Laymen obliged to follow trusted scholar in religious matters
Fatwa No: 365404

  • Fatwa Date:3-1-2018 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 16, 1439
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Assalaamu alaykum. My question is that in some religious issues, there are differences of opinions and fatwas between different scholars. If someone adopts the ruling on the basis of any fatwa, then who will bear the responsibility on his shoulder about its consequences on the Day of Judgment? Take as example Islamic banking, on which there is a difference of opinion between different muftis. So who will ultimately be responsible? Regards.


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

It is obligatory for those who do not know to ask those who do know, as Allah has commanded us.

Al-Qurtubi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, "The scholars did not differ in opinion on the fact that the laymen must imitate the scholars and that they are those meant by the saying of Allah (which means): {…so ask the people of the message if you do not know.} [Quran 21:7]"

The scholars did not differ about the issue that the laymen are not permitted to issue fatwas due to their ignorance of the meanings from which what is permissible and what is prohibited are derived.

If one asks a scholar whom he trusts in his knowledge and piety, then he is excused, even if the mufti has erred. Neither the one who sought a fatwa nor the mufti are sinful if the mufti is qualified to issue fatwas, as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "If a judge passes a judgment having exerted himself to arrive at the truth and he is indeed correct, he will have two rewards. If he passes a judgment having exerted himself to arrive at the truth but he is wrong, he will have one reward." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

For more benefit on the fact that a layman should follow his mufti and that he should ask the one whom he trusts in his knowledge and religion, please refer to fatwa 202966.

Also, please refer to fatwa 313558 on that it is safer for a layman to follow the view of the majority of the scholars and to fatwa 286015, where we mentioned that it is forbidden to follow one’s desires and the concessions given by the scholars, as this is a door to sinfulness and misguidance.

Allah knows best.

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