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Accept all fatwa: US imam

SHAH ALAM, 24 Nov 2008: Muslims should accept all fatwa or opinion produced by scholars, said the National Muslim Chaplain for American Muslims, Sheikh Yusuf Estes.

Estes said that “when scholars announced a fatwa, you don’t go shopping for another opinion.”

The imam was speaking at a talk on The Truth about Muslims held at MBSA Hall Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam yesterday, one of several such talks he is holding here.

Estes, 64, a former Protestant Christian minister from Ohio, United States, converted to Islam in 1991. He is the director of the Islamic Mission Foundation International and has travelled to more than 50 countries giving lectures on Islam to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Estes said it is dangerous for Muslims not to agree to something written in the Al-Quran, adding that scholars are the right people to refer to when having doubts.

Asked to give his view on the recent National Fatwa Council ruling on yoga, he said arguments should not take place as scholars have a better understanding about Al-Quran and Islam.

“And don’t bother explaining to your non-Muslim friends, because they can do whatever they want. But we as Muslims have our limitations,” he said.

However, Estes said that each individual is entitled to choose their religion, adding that Islam is “not a forced religion.”

He said in the US, everyone had the right to choose their faith, but those who choose Islam willingly should also be ready to observe its way of life.

On Islamic laws, Estes said its implementation should be executed in stages.

“[It] should not be done all at once. We’re not ready for all that yet. Let’s go step by step.”

On the current deteriorating image of Islam and its link to global terrorism, he said acts executed by certain quarters of Islam don’t represent the religion as a whole.

“Islam is perfect, we humans are not,” he said.

About 600 people attended his talk, which was organised by Pertubuhan Kebajikan Al-Nidaa’ Malaysia, Badan Kebajikan Telekom Malaysia, and the Islamic Propagation Society International (Penang).

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7 Responses to “Accept all fatwa: US imam”

  1. Macharic72 says:

    Well said. “Islam is perfect, we humans are not” and as such opinions as interpreted by “humans”, no matter how knowledgeable and wise, should also be imperfection. Because that is the way humans are designed.

    I agree that matters as sensitive as religious fatwas shouldn’t be “argued” but Muslims should be given the opportunity to openly discuss about decisions that affect them to create and foster understanding. Why restrict knowledge only amongst the scholars?

    I disagree with the statement: “And don’t bother explaining to your non-Muslim friends, because they can do whatever they want. But we as Muslims have our limitations,”

    Because as a non-Muslim, I too want to learn and understand the decisions of these scholars.

  2. Tiara says:

    Isn’t one of the tenets of Islam to seek knowledge and continually question – not to take everything blindly? False prophets and all that?

  3. Mohd_Syaitan says:

    Isn’t he one of the guys from ZZ Top?

  4. Aloysious Mowe says:

    I would like to presume, for the sake of his reputation, as well as for the sake of the image of Islam, that Sheikh Yusuf Estes is not being entirely serious when he says that Muslims should accept all fatwa produced by scholars, and that one does not go shopping for another opinion once a fatwa has been announced. Take for instance the fatwa produced by Sheikh Damanhuri of the al-Azhar in 1739, which can be found in his tract, Iqamat al-hujja al-bahira ‘ala kana’is Misr wa’l-Qahira. The Sheikh declares that all Christian churches should be either be destroyed or be allowed to fall into ruin. Citing earlier sources, including Ibn Hibban’s version of the Pact of Umar, he says, “It follows that the practice of men who knew what is proper was to forbid the erection of new churches and to prevent the repair of old ones. This falls in with elevating the faith, thwarting unbelief, and humbling infidels…The Companions agreed upon these points in order to demonstrate the abasement of the infidel and to protect the weak believer’s faith. For if he sees them humbled, he will not be inclined towards their belief.” Are Muslims supposed to accept this fatwa?

  5. Bob Yazid says:

    Why am I not surprised he’s allowed to gives talks here? If we just follow any edicts we will be no more than just blind followers and isn’t that forbidden in Islam, or am I reading the wrong Quran? Eh wait, do we have different Qurans???

  6. Yes, let’s all go on a wild hunt to kill Salman Rushdie, why don’t we…since there’s a fatwa out calling for his death.

    Sorry, but logical and critical reasoning is needed to follow a fatwa. In so far, I’ve seen neither in the Malaysian Council’s decisions.

  7. This person is not qualified to give fatwas. He doesn’t even know the basic beliefs in Islam, as his critics have outlined and documented again and again. He has many beliefs that violate the basic code of Islamic beliefs from a number of angles, yet he easily points the fingers at others.

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