BEIRUT: Muslim preachers in several parts of the country echoed Friday Grand Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani’s opposition to legalizing civil marriage in Lebanon, a day after former Prime Minister Saad Hariri came out in support of the issue.
A statement issued by Dar al-Fatwa included the lectures of Muslim preachers delivered right before the Friday prayers.
Akkar Mufti Mohammad Zeid Bakkar Zakaria highlighted the need to commit to the recent fatwa issued by the mufti.
“I thank Mufti Qabbani for his honest stance regarding civil marriage and I stress the need to commit to his fatwa,” said the preacher.
“All Sunnis, whether ministers, lawmakers, officials or common folk, should commit to this fatwa,” he added.
According to the grand mufti’s fatwa, any Muslim official who supports civil marriage will be considered an apostate and an outcast from Islam.
The debate on civil marriage, a controversial subject in a country with 18 officially recognized sects, gained steam in January after President Michel Sleiman came out in support of granting Lebanese the right to seek an optional form of civil marriage.
During an interview on LBCI Thursday, Hariri, a leading political figure in the Sunni community, also lent support to legalizing civil marriage.
Without naming him, Hariri also criticized Qabbani for his stance on the issue.
“Declaring those supporting civil marriage as infidels is forbidden. This approach and way to discuss civil marriage is unacceptable,” Hariri told the host of the LBCI show.
Mufti Zakaria denounced Friday politicians, intellectuals and journalists for what he said were “insults” against Qabbani who “is entrusted with the care of religious affairs at the national level.”
Baalbek Mufti Sheikh Ayman Rifai, for his part, also slammed those criticizing Qabbani’s fatwa and said that “attacking the Muslim [grand] mufti is unacceptable.”
“If anyone wants to support civil marriage, let them disavow their sect and then do whatever they want,” said Rifai.
The preacher also said there would be far-reaching implications on matters relating to divorce, adoption and inheritance should civil marriage be legalized in Lebanon.
Dar al-Fatwa released the speeches for six Muslim preachers in the country.