The King, Amir Al-Mouminine, addressed a message to the participants in the symposium organized by the Mohammed VI Foundation of African Oulema, in which he called for the definition of the reference framework of the notion of Fatwa.
In a message addressed to participants in the symposium organized by the Mohammed VI Foundation of African Ulema, from July 8 to 10 in Marrakech, on the theme “The rules of the Fatwa in the African context”, the Sovereign indicated that the ulemas have since always invested with a noble mission which today gains in sensitivity and complexity.
Here is the full text of the royal message, which was read by the Minister of Habous and Islamic Affairs, Ahmed Toufiq.
“Praise be to God, Prayer and Greetings be upon the Prophet, His family and His companions.
ladies and gentlemen
It is for Us a real source of pride to address this Message to your assembly gathered today to discuss the place of the Fatwa in the provisions of the Sharia and its role in the elaboration of responses to new problems. This subject is close to Our hearts since We took on the responsibility of protecting religious dogma from extremism, ideologies of confinement and divisive doctrines.
We are all the more serene as these meetings are being held at the initiative of the Mohammed VI Foundation of African Ulema. In fact, this institution, created under Our impetus, has devoted its eight years of existence to the achievement of the objectives that We assigned to it at the outset and which essentially consist in pooling and coordinating the joint efforts of the Moroccan ulemas and their counterparts in African Muslim countries to promote and solidly establish the values of tolerant Islam. Its mission is also to ensure, through specific initiatives, that the sense of moderation, the spirit of conciliation and the propensity for Ijtihad (effort of interpretation in religious matters) are the catalysts of any reform aimed at consolidating the foundations of development, on the scale of the entire African continent or within any one of its countries.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As you know, Our first concern, in creating the Mohammed VI Foundation of African Ulema, is that it serve as a repository for the heritage that has been richly forged over the centuries and that successive generations of virtuous ancestors have given us bequeathed by the establishment of solid and multidimensional links between the Kingdom of Morocco and the countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
These ties draw their essence from the intangibility of the religious values that Morocco shares with brotherly African countries in terms of faith and Sunni rites which have the major characteristic of advocating moderation. These immutable principles have their source in the codes of conduct instituted by the Sufi orders and in the foundations of the sciences of the Sharia (Islamic law), brought down to us through successive lines of trustworthy sheikhs. In fact, our religious thought places the codes of conduct and the sciences of the Sharia on the same level.
Morocco is linked to the Machyakhas (magisters) of the Sufi brotherhoods of Africa through centuries of exchanges and interactions. At the present time, and aware of the emergence of new challenges brought about by the various social and cultural developments to which it is imperative to apply the provisions of the Sharia, We have succeeded, by the grace of God, in responding to a imperious need, that of setting up an institutional framework allowing the ulemas, the fquihs and the muftis to exchange around these novelties.
The ulama have always been entrusted with a noble mission which is now gaining in sensitivity and complexity. Accountable before God for the fulfillment of this titanic responsibility, these scholars are also accountable before their co-religionists who see in them the trustworthy reference having the charge of faithfully transmitting the Message of God, of judiciously considering the situations and affairs of the everyday life in the light of the aims of religion.
In the exercise of their priesthood, the ulama are guided by a guiding principle which has come down to us through a hadith of Our August Grandfather, peace and prayer upon him, where it is said: “This (religious) science is brought to each generation by its most reliable and virtuous members, the very ones who take care to preserve it against the mystifications of the zealots, the false allegations of impostors and the interpretations of the uneducated”. Today, these three categories do exist and paradoxically count among those who decide on religious questions.
Therefore, the ulema are bound to have a beneficial presence in people’s lives by initiating them in the virtues of moderation and middle ground and by opposing obscurantists and extremists of all stripes who strive to abuse the candid souls. The duty of scholars is all the more imperative as these deviants lend most of their reflections on religion the fallacious turn of fatwas, alerted that these are sacred things in the common understanding.
Given this state of affairs and anxious to protect Religion, We have proceeded in Our Cherifian Kingdom to the institutionalization of the practice of Fatwa, which has thus become a collegial competence exercised by the Superior Council of Ulemas. It is, in fact, to this institution that fatwa requests are addressed to rule on questions of everyday life requiring religious advice. On the other hand, it is up to the ulama individually to initiate the community to the rest of the provisions of the religion which do not come under the Fatwa. This is why each African country must attribute the exercise of the Fatwa to a collegial institution composed of ulema worthy of faith, moderate and attached to the intangible principles and the religious doctrine of their country.
Honorable Alimates, honorable Ulema,
Your blessed meeting around the theme of the Fatwa, should endeavor to further promote the notion of conciliation among Muslims today, as the word of the Almighty requires: “This is how We have done of you a community of the happy medium”. This divine affirmation covers the imperative need to prevent fundamentalism and division, urges human beings to moderation, and reassures them that possible differences around certain marginal questions are in the natural order of things. . It is also an explicit incentive for the Ulema of Africa to engage with determination in collaborations and periodic consultations to learn about new variants of requests and formulation of fatwas (advisory opinions). Finally, it implies that the authors of fatwa must strive to practice ijtihad (personal effort to interpret the texts) in order to integrate local cultural behaviors into the circle of acts approved by Sharia (Islamic law), unless unless they contradict the formal prescriptions (al-ahkam al-qat’iyya).
Regarding the ability to bring existing realities into line with the religious norm, the ulama of Our Cherifian Kingdom constitute in this respect an example to follow. In fact, in terms of fiqh (the doctrine), they have consecrated a secular usage inspired by what is agreed to be called “practices in force” and consisting in taking into account the best cultural mores of the community. By applying the mechanisms of ijtihad developed within the framework of the Maliki rite, they have thus succeeded in issuing fatwas which make it possible to incorporate a number of socio-cultural customs into the field of religiously admissible uses, more particularly those which are favorable to the interests of believers here below and which above all bring them tranquility and serenity.
In addition, it is up to the African ulama responsible for issuing fatwas to develop more skills and engage in exchanges, particularly around the jurisprudence of reality (fiqh al waqi’). They are also required to record the results of their research on the various electronic media available, in the well-understood interest of all and for a better leveling of the authors of fatwas.
For a successful practice of the fatwa, it is appealed to experts from disciplines other than the sciences of the Sharia: a consecrated practice, moreover, in the history of fiqh and fatwa in our country.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The agenda of your colloquium should constitute a solid basis for initiating reflection on the theme of the rules of the Fatwa in the African space. In fact, a rigorous study will be necessary to define the referential framework of the notion of Fatwa, to define the eligibility criteria of muftis and to examine the problem of doctrinal divergences. The scourge of fanaticism and the challenge of implementing advisory opinions considered in their articulation with local customs and specificities will also be addressed.
On the menu of this symposium is also the warning against the cavalier practice of the Fatwa on the part of unqualified people and its inevitable corollary: the dissemination of an extremist discourse that promotes excommunication and hatred. For such a program to be carried out with the required efficiency, it is necessary to master the tools offered by the communication society, in particular advanced technologies.
In this regard, We urge you to be part of a good dynamic of virtuous interaction during your deliberations around the theme of the colloquium. In doing so, you must deploy treasures of inventiveness and exchange your respective experiences, so that in the end, each community of ulemas, in a given country, can take full advantage of the knowledge available to all the ulemas of Africa engaged in this initiative, the Ulema of each country reserving the right to respect their own specificities.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We would like to point out that your initiative aimed at defining the conceptual field of the Fatwa can only be fully successful if the Alimates are involved in all aspects of this enterprise. Because in our religion, the woman and the man are equal with regard to the prescriptions. In this regard, the Islamic Umma has a good example to follow in the person of the illustrious mother of believers, Aicha, may God be pleased with her, who transmitted to Muslims a whole section of the religious norms that frame their lives today. .
Taking advantage of this postulate of equality, Our Kingdom entrusts the religious supervision of citizens, men and women, to Alimates and Morchidates. In the same spirit, women play a leading role in the work of religious orientation which is done through the mass media.
Ladies and gentlemen,
By holding this conference, you are registering in full compliance with the divine commandment which urges mutual aid in the accomplishment of good works. Moreover, We note that in our time, no country can live in security without the favor of a peaceful neighborhood, the ferments of division not encumbered by the borders which they span, in the manner winds and storms.
To conclude, We congratulate you for holding this assembly placed under Our High Patronage, to debate an eminently important subject: to raise the fatwa in religion to the rank of institutional action where there is hardly any room for fanaticism or passions. misguided which lead to bewilderment.
May God guide your steps and crown your work with success.
Wassalamou alaikoum warahmatoullahi wabarakatouh”.