A “good” fatwaBMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7374.1227 (Published 23 November 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1227
- William H Isbister, former professor of surgery
- Hangstrasse, Moosbach-Feucht, D-90537 Germany
The word “fatwa” has come to have a rather sinister meaning in many Western countries. This misconception has arisen, in large part, as a result of one author and his work and the publicity given to a resulting fatwa. A fatwa is simply a legal opinion in Islam given by a mufti or other religious leader on a specific issue, and this account describes one with which I was involved.
In 1990 I was appointed chairman of surgery at a large hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Most of the surgical patients had cancer, and many major and often futile …