The Price of a Fatwa

How much does a fatwa cost? The question should be spiritual, but last week an Indian TV channel aired footage of several Indian Muslim clerics allegedly taking bribes from undercover reporters for issuing the edicts. Among the fatwas bought (for as little as $22) were decrees saying Muslims may not use credit cards or double beds. One cleric issued a fatwa in support of watching TV; another wrote one against.

The cash-for-fatwas scandal has renewed debate on what a fatwa is. Scholars should use the edicts to clarify Islamic law in reply to believers' questions. Many Muslims argue fatwas are misused...

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