The European Council for Fatwa and Research
Fatwa Committee UK
Praise be to Allah the lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings be upon the messenger of Allah, and all his family and companions. To proceed:
By the success of Allah, the Committee of Fatwa in Britain – that is a branch of the European Council for Fatwa and Research – was able to meet in the British capital; London, on Wednesday the 6th of Rajab 1437 (the 13th of April 2016). It is the first meeting since starting work with regards to fatwas. Discussions were held concerning several contemporary issues that affect the British Muslim community. After discussion of these topics, the following decisions were drawn by the members of the Committee:
The ruling of breaking the fast for those students whose concentration during exams is affected by fasting
The committee relied upon the verdict of the European Council for Fatwa and Research on this issue (Fatwa 6/25), which states: ‘’If due to the long hours of fasting in Ramadan, the student fears that he will be caused severe exhaustion and hardship, and that fasting will affect his concentration in performing the exam, and he is not able to delay this exam, then he is permitted to break his fast in order to push away such hardship. He is then required to make up the missed fasts later. In the words of Allah: ‘’Allah wants ease for you, and He does not want hardship’’ (Surat al-Baqarah: 185)
Fasting Ramadan when the days are long in Britain
The committee had a look at some of the juristic and astronomical opinions relating to the lengthy days during Ramadan in the upcoming years. After long detailed discussions and debates of the various juristic and astronomical opinions on this matter, the committee confirmed that the fast begins at the start time of the Fajr prayer, and it ends at Maghrib (sunset); and this is the case in all parts of the United Kingdom. Any other views mentioned of reducing the fast hours are based on weak opinions that oppose the clear cut evidences of the Shari’ah; and anybody who is not capable of fasting, has been given permission by Allah to break their fast, and repeat it on another day.
To create a juristic and astronomical council to lay down prayer timings to be implemented in all cities of the United Kingdom
In order to avoid confusions relating to prayer times, especially the night prayers at summer, in which the signs that indicate prayer times disappear, the committee decided to create a juristic and astronomical board that specifically is concerned with calculating and determining prayer times, the most important for those fasting being the start of the Fajr prayer. This would be done for all the areas in the UK. This board would include experts in mathematics and astronomy, as well as two representatives of the Fatwa Committee, applying the flexibility of the Shari’ah in determining the prayer times, especially during periods in which the nights are shortened severely, and the signs for the night prayers no longer become visible or clear.
The permissibility for Muslims outside Palestine to visit Jerusalem
After discussing a piece of research presented by Shaykh Dr. Suhaib Hasan (a member of the fatwa committee), he clarified in it the religiously recommended benefits of visiting Jerusalem, despite it being occupied. The committee decided that it was permissible for Muslims across the world to visit Jerusalem, as a way of confirming the Islamic nature of the place, and in consolidation with its people, and hoping for the reward stated by the Prophet (peace be upon him) for doing so. And its being under occupation does not prevent from visiting it, because the Messenger (peace be upon him) sought permission from Quraish to visit the Sacred Mosque before the Opening of Makkah. This took place when he went out to perform ‘Umrah in the month of Dhul Qa’dah in the sixth month after the Hijrah. It is also narrated that when he (peace be upon him) went to Hudaybiyyah, he sent Uthmaan ibn Affaan to seek permission from Quraish to enter Makkah, so Uthmaan went and told them that we are here to perform ‘Umrah, but the Quraish prevented him that year. They then agreed that they could return the following year, and this was what occurred in the seventh year after the Hijrah.
As per the work of the committee, it advises the following:
Firstly: the committee advises all the Muslims to refer back to the congregational juristic organisations when seeking a fatwa (religious ruling), such as the European Council for Fatwa and Research, the Islamic Shariah Council in London, and other such institutes and councils that are based upon making group ijtihaad (religious verdicts) whilst keeping in mind the reality and various circumstances of the Muslims.
Secondly: the council encourages all the Muslims that their fasting and ’Eid dates are united, based on group efforts that seek out the general benefit of the Muslims. As well as for the Muslims to openly show pride in their religious events and occurrences that show great unity of the Muslim community.
And peace and blessing be upon our Messenger Muhammad and all his family and companions.
Fatwa Committee UK