India’s leading Islamic seminary, the Darul Uloom, issued a fatwa (a religious decree) declaring that watching cartoons on television is un-Islamic, and a violation of sharia law, according to a report issued Aug. 27.
Senior cleric Mufti Arif Quasmi explained the ruling by saying: “[A] cartoon is a picture. Besides, it is not for the children. It should not be watched.”
Islamic teachings on the depiction of animate objects vary, with the most strict Muslim clerics banning animation completely on the basis that it imitates Allah’s acts of creation. Other clerics, however, permit photography, video, and even cartoons.
Some are not happy with the ruling. All India Shia Muslim Personal Law Board convenor Maulana Yasoob Abbas said the Darul Uloom was “misleading” Muslims and handing out fatwas “on anything and everything, making a mockery of Islam”. He said Islam was a tolerant religion, but the Islamic seminary had brought a bad name to it by giving out “irresponsible and impracticable” fatwas.
According to reports, the seminary has “created a record of sorts in terms of the number of fatwas issued.” In the past, the Darul Uloom has declared it to be unlawful for women to use perfume containing alcohol; wear tattoos, jeans, or “Western hairstyles”; take part in modeling; wax “from knees to navels”; and be appointed as receptionists; calling it “illegal and against the Sharia.”