CAIRO: reconstructive hymen surgery, plastic surgery and timeshare topped the issues discussed at the 18th International conference for Islamic Studies Union in Malaysia.
The conference issued a statement clarifying the Islamic take on some of the most debated contemporary issues.
The conference stated it right to undergo reconstructive hymen surgery for women who lost their virginity before marriage, provided that they had lost their virginity in a rape assault but not through consented intercourse.
This partially contradicts a previous controversial fatwa issued by Dr Aly Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt and the highest authority with the power to issue a fatwa (religious edict).
Gomaa, in TV show, said it is halal (religiously permissible) for women, who lost their virginity before marriage for any reason, to undergo reconstructive hymen surgery.
Regarding plastic surgery, the conference s statement indicated that plastic surgery is permitted by Islam provided that it is done to make a particular part of the body either function again or function more effectively. However, it should not have any negative effects in the future and should be conducted by an authorized and certified surgeon.
More specifically, the conference said that Muslims can undergo surgery related to weight loss, but it is not legitimate to carry out a procedure which results in a change of the size or shape of any part of the body or face, or to have a face-lift, which includes face fillings.
The conference also said that the concept of timeshare, which some travel companies use to sell or rent places for a certain period of time in a year, is halal.
The 18th International Conference for Islamic Studies Union in Malaysia was attended by Gomaa, the Malaysian Prime Minster Abdullah Bin Ahmad Badawi, who gave the opening speech, and the President of the Islamic Studies Union and Chairman of El-Shoura Council in Saudi Arabia Shiekh Saleh Ibn Hamid.
The conference also discussed several issues that Muslims deal with in their daily lives. It stressed the importance of providing space to women to work and participate in the different types of activities.
The conference asked for the creation of an Islamic institution to deal solely with women s concerns, working alongside international organizations to protect women and families.
The conference also stressed the need for all Muslims to correct the negative stereotypes that they are encountering from the West. The statement emphasized that Muslims should not be extremists and strict in their religious ideologies. They should accept the differences between the different Islamic schools, and try to be moderate in their thinking.
In that regard, the statement added that Muslims should reject atheism as it does not relate religion to life. They should acquire knowledge from different sources and not limit themselves to one source only. They, the statement continued, should appreciate the concept of time and its value. Muslims’ lack of time management, it explained, is the main reason behind “Muslims’ failures and retardation.
The conference s statement also emphasized the importance of standing against the obstacles and stereotypes by building relations with people from different places in the world, and setting high standards for the preachers who travel to different countries to educate others about Islam.
The conference also indicated that Islam requires all Muslims to abide by morals, have a comprehensive understanding of Islam as a religion, implement the shoura concept, take other people s opinions and accept the concept of citizenship and equality between all citizens of the same country.
Another issue the conference discussed was the means required to increase human resources in the Islamic world. Here the importance of education was stressed and there was a call for development of school curriculums of most countries of the Islamic world. In addition, the conference proposed allowing education to be offered at a low or zero cost to make it available to a wider section of the population.