Get muftis with degrees in non-Islamic subjects too, says academic

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BANGI: An academician has proposed that religious departments hire mufti’s with a degree or a PhD in a different subject other than only Islamic studies, in order for them to keep up with the times.

Prof Tajuddin Rasdi from UCSI said though religious authorities are doing a good job they have to keep up with the times as unlike 30 to 40 years ago, there are more people now who have attained higher education.

“These muftis must be multi-displinary with a degree ot PhD in other fields, such as architecture or social studies, for example.

“Islamic leaders must be able to see the bigger picture in terms of environment, psychology, architecture and others,” he said.

Tajuddin said this during a talk on Rethinking Islam at universities within the “human civilisation” construct, here yesterday.

A mufti is an Islamic scholar who interprets and expounds Islamic law. Muftis are also jurists qualified to give authoritative legal opinions known as fatwas or edicts.

Tajuddin said that institutions founded on teachings after the time of Prophet Muhammad, had weaknesses as they are run by people.

“These institutions are part of the process of the evolution from the prophet to the teachers and people should have the right to question the different schools of thought,” he said.

Tajuddin suggested that there is nothing wrong with the way things are, except for the fact that the authorities now want to punish people over such teachings.

“The religious departments produce their edicts. If it is without enforcement, that is okay.

However, nowadays, they want to punish you, and that is the problem,” he said.

He gave an example of social activist Dr Kassim Ahmad who was acquitted and discharged by the Syariah Court over charges of insulting Islam and defying Muslim authorities.

Tajuddin said Kassim was entitled to his views but “here, it was considered deviant”.

He said as the country produces more graduates, it was also natural for people to question these institutions and it was not right to pass the same judgements that were carried out some 30 to 40 years ago.