Rabat - A fatwa (religious edict) banning the use of chairs in mosques has provoked outrage in Muslim-majority Bangladesh.
Rabat – A fatwa (religious edict) banning the use of chairs in mosques has provoked outrage in Muslim-majority Bangladesh.
Many Muslims use chairs in mosques to perform ruku` or sujud due to physical inabilities, especially elderly and disable people.
However, a recent fatwa issued last week by Bangladesh’s Islamic Foundation, an autonomous government agency, said the use of chairs inside mosques is ‘illegal’.
“Nowhere in Islamic history and traditions was the use of chairs in mosques accepted,” said Mufti Muhammad Abdullah, an official from the Islamic Foundation. “Muslims can say prayers standing, sitting and kneeling, but not on the chair.”
He said that sick and disabled persons are not obliged to attend mosques for prayers, according to Islamic website onislam.
“Once Prophet Muhammad was hurt after falling down from the back of a horse, but he sat on the floor of the mosque to say prayers although there were chairs,” he added. “Moreover, chairs spoil the beauty of the mosques.”
The fatwa has drawn criticism both from within the government circles in the Muslim-majority country, as well as from other Muslim clerics.
The country’s Prime Minister Sheika Hasina told a weekly cabinet meeting she was “stunned” by the fatwa, saying she herself prays on chairs during flights.
“We strongly protest this faulty and fictitious fatwa,” said a statement issued by a pro-opposition group of Islamic leaders and clerics. “Chairs have been used for prayers in mosques for years,” said Abdul Latif Nejami, one of the signatories, as quoted by AFP.