The International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) is a universal scholarly organization. It is a subsidiary organ of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). It was established following a resolution at the Third Islamic Summit of the Organization (N.8/3-T/S-I) on 19th-22th Rabi al-Awal 1401H, corresponding to January 25th-28th, 1981. Its headquarter is in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Academy is endowed with a legal personality. Its members are eminent Muslim jurists, scholars, researchers, and intellectuals who specialize in jurisprudential, cultural, educational, scientific, economic, and social fields of knowledge from different parts of the Muslim world.
The Academy is entrusted with elucidating the rulings and provisions of Shariah on issues of concern to Muslims around the world, in full independence and based on the Holy Quran and the Noble Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). It also studies contemporary life issues, performing an authentic and effective Ijtihad, aiming at providing solutions stemming from Islamic heritage and open to the developments of Islamic thought.
For four decades and with the Almighty’s grace, the Academy has held twenty-four sessions that adopted resolutions concerning various contemporary issues, calamities, and developments. To date, it has issued two hundred and thirty eighty (238) resolutions.
The International Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Organization of the Islamic Conference was established following a resolution issued by the Third Islamic Summit Conference, held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah in 1401 (1981). The text of the resolution reads as follows:
“The Third Islamic Summit Conference named “Session of Al-Quds and Palestine” held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 19-22 Rabi’ Al-Awal 1401 AH corresponding to 25-28 January 1981.
Taking into consideration the speech addressed by His Majesty King Khalid bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia to the leaders of the Islamic Ummah, its officials and Muslims worldwide, in which he called upon the Ummah, its scholars and thinkers to mobilize their energies to diligently face the developments of contemporary life and its problems while being guided by the Islamic creed and its eternal principles capable of realizing man’s spiritual and material well-being in every place and time. His Majesty’s speech also called for establishing an International Islamic Fiqh Academy comprising jurists, scholars and thinkers from the Muslim world to sort out authentic Islamic answers to every question and issue posed by contemporary life.
Recalling the crucial role of science and reason in the progress of nations and the advancement of humanity,
Recalling the extraordinary civilizational role played by the Islamic Shariah and the Muslim heritage, enriching Islamic knowledge, guiding humanity towards light and guidance, and remaining a rich source and a solid basis to advancing human life towards a better future,
Emphasizing the need of the Islamic Ummah, at this historical turning point, for an Academy in which the efforts of its jurists, scholars and wise men converge so that this nation presents authentic principles emanating from the eternal Islamic intellectual sources of the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah (PBUH),
1. To establish an academy called (Islamic Fiqh Academy) whose members are fuqaha, ulama and thinkers in various fields of knowledge of jurisprudence, culture, science and economics from all over the Muslim world in order to study contemporary life issues and exercise Ijtihad on them authentically and effectively to provide solutions emanating from Muslim heritage, open to the concepts of Islamic thought towards these issues.
2. To entrust the OIC Secretary General to consult with the Muslim World League to take the necessary steps to develop the Statutes of this Academy and present it to the next Conference of Foreign Ministers of Muslim Countries to examine it and take the necessary steps for its approval.
Speech of King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud:
The Thirteenth Conference of Foreign Ministers, held in Niamey, the capital of Niger, on 3-7 Dhu al-Qi’dah 1402, corresponding to 22-26 August 1982, approved the statutes of the Islamic Fiqh Academy and called for a general conference in Makkah for creating the Academy and during which the statutes will be approved after being reviewed by Member states.
In his opening speech at the founding conference of the Islamic Fiqh Academy held in Makkah under the patronage of His Majesty King Fahd bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia – may Allah have mercy on him, on 26-28 Sha’ban 1403 (7-9 June 1983), he said:
“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, and may the blessing and peace be upon His Final Messenger:
With the praise of Allah the Almighty, the founding conference of the Islamic Fiqh Academy was held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah between 26-28 Sha’ban 1403 AH (7-9 June 1983) under the auspices of His Majesty King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and President of the Third Islamic Summit Conference.
Thanks to the founding conference, the Islamic Fiqh Academy became a reality and one of the organs of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, in implementation of resolution No. 8/3-W (QA) issued by the Third Islamic Summit Conference held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Taif, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on 19-22 Rabi` al-Awal 1401 AH (25-28 January 1981), which decided to establish the Academy.
At the opening of the founding conference of the Islamic Fiqh Academy, His Majesty King Fahd bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia- may Allah have mercy on him- said:
“In the name of Allah, praise be to Allah, and may the blessings and peace be upon the Messenger, our master Muhammad, his family and companions,
Your Honor and Excellency,
Members of the Founding Conference of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy:
I greet you with the greetings of Islam, al-Salam Alaykum wa-rahmatu Allah wa barakatuh, May Allah’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you. I wish you a warm welcome to this generous country, the birthplace of Islam, and the Qibla of Muslims. I ask Allah to direct your steps and make success your ally.
Your meeting is the true beginning of an important historical stage of our Islamic Ummah, in which the honor of serving the Shariah transcends the limits of individual and regional efforts and crosses political boundaries through a global organization, a first of its kind, that expresses the unity of the Ummah in this field.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Teamwork is the hallmark of the success of the Islamic Ummah and its ability to meet challenges. Indicators show that the Islamic Ummah has set its feet on track of correcting its historical path and returning to faith in light of the solidarity of its children. This is the Third Islamic Summit Conference held in the vicinity of the Kaaba, which includes, among its results and decisions, the historic decision taken by Muslim world leaders to establish the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, whose founding conference we are attending today. This conference has been a good opportunity and a serious and conscious beginning for our Islamic Ummah towards realising its aspirations to glory and strength to effectively participate and pursue its pioneering role in building human civilization, achieving justice and liberating humans from human injustice.
We all believe – dear brothers and sisters- that Islam is a religion that addresses reason, opposes backwardness in its various forms and aspects, encourages freedom of thought, adapts to the achievements of the modern age and encourages their continuous exercise. Just as Islam establishes the rules of behavior, it also governs social and international relations based on mercy, for which Allah the Almighty said: “And We have sent you only as a mercy to the worlds” Al-Anbiya, 107.
Human relations have constantly developed, but human thought failed to study human sufferings and meet its hopes for prosperity and peace, so human reason needs an adjuster of mercy. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) passed away to the Supreme Companion only after successfully conveying the Almighty’s religion to us in its entirety and as He wanted it for us. The law of Islam has been the true great wealth of the Muslim world, and its autonomy has preserved it in the darkest circumstances in which it has suffered fierce attacks on its heritage, civilization, and humanism.
We are witnessing, in our time, parts of our Ummah suffering in Palestine, the occupied Arab lands and Afghanistan, groaning under the weight of injustice, oppression and aggression, just as our shrines in Jerusalem are desecrated by the occupier who has shed blood, occupied the sanctity, and displaced millions of our Muslim brothers and sisters. The weakness and weakening of the Islamic Ummah would not have happened to it if it had adhered to the directives of the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah. However, turning away from the umbrella of Islam has been the first and most influential factor for the fierce challenges that the Islamic Ummah is facing today from its enemies who are constantly and persistently working to deviate it from its faith, because the enemies of Islam realize that Muslims have no strenghs without their adherence to their solid beliefs, for not adhering to it becomes a source of perils threatening the lands of Islam and the Ummah of Mohamed (PBUH).
I believe that the first step to build our unity is to renounce the disputes among Muslims and to treat them with the spirit of Islamic brotherhood, in accordance with the words of the Almighty: “And cling all together to the Habl (rope) of Allah and do not be divided”. The Almighty also said: “And do not quarrel; otherwise you will weaken and lose your strength”.
Moreover, the real beginning of our strength depends on our ability to face the world’s social, economic, and humanitarian problems with Islamic solutions inspired by the tolerant spirit of Shariah and adapted to the needs of our time.
More than half a century ago, a call was made to hold the first Islamic conference to discuss the situation of the Ummah and consult on what would achieve its welfare, following the unification of this country under the banner of the late King Abdulaziz, may his soul rest in peace. Then the efforts continued until the establishment of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and a blessed Islamic awakening in Muslim countries was launched to return to Islam, to the teachings of the Noble Quran and the guidance of the Sunnah. This awakening has given every Muslim the pride of his religion, cultural affiliation, and brilliant and glorious past.
This awareness is expressed in various forms within Muslim communities, but its main substance is the same, namely the conviction of the need to find Islamic solutions to contemporary problems. Other systems may sometimes be able to find solutions to certain problems, but the value of our Islamic faith lies not only in the fact that it provides us with global solutions and that it provides us with these solutions and gives us the strength to achieve and protect them. We hope that Islamic thought will accompany this awareness to master its progress based divine wisdom in all fields.
We are aware that divisions among Muslims have resulted in the reluctance of the scholars to face the severe problems of life with a unanimous opinion.
Today, as you can see, many events, issues, and problems have accumulated despite the abundance of diligent scholars and jurists at all times and places. The situation is urgent, and the responsibility in front of Allah is greater than the diligence of a simple individual’s efforts regarding ongoing issues until endorsing the acceptance and support of scholars after thorough investigation and consideration in the past and contemporary jurisprudence.
In this regard, the call for the establishment of an International Islamic Fiqh Academy has become a dire necessity for this stage of the Islamic Ummah, where it finds the authentic Islamic answer to every question posed by the challenges of contemporary life, to achieve mankind’s happiness in general and that of Muslims in particular; and to answer the questions posed by the challenges of the modern life based on Shariah, as there is no success for us except by following it and conforming to its principle. “And who is better than Allah in judgement for a people who are certain [in faith].
The clarification of divine laws and the obligation to submit to them in terms of judgments and as subjects will lead to the preservation of life, property and dignity, and the clarification of the divine laws will make Muslim supporters of mercy and peace who direct their efforts against their enemy at a time when some nations are raging a war against our civilization, heritage and Ummah.
The spirit of fanaticism is the farthest thing from Islam because fanaticism is one of the causes of hatred, division and intellectual rupture. Allah has forbidden us that which causes hatred and enmity among Muslims. The truth is that fanaticism has no meaning in Islam because a Muslim has only to bind by the law of Allah, the criterion is to extract the judgment with its proofs from the Quran and the Sunnah, in accordance with the maxims of legal deduction and principles which are known to scholars and jurists.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has adhered to this spirit in its judicial system, following the example of the righteous predecessors and their Imams. Specific instructions were issued by His Majesty the late King Abdulaziz, declaring that the disputed issues between the Muslim schools are only those which have some background in the Quran and Sunnah.
We – dear brothers and sisters- are all called to work for the unification of the legal systems in Muslim countries in all areas of life, in accordance with the provisions of the Shariah, because this is the only way to achieve Islamic unity among Muslim peoples.
We know that the task is not easy, and the responsibility is heavy, but the hopes in you are greater. So, walk on the blessing of Allah, put your trust in Him, and rely on His help.
I thank Allah the Almighty, who allowed me to witness your meeting on this day which is such a precious wish, long desired and awaited by every sincere and faithful Muslim.
In conclusion, I turn to Allah the Most High, the Almighty, and from the vicinity of His Ancient House, praying that He will grant everyone the better understanding of his religion and acting upon its law, and that the future of our Islamic Ummah will be brighter than its present, and that He will guide us to righteousness, reason, and not to deviate our hearts after He has guided us. He is the Hearing and the Most Responsive, for He is the Guide to the true path.
May Allah bless you and guide your footsteps. May Allah’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you”.
Then, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, H.E. Prof. Habib Chatty, called on the kings and presidents of the OIC Member states to appoint their representatives to the Academy. Thus, the Academy held its first session on 26 Safar 1405 (19 November 1984), which discussed the organization and planning of the future activities of the Academy.
Some amendments were made to the statute, which was approved in its final form. The founding conference requested that the first session of the Academy be held in a period not exceeding five months. It also approved the first provisional budget of the Secretariat General of the Academy, which amounted to 2,274,060 US dollars thanks to the contributions approved by the Member states in addition to the call for generous donations to the Academy.