Imam Shafai on Issuing a Fatwa
Imam Shafai said the below regarding the qualifications of the one who can issue a fatwa
“It is not permissible for anyone to give a fatwa about the religion of Allaah except a person familiar with the Qur’aan, who knows what is abrogating and what has been abrogated, who knows what is muhkam (definitive) and what is mutashaabih (ambiguous), who knows the interpretations of its verses and the circumstances of their revelation, who can distinguish between Makkan verses and Madeenan verses, and knows what is intended by [its wordings]. After that, he must be very familiar with the hadeeths of the Messenger of Allaah (PBUH), knowing which of them is abrogating and which have been abrogated. That is, his knowledge of the hadeeth must be similar to his knowledge of the Qur’aan. He must also be knowledgeable about the Arabic language, including a familiarity with and understanding of Arabic poetry and whatever else he needs to understand the Qur’aan and Sunnah. He must apply these with impartiality. After that, he must be familiar with the differing opinions among the scholars of different Islaamic lands. In addition to that, he must be intelligent and capable of analytical thinking. If he meets these qualifications, he may speak and give fatwaas regarding the lawful and the unlawful. If he is not at that level, he is not allowed to give fatwaas.”
I‘laam al-Muwaqqi‘een ‘an Rabb al-‘Aalameen,1:55.
Taken from our study notes on Usool ul fiqh at Knowledge International University
By Muhammad Iqbal