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Author: Arun Shourie
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8172232594
A Fatwa is a decree, a ruling. The usual sequence is that a Muslim puts an issue before an authority, and the latter rules on the matter. The authorities that can issue a Fatwa are well recognized.
The Fatwas accumulate. From time to time they are compiled. These compilation become both the high literature of the community as well as the Islamic version of Supreme Court Reports. The Fatwas are the Shariah in action, and the Shariah is a vital public issue in India today. No group exercises greater influence over the average Muslim than the Ulema, and nothing reveals the mind-set of the Ulema as do the collections of their Fatwas.
The author, a well known journalist, has taken up five collections of Fatwas for study and analysis. These are:
* Fatawa-i-Rizvia - Volumes I to XII * Kifayat-ul-Mufti, Mufti Kifayatullah ke Fatawi, Volume I to IX * Fatawa-i-Ulema Dar al-Ulum, Deoband, Volume I to XII * Fatawa-i-Abl-I-Hadis, Volume I to V * Fatawa-i-Rahimiyyah, Volume I to III
Most Indian Muslims are Sunnis, some say almost 85 to 90 percent are Sunnis. Most Indian Sunnis are Barelvis, some would say two-thirds of them are, in particular those living in the countryside. The Fatawa-i-Rizvia is the most important collection of Fatwas of the Barelvis.
It needs to be mentioned that both the collections of fatwas and the collection of hadis are high literature of the community and constitute the texts which students learn and memorize at the centers of Islamic learning.