KUALA LUMPUR, 12 Nov 2009: Ulama have been urged to explain the reasons, guidelines or methods used in making decisions or opinions on religious rulings or issues to avoid public confusion.
Institute of Islamic Understanding (Ikim) chairperson Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said many issues in society were in dire need of explanation by the religious experts. These included the use of the word Allah, the fatwa on yoga, deviant teachings, Syiah doctrine, anti-mazhab (anti-sect) and anti-Sunnah Wal Jamaah (anti-Sunni Islam).
“This phenomenon exists because the edicts gazetted and published are not always accompanied by explanations, while the decisions made by the syariah courts are often without written judgments which explain the reasons or rationale,” he said when opening the Taqlid (imitation), Ijtihad (endeavour of making a religious decision by independent interpretation of the Quran and Hadith) and Talfiq (deception) seminar today.
The former premier said the majority in society were no experts in syariah law and religious matters, and they could be categorised as the less educated or highly educated.
He said the biggest challenge was dealing with the less educated, especially those without formal education, who required rational explanations on almost all matters.
“It is especially an awesome challenge for the ulama group because if their fatwa are not convincing, there can be conflicts and disunity in society.”
Abdullah said to address the problem, the best approach would be ijtihad, adding that the sanctity of syariah law depended on the integrity and ijtihad capability of the Muslim community.
“We have to acknowledge that syariah law is no conservative law. Syariah must continue to grow and be able to determine the rules which govern our lives as Muslims and in all fields,” he said.
Abdullah said the ulama group must also be prepared to face new challenges. “Islamic understanding must be expanded and enhanced from the school level up to the tertiary level.”
He said the media also had a role to play in providing the best explanations on religious matters and not add to the confusion in society.
The three-day seminar, with about 300 participants, aims to provide understanding of the concepts of taqlid, ijtihad, talfiq and related terms, and of the objectives of Islamic law. — Bernama