From left: Leading Kuwaiti scholar Shaikh Ahmad Hussain; Dr Al Shatti, Islamic Studies professor, and Dr Ajeel Al Nashmi, head of the GCC Religious Scholars League. Image Credit: Al Watan

Manama: Leading religious scholars in Kuwait have rejected a fatwa or religious edict seeking to put to death opponents of strict segregation of men and women, saying that it was a call for sedition and chaos within the Islamic nation.

Saudi religious figure Shaikh Abdul Rahman Al Barrak on Tuesday said that the mixing of genders at the workplace or in educational institutions was religiously prohibited on the grounds that it allowed seeing what must not be seen and engaging in forbidden conversations.

Those who refuse to abide by strict segregation between men and women should be put to death, he said.

However, Kuwaiti scholars said that such an edict could come only from "a senile person or someone who wants to sow sedition in the nation by allowing the killing of innocent people."

"Officials need to step in promptly and make the authors of such edicts face legal measures to ensure that no innocent people are killed or abused by those who want to implement the fatwas," said Dr Ajeel Al Nashmi, the head of the GCC Religious Scholars League. 

Islamic Studies professor, Dr Bassam Al Shatti, warned that edicts that allowed the killing of people were very dangerous.

"Only the authorities have the right to apply legal punishment or penalties. Religious figures can advise and explain matters to people, but sentences are the prerogative of the rulers," he told Kuwaiti daily Al Watan on Wednesday. "Allowing people to take the law into their hands would result in social chaos and in killings which are forbidden in Islam," he said.

Leading Kuwaiti scholar Shaikh Ahmad Hussain blasted the fatwa, saying that Islam was very strict about killing people intentionally.

"All the teachings in the Quran and in the Prophet's Sayings stress that killing is not allowed. God said that 'whoever kills a believer it is as if he killed all people'. So we have to be careful about issuing edicts that encourage or allow people to kills others," he said.

"Unfortunately, there are scholars who harm the religion through issuing strange edicts. Only the rulers of a country have the right to take action against those who must be punished."