Friday, July 23, 2004

Can a scholar issue a fatwa?

Answered by Shaykh Gibril Haddad

What is the ruling on the person that is not a scholar issuing fawtas.

This is impermissible and haram unless he is merely reporting the fatwa of a qualified scholar, which itself is allowed only on condition that he does so without changing the context or wording of what he is transmitting. Otherwise, "Whoever gives fatwa without knowledge, the angels of the heaven and the earth curse him" as reported from the Prophet by Ibn `Asakir (al-Suyuti, Haba'ik p. 187 #694).

As `Umar said, such false muftis are the enemies of the Religion, misguided and misguiding, and their fatwas are null and void. And Ibn `Umar said: "Do not give any response except with the speaking Qur'an (biqur'anin natiqin) or a Sunna that has precedent (sunnatin madiya). If you do otherwise, you have perished and caused others to perish." By "the speaking Qur'an" he means unambiguous and unabrogated. And Hudhayfa said: "Other than an Imam [i.e. the Sultan] or a governor, or a man who can tell [i.e. through knowledge of the Sunna] the abrogating verses of the Qur'an from the abrogated, anyone who gives fatwa is an overreaching fool.