The highest religious authority in Egypt.
What is meant by iftaa: An Islamic decree concerning doctrines, religious practices, dealings, good manners, and likewise matters that have their settled principles in the Islamic law (shariaa), hence the function of the legal mufti is to demonstrate the religious judgment for a specific issue; whether it is permitted, rejected, detested, obligatory, or prohibited. The expression “iftaa” and its derivatives in the Arabic language have the meaning of revealing, demonstrating, and clarifying.
The Egyptian house of Iftaa “Dar al Iftaa” was founded in 1313 A.H., which corresponds to November 1895 A.C.
At the beginning, the job of Iftaa was within the competences of Sheikh al Azhar (chief of al Azhar). For a decree issued by khedive Ismail Hilmi dated 24 Mouharam 1317 A.H. , June 1899 A.C., was found in the prologue of the fetwas of Imam Muhamed Abda, in record no 2 of the records of the Egyptian Dar al Iftaa, it stated the following: “Your eminence Sheikh Muhamed Abda, moufti of the Egyptian land: Relying on your well-known deep knowledge and accomplishment, we have confined to your care the office of Iftaa for the Egyptian land, thus we have issued this informing order for your eminence to undertake the charges of this office”. After this, the designation of mouftis continued by a decision of the head of state, until the revolution of 23 July 1952. The moufti then became appointed by a decision of the president of the Republic, under the title of “moufti of the Egyptian Arab Republic”, with the rank of a minister.
Since its establishment, The Egyptian Dar al Iftaa continued to move from one place to another, until its location was settled at its current building, at the Khaldin garden, in Dirassa in Cairo. It was formally inaugurated by president Housni Moubarak, on the 12/Rabih al Awal/1412 A.H., which corresponds to the 21/ September/1991 A.C.
The Egyptian Dar al Iftaa has specific functions:
a- Answering the questions of different inquirers, regardless of their nationalities, positions, or offices, by demonstrating the Islamic legal rule that applies to the matter in question, whether it concerns doctrines, religious practices, dealings, good manners, personal status, such as marriage, divorce, and heritage, or other issues that require an Islamic legal rule.
b- Illustrating the Islamic legal rule in the cases of death penalty, referred to it by the criminal court. Dar al Iftaa examines the criminal documents referred to it from their beginning. The final report also mentions an account of the event, the evidences enumerated in the case’s documents, and criteria of Islamic jurisdiction, with the jurists’ different opinions, to finally select the opinion that agrees best with the Islamic doctrine, to the benefit of society. When finished with the reports, they are registered in the criminal record; the report is attached to the case’s file in the utmost secrecy, in a closed and sealed envelope that is handed to the criminal court in authority.
c- Training envoys to Dar al Iftaa: Dar al Iftaa receives personal status judges from Islamic countries to train them on technical and administrative tasks of Iftaa. Judges from the island of Brunei, nearby Malaysia, as well as judges from different states of Malaysia have had their training in it. The Secretary General of Dar al Iftaa in the Islamic Republic of Comoros islands has also completed his training in this house.
d- Issuing statements that determine the beginning and end of every Arabic month. It is also the responsibility of the Egyptian Dar al Iftaa to anticipate the crescent of every Arabic month, in coordination with astrologists and workers in the Halwan observatory, the Egyptian space board, and astrology sections in universities of Cairo and al Azhar, as well as others. The experience of the Egyptian Dar al Iftaa has indicated that the correct legal vision does not disagree with correct astrological calculations. The Egyptian Dar al Iftaa has designated several scientific committees with the mission of foreseeing the crescent of every lunar month, after the sunset of the 29th day of the preceding month. These committees exist in the governances of Aswan, Kana, Al Wadi al Jadid, Southern Sina, Matrouh, and other places that are suitable for crescent anticipation.
e- Printing the Islamic fetwas “legal opinions” that have been issued by the Egyptian Dar al Iftaa; there are 22 volumes of Dar al Iftaa that have been issued up until now. These volumes included thousands of fetwas; some of which are related to doctrines, religious practices, and dealings; others are related to personal status issues such as marriage, divorce, engagement, nursing, and heritage, as well as other Islamic legal rules that are indispensable for a Muslim. These volumes are distributed without charge to all courts of different degrees, in order for judges, consultants, and others to be acquainted with them. A large part of these volumes is also given to scientific institutions, and individuals who wish to acquire useful knowledge as well as an Islamic culture free of all that contradicts with the correct religious rulings.
(last updated: 04-January-2003)
The documentation was gathered with the best efforts of researchers and scholars, in neutral and scientific spirit. We welcome all clarifications, corrections and improvements for best services. A Concept Team makes every effort to ensure, but cannot guarantee, the accuracy at all times of this information. Hyperlinks to or from other websites imply neither responsibility for, nor approval of, the information contained in those websites by A Concept. Copyright A Concept mafhoum "the Arab Decision Makers Project"