Friday, August 4, 2017

Muslim clerics offering religious edicts in Cairo metro stir debate

By Menna Zaki
Al-Azhar clerics wait to answer commuters questions inside a Fatwa Kiosk, at the Al Shohada’a metro station, in Cairo, Egypt. Egypt’s Al-Azhar institute, the Sunni Muslim world’s foremost religious institution, has set up a booth in a Cairo subway station with clerics offering fatwas, or religious advice, to commuters. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)
CAIRO, Egypt---Reda el-Sebaay was taking the subway while on a short business trip to Cairo from a Nile Delta city when he stumbled upon clerics offering religious advice or fatwas — answers to any question a Muslim follower might have. Fatwas are religious edicts or pronouncements, often on major issues related to Islamic teachings. But they also provide guidance on matters of everyday life, including starting up a grocery store or any other private business, whom to marry and whether it is permissible under Islam to accept banks’ interest rates. The booth in Cairo’s al-Shohada subway station was set up in July by Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world’s foremost religious institution. More booths are planned for later, at other subway stops. [More]