The Supreme Council for Fatwa in the Maldives has issued a fatwa, declaring that travelling to Islamic countries for the purpose of jihad or participating in civil wars is prohibited in Islam. This declaration comes in the wake of the repatriation of 21 Maldivians who had left to fight in the Syrian civil war.

The fatwa, based on the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), emphasises that Muslims fighting against each other is strictly forbidden. It calls for Muslims to seek deliverance from war through prayer, patience, and efforts towards unity within the ummah. 

The council highlighted that the unrest in some Islamic countries is a result of plots against these nations, and participating in such conflicts under the guise of jihad could enable external forces to interfere in those countries.

This advisory was released following the recent return of five Maldivian families from Syria. The repatriation, arranged by the Maldivian government, included 15 children, five women, and one man, at a cost of approximately MVR 1.8 million. Earlier, Homeland Security Minister Ali Ihusaan urged the public to be vigilant and to report to relevant authorities if they become aware of anyone harbouring a desire to join conflicts in foreign countries.

This effort is part of a larger strategy to address the challenge of Maldivians joining extremist groups like Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda. The Maldives has the world’s second-highest per capita rate of people fighting for ISIS, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. In response, the government has implemented various counter-terrorism measures, including amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Penal Code to enhance investigation powers and address hate crimes.