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This article was published on September 4, 2010

    Alftwa.com: Your Customized Fatwa Search Engine

    Alftwa.com: Your Customized Fatwa Search Engine
    Ahmad F Al-Shagra
    Story by

    Ahmad F Al-Shagra

    Co-founder of Nadrus.com, Ex-Editor of The Next Web ME, trainer, blogger, and programmer. Co-founder of Nadrus.com, Ex-Editor of The Next Web ME, trainer, blogger, and programmer.

    Scene from inside a Mosque with an Imam (usually Muslim Scholar) speaking to the attendeesAlftwa.com is a search engine that allows it’s users to search for a topic of interest in multiple languages retrieving the results from a number of hand picked Muslim Fatwa scholar websites.

    A Fatwa according to Wikipedia “in the Islamic faith is a religious opinion concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar” where an analogy might be made to the issue of legal opinions from courts in common-law systems.

    The website has a quite simple interface and functions in exactly the way it should, you enter a term you’d like a religious opinion on, and it gets you results from about 20 websites. It’s based on Google’s Customized Search Engine technology with some “secret modifications” according to it’s developer Abdullah Obaid.

    Screenshot of Alftwa.com with only Arabic Interfaces

    The developer of the Alftwa Abdullah Obaid a student at KFUPM (King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals) uses around 20 websites to provide search results from with an Arabic interface that when tested we noticed retrieves English queries since the websites Alftwa pulls results from contains English information also.

    The Fatwa query industry is also a major one that could be considered as part of the recent trend of Islamic Search Engines (ISE) we’ve covered before on The Next Web. It’s also an important facility offline to the extent the government of Abu Dhabi established a Fatwa call center back in 2008 with scholars available to answer UAE resident’s questions.

    The website which is still in Beta appears to have potential for future improvements, check it out but be warned since the engine’s developer hand picks source websites the results may not represent the entire opinion spectrum of Muslim scholars out there.