The Public Understanding
of Islamic Scholarship
in Society

The Public Understanding of Islamic Scholarship in Society

Addressing the Faux Fatwa Fiqhtion Addiction

Digital mass and social media are two popular venues for Islamic discourse. If we look at examples of legal rulings which spread widely through digital mass and social media, we quickly notice that the material is almost always something that Islamic legal scholars do not themselves recognize as legitimate, and neither do the Muslim masses. An earlier Tabah analytic brief related to fatwa confidence showed that Muslims have very little confidence in fatwas that spread through these media. In spite of all of the above, the material spreads—often presented as mainstream, leading to public misunderstanding of Islam, Muslims, and Islamic scholarship. Meanwhile, material that Muslim legal scholars do consider legitimate (even if not optimal) and that is accepted by significant segments of the population does not spread—and therefore does little to shape public understanding.

In this piece, Musa Furber offers a hypothesis to explain why this is so, and propose activities to address the problem.

December 2016

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