Crime & Justice

Council of Islamic Ideology urges stricter penalties for illegal fatwas

By Ashfaq Yusufzai


Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) officials meet November 28 in Islamabad to discuss stringent punishment for clerics who issue fatwas favouring suicide bombings and declaring others as non-Muslim. [CII]

ISLAMABAD -- The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), a Pakistani constitutional body that provides legal advice on Islamic issues to the government and the national assembly, has recommended stricter penalties for unauthorised religious scholars who either issue fatwas in favor of suicide attacks or declare others non-believers.

"The Paigham-e-Pakistan document, prepared 10 months ago with the support of 1,829 religious scholars representing four major schools of thought, declares suicide attacks, sectarianism, stoking of anarchy and waging of jihad without the state's consent as un-Islamic," Dr. Qibla Ayaz, the chairman of CII, told Pakistan Forward.

On November 28, Ayaz chaired a meeting in Islamabad to discuss the subject and acts of terrorism carried out in the name of Islam.

The Paigham-e-Pakistan fatwa was approved by 5,000 religious schools registered by Wafaqul Madaris, the largest federation of Islamic seminaries around the world, he explained.


Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-Faith Harmony Noor-ul-Haq Qadri (left) and Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman Dr. Qibla Ayaz (second left) address a news conference in Islamabad November 28. [CII]

Unauthorised persons condemning perceived sinners to death and supporting suicide attacks need to be confronted sooner as they endanger lives, he said.

Enforcing legislation

The CII's recommendations stress rigid enforcement of the existing laws until the government enacts new legislation, Ayaz said.

"We have recommended strict penalties in line with existing laws and are making new laws to increase punishments for clerics wanting to promote extremism," he noted.

The CII wants the government to ensure enforcement of Section 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code in letter and spirit, which includes a penalty of $2,500 (Rs. 347,000) or three-year prison sentences for those issuing improper fatwas, added Ayaz.

"The responsibility to implement the recommendations of the CII is with the government, and we want severe punishment for those clerics who misuse their powers, issue fatwas declaring Muslims as non-believers or non-Muslims and pronounce them liable to be killed as per Sharia law," he explained, adding, "All such decrees have been rejected by the council."

"We have categorically told the ministers that the council rejects all such decrees issued against the law," he said.

The government will enforce the CII's recommendation to go after those who use religion to carry out terrorism, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, the minister for religious affairs and inter-faith harmony, who attended the meeting, told Pakistan Forward.

"Our religion of Islam advocates peace and brotherhood," he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan said he had told Prime Minister Imran Khan to seek the CII's guidance as part of his government's efforts to make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state.

"We want to strictly enforce the law to punish those who engage in terrorism and plan to commit killings under the guise of fatwas," he told Pakistan Forward, noting that religious extremism has no place in Islam.

"We want to send a clear message to society that the government is committed to dealing with terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," said Khan. "Nobody will be allowed to misuse religion."

A key move against terrorism

The CII's recommendations will prove instrumental for tackling terrorism, say analysts.

Militants have always used the name of Islam to their advantage in the past, Brig. (ret.) Mehmood Shah, a Peshawar-based senior security analyst, told Pakistan Forward.

"Taliban militants enjoyed respect initially as they claimed to be fighting the army to safeguard Islam, but they later exposed themselves by attacking schools, halting vaccinations and committing terrorist acts in marketplaces, killing innocents," he said. "The CII's role is vital to show the real faces of militants to the public."

The government must widely publicise that terrorism violates Sharia law, he added.

"The army has eliminated militants, but we need to isolate them and tell the public that there is no room for violence in Islam," Khadim Hussain, a Peshawar-based security analyst, told Pakistan Forward.

"Many terrorist outfits exposed the religion to notoriety with their claims that they were waging jihad," he said.

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The parties against whom a Fatwa is issued should also be called and asked about an explanation in the light of Quran and Sunnah; and those issuing wrong Fatwa should also be held accountable. An approval for a proper committee for Fatwa issuance should be granted that may consist senior religious scholars of all the sects and those Muftis should be allowed for Fatwa issuance whom that committee allows.


Does the government take all the decisions with the consent of this so-called council? Your suggestion for the government is nothing more than garbage. There is no check and balance at government if it does something contrary to Islam. This is wrong there should be check and balance on them as well.


That is a good initiative, but those issuing fatwas of monotheism and heresy should also be held along with those issuing fatwas of someone being doomed to be killed and infidelity.


They haven’t been able to clarify the scholars about the infidelity that some scholars of Deoband schoold of thought wrote in the book Taqviat-al-eman and now they are planning to make laws in their favor in collaboration with this cursed government in order to save their skins. Where were they when an amendment was made to the law of finality of prophet hood, where were they when the program for drawing of blasphemous images was announced. Curse on these sellers of religion.


Its negative.


Those who declare companions of Prohphet PBUH as nonbelievers, deny the deputy ship of of the pious caliphs, abuse Hazrat Abubakar, Umar and Uthman, are convinced about alteration of Quran, and prefer Hazrat Ali over Messengers and Prophets, are the Shia Athna Asharis. Only a crazy would try to count them in Muslims.


Declaring such tergiversator as Muslim who calls those like Moavia, penny-a-liner of revelation, repugnant Yazeed as legitimate caliph, enemies of Islam like Abu Sufyan as companion of prophet, and uses “May Allah be pleased of him” for the one who oppresses daughter of prophet is also an abscurity.


In current era the sect that doesn’t have faith on those upon whom Hazrat Ali had faith and behind whom Hazrat Ali offered prayers; if they have true followers of Hazrat Ali, they should also have faith upon those whom Hazrat Ali had; then all the conflict will be eliminated.


Is there any law for those who allow consuming liquor? If not, then why is it there for the thieves? And why is it there for the corrupt?


Peace on you! It is absolutely right that legal action should be taken against those who are involved in sectarianism in the name of religion and are misusing the religion so that Islam may take a form that was in the era of Prophet PBUH. Moreover if anyone concludes upon an issue in light of Quran, Hadith, consuetude and conjecture respectively and that conclusion is not absolved and is absolutely correct, then I believe he is right at his place, be the fatwa against you… then there shouldn’t be any legal action against that person because his conclusion is absolutely correct. In case of the conclusion being absolved, you should take legal action, be it in your favor.


Definitely Islam dislikes terrorism and extremism; but will Mr. Ayyaz and his supporters bother to define extremism or they would just want to commit state oppression by misleading the candid public and declaring demanders of Islamic system as extremists?


Government of Pakistan is rascal. They are making such laws by arresting guards of Islam. O rascal Government behold! Your fate will be worst soon; you will plunged by grace of Allah


Islam doesn’t allow such abusive language. Sir, clean your language and behavior before telling teachings of Islam so that someone may at least read or listen to it.


Excellent, May God make it successful.


The path of peace could be paved if all religious gatherings are arranged within the sanctuaries.