Did Imam Tawhidi profit off a fabricated fatwa?

Imam Tawhidi tweets and posts that if he is killed, it’s because of his book
  • Fatwas are generally issued in response to a specific question. This fatwa doesn’t appear to be in response to anything in particular except vaguely mentioning Tawhidi’s book. It also has a simple heading saying “Sharia Fatwa” without even mentioning what it’s about. Is this the standard template for a fatwa by a Pakistani Mufti? Or has it been hurriedly written in a manner to include just enough juicy material to confirm the worst fears of those who fear Muslims, creeping Shariah and the like?
  • Is this Mufti a recognised authority whose death threat needs to be taken seriously and have most Muslims even heard of him? In other words, even assuming this fatwa is real and the threat made in earnest, is it worth taking seriously and broadcasting without verifying it? Would anyone with more than a superficial exposure to Islam take it seriously?
  • The Mufti in question appears to be mainly engaged in responding to fairly mundane queries about everyday matters of Islamic practice, exclusively in Urdu. He has also advertised two mobile numbers inviting queries to be sent to him via WhatsApp. His other posts are also mostly in Urdu except of Quranic verses directly quoted in Arabic and not in the vein of judgements about individuals, much less fatwas.
  • Wouldn’t a mufti in Pakistan who’s this fluent in Arabic be quite proud of the fact and be posting much in Arabic or at least mentioning this, to add credibility to his status as a mufti?
  • As a minor point the fatwa is signed “Mufti Ahmed Raza Alvi” in Arabic rather than Sialvi. Is the death threat really from whom it’s supposed to be?
  • The Mufti issued two Facebook denials, claiming his account was hacked and appealed to god to guide whoever committed this mischief. These posts are here:
20 Dec 2018. “Salam Aleikum, my Facebook Page had been hacked, if any issues resulted from that I am not responsible.”
20 Dec 2018: A fatwa was published in my name, neither did I write it nor did I have any knowledge of it. I saw it just now and it made me very sad. As for whoever did such a thing, may Almighty Allah guide them, Amen
23 Dec 2018: As-Salam-Aleikum, All friends and wellwishers are hereby informed that someone has hacked my Facebook account which has only now become fit for use again
  • Even before addressing the question of whether he issued the fatwa, a quick call to the Mufti can easily confirm whether or not he even knows enough Arabic to issue a fatwa in Arabic, before addressing the question of whether he even knows. We have a recording of such a call, whose authenticity we can’t confirm, but believe it’s in the public interest to share this. (Scroll down for phone call transcript and audio)

Imam Tawhidi and Robert Spencer confuse the Imam Sialvi above with a different Imam Sialvi who was invited to UK

  1. Robert Spencer retweeted Imam Tawhidi’s death fatwa tweet, claiming it was the same imam who was invited to UK. It was not. Muhammad Ramzan Sialvi is a different person. Link to his facebook here.

Phone call to Imam Sialvi in Pakistan

Conclusion

In summary, some random imam in Pakistan who writes mainly innocuous Islamic posts suddenly decides to post a fatwa in a language he doesn’t speak (Arabic) for his Pakistani audience who can’t read Arabic either, signed with a slightly different name claiming that the australian Imam Tawhidi needs to be killed. Tawhidi somehow finds this fatwa, and uses it to promote his book, claiming he is in hiding and then hiking.

Husband, dad to five, tech enthusiast. Former Conservative Muslim. www.abdullahsameer.com

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