The Darul Iftaa is the department of formal legal opinions which issues Fatwas to the Muslim community at large.
‘Fatwa’ refers to an answer given in response to a question relating to an issue of Shariah or the Deen -Islam.
While many people may be quick in giving answers to Shariah related matters or Deeni matters it has been seen that many are incompetent in doing so. In this regard the great Sahabahs (companions) of the Prophet (SA) like Ibn Masood and Ibn Abbaas (RA) have stated that, ‘a person who answers every question is mad’. There are many people who claim the mantle of issuing Fatwa without proper training and without having acquired the necessary expertise, thereby causing confusion and misunder-standings amongst the common Muslims. For a person who undertakes the Mufti course it is essential upon him that after acquiring the knowledge of the Quraan, Hadith, Islamic Beliefs and all that which are connected to them (as in the Alim course), he must have a sound and in-depth knowledge of the Islamic law and Jurisprudence by studying the classical literature of Islamic law.
According to the guidelines laid down by the pious predecessors it is not permissible to issue a Fatwa unless a person has studied Fiqh in depth under the supervision and guidance of competent experts in the field.
The classical literature of Islamic law has its own style and terminology and requires careful analysis in context. For example, what appears to be an unqualified statement is limited in application by the context or by conditions referred to elsewhere in juristic literature. An expert jurist would point to the true meaning and purpose of a juristic text and its proper application to an actual situation, thereby avoiding the errors resulting from self-study or lack of guidance. A true perception can only be achieved under constant guidance, instruction and supervision of distinguished experts recognized in the field.
A person is not permitted to issue a Fatwa until and unless he develops an aptitude and a deep perception of Fiqh which enables him to distinguish between basic principles and their causes. The required level of aptitude and perception is attained when he is permitted by an expert Jurist to undertake the delicate and highly responsible trust and duty of issuing Fatwa. Having fulfilled these requirements he is tested and his ability is examined by expert Jurists. Being satisfied with his ability and competence in the field of Islamic law along with his success in the examination, the expert gives the allowance to the student to issue Fatwas, upon which he earns the title of a Mufti..
The Mufti is obliged to rely exclusively on the recognized and authentic works of Islamic law. He is precluded from relying upon a work, which is not recognized, unless such reference is in accordance with established principles. In any event, he cannot base his reference upon a classical Jurist who is not recorded to be amongst the preferred classical Jurists of distinction. It is imperative that the Mufti is able to distinguish between the works upon which reliance can be properly placed, and those upon which reliance cannot be placed because of various reasons, including weak narrations.
The establishment of a Darul Iftaa and the appointment of a Mufti or Muftis to fulfill the important role of answering questions and giving guidelines to the Muslims, are ones which have always been established in the History of Islam, from as early as the time of Abu Bakr (RA) and it continued to be part of the service rendered to the Muslim Ummah. Competent and qualified scholars in the field of Islamic law and Jurisprudence have always been appointed to deal with issues which confronted the Muslims.
In an Islamic state such departments and scholars were appointed by the Islamic Government of the day. However, when Islam entered the lands of the non-Muslims and the Government of the day was not Islamic, the Muslims had to deal with their issues by themselves in order to continue their lives in accordance with the Islamic Teachings. As such, in these places there have always been competent and qualified scholars who, after spending years in the field of Islamic Studies, would pursue and acquire special training and expertise in the field of Islamic law and Jurisprudence, in order that they may render this great service of providing guidelines for the Muslims in all aspects of their lives.
It is with this objective, the Darul Iftaa of the Darul Uloom has been established. Muftis who have gained their training under expert jurists have come together to offer this service to the Muslim community.
This department has been formed since the initial stages of the Darul Uloom in 1984 and is under the continuous supervision of Darul Uloom Sabeelur Rashaad, Bangalore, India and the Institute of Islamic Jurisprudence, Bradford, England.
The department provides a facility to the public in research and response by answering questions on different aspects of the religion of Islam, such as beliefs, worship, commerce, inheritance, rights, marriage and divorce, custody of children, distribution of property and many other questions and problems which the Muslims are confronted with. All answers are given in accordance with the teachings of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaah and are properly well researched by our trained personnel. Muslims can rest assured that answers from the Darul Iftaa are in accordance with the true and correct teachings of Islam.