Author’s (Isha Jalan) note : The opinions expressed in the article are not of the author. The source of the news has been mentioned along with each point.
A fatwa is an Islamic religious ruling, which is supposed to be a scholarly opinion on a matter of Islamic law and is issued by a recognized religious authority. However, on many occasions, some astonishing fatwas are issued just for the most ridiculous reasons. Note that it is a ruling, not a law.
From men getting to eat women in case of severe hunger to men having sex with their dead wives, religious clerics have passed some bizarre fatwas. Here are the weirdest of the lot.
1. Women watch football to look at men’s thighs and are hence prohibited from watching the game.
A Saudi cleric issued a fatwa against women watching football, claiming that they only follow the game to stare at men’s thighs. Saying that it should be haram or prohibited for women, he said they don’t care who wins the match, all they care about is watching the player’s thighs. The fatwa was widely ridiculed by Saudis.
2. Men must wear clothing that covers all of their thighs.
Contrary to the previous fatwa, Sheikh Abd al-Rahman al-Ajlan had issued another one stating that men must wear clothing which covers their entire thighs, even when they are sitting.
3. A fatwa was issued against Sania Mirza warning her to wear proper clothes or else she’d be stopped from playing as she was corrupting the youth.
An Islamic organization based in Kolkata issued a fatwa against tennis player Sania Mirza in 2005 warning her to wear ‘proper clothes’ or that she’d be stopped from playing. A cleric even went on to say that she was corrupting the minds of youngsters and that her clothes left very little for imagination. Who asked you to imagine things in the first place, sir?
4. Are you a tomboy? Beware! The clerics are coming for you.
The Malaysian National Fatwa council issued a fatwa against girls who dressed up as tomboys because they were supposedly ‘violating human nature.’
5. If a couple has sex in a naked state, their marriage would be nullified.
Dear clerics, do let us know in that case, who can? Former dean of Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Rashad Hassan Khalil, issued a fatwa saying that a marriage would be considered void if the couple had sex in a naked state. The university’s fatwa committee chairman soon tried to cover up for him by saying that married couples could see each other naked, but should cover up in a blanket while having sex.
6. You can totally take a stealthy look at your bathing fiancee but you must marry her thereafter.
One Ossama Al Quosy, a preacher, said it was absolutely okay for a man to take a quick look stealthily at his fiancee while she showers! Hold on. There’s more. He can only do so if he intends to marry her.
7. Having food in a buffet is haram!
Yes. You read that right. Even having food at open buffet banquets is not permissible because “they do not quote a clear price for transactions.” Huh?
8. A big NO to reading romantic novels.
Sheikh Salman al-Oadah says you can’t read romantic novels because they leave you in a world of fantasy! But isn’t that why people read these books, Mr Oadah? But that’s not all. He says ‘certain academics’ can read them ‘to be aware of what’s out there.’ Hypocrisy much?
9. In a particular case, a woman was raped by her father-in-law and instead of punishing him, the fatwa said that her husband had now become her son!
A 28-year-old woman was raped by her father-in-law in a village in India in 2005. Instead of punishing the old man, an Islamic court in Deoband issued a fatwa saying that because of the father-in-law’s act, she should now be treated as his wife, and hence, her husband would now be her son.
However, acting upon the victim’s plea, the Indian government later arrested the father-in-law.
10. Women cannot eat phallic-shaped fruits/vegetables such as cucumber and banana because they turn women on, making them do sinful activities!
An Islamist preacher living in Europe said women cannot eat phallic-shaped fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, bananas, and carrots because having them might turn them on encouraging them to take part in sinful activities.
11. There is a fatwa against living on Mars. Who lives there anyway?
The United Arab Emirates’ General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments issued a fatwa prohibiting life on Mars. Probably the sanest fatwa in this list. Who lives on Mars anyway?
12. Fatwa for the death of Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses.
We all know about the fatwa against Rushdie. His book The Satanic Verses created quite a furore amongst the Islamic community. A fatwa was issued against him and his book and many vowed to murder him. This resulted in riots and even death of some of those associated with the book.
13. Using of emoticons is forbidden!
😀 Thank God, fatwas are only rulings and not laws! What would we have done without emojis? So, apparently, even using them calls for a fatwa. According to Muslim Internet Forum, emoticons are forbidden because they imitate Allah’s creatures.
And how can a fatwa not involve women. So, additionally, a woman cannot use these images when speaking to a man who is not her mahram or husband!
14. Not just emojis, a fatwa has been issued against Pokemon as well.
Saudi Arabia’s Higher Committee for Scientific Research and Islamic Law issued a fatwa making it haram to play or watch Pokemon video games and cards because in their words, ‘such activities promote gambling and possess the minds of young people.’
15. Muslim men can have sex with their dead wives!
In the bizarrest of fatwas, Moroccan Association for Jurisprudence Research head issued one which allowed Muslim men to have sex with their just-deceased wives because no holy book prohibits sex with corpses. Much wow!
16. Women should not sit on chairs.
From the kind of clothes we wear to what to eat, they now have a problem with women sitting as well. One Al-Habib Omar Bin Muhamad issued a fatwa saying that women should not sit on chairs because by doing so, they expose themselves to an extra-marital affair by ‘jinn’.
I am not sure if they do, but they do expose themselves to devils like you, sir!
17. Unrelated men and women can work alone together if the women breastfeeds the man.
Is this for real? Reports say that a fatwa was released by cleric Ezzat Attiya which allowed unrelated men and women to work alone together on one condition – the woman breastfeeds the man, thus making him her son. Whaaaaaaat?
18. A fatwa which allows men to eat their wives if they are extremely hungry.
Cleric Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah reportedly issued a fatwa which allows men to eat their wives if they are extremely hungry. According to this clearly psycho cleric, doing sorepresents the woman’s sacrifice and obedience to her husband. The news was widely reported . However, Abdullah later claimed that he had not issued it.
19. Eating meat of the jinn is permissible.
This one was released in Egypt and allowed eating meat of the jinn. It would have been better if the cleric also mentioned the place to find the jinn, given that their literal meaning is hidden from sight.
20. It’s a crime to talk while you are pissing!
Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we decided when to pee, talk and eat? The Fatwa Department Research Committee clearly doesn’t get it. Sheikh Abd al-Wahhab al-Turayri issued a fatwa ordering people not to speak while taking a leak. It is only acceptable if you are asking for water to clean yourself.