3. How to arrive at a ruling.

(Part 5).

3.    How to arrive at a ruling.

A mukallaf who faces a particular circumstance and wants to know the ruling of Allah (swt) regarding it will fall into one of two situations:

  1. Either he is capable of doing ijtihad, thus necessitating that he derive the ruling from the evidences by using the principles of usul.
  2. Or he is not capable of doing ijtihad. In this situation he has to become acquainted with the ruling by asking the scholars.[1]There is ample evidence to prove this point:
    1.                                                i.     The saying of Allah: “Then ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.” (an-Nahl: 43). Here Allah (swt) commands those with no knowledge to ask the people of knowledge.
    2.                                               ii.     Allah also says: “For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious.” (at-Tawbah:122).
    3.                                             iii.     The hadith of the one who acted recklessly and asked the people of knowledge resulting in them issuing a fatwa for him. The Prophet (saw) was aware of this and did not condemn him asking. [2]
    4.                                             iv.     The saying of the Prophet (saw): “Why did they not ask if they did not know? For indeed the cure to ignorance is to ask.”[3] Ash-Shatibi said: “If a muqallid comes across a matter pertaining to the religion then he has no choice except to ask about it.”[4]



[1] At-Tahmeed 4/399. Al Musawwadah p.459.

[2] Agreed upon.

[3] Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah & others.

[4] al Muwafaqat: 4/261.

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