What should the layman do when he cannot find a mujtahid?

(Part 10)

7. What should the layman do when he cannot find a mujtahid?

The scholars have differed about what the layman should do if he cannot find a mujtahid to ask. Some scholars are of the view that he should implement the ruling that was known in previous scriptures. Others believe this matter should be treated in accordance to what someone should do when the mujtahid cannot find an answer to the apparent conflict of evidences, whilst others are of the view that he should fear Allāh (swt) as much as he possibly can.

However, in reality this matter is extremely rare in this era due to the availability of technology and means of communication. So if a person is in the USA or the UK he can easily contact a scholar from the KSA for example. So praise be to Allāh (swt) who made such means available to us to help us worship Him.[1]

8. Making Taqlīd (blind-following) to someone who is known to be negligent (Mutasāhil)[2]

If a layman knows that a particular mujtahid is negligent in deriving rulings it becomes prohibited for him to act upon his verdicts. This is because the layman acts in accordance to the statement of a mujtahid due to his belief that the mujtahid’s statement is likely to be in accordance with the actual ruling of the sharīʿah. Therefore, if a person is known for being negligent in passing fatāwa then the layman should assume that the fatwa is likely not be in accordance with the ruling of the sharīʿah. Thus the very ʿillah (legal reasoning) that made acting in accordance with his verdict being obligatory becomes void.[3]


[1] Sharh al Kawkab al Munīr 4/553,  al Musawwadah p.550 etc.

[2] The Mutasāhil is someone who passes verdicts without researching adequately into the matter.

[3] Sharh al Kawkab al Munīr 4/588, al Majmūʿ 1/81 etc.


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