Roznama Ummat, a leading Urdu-language Islamist newspaper published from four cities in Pakistan, runs a regular feature under the title "Ask Darul Uloom Deoband." Under this series, the Urdu daily republishes fatwas issued by Darul Uloom Deoband, an influential Islamic seminary in the town of Deoband, India, not far from New Delhi. Darul Uloom Deoband is the world's second largest madrassa for higher education in Islamic studies, with the first being Jamia Azhar of Egypt.
Fatwas are legal opinions issued in response to questions put forward by Muslims. Although they are deemed to be legal opinions derived from Islamic shari'a, they are more powerful than the prevailing laws in influencing the decisions of many Muslims. Following are examples of fatwas, as published by Roznama Ummat.
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Question: "I have a sticker shop... I want to know whether it is appropriate to make Hindu gods with stickers. And how can we be protected if it is not right. And if making it is like making a picture."
Answer: "[The question] is not clear – what does it mean by making Hindu gods with stickers? Whether you make idols and their faces by your own actions and material or you just paste the printed stickers of idols. Either way, in both situations there is an expression of idolatry and idol worshipping and helps in the expression and progress of the tenets of Hindus. Therefore, in both the situations it is illegitimate for the reason of aiding sin [i.e., of promoting Hinduism].
"It has been clearly prohibited in the Quranic chapter of Al-Ma'idah. Especially, in the first condition when a god is shaped in the form of a living being, then it will be considered making a picture, which itself is a bigger sin. (Fath al-Bari: 471/10, Chapter: Azab-ul-Musawwareen)
"Therefore, in the context of this question, you should avoid making idols of gods or pasting stickers as much as possible. And the things that are legitimate according to shari'a, limit yourself in enaging in those activities. (Fatwa: U–1437/ D=2/53– 61, Darul Ifta, Darul Uloom Deoband)"
Question: "What do the Ulema [Islamic religious scholars] say about sweets, etc., that are gifted to Muslims by fellow countrymen on the occasion of [the Hindu festival of] Diwali. According to shari'a, is it right to accept and eat them?"
Answer: "If the Diwali sweets are given first as an offering to the gods and goddesses and then given to you, then it is not permissible to eat them; it is haram [impermissible]. And if it given without the offering, even then it is better to avoid them. (Fatwa: U–1437/D=2/ 78–71, Darul Ifta, Darul Uloom Deoband)"
Source: Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), November 11, 2022.