Production and adaptation of fatwas in the era of electronic media with reference to the works of Yusuf al-Qaradawi
In her dissertation project Bettina Gräf focuses on the impact of the media on the process of issuing fatwas and on the layout of the genre. The fatwas of the Egyptian Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a popular Azhari scholar and so-called media mufti who was born in 1926 and has lived in Qatar since 1961, serve as useful examples to investigate changes in the fatwa genre since the 1950s, when Qaradawi began to publish fatwas. Qaradawi, who was an active member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in his younger days, has never relinquished his commitment to contemporary Islam and is regarded as one of the leading theorist of the Islamic awakening (al-sahwa al-islamiyya) of the 1970s. Since the beginning of his career, Qaradawi has made fatwas a central tool of proselytization. He uses radio, terrestrial television and the telephone to meet the expectations of those – mostly from Egypt and the Gulf region – who request a ruling. Internet and satellite television provide him with the opportunity of addressing his fatwas to Muslims worldwide.
The dissertation project, however, renders transparent that media fatwas have become a key means of legitimizing Muslim politics and a symbol of what it means to be Islamic in a multi-religious and multi-ethical media-mediated world. Hence those (in journalism, politics and religion) who are involved in the fatwa giving/publishing process leave their mark on the fatwa genre.