fat·​wa | \ ˈfət-wə How to pronounce fatwa (audio) , ˈfät-wä \

Definition of fatwa

: a legal opinion or decree handed down by an Islamic religious leader

Examples of fatwa in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The fatwa that had been placed on Larry’s head for mocking the ayatollah was canceled but, in the final scene of the season, an Iranian unaware of this development chased Larry down the street. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "Watch the first teaser for Curb Your Enthusiasm season 10," 2 Dec. 2019 Then there is Morten Storm, a marked man, the subject of a fatwa (a call for his death). Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "To Be a Spy," 23 Sep. 2019 Morten Storm is a marked man, the subject of a fatwa, a call for his death. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Light on the Shadow World," 12 Sep. 2019 Among them was the idea that the Iranian Parliament could codify, in law, a fatwa issued by Iran’s Supreme Leader, originally in 2003 and again in 2010, that forbids the production or use of nuclear weapons. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "Iran’s Foreign Minister Invited to Meet Trump in the Oval Office," 2 Aug. 2019 Iran might expand the supreme leader’s apparently long-standing fatwa outlawing nuclear weapons in effect turning religious law into secular law. The Economist, "Breaking the nuclear deal ratchets up the conflict between Iran and America," 28 June 2019 In response to the strength of the Islamists, Jokowi was forced by his coalition of parties to select as his running mate an ultra-conservative Muslim cleric, Ma’ruf Amin, whose fatwa against Ahok had incited the demonstrations. Margaret Scott, The New York Review of Books, "Indonesia’s New Islamist Politics," 18 Apr. 2019 Khalil lives freely on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, currently promoting a fatwa, or religious edict, banning militant violence in Pakistan. Kathy Gannon, The Seattle Times, "Death of Afghan group’s founder unlikely to weaken militants," 4 Sep. 2018 Shortly before the attack struck, the clerics had issued a fatwa against suicide bombings and urged peace talks to end the Afghan war. Rahim Faiez And Amir Shah, Fox News, "Suicide bombing targets gathering of clerics in Afghanistan, killing 7," 4 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fatwa.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of fatwa

circa 1889, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fatwa

Arabic fatwā

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fatwa

Time Traveler for fatwa

Time Traveler

The first known use of fatwa was circa 1889

See more words from the same year

Statistics for fatwa

Cite this Entry

“Fatwa.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fatwa. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on fatwa

Nglish: Translation of fatwa for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fatwa for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fatwa

Comments on fatwa

What made you want to look up fatwa? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of probity?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!