Tabah Participates in Abu Dhabi Tawdheef Recruitment Exhibition

Tabah Foundation for Islamic Studies participated for the first time in the recruitment exhibition, Tawdheef 2013, which took place in the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from Jan 29-31.

During the event, which enjoyed participation from a large number of institutions and appealed to a broad segment of job seekers, Tabah sought to attract the most talented and qualified individuals, especially from among UAE citizens, to recruit for open positions. With this approach, Tabah Foundation hopes to achieve its human resources objectives by increasing its level of Emiratization and by encouraging local talent in promising fields.

Tabah Foundation is also working on improving the professional benefits it provides to its employees, both national and non-national. To that end we have contracted one of the biggest international companies in the field of human resources, which is conducting research on the status of the job market in Abu Dhabi, including the analysis of the benefits provided to employees. It also identifies methodological and international criteria and mechanisms for employment.

The Islam women were promised – Article posted by Musa Furber in Washington Post

Article posted by Sh Musa Furber, research fellow at Tabah Foundation, published by The Washington Post in January 2012:

The horrific and heartbreaking news from India is tragic enough on its own: two alleged victims of gang rape have died, one a 23 year old woman who succumbed to her wounds and a 17 year old girl who took her own life after being pressured to marry one of her alleged attackers.

These stories are awful enough on their own, but sadly they also bring to mind other similar cases we saw during 2012.

These cases include the 16 year old Moroccan girl who took her life after being ordered by the court to marry the man who allegedly raped her, and similar cases in Jordan involving 14 and 15 year old girls. In these and other cases, the societies involved – and their legal systems – advocated pardoning rapists if a deal could be struck for them to marry their victim. Morocco has its clause 457 (the origins of which go back to French law and is said to be intended only for cases of consensual premarital sex), and Jordan has its article 308. Similar laws exist in other countries where, apparently, the honor of a woman reflects on her family in a perverse way where, where the stigma of rape outweighs the sanctity of that woman’s life and dignity.

When I read of these cases I am always left baffled at how Muslims can support allowing a rapist to obtain a pardon by marrying his victim, often by pressuring their victims and their families to cooperate. As a specialist in Islamic law, I know that these cases are egregious violations of what Islam teaches on the rights of victims, the definition of justice and the meaning of marriage.

The Islamic worldview is clear concerning the rights and obligations of self-defense and defending others from attacks against person and dignity. This is especially the case for sexual assault, where a woman is obligated to fend off her attacker and bystanders are obligated to come to her assistance. Obviously, the fulfillment of such an obligation depends greatly on the circumstances she finds herself in, her state of mind, her ability to fend him off, and so forth. Regardless of whether or not she manages to even attempt to do so, it is still rape, and must be treated as such. Some scholars advocate that a woman’s self-defense extends even to the after-effects of an attack, including restoring their feeling of security, treating the emotional trauma, and aborting a pregnancy resulting from rape. Advocates of this position argue that this is consistent with the noble purposes of the sacred law that place protection of the life and the intellect of the woman above protection of lineage, property, and reputation. The sacred law is also clear that marriage is a relationship based on affection, mutual respect, intimacy, trust, kindness, and a refuge from uncontrolled carnal lust.

Compelling a rape victim to marry her rapist (alleged or convicted) denies her the opportunity to defend herself and exposes her to additional attacks against her person, intellect and dignity. It also forces her to live in a relationship that is based upon hatred, alienation, violation, and abuse, and it rewards her attacker for his violence.

Exhortations to mercy are ingrained in Islam. Pardoning rapists who agree to marry their victim and compelling their victims to do so are mercy’s antithesis.

We have already seen that compelling victims to marry their rapists has the potential to lead to suicide. Forcing victims to marry in such a way places family dignity above her own life, intellect, and dignity – which is opposite the order of priorities assigned by the sacred law. How can one reconcile this inversion of priorities with the Islamic worldview which views spreading corruption and the wrongful taking of a single life each as akin to slaying mankind in its entirety, and the saving of a single life akin to saving mankind in its entirety (Q5:32)?

Some advocates do so on the grounds that it is cultural and falls within Islam’s flexibility towards local culture and custom, and that local culture places such a great shame on rape (whether alleged or proven) that the victim is better off married to her rapist (alleged or convicted) or better off dead. While it is true that the sacred law does include a degree of flexibility regarding local culture and custom, it is limited to those that do not contradict the sacred law or subvert its noble purposes. In short, the sacred law affirms practices that agree but rejects practices that contract or subvert it.

Other advocates suggest that the laws are intended to apply only in cases of consensual sex, such as when couples do so in hopes of forcing their families to allow them to marry, and that when reported, the act is recorded as rape. Using this term to somehow protect society from the shame of admitting that women engage in consensual premarital sex opens a life-destroying door of forcing women who were already wronged to an even greater wrong, often leading them to take their own life out of anguish and desperation.

There is something deeply wrong when a Muslim society views the shame of a single rape to outweigh facilitating the spread of corruption and the wrongful taking of life.

The earliest generation of Muslims took pride in their compliance to the Quran’s injunction to abandon female infanticide, an act that was often done to prevent shame to the family. Thus for centuries, Muslims have taken pride in their contributions to the rising status of women. But what pride is there in abandoning burying one’s young daughters in the sand only for them to grow to adulthood wishing that they had been? These tragically frequent stories of women violated over and over again can only be described as the perversion of Islam. Unfortunately, by Muslims themselves.

*This piece first appeared in the Washington Post (USA) and then in The Huffington Post (USA) with the writer’s permission. An Arabic version appeared in Midan Misr (Egypt).

Sheikh Musa Furber is a research fellow at the Tabah Foundation and a qualified issuer of legal edicts (fatwas). He received his license to deliver legal edicts from senior scholars at the Egyptian House of Edicts including the Grand Mufti of Egypt. Twitter: @musafurber

As published in The Washington Post

Chairman of Tabah Management Board participates in the 6th Annual Convention of Islamic Callers to Islam

As part of the activities and proceedings of the Sixth Annual Convention of Muslim Da‘wah Workers held in Tarim-Hadramawt – attended by over a thousand da‘wah workers worldwide including members of Tabah’s work personnel – Al-Habib Ali AlJifri (Chairman of Tabah’s Management Board) presented a lecture under the convention’s fourth theme entitled “Changes and Events: how should the da‘wah worker understand and deal with them”.

Al-Habib Ali shared the session and platform with Shaykh Umar ibn Husain al-Khatib, and in his speech he pointed out the themes classifying the challenges confronting the da‘wah worker and Islamic discourse in an environment characterized by changes and events, identifying four key themes in the process:

1. Religious illiteracy.
2. Problems of Islamic discourse in its interactions vis-a-vis thought and movements.
3. Civilizational identity.
4. Cultural openness.

His participation in the convention came under one of four themes around which this year’s convention centered:
• ‘Rules and Recommended Practices in Da‘wah and Media Work’.
• ‘Cooperation and Coordination between Media Institutions’.
• ‘Changes and Events: how should the da‘wah worker understand and deal with them’.
• ‘The Role of the Da‘wah Worker in the Context of His Family’.

It is worth mentioning that the convention was attended by a large number of da‘wah workers, preachers and teachers. The attendance by females active in the field of da‘wah was particularly noteworthy and they numbered around 200 da‘wah workers. The convention also coincided with sixteenth annual commemoration of the opening of Dar al-Mustafa in Tarim-Hadramawt held every year on the 29th of Dhul Hijjah.

Two articles by Musa Furber, published in several Arabic and International newspapers

Two articles by Sheikh Musa Furber (a resident research fellow at the Foundation) entitled “What is a Fatwa? Who can give them?” and “Libyan Graves” appeared in Washington Post and Egypt Independent respectively with subsequent reprints of the first on Ahram Online, the website of Sheikh Ali Gomaa and Midan Masr (the latter includes the original English and their own Arabic translation) and a reprint of the second on Al Arabiya. “What is a Fatwa?” was in response to all those who put themselves forward to issue fatwas (religious edicts) while not being qualified to do so, and then pass legal judgments in a rash and reckless fashion even if they claim to be from among its qualified practitioners, and “Libyan Graves” in response to the latest spate of attacks on the graves of renowned Muslim scholars and sages by Salafi hardliners.


Habib Ali tours UK for -Muhammad: Master of Change, Upon him be Peace-

Habib Ali arrived in London on 2nd May after a three year absence. The tour was being organised by Radical Middle Way, a nonprofit organisation based in London that works with the Muslim community in the UK. Habib Ali visited numerous cities, including London, Leicester, Birmingham, Bradford, Nottingham, Peterborough, Cambridge and Cardiff.

The tour included a two day intensive course in the newly built Harrow Mosque, in north-west London, on book 20 of the Ihya ulum al-Din of Imam al-Ghazali, titled “The Etiquettes of Living and Prophetic Character.” As part of Habib Ali’s continued outreach to other faith communities, a number of interfaith meetings were arranged, including a frank discussion on the future of Christian minorities in the Middle East, which took place at Lambeth Palace and was attended by representatives of the Anglican, Catholic and Coptic Churches, as well as various leaders from the Muslim community. In Leicester, Habib Ali spoke at the St. Philip’s Centre, a Church that is well renowned for it’s extensive interfaith work and which is located next to the Umar ibn al-Khattab Mosque. The topic was lessons to be learnt from the life the Prophet Jesus on being a good neighbor and coexistence.

The theme of the tour was “Muhammad: Master of Change, Upon him be Peace,” and a number of talks and reminders were offered on this topic in the various cities. You can hear some of them through the audio page. As part of the cultural aspect of the tour, Habib Ali delivered a discourse on poetry and spirituality at the “Day of Poetry” event at SOAS university in London. There were also presentations by Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad and Shaykh Muhammad Bashuaib, as well as recitals of classical and contemporary poetry by various artists.

As part of the community outreach aspect of the tour, visits were made to the Cambridge Muslim College which was founded by Shaykh Abdul-Hakim Murad, a new mosque being built by Shaykh Habib al-Rahman in Bradford, Jamia al-Karam Institution in Nottingham, and the Yemeni Mosque in Cardiff, where Habib Ali also took part in the revival of the community procession, a tradition that had been started by the scholars and community of Cardiff in the previous century but had been stopped for over 50 years. You can view photos of the event below.

Habib Ali also took part in the first dedicated conference on Muslim nonprofit work in the UK, organised jointly by Radical Middle Way and An-Nisa Society at the Muslim College in Ealing, London. Habib Ali delivered a lecture on the concept of faith (iman) and service (khidma) and sought to address the needs and requirements of those who work in the field. He also met with Elizabeth Huntley at the event, director of Theos, a think thank based in London dedicated to creating dialogue around faith and society, and shared perspectives with her on Tabah Foundation and it’s mission.

After the conclusion of the tour Habib Ali participated in the launch of Tabah Foundation’s new release, “Muhammad Shahrur’s Cargo Cult,” in Oxford University. He delivered a presentation on Tabah Foundation and it’s vision. The trip was brought to a close thereafter and Habib Ali departed for Brussels.

Related Links

Tour’s Official Website

Release of new analytic paper: Reducing the Role of Decision-Making Biases in Muslim Responsa

In an event featuring the Grand Mufti of Egypt, the Chairman of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs & Endowments, the Grand Mufti of Dubai, and al-Habib Ali al-Jifri, Tabah Foundation released its latest analytic paper “Reducing the Role of Decision-Making Biases in Muslim Responsa“.

The new paper presents errors in the process of issuing fatwa and proposes solutions for  reducing such errors and improving the accuracy of fatwas.

Tabah Foundation for Islamic Studies has released its newest research publication, titled Reducing the Role of Decision-Making Biases in Muslim Responsa. The brief sheds light on the errors that may occur in the process of issuing fatwas which may result from  employing heuristics, It also proposes solutions for reducing such errors and improving the accuracy of fatwas. The new publication was issued in both Arabic and English.

The event organized by Tabah to mark the release of the brief was attended by high profile Islamic figures, among them the Grand Mufti of Egypt Sheikh Ali Gumaa, H.E. Dr. Hamdan Musallam Al-Mazrouei, Chairman of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Dr. Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al Haddad, Grand Mufti of Dubai and Managing Director of the Fatwa Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities, al-Habib Ali- al-Jifri, Chairman of Tabah Foundation, along with a number of muftis and academics. Sheikh Musa Furber, researcher at the Tabah Foundation, delivered a talk that shed light on a number of errors that petitioners commit when dealing with issues for which they need a fatwa. He also addressed the impact of such errors on the process on issuing fatwas when scholars deal with matters relating to the contemporary context or newly occurring issues. This study analyzes such mistakes.

During the event, the researcher presented the concept of fatwa and the significance of the role of the mufti in the process of issuing fatwas. He identified four stages in the process of issuing a fatwa: conception (the petitioner describes a specific case and the mufti asks for additional details); adoption (the mufti matches the relevant features of the case to the relevant legal subjects); evaluation (where the mufti checks whether the pre-conditions, essential elements and associated conditions for the issue that has been identified have been met in the petition’s specific case, and its ensuing legal consequences); and response (the mufti re-examines the petitioner’s circumstances to ensure that applying the ruling will realize the petitioner’s interests without violating the overall objectives of the Shari‘ah).

Then the researcher addressed a number of patterns that could be attributed to heuristic-related biases affecting the mufti, which he categorized into ten patterns: The anchoring effect (focusing on a past reference or a single trait or piece of information); the availability effect (estimating the likelihood of events based upon the ease with which they can be recalled from memory); the confirmation bias (seeking out or interpreting information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions); fundamental attribution error (over-emphasizing the role of personality traits when explaining one’s own behavior); the halo effect (allowing the observation of a positive trait in one area or aspect of an individual to influence a positive evaluation of other traits); the reverse-halo effect (allowing the observation of a negative trait in one area or aspect of an individual to influence a negative evaluation of other traits); the overconfidence effect (excessive confidence in one’s own ability and accuracy when answering questions); the primacy and recency effects (the tendency that items near the end of a list are the easiest to recall); the recency bias (recalling or giving greater weight to recent over earlier events); and the self-serving bias (the tendency to claim more responsibility for successes than for failures). The researcher briefly explained the impact of these patterns in the conception and adoption stages of fatwa.

After the talk, the floor was opened for a Q & A session. Dr. Ali Gomaa initiated the session with a comment on the use of the term “bias”, speaking of its accuracy in describing reality, its appropriateness resulting from its use in modern literature and from its established use in ordinary speech. He noted that bias is present in almost all disciplines, like engineering, medicine, astronomy and other sciences.
A practitioner of any of these sciences cannot separate himself from the opinions he or she holds. He also added that a mufti must pay attention to the triangle of fatwa: conception, adoption and response. Muftis must ensure that their conception resembles the reality of the case. They must be precise when listening to the case, because there could be a “miss-adoption” if they hear what they want to hear. Finally, they must be precise in using the established ruling by ensuring that it applies to the reality on which the fatwa is based.

H.E. Dr. Hamdan Al-Mazrouei focused in his commentary on the importance of the comprehension and conception of reality held by muftis, and how it reflects on his legal rulings in terms of prohibiting or permitting things to the individual or society. Dr. Ahmad al-Haddad’s speech revolved around research and its foundation in relation to two essential concepts: the fiqh of the self and the fiqh of reality. He also emphasized the significance of God-fearing as the most important attribute of the mufti in issuing fatwa. He also stressed the importance of considering the legitimate legal dispensation for the petitioner.

Al-Habib Ali al-Jifri stressed that this study demonstrated the importance of this subject matter. The real problem lies in the wide gap between a fast-paced, ever changing and complex reality, on the one hand, and the legal rulings appropriate to their historical realities that scholars and jurists have mastered, on the other. This understanding underscores the importance of muftis who have a deep understanding of our current reality. This will enforce the credibility of those in leadership positions in fatwa and Islamic discourse.

It is worth noting that the brief, Reducing the Role of Decision-Making Biases in Muslim Responsa, recommends conducting an independent study that examines the impact of relying upon heuristics in Islamic disciplines. It also recommends that fatwa institutes educate their muftis about the influence of biases, and that the same instruction is included in mufti-training programs, since doing so will ensure that petitioners receive fatwas that are more accurate and more likely to improve the quality of their lives.

Tabah Foundation’s Senior Scholars in -The Muslim 500- Annual List

Members of Tabah Foundation’s senior scholars board were recently ranked among the top 50 most influential Muslims in the world in ‘The Muslim 500’ annual list prepared by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies in Amman, Jordan, in cooperation with the Prince Waleed bin Talal Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding in Georgetown University.

Dr. Mufti Ali Gomaa appeared at No.12, Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Bouti at No.20, Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah at No.31, and Habib Umar bin Hafiz at No.37. Tabah Foundation’s founder, Habib Ali al-Jifri, was also ranked and appeared at No.42.

The list aims to highlight the Muslim world’s most influential personalities based on their contributions to knowledge and society and the extent to which people benefit from them. This year’s edition also included details on the stance each of the top 50 ranked personalities took towards the Arab Spring uprisings.


SH Musa Furber Cited in “The National”

Sh. Musa Furber, Senior Fellow Researcher in Tabah Foundation and scholar in Islamic Sciences,  was sourced for two important articles published in the famous ‘The National’ newspaper of UAE.The first article, published on 8th of Aug 2011,  was discussing the issue of scientists suggesting using maths to mark start and end of Ramadan, and how islamic scholars would agree or disagree with them.

“Their entire argumentation is based on engineering and mathematics, and if you want to make an argument to change a policy concerning the Muslim community, it had better be based on religious methodology. Otherwise, the learned scholars will never accept it.”  said Sh Musa.  [Read Full article here]

The second article, published on 9th of Aug 2011,  was on bioethics. The article discussed a controversial issue, where an in-vitro fertilisation centre in Abu Dhabi is to offer genetic screenings of embryos – a service that geneticists say is needed to prevent disorders related to interfamily marriage-, and what is the religious leaders situation from it.  [Read Full article here]



Tabah publishes summer edition of Clarity

Tabah’s Communications and External Relations Department has published the second issue of Clarity, Tabah Foundation’s periodic newsletter, Summer 2011.

The periodical is a brief on the platform of world Islamic discourse and research activities.

Click here to download the newsletter


Musa Furber attended: Where Religion, Policy, and Bioethics Meet

On April 10–11, 2011, Musa Furber (Research Associate), attended “Where Religion, Policy, and Bioethics Meet,” a conference on Islamic bioethics held at the University of Michigan. This conference was the first if its kind to be held in North America. Although Islamic bioethics has been a topic of interest to Muslim scholars since the 1970s, it has only recently become a topic of interest in Western and English literature. Islamic bioethics in the West is dominated by medical practitioners and social scientists who are not themselves versed in Islamic law and oftentimes antagonistic towards Islamic scholarship. This conference broke new ground by including a number of Muslim jurists amongst its speakers. The conference was attended by over 150 attendees, mostly from the medical community.

Among the conference’s topics were: the relationship of culture and society to bioethical values; the status of bioethics amongst Muslim physicians and in the Muslim world; bioethics within the healthcare system; and Islamic bioethics according to Islamic scholarship. Furber had the honor of being invited to present how traditional jurisconsults respond to bioethical dilemmas and the role of juridical councils. Furber had received many questions about bioethical issues when he was at Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta, so the invitation provided an opportunity for him to work with classical and contemporary jurisprudence – theoretical and applied. But more importantly: it was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the Shari‘ah’s positive concern for the sanctity of life and human dignity.

Furber covered in his presentation the relationships between jurisprudence and medicine, the methodology jurists use when researching bioethical issues, the prerequisites for the individual carrying out Islamic legal research, the large number of contemporary bioethical issues that jurists have already addressed, the need for collaborative research for interdisciplinary issues such as bioethics, and the status of opinions issued by individual jurists and juridical councils. His presentation also touched on the need to seek legal rulings from qualified jurisprudence, and the shortcomings of generalizing the highly-contextualized fatawa found in newspapers and online. At the end of his presentation, he recommended that future discourse on Islamic bioethics in North America needs to include qualified jurisconsults.

Later during the conference, several Muslim physicians mentioned their surprise at learning about the range of bioethical issues that had already been covered by jurisconsults. Many attendees indicated their interest that jurisconsults and qualified Muslim scholars take an active role in future discussions. Several non-Muslim professors stressed the need for greater participation from representatives of normative Islamic scholarship as that is the Muslim voice that interests them.

In sha Allah, this is just the beginning of Tabah Foundation’s participation in Islamic bioethics, both abroad and locally. Many regional physicians have expressed their interest in learning about Islamic bioethics, for their own practice and to better serve the needs of their patients.

Engaging topics of applied ethics is one of Tabah’s research initiatives towards the renewal of contemporary Islamic discourse to fit the needs of humanity