/muf"tee/, n., pl. muftis.1. civilian clothes, in contrast with military or other uniforms, or as worn by a person who usually wears a uniform.2. a Muslim jurist expert in the religious law.3. (in the Ottoman Empire) a deputy of the chief Muslim legal adviser to the Sultan.[1580-90; < Ar mufti lit., a person who delivers a judgment, orig. a Muslim legal adviser; sense of def. 1 arises from the legal adviser being a civil official]
* * *Islamic legal authority charged with issuing an opinion (fatwa) in answer to an inquiry by a judge or a private individual.Such a judgment requires extensive knowledge of the Qurān and the Hadīth as well as of legal precedents. During the Ottoman Empire the mufti of Istanbul was Islam's chief legal authority, presiding over the whole judicial and theological hierarchy. The development of modern legal codes in Islamic countries has significantly reduced the authority of mufti, and they now deal only with questions of personal status such as inheritance, marriage, and divorce.
* * *▪ Islamic titleArabic Muftī,an Islāmic legal authority who gives a formal legal opinion (fatwā) in answer to an inquiry by a private individual or judge. A fatwā usually requires knowledge of the Qurʾān and Ḥadīth (narratives concerning the Prophet's life and sayings), as well as knowledge of exegesis and collected precedents, and might be a pronouncement on some problematic legal matter. Under the Ottoman Empire, the mufti of Istanbul, the sheikh al-Islām (Turkish: şeyhülislâm), ranked as Islām's foremost legal authority, theoretically presiding over the whole judicial and theological hierarchy. The development of civil codes in most Islāmic countries, however, has tended to restrict the authority of mufti to cases involving personal status, such as inheritance, marriage, and divorce; and even in this area, the prerogatives of the mufti are in some cases circumscribed by modern legislation.
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