In the name of God the Most Merciful, the Compassionate
All praise is due to God. May God’s peace and blessings be upon our master and Messenger of God, his family, Companions and those who follow him.
Islam attaches great importance to knowledge and holds scholars in high esteem. The very first verse revealed to the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) was the command to read as per the words of God the Almighty, “Read in the name of your Lord Who created. Created man from a clinging substance. Read and your Lord is the most Generous. Who taught by the pen. Taught man that which he knew not” (Quran 96: 1-5). God the Almighty exhorts us to read and seek knowledge in all aspects of life including the Quran (religious knowledge) and the universe. This divine call includes ‘alam al-amr (the realm of command) and `alam al-khalq (the realm of creation) and both are from God.
Scholarly research is the true manifestation of seeking sound knowledge and the best means to its development and flourishing. It is the springboard for civilized human participation. The world is in dire need for a sound research methodology, Muslim heritage, their mindset and their experience in embracing all cultures, exchanging ideas and cooperation to deduct new avenues to live by. Cooperation for the sake of developing scholarly research is the only means towards achieving real global civilized comprehensive solutions to our problems.
Stemming from its role to promote the sound craft of issuing fatwas, the General Secretariat for Fatwa Authorities Worldwide calls upon religious scholars, jurists, muftis and knowledge seekers from all fields of specialization and to pay great attention to scholarly research. In addition, it is important to transform these extensive research efforts into academic and authenticated volumes. This specifically includes scholarly research that contributes to resolving Muslims’ problems with respect to fatwa issuance to enable Muslims around the globe to balance their religious commitments and their lives wherever they are.
Today, we need to conduct specialized scholarly research away from entirely free from superficiality and generalizations. We need specialized scholarly research that combines originality and renewal. We need specialized scholarly research that attaches importance to the human dimension in Islamic discourse and to courageously address current issues. We need to give precedence to persuasive evidence-based scholarly logic over empty discourse, combine idealism and realism and give prominence to the educational and spiritual dimensions.
Paying attention to scholarly research and all its aspects opens the hearts and minds of knowledge seekers to more rational and wider horizons. There is no doubt that open-mindedness and rationality are the antithesis of extremism. Therefore, scholarly research is the first brick in the way of combating extremism and terrorism. The ignoramus is violent, while the scholar is merciful to people through the knowledge God has bestowed upon him.
Mastering the craft of conducting scholarly research stands on equal footing with fatwa issuance, as the later contributes to exploring legal texts, principles, objectives and methodologies. It also contributes to understanding the reality of our times which is considered another pillar of combating extremism and sound renewal that Muslims seek.
There is no doubt that those who are inclined to research and to acquiring knowledge are capable of distinguishing between the individual entity and the legal entity, and between fiqh of the community and fiqh of individuals. Moreover, they are capable of weighing legal evidences with respect to their preponderance, achieving the interest or choosing what is suitable for each issue from our fiqh heritage. In addition, they are able to employ new scholarly methodologies to address unprecedented issues. It is important to take into consideration the four variables that factor in ifta` i.e. time, place, people and conditions. The reason is to achieve the interest of the people without transgressing the boundaries of the objectives of Islamic law taking into account both current reality and recognized scholarly consensus. Consequently, relativity is maintained in scholarly research and ijtihad [analogical reasoning] and its results. Because it is a human effort with an absolute belief of the sanctity of the revealed texts, both the Quran and the sound Sunnah.
Our current reality has become more complex due to the novel methods of obtaining information; not so much because of the difficulty of obtaining them, but because of the massive amount of information and their frequent commixture with illusions and delusions. Such a matter requires giving greater attention to research methodologies to help us establish sound authentication, understanding and accurate judgement.
There is no doubt that, at present, scholarly research occupies a prominent place in the advancement of scholarly renaissance through the contributions of researchers the various branches of knowledge. Islamic fiqh stands at the forefront of all branches of knowledge since it creates societal prosperity through doing good acts stemming from the sound knowledge which is transmitted from trustworthy scholars.
Based on the above, the General Secretariat for Fatwa Authorities Worldwide has devoted great attention to this issue by introducing this peer-reviewed scholarly journal, which includes a group of scholarly researches as contribution to achieve the benefit from fatwa issuance in worship, administration of the earth and purification of the soul. This issue of the journal includes a number of researches conducted by fatwa scholars from around the world.
Dr. Ali Gomaa Mohammed Abdul-Wahab –Member of Senior Scholars Committee and former Mufti of Egypt: “The Role of Ijma’”.
Dr. Mohammed Kamal al-Din –Professor at the Faculty of Law, Alexandria University: “The Necessary Objectives and Citizenship”.
Dr. Mohammed Bishari –Dean of Ibn Sina Humanities Institute in France and Head of the French Muslims Federation: “The Challenges of Contemporary Citizenship in Light of Cultural Differences and Multiculturalism”.
Ahmed Mamdouh Sa’d –Head of the Legal Research Department at Dar al-Ifta’ al-Misriyyah: Evidences over which there is a Consensus: the Definitive and Speculative”.
Dr. Mohammed Wesam ‘Abbas Khidr –Head of the Written Fatwa department at Dar al-Ifta’ al-Misriyyah: “The Concept of Citizenship and its Relation to belongingness”.
We ask God the Almighty to bless these efforts and to benefit every person looking for knowledge, truth, and guidance. Indeed, God Alone is the All-Hearing and All-Seeing and He responds to His worshippers.
Dr. Ibrahim Ibrahim Negm
Secretary General of the General Secretariat for Fatwa Authorities Worldwide
Senior Advisor to the Grand Mufti of Egypt