Muftis in the matrix: comparing online English- and Arabic-language fatwas about emergency contraception

L. L. Wynn, Angel M. Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


English- and Arabic-language cyberfatwas on emergency contraception (EC) illuminate current debates around sexuality in the global Muslim community. In websites with fatwas about EC, there are significant differences in the way that English- and Arabic-language fatwa websites discuss this reproductive health technology. During the study period of 2016–17, English-language sites were more likely to rule that EC was not religiously acceptable, whereas no Arabic-language online fatwas declared the technology forbidden to Muslims. In contrast, Arabic questions to online fatwa sites were more concerned about whether EC would facilitate illicit sex and the health risks of contraceptives. Only English-language sites discussed the morality of pharmacists providing EC. These websites and fatwas reveal different visions of Muslims’ relationships with technology, science, and scientific experts. They also suggest the influence of non-Islamic religious constituencies on Muslim interpretations of reproductive health technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-332
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Middle East Women's Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • cyberfatwa
  • emergency contraception
  • internet
  • reproductive health
  • transnational Islam


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