By Mufti Taqi Usmani,
Deputy Chairman Islamic
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Translated from Urdu by Khalid Baig.
Although the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) has not yet succeeded in solving major problems of the Muslim world, it has at least provided a platform for the discussion of our collective problems. It has also produced some academic, research, and economic institutions that are active in various fields. One of these important institutions is the Islamic Fiqh Academy.
The idea of the Islamic Fiqh Academy was proposed by King
Khalid in the OIC meeting of Rabi Awwal 1401 (January 81) that was held in
Masjid Haram in Makkah Mukarramah. The suggestion was to have a body consisting
of scholars and jurists of the Muslim world that would focus on the new
problems presented by the contemporary world and propose Islamic answer to
those problems. The OIC accepted this suggestion and the idea of the formation
of Islamic Fiqh Academy was approved. Next year (22 August 1982) the Islamic
Foreign Ministers conference in
The secretary general of the Islamic Fiqh academy is
nominated by the secretary general of the OIC. At that time Habib Shatti was
the OIC secretary general and he nominated Mufti Dr. Habib Balkhouja of
The planning committee of the Academy selects topics for research. Then a selection of these topics is sent to the Academy members as well as other Islamic experts who are asked to write research papers on them. The research papers are then circulated to all the members for review. In the annual meeting of the Academy, these papers are presented and freely discussed. Every word said in those discussions is recorded and published later. For every topic, a drafting committee is formed to draft the proposed resolution in light of that discussion. Finally, the draft proposal is once again presented to the meeting of all the members for discussion and approval.
So far, ten annual meetings have taken place in accordance with this procedure. Resolutions about many modern issues have been produced in these meetings. What is of even greater importance is that on these issues research papers authored by Islamic world's great scholars have been collected and published. Every year the Academy publishes a several volume collection of these papers and the transcript of full discussion on them by the experts. So far, twenty-six such volumes have been published, providing an invaluable treasure for those interested in research into the contemporary fiqh problems. Some of the topics covered by these publications and the resolutions of the Academy include problems related to banking and insurance, stock market and money markets, trade using modern means of communications, international trade, currency transactions, Zakat, test tube baby, organ transplant, artificial heart, and other modern medical techniques.
In addition, the Academy is also compiling an encyclopedia of fiqh about finance and a compilation of fiqh rules in collaboration with other organizations of the Muslim world.
The 1997 Meeting
The meeting was held from 28 June through 3 July. The Governor of Makkah Mukarramah inaugurated the meeting and about 125 representatives from all parts of the Muslim world attended it. Three issues discussed in this meeting deserve special mention.
Cloning (Translated as Intinsakh in Arabic) is a hot issue
in the entire world today. The issue arose after the experiment in
From an Islamic perspective, two issues have been discussed
regarding cloning. First, does it bring into question Islam's belief about
Allah's attribute as the Creator in any way? Second, should it be permitted?
The Islamic Fiqh Academy first contacted the Organization of Muslim Doctors in
Regarding the first issue, there was a consensus that cloning does not bring into question any Islamic belief in any way. Allah is the Creator of the universe but He has established the system of cause-and-effect in this world. Sowing a seed in the ground is the cause but only Allah produces the effect from it in the form of a plant. Similarly cloning is a cause and only through Allah's Will it can produce the effect. Just as the person sowing the seed is not the creator of the resulting plant, so the cloning technician is not the creator of the resulting animal. Allah alone is the Creator and all creation takes place solely through His Will.
Regarding the question of permissibility, the majority of the Academy members after discussion reached the conclusion that cloning is permissible in case of plants as well as in case of animals except human beings. The extension of cloning to human beings would create extremely complex and intractable social and moral problems. Therefore cloning of human beings cannot be permitted.
Another topic discussed in this year's meeting was the impact on fasting of various new medical procedures. The meeting discussed which procedures invalidate the fast and which ones can be used without any harm while fasting.
The third important topic of discussion was the new methods
of slaughtering animals. The meeting discussed which of these new methods are
in accordance with Shariah and which are not. In many Muslim countries,
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