Religious Verdicts and the Issues Surrounding Them
The Muslims are in need someone to explain to them the situations of their belief system, worship, daily interactions and marital situations. This is called Fataawah which is the explanation of the legislated ruling with its proof from the Quran and the Sunnah. As well, they need someone to judge between them in their arguments and disagreements. This is called Qadaa. None is truly capable of handling these lofty positions except one that has the proper qualifications (knowledge), and that they have a fear of disobeying Allah and are concerned about standing in front of Him.
The person that gives these religious verdicts, in both situations, are telling the people that which Allah says about this particular thing being permissible or impermissible. They also explain that one particular side of the argument has the right on their side and not the other. Allah has, because of this, raised the status of these two positions, and warned about taking them on with out being qualified to do so. Allah said,
“And say not concerning that which your tongues put forth falsely: “This is lawful and this is forbidden,” so as to invent lies against Allah. Verily, those who invent lies against Allah will never prosper. A passing brief enjoyment (will be theirs), but they will have a painful torment.” [16:116-117]
He also said to His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) saying,
“And that you should judge between them with what Allah has sent down, and not follow their desires, and warn them about not causing you harm because of some of what Allah has sent down to you.” [5:49]
Allah also said,
“And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the Kafiroon (i.e. disbelievers – of a lesser degree as they do not act on Allah’s Laws).”[5:44]
“Such are the Zalimoon (polytheists and wrong doers – of a lesser degree).” [5:45]
“(then) such (people) are the Fasiqoon (the rebellious i.e. disobedient (of a lesser degree) to Allah.)”. [5:47]
He has commanded the ignorant ones from the people to ask the people of knowledge when He said,
“And ask the people of knowledge if you don’t know”. [16:43]
So it is not permissible for the ignorant to ask the ignorant or even one that is in the process of learning. It is not permissible to ask other then a Scholar to answer the questioner, and to answer with no true knowledge. As well it is an obligation for the Scholar to give the true religious verdicts that are based on and supported by the proofs. They are not to give the rulings in according with the desires of the people, being pleased with going against the proofs and opening the doors for them to go against the proofs.
The Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) warned the person who gives fataawah and the one that seeks these fataawah from speaking about Allah with out knowledge. He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did this when He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) informed the people that once the scholars were removed the people would take the ignorant as leaders, they would give religious verdicts with out knowledge, therefore they would go astray and lead astray. The person that is qualified to give these fataawah is of two types:
The first type: This person is called the Mujtahid Mutlaaq. This individual is capable of taking the ruling directly from the Book and Sunnah. There are conditions that have to complete in this individual. The Scholars of Usool ul Fiqh (the fundamentals of fiqh) have listed them in their books. These conditions are not found except in the Arab Scholars and the likes of them from those who have completed these conditions for making ijtihaad.
The second type: This person is referred to as a Mujtahid in the Madhhaab. This is the person that is able to come up with the most correct opinion from the other opinions that are considered to also be possibly correct. He also is able to pick the correct opinion from other then it from among the different opinions in the Madhhaab, and in other than his Madhhaab. So he gives as his fataawah that which seems to be most correct to him from the different statements of the scholars. This takes sin off him and the sin off of the questioner.
As far as the one that does not have the qualifications to say which is the correct opinion, and has not come across the different opinions and read the books or even looked at that which is recorded in the computer about the statements of the people of fiqh, then this person does not have the qualifications to be able to pick the most correct opinion according to its proof. So it is not permissible for him to give fataawah to the people so that he doesn’t go astray and lead others astray.
The people of these lands were upon the correct manhaj when it comes to fataawah. They would return to the scholars who had the qualifications to give fataawah, those that were trusted with the responsibility of giving fataawah. The situation remained upon good, because everyone stayed in their places or specialties and did not venture off into situation they were not qualified to talk about.
In the later times people have begun going over the limits in this situation. Everyone began to give fataawah, even if the qualifications were not met. That which made it even more dangerous is how some of the journalists in the papers began talking about legislative rulings and even the scholars that gave them even to the point that if the fataawah that the scholar gave was not in agreement with the author’s desires then he would say that it was a strange opinion even if it was the truth. They sometimes would even go as far as saying that the one that gave the fatwah as being too stern or of being someone that makes takfeer of the people. If the fatwah was in agreement with what he desired then he would praise it, even if it was wrong and the person that the fatwah cam from was not qualified to give it. This situation spilled over to the situation of legal rulings until limits were over stepped in these arenas as well.
When the one that was in charge of the affairs of the Muslims saw the dangers of this situation upon the religion and the Muslims, he gave his decision to protect fataawah and the honor of the people of knowledge and nobility. He put a stop to it because of the fact that he wants good for the religion, land and worshipers.
So the situation returned back to the way it was supposed to be. We ask Allah to preserve him and continue making him successful in aiding the truth. He stopped those whom were in violation before, where they should have stopped in the beginning. He did this because he was establishing that which Allah has made an obligation upon him from protecting the religion, Islamic belief system, honor, the scholars and their positions.
This is something that he is thanked for. We ask Allah to aid him, and make him victorious. Just as we ask Allah to return those in error to that which is right and make the people of the truth firm upon it. We also ask Allah to make his religion victorious, and make His statement the highest in the lands and guide the misguided Muslims. We also ask him to send prayers and peace upon our Messenger Muhammad and His family and followers and his companions.
Saalih bin Fawzaan al Fawzaan Abu Abdillah bin Bernard