By Parag Deulgaonkar
The authority will ensure scholars eliminate any source of conflict among existing and future rulings
The UAE Cabinet on Tuesday created a single authority to ensure alignment of fatwas (Islamic rulings) in the country and ensure preaching of moderate Islam.
At present, the emirate has a fatwa centre, as part of General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, which answers queries regarding matters related to worship and creed, social relations, business transactions, family relations and women issues.
The centre’s website states it receives more than 1,000 calls daily, but the numbers cross 3,000 a day during Ramadan.
The new UAE Council for Fatwa will be the sole reference and will ensure the alignment of all issued fatwas in the country, according to state news agency, WAM.
The council will also ensure that religious scholars advocate moderate Islam and eliminate any source of conflict among existing and future fatwa.
The Fatwa Council will issue Islamic rulings on various issues at the request of government entities, institutions or the general public, resorting to a defined mechanism to issue, announce and archive rulings.
In addition, it will regulate the right to exercise the issuance of fatwa and ensure compliance to required licensing and training with the aim of eradicating all extremism and ill-motivated practices.
Separately, the cabinet also approved the formation of the board members of the Higher Sharia Board for Banking and Finance to strengthen consistency of the Islamic finance industry across the UAE.
The board is responsible for setting rules, standards and general principles for banking and financial activities that comply with Islamic laws. It will also establish a general framework for Islamic governance and fatwa issuance on matters highlighted by the UAE Central Bank or other financial institutions in the country, WAM said.