Religion

FP's Funny Fatwas

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The intrepid reporters at Foreign Policy have compiled a list of the "World's Stupidest Fatwas." Unsurprisingly, the fatwa against Salman Rushdie merits a mention, as does the Saudi anti-Pokemon edict:

Not only do Saudi scholars believe that Pokémon encourages gambling, which is forbidden in Islam, but it is apparently a front for Israel as well. The fatwa's authors claimed that Pokémon games include, "the Star of David, which everyone knows is connected to international Zionism and is Israel's national emblem." Religious authorities in the United Arab Emirates joined in, condemning the games for promoting evolution, "a Jewish-Darwinist theory that conflicts with the truth about humans and with Islamic principles," but didn't ban them outright.

A fine list, FP, but you neglect to mention my personal favorite: Egypt's water-sports-with-the-Prophet fatwa:

An uproar in the Egyptian media followed the recent publication of a book by Egyptian Mufti Dr. Ali Gum'a in which he claimed that the companions of the Prophet Muhammad would drink his urine to be blessed.

The fatwa provoked strong objections on the part of the Egyptian religious establishment. Leading Al-Azhar and Religious Endowments Ministry officials stated that Gum'a's conclusions were mistaken even though they were based on Islamic sources. They added that his claims were inappropriate for the modern era and that they only caused embarrassment in the Egyptian street and did damage to the Prophet and to Islam.

MEMRI translates local press accounts here.

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  1. caused embarrassment in the Egyptian street

    So … don’t go to that street? Huh?

  2. So that second one got me thinking, and I typed “Pokemon Evolution Christ” into Google. Just to see.

    Second hit: ladies and gentleman, the Kansas Board of Education.

    http://www.dailygaming.net/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=202

  3. have complied a list of

    complied!?

    Please correct ASAP.

  4. As a Muslim, and as many Muslims back home would agree, I find these fatwas quite silly and embarrassing indeed.

    It has been a general tactic by some of the pro-government religious leaders to issue such silly fatwas to cause an uproar, especially during politically sensitive times. Sort of like talking about Paris Hilton on the day GWB issues Libby’s sentence commutation.

  5. the companions of the Prophet Muhammad would drink his urine to be blessed.

    Actually, I remember a story in the 1980’s that Ayatollah Khomeni drank his own urine. Might there be a connection?
    [Disclaimer: This item appeared in a ‘documentary’ about the Iranian revolution which was very hostile to Khomeni, so it is probably disinformation.]

  6. What’s wrong with Kansas?

  7. Aresen,

    Even if true, these are the kind of very fringe thoughts/ideas/reasons to get one to be a Muslim. First time I have heard of the hadith regarding the urine thing, the fatwa, as well as the thing about Khomeini.

    Appealing to these kinds of weird things is sort of like all the grueling graphic violence, sex, drugs (generally darkness and sadism) that is used by propagandists (whether in the media, religious leaders, yellow papers [esp. celebrity magazines]).

  8. No mention of Pat Robertson’s fatwa on Chavez?

  9. That story out of Kansas was actually lifted out of The Onion… right??

  10. That story out of Kansas was actually lifted out of The Onion… right??

    Pretty much. Looks like satire to me. The second paragraph:

    Teachers will now be required to search their students at the beginning of the school day to make sure that they aren’t carrying any copies of the game.

    Teachers will have to search students at the beginning of each day?? Come on, that’s pretty much a give-away that this is a joke. The date of April 3 makes me wonder if someone was a bit late… Anyway, that fact that it isn’t even all that unbeleivable says something.

  11. Second hit: ladies and gentleman, the Kansas Board of Education.

    But the Kansas Board of Education isn’t issuing any fatwas against the creators of Pokemon. Oh, and your story is a hoax.

  12. iih

    No disrespect to the Prophet, but I am sure he had some followers, even in his own time, who made him shake his head.

    Look at some of the silly things that the Christians did. There were Saints who’s claim to holiness was based on their never bathing.

    At least the Prophet insisted on cleanliness.

  13. Aresen,

    “but I am sure he had some followers, even in his own time, who made him shake his head”

    Oh certainly.

    As far as cleanliness is concerned, and despite how many Muslims today look (and, unfortunately, smell–I can say this as a Muslim), cleanliness, tidiness, and overall looking gentle is a plus. Oh, and yes, one could wear a heavy beard and be very clean (not necessarily attractive of course 🙂 )

  14. “As far as cleanliness is concerned, and despite how many Muslims today look (and, unfortunately, smell–I can say this as a Muslim), cleanliness, tidiness, and overall looking gentle is a plus.”

    … I meant “a plus” of all the Muslim practices of course. Washing 5 times a day, for example, have certainly helped keep me super clean-conscious 🙂

  15. Yep, looks like the ban was a hoax.

    Plenty of anti-Pokemon nonsense from the fundies, though. Some of it evolution-based, some it occult-based.

    http://objectiveministries.org/creation/propaganda.html

    http://fellowshipinhislove.com/index11.html

    http://www.almenconi.com/reviews.php?art_id=578

    http://logosresourcepages.org/Occult/pokemon-.htm

  16. It’s funny, yeah, but I’m sure it’s matched idiocy for idiocy on the 700 club and similar programs.

  17. BTW, Brandybuck, the fatwas against Pokemon in the linked article – which you totally read, right? – weren’t issued “against” anyone, either. They were just statements of what believers should do, and not do. You know, like the links I provided above.

    You do know that “fatwa” does not mean “orders to attack someone,” right?

  18. By the way, out of curiosity, I know this is off-topic, where did the “700” come from in the “700-club”?

  19. Exactly right, Jon H. If you get a violent protest or a call to kill someone in one of these fatwas from somebody on the other side of the planet, it’s a story.

    If we’re talking about some clergy whipping up some moral panic, I can find that right here in the US.

  20. joe,

    “You do know that “fatwa” does not mean “orders to attack someone,” right?”

    Good point! “fatwa” literally means “opinion”.

  21. “But the Kansas Board of Education isn’t issuing any fatwas against the creators of Pokemon.”

    I doubt there was a fatwa against the creators. A fatwa isn’t necessarily against someone, it’s usually just a judgement made by a religious authority.

    The same word is used whether it’s a Rushdie-style fatwa or the fatwa is just providing advice on a course of action, like whether a particular person should marry a particular other person.

    An anti-Pokemon fatwa would probably just be “Don’t play Pokemon or buy it for your kids”, not “Kill the creators of Pokemon”.

  22. “By the way, out of curiosity, I know this is off-topic, where did the “700” come from in the “700-club”?”

    It’s probably the quota for the minimum number of rubes to fleece for contributions during each program.

  23. Robertson originally had 700 donors who helped launch his media empire.

  24. joe,

    Thanks for linking to Objective Christian Ministries! I invite all your readers to poke (ha ha!) around a bit and see what they’re all about. They are great, intellectual Christians who poke (again, ha ha!) holes in all the pseudoscience that rotten publications like Reason disseminate.

  25. “The same word is used whether it’s a Rushdie-style fatwa or the fatwa is just providing advice on a course of action, like whether a particular person should marry a particular other person.”

    Right, but a fatwa is certainly nonobligatory — at least in the Sunni branch of Islam, which I am familiar with. For example, there are countless fatwas against smoking, but Muslim smokers (most US Muslims do not smoke, btw) are all over Europe and the Middle East.

  26. John H, joe,

    I see!

  27. joe: objective ministries is another hoax from the people who brought you landover baptist.

  28. Honestly, it’s hard to tell the difference.

  29. Thanks a lot, Crane!
    You and Jake Boone have to spoil the fun for me every time.

    Jerks!

  30. They added that his claims were inappropriate for the modern era and that they only caused embarrassment in the Egyptian street and did damage to the Prophet and to Islam.

    I think that Islamists do a fine job on their own.

  31. MCM: “…he claimed that the companions of the Prophet Muhammad would drink his urine to be blessed.”

    Aresen: “…but I am sure he had some followers, even in his own time, who made him shake his head.”

    Are you kidding me? Nobody’s going to comment on that? No, “If I wanted to drink his urine, I’d insist he shake it”? Maybe it’s me.

  32. I guess I’m coming late, but shouldn’t these be “phunny phatwas”? And, frankly, I don’t think any of these were as funny as the Spanish Inquisition. Or even the Salem Witch Trials!

  33. WHAT THE HELL!?!?

    When did Joe and Jon H become apologists to crazy Muslim fundamentalists?

  34. I think i would drink Muhammad’s piss…

    You know just so I could say I did it. kind of like eating ants.

  35. It’s good to have definitive confirmation, joshua, that you are going to level exactly the same smears, regardless of the actual content of what you’re allegedly criticizing.

    Find me one word that apologizes for crazy Muslims fundamentalists. One.

  36. joshua,

    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/121525.html#747907

    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/121525.html#747921

    may be you can respond to these threads instead of just repeating stupid smears. As I say above, this is the first time I hear of the urine thing and the fatwa. The point being, it is far from main stream. Islam is not about these fringe “beliefs”. 1.2 billion people worldwide do not choose to remain/become Muslim because of this. Educate yourself!

  37. First the deflection

    Second hit: ladies and gentleman, the Kansas Board of Education.

    Then the apology

    Good point! “fatwa” literally means “opinion”.

  38. Think of where joshua’s p.o.v. must be coming from if comparing crazy Muslim fundamentalists to crazy Evangelical fundamentalists amounts, in eyes, to a defense of them.

  39. Hey, our fundamentalists can out-normal their fundamentalists, and don’t you forget it.

  40. joshua,

    So if “fatwa” literally does not mean “opinion”, what does it mean, joshua? Arabic may be my first language, but you seem to be the linguist on the board.

    Also, how is:

    “Good point! “fatwa” literally means “opinion”.”

    and apology for Islamic fundamentalism?

    If I am somehow misunderstood as an apologist for Islamic fundamentalists, let me say it clearly

    There is no excuse whatsoever for the cruelties, violence, terrorism, barbarism done in the name of Islam!

    Let me be also clear, yes I am Muslim, I am of this US society, and I am proud of both! I am true to both!

  41. I mistyped in the statement:

    “Let me be also clear, yes I am Muslim, I am of this US society, and I am proud of both! I am true to both!”

    the words “a citizen” should be added to read:

    “Let me be also clear, yes I am Muslim, I am *a citizen* of this US society, and I am proud of both! I am true to both!”

  42. As a Mormon who has felt obliged to correct many snarky attacks on this website against Romney based on inaccurate or flat out hairbrained depictions of Mormonism — as opposed to, oh, I don’t know, attacks on Romney for his actual actions and beliefs or lack thereof — if you’re gonna take a swing at Islamic fundamentalists, get your facts straight, and try just a little bit to distinguish between the nutjobs who perpetrated 9/11 and the reasonable nonviolent believers of Islam.

    Or continue being asshats. Whatever.

  43. “Jewish-Darwinist theory”

    @_@

  44. I believe Objective Ministries is yet another parody by Chris Harper of Landover Baptist infamy.

  45. In fact, I would add to what jh says by saying that I will be more than happy to join joshua in take swings at the Islamic fundamentalists. I think I took such swings already above by criticizing the stupid fatwas. But taking swings at Muslims in general as if urine-drinking is a norm amongst Muslims is as stupid as the fatwas themselves.

  46. I’m not seeing in this article a broad swipe a Muslims in general but a dig at wacky statements made by clergy. They could have included some equally goofy statements from equally moronic clergy of the Christian faith, I suppose. It’s not like those are hard to find.

  47. Jim,

    There is nothing in the article that swipes at Muslims in general. The recent few threads are in response to joshua’s comments. He now seems to have just vanished — chickened out may be?

  48. He now seems to have just vanished — chickened out may be?

    who? wha?

    Sorry I was reading…and exposing Dan T for the impostor he is!!! but on another article.

    Anyway by singling me out and from your comments you seem to be implying that i have a problem with Islam as un-American or something.

    Hey My blond haired blue eyed American born cousin is Muslim. And in no way do i think that makes her unAmerican.

    In fact come to think of it, in my moral universe, it is possible to not even be a legal US citizen and still get my nod for being American.

    But getting that nod really doesn’t mean much….i can find many nut jobs who get that distinction.

    Not to say that you are a nut job.

    Anyway to make a long story short the comments I was making has everything to do with my animus toward joe not toward Muslins.

    My animus toward Muslims isn’t even really animus…more like I am an atheist who was raised a Christian so it is not my everyday thing so I might say something uncomfortable in a social setting.

    Other then that welcome to the US have fun with that Muslim thing and please don’t raise my taxes.

  49. opps misread everything…

    here is a respose:

    Also, how is:
    “Good point! “fatwa” literally means “opinion”.”

    and apology for Islamic fundamentalism?

    joe wrote it after he tried to side track the discussion from one about Muslim fundamentalists to one about Christian fundamentalists…at first i thought he was going for the whole “all religion is whacked” angle but then he softened when you showed up…thus my comment.

  50. Damn, hatred for joe ruins another thread.

  51. and try just a little bit to distinguish between the nutjobs who perpetrated 9/11 and the reasonable nonviolent believers of Islam.

    Or even between the unreasonable, but nonviolent, nutjobs who tell parents not to buy Pokemon, and the nutjobs who perpetrated 9/11.

  52. By the way, I just noted that this is reported in part by MEMRI. An institute which has a strong bias against Arabs/Muslims. Not that Wikipedia is “the source”, but this may help explain:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_East_Media_Research_Institute#Controversy

  53. Yes, joshua, the fact that your cheap smear reflected personal animus and had nothing to do with the topic at hand was pretty clear to me.

  54. An uproar in the Egyptian media followed the recent publication of a book by Egyptian Mufti Dr. Ali Gum’a in which he claimed that the companions of the Prophet Muhammad would drink his urine to be blessed.

    This happens in Vedic literature as well. When you eat Amanita Muscaria mushrooms the psychoactive ingredient comes out in your urine.

  55. Damn, hatred for joe ruins another thread.

    What I am wondering is that there has been no really scrutiny as to if these are the “World’s Stupidest Fatwas.”…

    What about all the Fatwas that lead to 9/11 endless wars and the eternal third world status to large swaths of the Muslim world.

  56. What about all the Fatwas that lead to 9/11 endless wars and the eternal third world status to large swaths of the Muslim world.

    Foreign Policy likes those Fatwas.

  57. I was confused by the title of this thread, because to me, “FP” always stands for Fresh Prince.

    (Welcome back to coelekanth! Haven’t seen you around for a while.)

  58. Yeah, I figured coelekanth was gone forever.

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