The fatwa is not new, but the climate is

These days one often hears the argument: Where were these tolerant religious views and flexible doctrinal interpretations hidden earlier? Why have they come out in the open all at once? The implicit and at times explicit inference in these remarks is that moderate religious views that are becoming popular these days are part of a major conspiracy against Islam!

For example, there is controversy and debate over details regarding women, the arts and entertainment and the relationship of Muslims with those belonging to a different religion, sect or doctrinal denomination. Those who are raising fingers of accusation against moderate religious teachings have not immersed themselves in the study of orthodox ‘fiqh’ (Islamic jurisprudence), which is replete with ‘fatwas’ and opinions which the ignorant deem as heresy today.

Those raising fingers of accusation against moderate religious teachings have not immersed themselves in the study of orthodox ‘fiqh’

Mashari Althaydi

In his interviews to the press, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that Islam is being hijacked by a faction that wants to attain power, the faction of Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Khomeini regime (the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist) or the Sururist Movement, a wretched branch of the Muslim Brotherhood; but Islam is not the private property of these elements. Marking a departure from the culture of these groups regarding women, he has stated that the general Muslim conscience supports the ideals of decency and good manners without discrimination of color and strictures of the Abaya or the dress worn by Muslim women.

This is absolutely true. Clothing is the manifestation of local cultural norms and setting. Take a look at the clothes of women of Mauritania or Sudan and compare them with the clothes of women from Chechnya, or Iranian women or Kurdish women. All of them have distinctive features that reflect their respective indigenous culture. The underlying idea behind all of them is the emphasis on decency.

Thus, I would like to emphasize that there is nothing new about the moderate religious discourse and it is not the reflection of a modern trend. The fact is that closed mindset has been opened and a gush of fresh air has started flowing.

This article is also available in Arabic.

Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:52 - GMT 06:52
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