Moderation in Fatwa and Ijtihad: Juristic and Historical Perspectives
Keywords:shariah, fiqh, mufti, modern developments, procedure, maqasid, legal maxims
This article jointly explores the various dimensions of fatwa and ijtihad, notwithstanding the former being our main theme. The two are explored together as there are many commonalities between them, the source evidence concerning the one often also relating to the other. The discussion begins with a comparative note on fatwa and ijtihad (independent reasoning), which is then followed by an expounding of the characteristic features of fatwa and its relevant procedures. Modern developments concerning fatwa issuance procedures are the subject of another section. These developments have led to a certain amount of bureaucratisation of fatwa, which has both its advantages and disadvantages. These are also explored and then followed by an overview of fatwa-related developments in Malaysia. The remainder of the article discusses the importance of observing moderation (wasatiyyah) in fatwa and ijtihad, which tends in many ways to characterise the typical Islamic advice and approach on these subjects. The article concludes with a set of actionable recommendations.