From today’s International Herald Tribune…
CAIRO: First came the breast-feeding fatwa: It declared that the Islamic restriction on unmarried men and women being together could be lifted at work if the woman breast-fed her male colleagues five times. Then came the urine fatwa: It said that drinking the urine of the Prophet Muhammad was deemed a blessing.
At first, I thought this must be another one of those tasteless Western jokes. But no.
For the past few weeks, the breast-feeding and urine fatwas have proved a source of national embarrassment in Egypt, not least because they were issued by representatives of the highest religious authorities in the land.
“We were very angered when we heard about the Danish cartoons concerning our Prophet,” wrote Galal Amin in the newspaper Al Masry Al Yom, referring to the 2005 publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that caused an international uproar. “However, these two fatwas are harming our Islamic religion and our Prophet more than the cartoons.”
For many Muslims, fatwas, or religious edicts, are the bridge between the principles of their faith and modern life. They are supposed to be issued by religious scholars who look to the Koran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad for guidance.
While the more sensational pronouncements grab attention, the bulk of the fatwas involve the routine of daily life. In Egypt alone, thousands are issued every month…
Strange things, religions.