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Assessing the Reliability of Chat GPT’s Islamic Rulings for Practical Application

Let me first share what a young individual, who has been closely following the developments since the inception of Artificial Intelligence, told me. In essence, he said: “When Chat GPT (artificial intelligence) was first released, they fully opened the tap, so to speak, to show humanity what AI could do. During this period, no matter what you asked, it would express conclusions based on the given information and even say something without any knowledge in its memory.

In other words, it would express an opinion whether it had information or not, and was, so to speak, making things up. Then, as the market understood what AI was doing and could do, and saw that the information it provided in these made-up areas could be misleading, and after different versions from different companies emerged, they turned down the tap. Now, especially Chat GPT does not express opinions on strategic issues that require personal judgment and could potentially affect the future of humanity, saying things like ‘I am artificial intelligence, consult an expert.'”

This information was very useful to me. We talked on Tuesday. When I said, “The topic of my article to be published next Wednesday will be whether actions can be taken based on Chat GPT’s fatwas,” he told me this. Indeed, I was going to write exactly that. Why? This question has been asked of me a few times. I sat in front of Chat GPT and asked five questions in different areas. The questions I asked were:

“Is organ transplantation permissible in Islam? Do I need to pay zakat on my stocks in the stock market according to Islam? How does one complete the prayer if they join the congregation during the second rakat of the evening prayer? The views of Islamic scholars and jurisprudence academies on whether a milk kinship bond is formed between children who drink milk from milk banks may vary. Do we have to perform the Hajj pilgrimage only in the month of Dhu al-Hijjah? Can’t we spread it over other months of the year?”

Before moving on to the answers given by the system, let me state that I will answer the question “Can actions be taken based on Chat GPT’s fatwas?” posed in the title of the article with a question at the end of the article. I’m giving this heads up so that our readers who take the trouble to read until the end will not be shocked when they read the question I will pose in the essence of the answer.

Returning to our topic, as you can see, the questions are from different areas of life. I will not discuss the answers to these questions one by one. Just let me say, it first makes direct transmissions based on the information in its memory. If it knows to which school of thought that information belongs, it makes that distinction. In almost every question it answers, it emphasizes the general principles of Islam related to the subject. For example, in organ transplantation, it focuses on the sanctity of human life, the importance of human health, and the virtue of helping others. In the matter of zakat, it discusses the purpose of zakat, the role of love-respect, and esteem relationship between the rich and the poor in establishing a balance, etc.

However, when it comes to giving a final verdict on what is permissible or forbidden, Chat GPT does not put forward a final view. In other words, it does not give a fatwa that would take on the worldly and otherworldly responsibility for that issue. Instead, it says: “It is important to evaluate each individual situation according to its own characteristics and to seek a fatwa from reliable religious authorities for more detailed information on the subject.”

Or it says: “For a clearer path on this matter, it is advised to obtain a fatwa specifically for your personal situation from an Islamic scholar or a reliable religious institution. Determining a definitive ruling for such situations may require the views of a wide community of Islamic scholars and perhaps individual fatwas. Therefore, for a definitive decision on milk siblinghood through milk from milk banks, it is recommended to seek guidance from trusted religious authorities or jurisprudence academies.”

Now, let me ask you, can actions be taken based on Chat GPT’s fatwas? I do not know what your answer will be. However, you can try this. I asked Chat GPT two questions. I won’t write the answers, but you can ask as well.

“Can a Muslim act upon a fatwa you provide for a contemporary issue?” “If I asked for your preference based on information available in jurisprudence books for a classical issue, could I act upon it?”

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AHMET KURUCAN
AHMET KURUCAN
Dr. Ahmet Kurucan is a an author and scholar focusing on Islamic Studies and Law.
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