Does the Layperson Need to Determine the Reliability of a Scholar and His Opinions?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: When we ask the scholars for a legal opinion we have a certain responsibility, in that we should ascertain that the person being asked is learned in an accepted manner. How about when we ask a mufti from one of the four schools of law and we receive an answer, to what extent are we responsible when acting upon the guidance that we received?

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

Ultimately, we are the ones responsible before Allah, and we are responsible to take sound, reliable, and reasonable means of finding out about His Command.

Thus, the follower (muqallid) must exercise judgment about (1) finding someone reliable to take religious guidance from; and (2) whether the guidance they get appears to be reliable. Thus, a degree of religious awareness is needed. We don’t believe in “blind” following but, rather, in principled following.

If one doesn’t do the above, then one has fallen short–and may well be culpable if the scholar one was following was in blatant error.

And Allah knows best.


Faraz Rabbani

(Originally answered on the SeekersGuidance Academy’s Gardens of the Righteous Course Forum)