New Deoband fatwa prohibits Muslim women from marrying bank employees
India's largest seminary, the Darul Uloom Deoband, has issued another bizarre fatwa, banning Muslim women from marrying into families whose members work in banks. Apparently, income earned from banking jobs, which involve interests and investment, is 'haraam'; transactions consisting interest is forbidden in Islam. The Deoband says Islam prohibits business in alcohol or narcotics, weapons, schools, and any business undertaken to earn maximum profits.
Fatwas are non-binding informal verdicts issued by a qualified Islamic cleric. A fatwa may be issued in response to an incident, while in religion, it refers to an answer to a question from an Islamic point of view and carries more weight than the former.
This is not the first time the Deoband has issued a strange fatwa. Last year, it banned Muslims from posting their selfies on social media. Then it denounced Muslim women for offering aarti to Lord Rama on Diwali. According to the Deoband, women aren't allowed to indulge in acts like cutting hair, wearing makeup and more, basically anything that might potentially attract another man.
The Deoband's latest fatwa has divided the community. On one hand, many Islamic scholars have upheld it, saying it is in accordance with Islamic laws. On the other, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board has condemned the decision, saying "it will lead to rift and confusion in the Muslim society". "A large number of Muslims are working in the banking sector," it argued.
Last year saw some ridiculous fatwas issued by other bodies too. In May, the Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid, Syed Md Nurur Rahman Barkati, issued a fatwa against Muslims who support RSS-BJP. In July, JD(U) Minister Khurshid aka Firoz Ahmed had one against him for raising slogans of 'Jai Shri Ram'. In October, the Islami Markazi Majlis-e-Shoura banned music at Muslim weddings.
Under the Usul-al-fiq (legal principles), a fatwa has to be supported by legal principles mentioned in the Quran or prescriptions from Prophet Mohammad. It is further expected to be suited to the needs of the contemporary world and free from politics and individual opportunism.