Fatwa is a ruling by a concerned authority pertaining to Islamic law.
Indonesia has around 200 million Muslims. The new fatwa, which invokes lines from Quran, declares illegal hunting and illegal trading of endangered species to be 'haram', or forbidden.
The fatwa asks Indonesia's Muslims to take initiative in protecting and conserving endangered species like tigers, rhinos, elephants, and orangutans.
"This fatwa is issued to give an explanation, as well as guidance, to all Muslims in Indonesia on the sharia law perspective on issues related to animal conservation," said Hayu Prabowo, chair of the Council of Ulama's environment and natural resources body.
"People can escape government regulation," Hayu said, "but they cannot escape the word of God."
According to National Geographic, the inspiration for the fatwa came from a September 2013 field trip to Sumatra for Muslim leaders co-organized by Indonesia's Universitas Nasional (UNAS), WWF-Indonesia, and the UK-based Alliance of Religions and Conservation.
Indonesia's Ministry of Forestry and HarimauKita (the Indonesian Tiger Conservation Forum) offered additional consultation.
The village representatives and villagers, who met with the Muslim leaders, asked about the status in Islam of animals such as elephants and tigers, to which the Muslim leaders replied: "They are creations of Allah, as we are. It is haram to kill them, and keeping them alive is part of the worship of God."