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Ethics and Community

One misconception about a fatwa is that this kind of opinion or document makes a certain action or belief compulsory for all Muslims. In fact, a fatwa is simply an opinion that has no legal authority. People seek this kind of advice when they are looking for the input of scholars and those who are specialized in the study of Islam. These types of opinions vary enormously, depending on the school of thought to which a scholar belongs. It is entirely possible to receive conflicting opinions about one legal issue or question. What is most common is that a mufti will issue an opinion that is relevant to his or her local community, and which reflects the needs and particular culture of a specific time and place.


Study Questions:
     1.     How do imams contribute to rituals within Sunni Islam?
     2.     Why are imams consulted in times of crisis and change?
     3.     What is the relationship between gender and imams?
     4.     What is a fatwa?

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