1386=M=1430: His belief is not based on any solid proof.
Question 5192: Who are ‘Bohras’? Are they Muslims? Can a Muslim marry Shia and Bohra woman?
Fatwa 989/844=B-1429: Bohras are Shia. The beliefs and faiths of Shia found in their books are against the Quran and Hadith. Therefore, they are not Muslims. It is not correct for a Sunni Muslim to get married with a Shia or Bohra.
Question 36219: Is riding a bike or a car unlawful for females according to Shari’ah?
Fatwa 207/207/M=1433: It is absolutely undesirable for women to drive a car or bike … (text in Arabic).
Question 23879: To what extent purdah is necessary for women? Is wearing burqa covering the entire body including hands, toes, and face must for women?
Fatwa 1385/B=280/tb=1431: The holy Quran says: ‘O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of believers that they should draw down their shawls (jilbab) over them (when they go out of home). Jilbab is that lengthy chaddar by which a woman covers herself from head to toes. Hence, it is necessary for a woman to cover her complete body, hands, feet, face, etc, when she goes out of home at the time of any need or compulsion.
Question 21253: Can women use perfume or ittar because they get more sweating (pasina). Can they use or Islam doesn’t give permission to use?
Fatwa: 604/L=212/tl=1431: Women can use perfume provided they are not passing by non-mahram in this state. While going out of house using aromatic perfume is not lawful … (text in Arabic).
Question 32651: I have three wives and my third wife has one daughter of age 10 years from her first husband and she took khula eight years before from her first husband. Since that time her daughter is staying with my third wife, her husband did not see her daughter till date and he did not pay any money for her daughter. I married with my third wife in 2008 and by the grace of Allah I am paying all expenses for my third wife and her daughter. My questions are: 1.First husband is liable to ask possession of his daughter at any time in life? 2.If he demands possession of his daughter then what to do in this regard? 3.What will be my status with regards to my wife’s daughter in terms of mahram?
Fatwa 1055/1055/M=1432: (1)Her previous husband, ie, the father of the girl, can claim the custody of his daughter. He shall be sinful for not taking any care of his daughter until now. (2)When the girl attains puberty, she shall be free to choose whether to live with her mother or father. Father cannot compel her after she attains puberty to keep her with him. Yes, he may claim before it. If he claims and there is no fear of any harm, she should be given to the father. (3)If you have had intercourse with your third wife, her daughter became haram for you and you became her mahram forever.
Question 24487: As per the Islamic law, can a person study the course of chartered accountant?
Fatwa 1237/964/D=1431: Yes, it is lawful to study the course of chartered accountant. However, it will not be lawful to record interest-based accounts.
Question 19472: Can you please tell me (whether the) reading of books, newspapers (English) is allowed in washroom or not?
Fatwa 193/193/M=1431: Bathroom is not a place to read books and newspapers whether they are in English (or any other language), they should not be studied therein.
Question 18576: Hazrat Mufti Sahab, kindly advice maximum time for breast feeding for a girl child?Is breast feeding more than two years haram?
Fatwa 20/18/B=1431: According to preferred opinion, the period of breastfeeding to an infant is two years; breastfeeding after tow years is unlawful… (text in Arabic).
Question 14505: Suppose I am owner of a educational institution. My caste is ‘A’. Suppose I do not charge any fee from the students of my caste. Is this correct action?
Fatwa 1068/870=L/1430: When you are the owner of the institution, you have right to exempt the students of your caste to pay fees. However, if you grant the exemption to the students on the ground of poverty and neediness, it will be better.
Question 11156: Is it permissible for a woman who keeps her niqab on in class to go to women’s only classes where the teacher is a male?
Fatwa 394/320=D/1430: It is allowed if needed, provided she observes purdah in going to college, purdah is observed in college also without intermingling with men, she only hears the voice of teachers and there is no fear of any other similar fitnah. But, it is better to avoid in the view of present environment of colleges and evils.
Question 36590 : Can a woman show her nude body on webcam to her husband who stays abroad?
Fatwa 427/427/M=1433: It is not right to show it through webcam because it includes the sin of taking photograph without severe need. However, it is not unlawful for the husband and wife to see each one’s nude body.
Question 24427: In the Hanafi mazhab can women be appointed as judges or qazi’s?
Fatwa 1526/1189/B=1431: Yes, she can be appointed as judge, but it is makrooh tahrimi, ie, doing so is near haram. It is mentioned in Hadith… (text in Arabic) … It means that a nation that makes a woman their ruler will never succeed, hence woman should not be appointed as judge.
Question 23165: What is the concept of full hijab in our religion? Is just putting chunri on head considered hijab. What are the punishments for not following full hijab?
Fatwa 1034/761/L=1431: If a woman goes out of home she should cover her body with burqa or chaddar in a way that no part of her body is exposed. This is the complete hijab. And if she puts only dupatta (scarf) on head while the face is open, it is not complete hijab. In such case the woman shall be sinful.
Question 21031: Can Muslim women in India do Government or private jobs? Shall their salary be halal or haram or prohibited?
Fatwa 577/381/L=1431: It is unlawful for Muslim women to do job in Government or private institutions where men and women work together and women have to talk with men frankly and without veil.
From the perspective of those who believe in the empowerment of individuals and the liberty to live life without encumbrances imposed by keepers of faith, these fatwas symbolise an antediluvian mindset and should be ignored. Yet, rarely, if ever, a voice is heard in protest. For that would be considered insensitive and intolerant. Therein lies the anachronism of our times
Photography is a sin, unIslamic, says Darul Uloom Deoband
By Lamat R Hasan on September 11, 2013
Photography is a sin, unIslamic, says Darul Uloom
India’s leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom has issued a fatwa, saying “photography is unlawful and a sin”, even though Saudi Arabia allows photographers inside the holy city of Mecca and live telecast of namaz is beamed on Islamic channels across the world.
Mufti Abdul Qasim Nomani, Mohtamim (Vice-Chancellor) of Darul Uloom Deoband, told PTI on phone, “Photography is un-Islamic. Muslims are not allowed to get their photos clicked unless it is for an identity card or for making a passport.” He said Islam does not permit video-taping of marriages or clicking of pictures to save as mementos for future generations.
Photography is a sin, unIslamic, says Darul UloomWhen pointed out that Saudi Arabia, which follows the Wahabi school that aspires to return to the earliest fundamental sources of Islam, allows photography in the holiest of Islamic cities Mecca and beams live coverage through the year, Nomani said, “Let them do it. We do not allow it. Not everything they do is correct.”
Nomani agreed with the fatwa — a religious edict issued by Darul Ifta in Deoband — regarding a query from an engineering graduate saying he was passionate about photography and wanted to pursue it as a career. “Photography is unlawful and sin. Hadees (recorded Islamic tradition) warns sternly against it. Do not do this course. You should search any suitable job based on your engineering course,” reads the fatwa posted on the school’s website.
All India Muslim Law Personal Board member Mufti Abul Irfan Qadri Razzaqi also agreed with Nomani’s fatwa. “Islam forbids photographing of humans and animals. whoever does that will be answerable to God,” Razzaqi told PTI. When reminded that Saudis allow it, he said, “Just because they are richer than us doesn’t mean they are also correct. If they are allowing photography they will be answerable on the Day of Judgement in the court of God.”
A similar fatwa was issued when a television reporter asked if his “facing the video camera” is against Islam. “You are right, it is prohibited in Islam to photograph and to let others photograph you. Therefore, you should seek forgiveness from Allah for the same and choose for you a work which is free from such prohibited acts.
“A work which involves unlawful and haram things is obviously unlawful. If the work includes oral or written reporting as well then the entire income will not be labelled as haram,” reads another fatwa. However, Mufti Saif Abbas, president of the Shia Chand Committee, said his sect allows photography and television viewing. “Islamic channels such as Peace TV, QTV, ARY and others beam live coverage of namaz, Hajj…are they all wrong? I have argued with my Sunni colleagues that there is nothing wrong with photography,” he said.