What to do if I get different answers from different scholars?
Fatwa No: 173959

  • Fatwa Date:21-2-2012 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 29, 1433
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Question

Please what should a muslim(not knowledgeable/layman) do if faced with the following scenario?He is presented with the different opinions of scholars on an issue like abandoning salat or fasting,zakat etc and he EQUALLY RESPECTS and has CONFIDENSE in all of them but he can not choose an opinion because of his inability to analyse the issues/weigh opinions and come to a conclusion. Is it islamically acceptable to choose the most difficult opinion at all times or should he just choose the easiest opinion

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

In principle, a Muslim is obliged to follow the evidence from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah (Prophetic tradition) of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) this is whether in regard to acts of worship or other matters. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {Follow, [O mankind], what has been revealed to you from your Lord and do not follow other than Him any allies. Little do you remember} [Quran 7:3]

If a person is unable to understand these evidences and is unable to balance between them, then he is obliged to ask the scholars whom he trusts in regard to their knowledge and religion as Allaah Says (what means): {And We Sent not before you except men to whom We revealed [Our message] so ask the people of the message [i.e. former scriptures] if you do not know.} [Quran 16:43]

If he gets different answers from the Muftis, then the scholars have different views as to what he should do. Some of them said that he has the choice to act according to any opinion, while some others said that he has no choice; rather, he should ask a scholar who would guide him as to the most preponderant opinion. Others also said that he should act according to the strictest opinion, while others said that he should act according to the easiest opinion. There is another opinion who said that he should act according to the opinion of the most knowledgeable scholar.

Al-Ghazaali  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “He should act according to the best scholar in his view and the scholar whom he feels in his heart to be the most correct."

According to the view that we adopt in Islamweb, he should ask a scholar who would guide him as to the preponderant opinion according to the knowledge and piety of the Mufti. Therefore, a common person should act according to the view of the scholar whom he considers to be the most knowledgeable and the most pious. If he is unable to decide who is the most knowledgeable and pious scholar, then Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him is of the view that the most preponderant opinion in such case is that he should act according to the easiest opinion in this case. This is because the Sharee’ah (Islamic law) is based on facilitating things and removing harm and hardship.

Finally, if a person acts according to the view that makes him on the safe side and acquits him from responsibility concerning his personal matters, then he may do so.

Allaah Knows best.

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