Sunday, August 05, 2007

When is a Fatwa a Fatwa?

Islam can be expedient - a fact that is increasingly on display in the violence that is gripping the world today. In peaceful Singapore, however, the Islamic religious authorities have declared that Muslims (in Singapore, where their authoritiy is limited to) can now assume that they have been given consent (by the highest Islamic religious authorities) to having their organs 'harvested' upon their death unless the particular individual Muslim has opted out while he/she was alive.

But before this can become reality, Singapore's HOTA - Human Organ Transplant Act - will have to be amended through Parliament because, in its current form, this particular law excludes all Singapore Muslims.

Why the change of heart, or more specifically, the change of a religious edict? We are told that because of the scarcity of available organ, not enough is available for transplant purposes. As a result, 130 Muslims have died while waiting, in vain, for an available, and more importantly, matching organ. While the reversal in position on HOTA by the Islamic authorities is laudable, one must wonder how authoritative their fatwa is when it can be changed out of expediency. It is beginning to sound that a made-in-Singapore fatwa, like almost all fatwas that Muslims make all over the world today are arbitrary rulings that are self-serving. I think Singapore's Islamic authorities had better think deeper next time they issue a fatwa. We can't help it when Muslim terrorists do senseless fatwas (like that one that still stands against Salman Rushdie), but the rest cannot be seen to be just as unthinking of the 'bad' that a fatwa might bring. Otherwise, mainstream Islam risk making a mockery of a fatwa.

See BBC, Today Online

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