Al-Assad cancels the position of Mufti of the Republic and enhances the powers of the Jurisprudence Scientific Council.. What are the implications of the procedure?

Northern Syria – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s decision to abolish the position of Mufti of the Republic raised many questions and speculations among Syrians, at a time when al-Assad strengthened the powers of the Jurisprudence Council in the Ministry of Endowments.

In a surprising and unprecedented move, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad abolished, the day before yesterday, the position of Mufti of the Republic – occupied by Ahmed Badr El-Din Hassoun from the city of Aleppo – according to Decree No. 28, which stipulated the abolition of Article No. 35 of the law regulating the work of the Ministry of Endowments, which is called Accordingly, the Grand Mufti of the Republic.

According to the new decree, it became one of the tasks of the Jurisprudence Scientific Council “to determine the dates of the beginning and end of the lunar months, to seek and confirm the new moons, and to announce the consequent jurisprudential rulings related to Islamic religious rituals and worship,” such as “issuing fatwas, laying the foundations, standards, and mechanisms necessary to organize and control them.” These tasks were the responsibility of the Mufti of the Republic, Hassoun.

Until these moments, the Syrian regime had not clarified the reasons for canceling the position of Mufti of the Republic and expanding the powers of the Jurisprudence Scientific Council, but the decision came days after an indirect response from the Council to Mufti Hassoun’s interpretation of a chapter from the Holy Qur’an, which the Council considered incorrect and a distortion of the meaning of the verse, and came “according to its whims.” and human interests,” without naming the Mufti.

The Jurisprudential Scientific Council, headed by the Minister of Endowments in the regime’s government, Abdul Sattar al-Sayed, was established in 2018 according to Article 5 of Law No. 31 on Endowments, and began its first preparatory meetings on November 20, 2019, in the presence of clerics and scholars from various religious sects.

‘ripping up Syria’

For his part, the official spokesman for the Syrian Islamic Council, Mutee Al-Batin, described the abolition of the position of Mufti in Syria and the expansion of the powers of the Jurisprudence Council as a danger to Syria and its future, considering that the Council is no longer Syrian, but has become a mixture of Syrians and non-Syrians, “especially since the Minister of Awqaf in the regime’s government The Syrian nominates whomever he wants to be a member of the council.”

Al-Bateen said – in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that the council, in its proposed form, is an attack on Sunni Syrians mainly, and it has penetrated into sectarianism, tearing Syria apart and making it another color and another identity commensurate with what the Syrian regime has done in terms of changing the demographic structure, killing and demographic displacement aimed at distorting the identity. Syria, he said.

Al-Batin ruled out that the reason for the abolition of the position of Mufti in Syria was what Hassoun spoke about in the condolences of the artist Sabah Fakhri in the city of Aleppo and his distortion of a surah from the Holy Qur’an (the figs).

During his speech on the occasion, Hassoun claimed that the map of Syria is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an in Surat Al-Tin, and asked: “Where is the map of Syria in the Holy Qur’an? It is found in a Surah that we recite a lot with our prayers, namely (The Figs and the Olives (1)) and Tur Seneen (2)” and this D. D. We created man in the best way.”

And he added, “We created man in this country in the best form, so if he left it, we would send him back to the bottom of the low.” By that, he meant refugees outside Syria, and he continued, “Then (God) completes except for those who believe and do righteous deeds (in this land) for them will have an unfailing reward, meaning those who remain In Syria,” Hassoun, in his statements, meant the opponents and refugees, and directed his speech to them, saying, “Go back to your country, abroad, you will not find anyone to pray for you.”

The Grand Mufti of Syria Sheikh Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun (left) speaking at a seminar in the Iranian capital, Tehran (Anatolia – Archive)

According to the spokesman of the Syrian Islamic Council, the position of the mufti in Syria holds a great symbolism and position for the Syrians, and he was elected from among the scholars prior to the rule of Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar, expressing at the same time that he did not regret the dismissal of Hassoun, as he “did not leave a means except that he used it to harm the people.” Syrian, for standing with his enemies.

Mufti and order

For 17 years, Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun (72 years old) held the position of Mufti of the Republic. He was born in the predominantly Sunni city of Aleppo. He holds a BA in Arabic literature and a doctorate in Shafi’i jurisprudence from Al-Azhar University. He previously held the fatwa in the city of Aleppo, the largest city in the north. Syria and the economic capital of Syria.

Throughout his time in office, Hassoun was known for his positions in support of the Syrian regime and its president, Bashar al-Assad, and for his use of religious occasions to support the regime and promote its praising agent.

With the beginning of the Syrian revolution, Hassoun sided with the regime’s authority and described the revolution and the popular movement as a conspiracy targeting the security of Syria, behind which were terrorists, while the regime’s opponents described him as “the Mufti of Barrels” after calling on the Syrian regime to exterminate the eastern neighborhoods during the Syrian opposition’s control over them.

Hassoun also launched, in several interviews and occasions, his attack on the Syrian refugees, describing them as servants and workers for the Western countries that received them to escape the war that the Syrian regime ignited.

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