A serpent eagle sits inside a cage at a police station after it was seized from illegal traders along with other animals in Manila. Reuters photo
Not all fatwas make sense to the non-Islamic world. However, here's on fatwa that is worthy of being lauded. The Indonesian Council of Ulama has issued a fatwa against illegal wildlife trafficking.
The fatwa declares illegal hunting of illegal trading of endangered species to be haram, or forbidden.
Believed to be the first of its kind in the world, the fatwa invokes passages from the Quran.
The fatwa calls upon Indonesia's 200 million Muslims to take an active role in protecting and conserving endangered species, including tigers, rhinos, elephants, and orangutans.
"This fatwa is issued to give an explanation, as well as guidance, to all Muslims in Indonesia on the sharia law perspective on issues related to animal conservation," said Hayu Prabowo, chair of the Council of Ulama's environment and natural resources body.
The fatwa supplements existing Indonesian law. "People can escape government regulation," Hayu said, "but they cannot escape the word of God."
National Geographic reports that the inspiration for the fatwa came from a September 2013 field trip to Sumatra for Muslim leaders co-organized by Indonesia's Universitas Nasional (UNAS), WWF-Indonesia, and the UK-based Alliance of Religions and Conservation. Indonesia's Ministry of Forestry and HarimauKita (the Indonesian Tiger Conservation Forum) offered additional consultation.
According to the report, during a community dialogue with village representatives to discuss conflicts between villagers and Sumatran elephants and tigers, some of the villagers asked about the status in Islam of animals such as elephants and tigers.
The Muslim leaders replied: "They are creations of Allah, as we are. It is haram to kill them, and keeping them alive is part of the worship of God."
Read the full text of the fatwa here .