Even altruism, when expressed through an Islamic paradigm, takes on a tyrannical demeanor: compulsory fatwas. “MP and cleric makes controversial plea to Islamic authority,” by Prega Govender, for the Times, July 26:
Muslim brides and their future husbands could soon be forced to take Aids tests “” and reveal the results to their clerics “” before being allowed to marry.
A Democratic Alliance member of parliament, Rafeek Shah, who is also an Islamic scholar and moulana (religious leader), called this week for a fatwa (Islamic ruling) making it compulsory for Muslim couples to undergo Aids tests before their weddings.
If the fatwa is passed, it would give the more than 450 imams or leaders of mosques the power to refuse to marry couples who don’t take the test.
Shah said in his letter that his aim was not to prevent HIV-positive Muslims from marrying, but to help them undergo premarital counselling and to protect their future spouses.
But Shah is also calling for couples to present their imams with an “Aids certificate” disclosing their status.
“I know there are constitutional problems with this (call). But I believe the collective welfare of society should take precedence over individual rights,” Shah said.
Shah’s call has been endorsed by other leading Muslim clerics, who say it is founded in Islamic law.
Another UUCSA affiliate, the Jamiatul-Ulama of KwaZulu-Natal, rejected Shah’s proposed fatwa, saying it infringed the rights of those leading “pure and chaste lives”.
“The Jamiat urges those seeking marital partners to follow the Prophet’s advice of seeking a partner who has piety,” it said in a statement.