MUI Fatwa as State Legal Reference

In the Focus Group Discussion (FGD) event organized by Indonesia Halal Watch (IHW) at AONE Hotel, Jakarta some time ago, Deputy Secretary General of the Indonesia Council of Ulama (MUI) for Fatwa, Drs. KH. Sholahuddin Al Aiyub, M.Sc, explained that basically Indonesia was formed not as a religious or secular state. The Government does not have the authority to determine the substance of religious law.

“Therefore, the approach taken in Indonesia is to form an institution that can represent Muslims. That is where the role of the MUI Fatwa Commission is, “he said.

Seeing the diversity of Indonesian society, it should be recognized, this role cannot be eliminated just like that. MUI should remain the country’s sole reference in establishing laws relating to Islam. This is to maintain the harmonization of the community, especially mass organizations.

(Read also: Why Fatwa Must be from MUI?)

This legal reference does not only apply to halal guarantees, but also to Islamic economics. According to Aiyub sharia banking laws, sharia securities, and Limited Liability Companies (PT) have stated clearly that matters concerning the principles of shari’ah refer to the MUI fatwa. 

“Another example is the deviant or heretical religion. The government does not have the authority to determine whether this is misguided or not. Therefore, the Government asked the MUI to issue a fatwa on the flow, which was then used as a legal basis for the State, “explained Aiyub.

In Indonesia, continued Aiyub, do not apply mufti fardi or individual mufti. As for what is applied is the mufti jama’i or collective mufti, whose knowledge is complementary. MUI became a forum that brought together scholars from various Islamic mass organizations.

There are a number of things that need to be underlined about MUI as a mufti in Indonesia, especially in terms of determining halal products, including:

  1. Determination of a single fatwa has the potential for differences in establishing the fatwa of the same case.
  2. The diversity of halal fatwas in the same product will confuse ordinary people and potentially obscure legal certainty in the same case.
  3. The determination of halal fatwa in MUI has a higher acceptance, because its members come from representatives of Islamic mass organization fatwas throughout Indonesia.
  4. The provisions of the halal fatwa are qadha’i (mandate of the Act), so they are binding and singular.

“In point two, we take the example of animal law slaughtered by the People of the Book. There are verses in the Qur’an that allow it. But this has to be contextualized the Ahlul Kitab mentioned in the verse is the same as what exists today. MUI took the stand that the Ahlul Kitab referred to in the verse was not the same as the current one. Therefore, slaughtered ahlul book, the meat can not be used. If this is opened, there are organizations that believe, this is allowed. Means there are differences of opinion in one case, “said Aiyub.

Another thing that can also be used as an example is the civet coffee law. Some believe that the law is the same as faeces, which is unclean. However, the MUI fatwa said that civet coffee beans are like an object that is swallowed and come out along with feces, the law is mutant. That is, sacred items that are exposed to unclean things then washed so that they become holy and can be used again.

Aiyub stressed, the existence of various edicts related to the law of one product is feared to make people confused. Therefore, the fatwa must still be carried out in a decentralized, qadha ‘or binding manner. This is in accordance with the mandate of the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia. (YN, YS)

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