Saudi Mufti says media attention drives preachers’ fatwa frenzy


Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz aal-Sheikh criticized on Sunday the arbitrary releasing of religious edicts by various Muslim preachers.

In an interview with Al Arabiya, Aal-Sheikh said preachers who often issue controversial fatwas are driven by a desire for media attention.

“Their love to appear in the media led them to issuing fatwas,” he said.

He warned that chaotic and arbitrary issuance of religious rulings may lead to the spread of “heresy” and “lechery.”

He added that Shariah rulings cannot be made based on “wrong perceptions.”

“Issuing Shariah rulings is controlled by the laws of the Shariah, which is against heresy and lechery without proof or evidence,” Sheikh said.

Meanwhile, Preacher Sheikh Ali al-Maliki partially blamed satellite TV stations for what he said was the spread of chaotic religious rulings.

“It’s no longer secret that some channels, even if linked to religious figures, seek to make profit and compete in spreading peculiar concepts,” Maliki said.

According to Maliki, some media outlets gave the chance for some figures who are not experts in sharia to appear through them and called for differentiating between jurists and preachers.

“Preachers not basing their fatwas on knowledge of Sharia may be doing so because they like to make public appearances or because they want to dishonestly compete with others,” Maliki added.

He urged preachers to differentiate between local fatwas and fatwas that concern the entire Muslim world.

“I support the Mufti’s call, and I hope [Muslim] scholars and [sheikhs] continue to serve the interests of Muslims,” he added.