UAE: New charter launched to regulate fatwas in country

Abu Dhabi conference has brought together experts to discuss, debate issues including artificial intelligence, space exploration, sustainability and surrogacy


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Wed 8 Nov 2023, 1:42 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Nov 2023, 2:46 PM

A first of its kind charter which highlights the need for consolidation of efforts in issuing Islamic rulings was launched in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. The Abu Dhabi Charter for Scientific Developments was launched by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence during the Second International Conference for the UAE Council for Fatwa.

The charter addresses Fatwa institutions and bodies that specialise in Fatwa and Shari’a. It promotes the need for consolidation of efforts, exchange of expertise and the identification and formulation of the most accurate perceptions possible of scientific developments, with a view to achieving a religiously correct and balanced conceptualisation that corresponds to the challenges and changes in today's world.

The two-day conference has brought together experts from all over the world to discuss and debate various issues including artificial intelligence, space exploration, sustainability and surrogacy.

A timely document

According to senior officials the document is timely and is in direct response to the challenges and innovations that have emerged in recent times.

Abdullah bin Bayyah, Chairman of the UAE Council for Fatwa, explained that the charter is based on the national vision of the UAE in accordance with the initiatives in 2023, the Year of Sustainability. He called it “a response to the emergence of new inventions and discoveries, the current rapid digital development that causes a paradigm shift in various areas of life, such as health, economics, space science, energy, climate, agriculture and artificial intelligence, and addressing the questions arising about the provisions of Shari’a concerning those changes, as there is no reference text or previous examples to be used in measurement and jurisprudence."

Dr. Omar Habtoor Al-Darei, Director General of the UAE Council for Fatwa, said that the charter is a starting point in the process of linking scientific developments with Shari'a principles and values, finding appropriate solutions, proposing appropriate formulas and effective methodology for dealing with developments, while maintaining adherence to Shari’a and Fiqh.

"The charter provides a scholarly reference and a specific framework and approaches to manage Fatwa regarding scientific developments, and the rules and methods utilized in dealing with them,” he said. “[It is] based on the essence of conceptualizing such developments, which includes inclusiveness, jurisprudence, extrapolation and integration, through exploring Shari’a, scientific considerations, necessary determinants, accommodation of modern applications, and maintaining sustainability based on Fiqh and Shari’a principles that require extensive efforts to pave the way for positive interaction with new cosmic science and knowledge."

The UAE Council for Fatwa was established in the UAE to be the only body authorized to issue general Sharia’a fatwas in the country.


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