I decided to read the Islam case study on climate change and the first question asks about a primary source. This question was “How do the authors of the fatwa apply ancient Arabian sources to their modern Indonesian context? What does this say about Islam?” The authors of the fatwa apply the ancient Arabian sources by quoting the Qur’an (hadith which is sayings of the prophet) so that they show that Allah thought about these things and that they still apply to today.
They do this by getting any quotes talking about animals and how the people should take care of them and the land that they live on.
Before any quote is given, they give a brief description of what it is about and what it represents then shows it in Arabic and then the translation. Each quote directly relates to the topic of endangered species and how we should protect them. For example, “O Prophet, is there a reward for us in doing kindness to animals?’ The Prophet replied: ‘there’s a reward for every [kind] heart.
” The way that this quote was interpreted was that the hadith appreciates when there is kindness to animals and to people that help them fulfill their rights to live. The way that they describe the quote is how they really connect it to today’s context.
There may not have been endangered species back then, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t think animals weren’t important so bringing up quotes like this really put it into perspective that back then they cared for the animals and that we really should now for the ones that are disappearing.
This shows that Islam is a religion that can connect things from the past to the present which is important because it shows that not everything in the religion was based off a simple society. This also begins to answer another question, “How do the MUI’s fatwas show how Islam changes over time?” The MUI’s fatwas show that they care about today’s society and they can show that in the past they thought the same things that they are stating now in the fatwas if you interpret the hadith the way that they do.
They can show the hadith in a different way that lets them show how it is relevant to society now and I think that really shows how Islam changes over time by not just reading the hadith at face value and really digging into it to relate it to hot topics that matter like climate change and endangered species. Another question mentioning the MUI is, “How do the MUI’s fatwas show how Islam is embedded in specific cultures?” In the case study they describe fatwas as, “The fatwas are a non-binding legal opinion written by the highest authority on Islamic law. It has no legal authority in Indonesia, but it carries moral weight in the Muslim population.”
The way the fatwas show that Islam is embedded in specific cultures is just based on the population of Muslims that are in the culture. For example, in Indonesia the case study said they had the largest Muslim population so that is a lot of people that look up to the MUI and follow Islam as their religion. Even though the fatwas aren’t actual legal laws people will still follow them because they see them with high importance. These fatwas were for Indonesia specifically it seems like so the presence of Islam in the Indonesian culture must be huge to have such a high order present making the fatwas there. There is one more question with different parts talking about the MUI and the fatwas, and I am going to break it down starting with, “What kind of power doers Islam have in the Indonesian legal system?”
The fatwas are again not actual legal laws, but they do make a difference. Because they come from the Ulama Council of Indonesia (the highest authority) they influence the government to make changes on policies and laws. No one is forced to do the fatwas, but I believe that there are many people including government officials that are guided by them and will try their very best to live by them. So, I think that they can be very powerful in the Indonesian legal system just because people want to follow the Islamic authority if that is their religion of course. The next part of this question says, “Why might secular leaders welcome these fatwas, when the religious rulings agree with what is already secular law?” Secular leaders might welcome the fatwas even though the secular laws already agree with religious rulings because the fatwas are trying to make it better.
The fatwas seemed to be more based on things that already exist but are not very strict. To the secular leaders they might accept these fatwas because they agree maybe not on a religious base but on a more common standing that we shouldn’t be ruining the world we live in and that the laws protecting the Earth should be stricter, so it isn’t as easy to ruin things. Also, when the secular leaders accept the fatwas it might be easier to connect with other groups of people making them more likeable in certain cultures. The final part of this question states, “What kind of pressure does the MUI put on the secular government when their rulings don’t agree with secular law?” Based on this problem being the environment and endangered species I think that the pressure the MUI puts on the secular government on things they don’t agree on becomes a huge thing.
This is a worldwide problem that they are bringing to people’s attention and so if the government doesn’t agree or doesn’t change things to fix the problem it could result in them having “haters” and it could look like they don’t care about the Earth. This puts a lot of pressure on the government to get their act together in order to stop this problem, and because this problem doesn’t have to be purely based on religion, I think it helps too. The people who follow Islamic law will see the government as bad if they don’t fix the problem the MUI brought up, but also others that just notice the problem that don’t necessarily focus on Islam as their religion can realize it’s a huge problem too.
The last question is, “How does Indonesia’s colonial context effect how Indonesian Muslims think about climate change?” In the case study it says that the Dutch colonized Indonesia, but in WW2 it was taken over by Japan. After this there were dictators until 2004 when they had democratic elections. After this the case study says, “Muslims have seen climate change as a Western problem, caused by industrialization, capitalism, and the exploitation of colonies like Indonesia.” They thought that since the problem was caused by the Western powers, they should fix it, but because they are now feeling the effects of climate change they are starting to change their mind.
This is because they have places in Indonesia that are only making problems worse. Even if these companies are from another country it is their laws that are letting them get away with damaging the Earth. So, at first the colonial context made them think it wasn’t their problem, but then things changed and they realized that they are enabling the problem to get worse. In all I enjoyed reading this case study and learning about how powerful the MUI and their fatwas can be in Indonesia, and how they are trying to help endangered species and climate change.