» Student Handout:
The Power of the Fatwa
A NOTE TO STUDENTS: Be sure to take complete notes on all of the questions. These are to be turned in at the end of the assignment.
Read the information on the process of creating a fatwa at the following site:
Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia [URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatwa]
Discuss the kinds of problems that could develop from the creation of fatwas.
List the major problems here. Which do you think is the most important? Why?
Scroll down to The Fatwa on Salman Rushdie:
Why was this fatwa issued? What happened as a result?
Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab founded this Muslim sect in the 18th century. During the 20th century the Saudi Royal family and the Wahhabi clerics worked closely together to centralize control of the Saudi people. One of the most well-known Wahhabi Muslims is Osama bin Laden. Read this brief overview of the Wahhabi movement at:
Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia [URL:
Scroll down to Origin:
What are some of the practices that the Wahhabi believe are contrary to Islam?
Scroll down to Criticisms:
What are some of the criticisms of this group? Which of these criticisms do you believe to be dangerous? Why?
Scroll down to Differences between Wahhabis and traditional Sunni Muslims:
How do each of these groups view the Quran? How could this influence their behavior?