Fatwa uproar: Does the Prophet's urine have sanctifying properties?

The rest of you can throw all the stones and make all the distinctions you like. I was a good Catholic boy for years and duly partook of the transubstantiated host and wine. I’ll just sit here in my glass house and watch.

In his book Religion and Life – Modern Everyday Fatwas, Egyptian Mufti Dr. Ali Gum’a wrote that the companions of the Prophet Muhammad would bless themselves by drinking his urine, and described an incident of urine-drinking from a hadith: “Umm Ayman drank the urine of the Prophet, and the prophet told her: ‘This stomach will not be dragged through the fire of Hell, because it contains something of our Lord the Messenger of Allah…'(1)

“This blessing,” Al-Gum’a added, “[can also] be done with the honorable saliva, sweat, hair, urine or blood of the Prophet. This is because anyone who knows the love of the Messenger of Allah is not repulsed [by these]; just as a mother is not repulsed by the feces of her son, this is even more so [in the case of] our Lord the Messenger of Allah, whom we love more than our fathers, sons, and wives. Anyone who was or is repulsed by the Messenger of Allah must recant his faith.”(2)

This is the second blockbuster fatwa to come out of Egypt in a month. The first, you’ll recall, prescribed better intergender workplace relations through suckling. Follow the MEMRI link and scan through the reaction from Egyptian authorities: their logic, such as it is, is that the relevant hadith must be unreliable — not only because of its provenance but because it makes for bad PR. That’s the second example we’ve had in three days of ends-means interpretation of Islamic texts.

The boss sends along this NYT piece about fatwas, which is pegged to the urine and breastfeeding rulings but ranges further afield. The takeaway:

A couple approached. The man’s clothes were tattered, and his wife looked distressed. Their 9-year-old son’s clothing was clean, his hair gelled, his smile bright. The man explained that they had adopted the child when he was 9 months old, and that they had just heard that under Islam their son had to be put out of the house, because the mother had not given birth to him or breast-fed him.

He would reach puberty as an outsider, and could not, technically, be around the woman he knew as his mother. The imam at their local mosque said it was haram — forbidden under Islam — to live with the boy.

The sheik said yes, that was right, that the boy could not live with them. The father leaned in, disturbed, and said, “And that’s it.”

The sheik seemed stuck and referred them to another sheik for another opinion.

That was their fatwa.