Nonie Darwish: Islamic Fatwas Today

The Arabic word “fatwa” means an Islamic religious ruling, a scholarly opinion based on Islamic law that is issued by a recognized Islamic authority. The fatwa is unique to Islamic law is that Allah delegated his authority to humans, Islamic leaders and the Islamic State, to execute, punish and humiliate the religious “sins” of others and not just crimes against society such as murder and robbery.

Recently a Muslim scholar in Egypt on national television told a young girl, “Dina,” to put up with her father’s sexual abuse. The caller who lived with her father after her mother was gone was desperately needing help but no one was giving it to her and her last resort was to call a religious authority on TV to get the final word from Islam on what to do. This girl, I must add, is in double trouble in Islamic society, because a good Muslim girl must stay in her father’s home till she is married, and it is unthinkable to leave her parents’ house for any reason, including abuse. The Islamic authority on TV never told her to leave the home to live with a relative, but advised her to put up with and respect her father who lost his wife.

Here is another glaring example of such perverted fatwas from the real world of sharia. In a Fatwa internet counseling site,, a woman asked what to do after she caught her husband sexually assaulting their fourteen-year-old daughter. The answer from the religious expert started with a condemnation of the act, calling it an abominable sin. But he very quickly changed his tune when he advised the wife to not report the husband (to conceal his sin) and against leaving him: “What your husband did does not make you forbidden [sexually] for him and it does not invalidate the marriage. However, you should conceal his sin and not disclose it to people, but don’t let him be in seclusion with your daughter, and Allah knows best.”

Below is a list of more crazy Islamic fatwas issued in the last few years by prominent Islamic religious leaders:

1- In a 2000 fatwa entitled “The Transmitted and Sensory Proofs of the Rotation of the Sun and Stillness of the Earth,” Saudi Arabian Grand Mufti Sheikh Ibn Baaz asserted that the earth was flat and disc-like, and that the sun revolved around it.

2- Women are prohibited from watching soccer and football in the Arab world, because supposedly all they really care about is looking at men’s thighs and not watching the game.

3- Men must wear clothes to cover their thighs. Men’s shorts are rarely seen worn by men in the summer heat of the Muslim world.

4- A Malaysian fatwa banned girls from acting like tomboys as violating Islamic tenets. And a fatwa was issued tennis player Sania Mirza for not wearing proper clothes during her games, thus corrupting Muslim youth.

5- A fatwa was issued forbidding Pakistani children from 
immunizations because the clerics claim that vaccines 
are a Western conspiracy to make Muslims sterile.

6- Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said that drinking the urine of Muhammad is deemed a great blessing and a healing from diseases. After a public outcry, the Mufti recanted, saying it was 
only his “personal opinion.” 

7- In 2007, Ezzat Attiya issued a fatwa saying that an
adult female can breastfeed an adult male coworker in order to defuse sexual tensions in the office. This ruling is based on the Islamic belief that if a woman breastfeeds a baby that is not hers, she automatically becomes a foster mother to the child.

8- The former dean of Al-Azhar University, Rashad Hassan Khalil, issued a fatwa saying that a marriage would be considered void if the couple had sex in a naked state.

9- When a woman was raped by her father-in-law, instead of punishing him, a fatwa said that her husband had now become her son, thus she is divorced from her husband.

10- In 1988, the publication of Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses led Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa of death with a huge bounty against Rushdie. Islam does teach that Muhammad did delete some verses from the Qur’an that were deemed Satanic.

11- Turkey’s top religious authority, the Diyanet, issued a fatwa answering the anonymous question, “Is It Religiously All Right to Lust for My Daughter?” The Diyanet explained, “There is a difference of opinion on the matter among Islam’s different schools of thought…. For some, a father kissing his daughter with lust or caressing her with desire has no effect on the man’s marriage.” But in the Hanafi school of Islamic thought, the mother would be “forbidden” to such a man. And the girl would have to be “over nine years of age.”

Muslim leaders don’t hesitate to judge and condemn those who are deemed to have committed Islamic “sin.” Fatwa punishments are range from death, severe humiliation to being shunned by society and family. Adultery, blasphemy or critiquing any documented actions by Muhammad, refusal to doing jihad, befriending and loving Jews and Christians as equals, rejecting sharia’s inhumanity to women, or leaving Islam, and homosexuality, are all crimes that deserve execution or throwing off a building, in a fatwa without hesitation.

It is hard for the Muslim world to have a reasonable degree of healthy living while under such perverted religious fatwas. Because of modern technology, Islam is no longer able to conceal such embarrassing and outrageous fatwas, but few Muslims dare condemn them. Such barbarity is negatively impacting well-being of many wonderful Muslims and Islamic society, and is an important factor behind the flow of refugees to the West.

That is another reason why Sharia should be banned in the West.

Nonie Darwish is the author of “Wholly Different; Why I chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values”