Ismail ibn Musa Menk, famously known as Mufti Menk, born on 27th June 1975 is a Muslim cleric from Zimbabwe. And as the Head of the country’s fatwa department, Menk has been identified as a Salafi. But the scholar has disregard being in any Muslim sect.
He has been named one of The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Jordan in 2013, 2014 and 2017.
Menk was born in Harare, where he undertook his initial studies with his father, memorizing the Quran and learning Arabic, Urdu and Hanafi fiqh. He went to St. John’s College (Harare) for senior school. He later specialised in Hanbali fiqh at the Islamic University of Madinah.
Menk is known especially in eastern Africa and teaches internationally.
Views and Controversies
Menk opposes terrorism and has pledged his aid in curbing religious extremism in the Maldives. On 31 March 2018, he urged Liberian Muslims to avoid Muslim-Christian violence, arguing that Muslims and Christians are brothers and sisters from one father, the prophet Adam. He blames western media for misleading the world that Muslims are generally terrorists. According to Gulf News, Menk said that everyone on this earth is a part of a family and has one maker, therefore, no one has the right to force any belief or faith on another.
The Huffington Post has described Menk as an “openly homophobic Islamic preacher” who has denounced the act of homosexuality as “filthy”. In 2013, he was due to visit six British universities – Oxford, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Cardiff and Glasgow – but the speaking tour was cancelled after student unions and university officials expressed concern about his views. Menk’s controversial statement included these words: “How can you engage in acts of immorality with the same sex?… The Qur’an clearly says it is wrong what you are doing… Allah speaks about how filthy this is… With all due respect to the animals, [homosexuals] are worse than animals.”
Bans from Traveling
On 31 October 2017, Singapore banned Menk from its borders because it believes he expresses views incompatible with its multicultural laws and policies. According to the Straits Times, he has asserted that “it is blasphemous for Muslims to greet believers of other faiths during festivals such as Christmas or Deepavali”. Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement that its decision to reject Menk’s application for a short-term work pass stemmed from his “segregationist and divisive teachings”. The Majlisul Ulama Zimbabwe, Menk’s own institution, released a statement to express “regret and dismay” regarding the ban. It said that Menk was an “asset to multi‐cultural, multi‐religious Zimbabwe” and that viewers should “listen to his sermons in full” and not “edited clips of a few minutes” to see the moderate path he has chosen.
In November 2018, the Danish government banned Menk from entering its borders.
In 2018 he published a collection of his sayings as a book titled Motivational Moments and in 2019 published the second edition, titled Motivational Moments 2.
Awards and Recognition
Menk was honoured with an Honorary Doctorate of Social Guidance by Aldersgate College, Philippines and its collaborative partner Aldersgate College – Dublin, Ireland on 16 April 2016.
KSBEA 2015 Awards – Global Leadership Award in Social Guidance was awarded by the Cochin Herald.
He was listed as one of The 500 Most Influential Muslims in 2014 and, 2017.