Mufti called on to evolve ‘fatwa’ to meet modern challenges, demands

Abang Johari browsing a book on Islamic ruling after launching the event. He is flanked by Sarawak Mufti Sahibus Samahah Kipli Yassin (left) and Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi.

By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, March 12: It is important for Mufti institutions to evolve ‘fatwa’ (edicts) in line with globalisation challenges and the development of modern times, while maintaining religious harmony.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the ‘fatwa’, while taking into account traditional perspectives, must also consider modern knowledge especially health, science and technology.

“It is the role of the Mufti institution to raise awareness and educate the public on our ‘fatwa’, but it must move forward with time, as we bring progress and development to the Muslim community, while managing the system of Islamic living.

“In the development of our ‘syariah’ (Islamic laws and teaching), the traditional perspective will become our point of reference before edicts are enforced. Apart from religious intellectuals, the opinion of experts in various fields must be taken into account

“Research on ‘fatwa’ should not be only traditional in nature, but also include contemporary and scientific aspects,” he said when opening the state-level ‘fatwa’ seminar at the Sarawak Islamic Complex here today.

Abang Johari added that Sarawak’s Mufti institution comprised experts in various fields that included law, finance and civil rights. It was always important to refer to experts when implementing ‘fatwa’, he opined.

He also gave reminder that laws and edicts must be suitable and on par with changes and development in lifestyles.

The ‘fatwa’ must look at new issues that crop up in line with change and progress in human civilisation, especially pertaining to religious guidelines on halal and non-halal matters, he added, and an edict that has been decided upon must be acceptable by the public to create a harmonious environment among the society, as well unite opinions.

“When we look at the threat of Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) worldwide, there are talks and rumours on how the virus originated but most importantly, when vaccines are produced in the future, the public need to refer to the edict institution to see if the vaccines can be used by the Muslim community.

“This is among the situations that we must look into, in line with the current global situation,” he explained.

He said that the Muslim community must have experts in various fields to strengthen the Islamic institution. He cited the development of Islamic banking as another example, where society needs to adopt with progress.

As Sarawak looks towards becoming a developed state by 2030, the guideline and management of the state Islamic system must evolve to keep abreast with progress, while maintaining religious harmony, he continued.

Abang Johari also emphasised on the importance of documenting the research on ‘syariah’ and ‘fatwa’ for future reference.

The seminar attracted some 1,300 participants. — DayakDaily