Makkah (UNA-OIC) – The international virtual conference “Emergency Fiqh: Features of the Post-Coronavirus”, organized by the Muslim World League (MWL) and the UAE Council for Fatwa and Sharia, launched to unify the efforts of the nation’s senior scholars, muftis, bodies of Muslim scholars, advisory opinion, and Fiqh councils in the Islamic world with Islamic academics and thinkers around the world.
The conference inaugurated with the participation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to explain the provisions of the urgent legal issues that arose due to the emergence of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
UAE Minister of Tolerance Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan opened the conference with a speech, in which he appreciated the great keenness of the important conference, confirming the role of Islamic Sharia, as an engine for the general social system. He expressed his thanks to all for their endeavors to crystallize its importance continuously, as a bulwark for safety and security in society, and even as a correct way to direct the lives of Muslims, to achieve with it and through it, the interests of the individual, and protecting the interests of society.
“We are a state, praise be to Allah, proud of Islam as a religion, and very happy with it, in this way supporting this conference, which seeks to provide solutions and proposals that enrich the life of the nation, renew its reality, and guide its future”. “As the best nation produced for humankind, and we, praise be to Allah, a country that is very happy to contribute to the achievement of interconnectedness and intellectual and real communication between you, for you are the scholars of the nation, and among the Muslim people everywhere,” Al Nahyan noted.
He indicated that the new coronavirus has had unprecedented effects on all aspects of life including relations between nations and peoples as well as the human relationship with Allah and the relationships with others.
“This conference clearly declares that faith in Allah and holding responsibility, determination and joint efforts in facing challenges are, in their entirety, the sure path to success,” he added.
“You are in this conference, but you also emphasize the role of the nation’s scholars in supporting the efforts of society and facing emergencies and crises, and you focus on this on the need for the scientific method and human progress to be a basic way to confront this epidemic. As your presence together in this conference is also an important call for regional and global cooperation, in order to overcome problems and preserve public health everywhere,” Al Nahyan said.
He emphasized that the Sharia of Allah calls for unity, fraternity and cooperation in order to achieve the interests of the people, and provides Muslims with an intellectual increase, a legal system, and a spiritual gift that guarantees the individual and society a good and safe life. Embodies before people that the Islamic religion is a pleasure, not a hardship, and that Sharia Fiqh is flexible in its nature, developed in its composition, based on diligence and the implementation of reason, and the introduction of the causes of knowledge, within the framework of the spirit of Sharia, and the essence of religion.
The UAE official went on to say, “We are putting our trust and optimism in this conference, and we expect it to lead to a number of significant fatwas, and to set out mentoring programs that will make Muslim societies able to deal with the effects of this epidemic. We also want you to direct the Muslim individual towards formulating his life affairs in light of the virus according to a rational Islamic approach, and come up with appropriate proposals in the areas of worship, beliefs and transactions, and how to achieve success in managing this emergency crisis, whether in the economic, health, or social fields in general”.
Then, MWL Secretary General Sheikh Dr. Muhammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, who is also the chairman of the Association of Muslim Scholars, delivered a speech in which he emphasized that this conference discusses an important topic related to the features of the post-coronavirus pandemic Fiqh, given the multiplication of this Fiqh to include important legal issues, which the latest developments and catastrophes insisted on, and at the forefront, and even the main motivator for holding this conference is the new pandemic.
“Urgent matters of Sharia law have arisen from these matters of worship, personal status and transactions. The pandemic has held Sharia scholars a major responsibility in facing baffling and confusing questions and answers,” he said.
“While everyone was happy with the agreement of the scholars under the umbrella of scientific councils, our happiness is indescribable, and I have decided that these councils are determined to meet here on one word in matters of affairs and issues.”
The MWL chief continued, “The motivator of this conference was those urgent questions, outstanding issues, and multiple answers, in the context of a scientific diaspora, which perplexed the respondent. The scholars of the Islamic nation should address these jurisprudential developments, through this forum, explaining the legal ruling in its main issues and branches, in carrying out the legal responsibility, where Allah Almighty chose them to carry the trust and its performance, and they were more worthy of it.”
Sheikh Al-Issa explained that the conference will also address, with this exceptional great gathering, other pressing Sharia laws issues within the Islamic context.
“This pandemic, along with its suffering, carries benefits for people – It has opened up to them horizons and measures that have never come into the minds,” he said, expressing gratitude to His Eminence Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah for his active and distinguished contribution and efforts that herald the success of this conference.
Addressing the conference, Chairman of the UAE’s Fatwa Council Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah said, “We meet today while the world is going through an unprecedented crisis, due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus pandemic, which infected millions of people and claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands.”
He added that the pandemic continues to spread and threaten countries with resurgence of coronavirus infections, after they have managed to contain the virus, saying the disease deserved to be declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“We are meeting today and our bodies have diverged, but our hearts converged. We meet in the first jurisprudence conference of this kind to study the results of the crisis and its effects,” he said, stressing that the view of this conference stems from the awareness that there is a party should not overlook what is happening – the Fiqh which consists of items, laws, philosophy and spiritualties.
“Indeed, you scholars in the official fatwa institutions and in your mosques and schools have faced the new challenges imposed by the new reality, using the mechanisms of the fatwa and the curricula in place, in accordance with the local contexts,” Bin Bayyah said, noting that the Muslim World League, led by Sheikh Al-Issa, spearheaded any unifying and renewing effort.
He said Al-Issa spared no effort to bring together the energies of the Muslim peoples and to call on the opinion leaders and thinkers to work for deepening the bonds of brotherhood and strengthening relationships for the benefit of the Islamic Ummah and humanity.
“In this matter, we have had an effort in the United Arab Emirates Council for Fatwa and Sharia to issue a set of fatwas and statements to clarify the legal position on a number of key practical and contractual issues. The Council also played its guiding role in keeping up with the general policy of the United Arab Emirates and its pioneering practical vision in addressing the crisis,” Bin Bayyah added.
He praised the measures taken by the government of Saudi Arabia – which has the legal and positional authorized to care for the Two Holy Mosques – to prevent disasters and safeguard the sanctity of the holiest places while working to confront the coronavirus crisis. He stressed the importance of adhering to the measures taken by the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, based on its sovereign and legitimate responsibility to care for the Hajj pilgrims, Umrah performers and visitors of the holy sites, to perform their rituals while preserving their health and safety.
Bin Bayyah stated that the Saudi decision to organize this year’s Hajj season with a very limited number of people from all nationalities living in the Kingdom is in the interest of Muslims, given the risk of infection with the coronavirus disease.
He explained that the UAE’s vision in confronting this crisis is distinguished by anticipation planning and firmness in implementation. It is a vision based on the value of human dignity and generosity, as it promotes human life, health and comfort, and spares no effort or money in doing so. This vision is also based on the value of innovation. Consequently, the UAE has contributed to the global efforts for the development of advanced treatments, and has taken advantage of brains and latest discoveries, to benefit its citizens and residents from the most advanced treatments and tests.
In turn, Pakistan’s Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Noor-ul-Haq Qadri addressed the implications of the coronavirus worldwide, saying: “Muslims in the Islamic world and elsewhere do not do anything except based on the fatwa of scholars and jurists, and since the outbreak of this virus in the world, the centers of fatwas, juristic councils and senior jurists have addressed to clarify the Sharia laws of various emerging issues about the Corona pandemic.”
“These fatwas, as issued by official institutions charged with advisory opinion by the government administration, were also issued by independent muftis with their followers, or by Islamic religious parties and societies that took it upon themselves to issue fatwas to their audiences. These fatwas varied according to the diversity of Islamic schools of thought, the difference in ijtihad and its origins within these different schools of thought, but all of them have great value and importance in developing Islamic Fiqh”, he added.
Sheikh Qadri went on to say, “The beautiful thing that we have seen is the commitment of the majority of Muslims to orders. They realized that the one, who issued the fatwa prohibiting something, wanted the good for all the Muslims.”
For his part, Egyptian Minister of Endowments Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar affirmed that the jurisprudence of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic showed the urgent need to get out of the narrow horizons, which were represented by some of those affiliated with the religious discourse in preserving the provisions of some issues, without consideration to the Islamic Fiqh of purposes and fate, taking into account the circumstances of time and place, the conditions of people and the developments and trends of every era.
“We have become more than ever in urgent need of reason to properly understand the text through scientific and logical rules, as well as transition from the approaches of memorization and indoctrination to approaches to understanding and analysis, in our curricula, programs, scientific writings and media discourse,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mukhtar stressed that it is indispensable to return to our scientific roots in the principles of jurisprudence and fundamentalism and also benefit from modern science. He also emphasized that useful science is the absolute science that benefits people in their religion and life affairs.
After that, the sessions of the conference started on its first day with a discussion on the topic of “Rooting the Fiqh of Emergency” in the first session. The second and third sessions will discuss the topic of “The area of acts of worship”, while the fourth session is allocated for the topic of the “Outstanding efforts of Islamic countries in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic”.