PETALING JAYA: The Group of 25 Eminent Malays (G25) has recorded its appreciation and support for Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, who advised that fatwas should take into account the views of all stakeholders in society.
G25 said fatwas are issued after receiving the royal consent in the respective states, they are expected to be well-received, due to their practical application in the daily lives of every Muslim.
G25 said it also supports the Sultan of Perak’s statement about the ummah being increasingly exposed to diverse educational resources.
"Muslims around the world are more critical, curious and intelligent.
"Likewise, our muftis are equally exposed and find themselves in need of more thorough and diversified analyses of issues that affect various levels of our society," said G25 in a statement on Sunday (Oct 4).
It added that in Malaysia, although Islam is the religion of the Malaysian Federation, it is not the basis for law in the country.
G25 said fatwas fall under the jurisdiction of each individual state and after fatwas are gazetted with the consent of the Ruler, they become the official authority for the religious department to enforce.
The group added that fatwas vary from state to state as each state has its own syariah system of law.
"Some states are progressive while some are extreme in their punishments for syariah offences (as stipulated by certain fatwas).
"The institution of the mufti must be further developed in the states, to be in line with both religious (Islamic) and secular viewpoints because Malaysia is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-racial society.
"It would be an asset for our muftis to understand the secular aspects of society and how Islam can accommodate non-Islamic aspects of societal organisation.
"After all, Islam supports the co-existence of differences in order to promote harmony within society.
"Fatwas, therefore, are not meant to be oppressive and unjust," is added.
G25 also said it agrees with Sultan Nazrin that fatwas should take into account the changing times as each generation would face different challenges in their private, as well as public lives.
"As the world becomes more competitive and modern, the lifestyles of society are bound to change to suit the prevailing circumstances.
"His Royal Highness the Sultan said that state fatwa committees should take a realistic view of modern trends by consulting with various groups, in order to take into account their expert views before issuing a fatwa on a particular aspect of life.
"This will ensure that when the fatwa is issued, there will be no dispute as to its application by Muslims especially in Malaysia’s multiracial and multicultural setting," said G25.
On Sept 22 during the opening of the Multaqa of the Fatwa Councils of Malaysia, Sultan Nazrin had asked that all fatwas be accepted positively as they can strengthen the ummah's faith.
He said the institution of the mufti should provide sufficient time for consultation, including holding discussions with various stakeholders, when addressing new issues without precedence to ensure that facts can be analysed in depth before the fatwas are issued.
Sultan Nazrin also said that advances in communication technology have changed the role, response and acceptance of fatwas in modern society.