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Islamic Seminary Narrows Fatwa's Use

August 23, 2005|From Associated Press

LUCKNOW, India — An influential Islamic seminary has said clerics should not issue religious edicts on political issues or matters that do not concern Islamic law.

The statement came nearly a week after one of the school's own clerics triggered a controversy among Muslim intellectuals by ruling that Muslim women running for office should wear veils on the campaign trail.

Maulana Shahid Rehan, a senior cleric at the Dar ul Uloom seminary, said Monday that the school objects to the way one of its clerics issued the ruling on a political matter.

Because of the ruling, women contesting village elections in Uttar Pradesh state have been wearing veils to campaign.

"Maulana M. Rehman, the vice chancellor of Dar ul Uloom school, has asked the clerics to issue fatwas only on religious matters from now on," Rehan said by phone from Saharanpur, 325 miles northwest of Lucknow.

The ruling is binding on Muslim clerics, Rehan said.

Moderate Muslims had dismissed Dar ul Uloom's ruling that asked women to wear veils on the campaign trail, saying the scholars should stick to religious matters.

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