This essay begins with an examination and analysis of the Johor Islamic Religious Council fatwa which was issued on the International AIDS Day on 13 November 2001 and made HIV/Aids testing compulsory for Muslims planning to get married in the state of Johor. The fatwa is the first of its kind in Malaysia and became a media topic that invoked comments and responses from the public over a period of several weeks.The Johor authorities have specified public interest (maslaha) as the juridicial basis of their fatwa but it seems that the critical nature of the public response to this fatwa casts doubt over the efficacy of that fatwa and the claim that it makes over maslaha. The present essay examines the arguments, the public response and professional opinion over that fatwa and the extent to which they relate to public interest and maslaha. The last section of this essay looks into fatwa procedure under Malaysia law as that is where some of the issues tend to originate. I have then advanced the view that the fatwa - making procedure in Malaysia also calls for a fresh evolution and review.
IIUM Law Journal, Vol. 9 (2001), 99-117.