There is a lot of debate around the use of ethanol and other plant-based fuels. Many claim that the energy required to produce ethanol (including fertilizers, farm equipment, transformation from plant materials, and transportation) just doesn’t sufficiently counteract all the environmental damage caused by the fossil fuels that is replaces.
So as if the discussion weren’t heated enough… Saudi Arabian scholar (and member of the Saudi Islami Jurisprudence Academy), Sheikh Mohamed Al-Najimi, warned Saudi Arabian students leaving the country for study abroad programs not to use ethanol or other fuels containing alcohol in their cars. Why? Because it could be a sin.
The sheikh explained that his statement shouldn’t be considered an official fatwa, but was instead his own personal opinion. And his opinion was based on a saying by the prophet that all kinds of dealings with alcohol – including buying, selling, carrying, serving, drinking, and manufacturing – were prohibited.
The sheikh called for the issue of biofuel usage by Muslims to be discussed more widely by Islamic leaders.
In the event that the sheikh’s opinion were made into law, though, it might pose a problem for some Muslim countries and companies that are beginning to support biofuels. This includes Masdar, the renewable energy investment arm of Abu Dhabi’s government.
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