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Smoking and Islam
Smoking Row Smoulders On
South China Morning Post, January 4, 1996, pg 10
A SPLIT in the Islamic leadership has widened with a top Muslim scholar denouncing “self-proclaimed” religious advisers.
The row is over a move by some senior religious officials to declare smoking haram, or sinful.
The Islamic community is also at odds over a proposal to introduce compulsory HIV testing of couples planning marriage and tougher penalties for offences under Islamic law, such as adultery and khalwat, or close proximity between unmarried men and women.
Dr. Ismail Ibrahim, director-general of the Institute of Islamic Understanding, said people should stop creating their own fatwa, or binding rulings, which only confused and divided Muslims.
He said individual opinions should not be considered as fatwa, which only the National Fatwa Council was allowed to issue.
Dr. Ibrahim said the uprorar over the move to categorise smoking as haram was a blatant example of what happened when an individual issued a fatwa.
“These self-proclaimed muftis should do more research, read more, and view all opinions … and not come up with a fatwa”, he said, “Some think by coming up with a fatwa, it will be a shortcut to paradise”.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Religious Council in Kedah state is to provide insurance for its vice prevention division after a citizen who joined a khalwat raid was shot dead.
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