Five Essential Qualities of a Mufti

Ibn Battah records that Imām Ahmad – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

No man should appoint himself to issue verdicts (fatwa) until and unless he fulfills five characteristics:

  • First, he should have a [firm and good] intention; for if he does not, he will have no light upon him, and nor will his words.
  • Second, he should be forbearing, tranquil and serene.
  • Third, he should be strong upon what he is involved in, strong in its knowledge.
  • Fourth, he should have sufficient means (wealth), otherwise the people will chew him up.
  • Fifth, he should know people and their ways.

Ibn Battah, Ibtāl Al-Hiyal p24.

After quoting this statement, and before his commentary on it, Ibn Al-Qayyim states:

This is one of the proofs of the eminence of Imām Ahmad and his lofty status in knowledge and insight; for these five are the pillars of fatwā, and to the extent that there is deficiency in any of them, to that extent faults will appear in the mufti.

I’lām Al-Muwaqi’īn, 6:106

A Preserved State of Knowledge

It is reported that ‘Adī b. Hātim – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

You will remain in a good state as long as you do not approve what you used to know to be wrong or censure what you used to know to be right, and as long as the knowledgeable (scholar) amongst you can speak amongst you without fear.

Ibn Battah, Al-Ibānah Al-Kubrā article 26.

Sayyiduna Umar on Abu Bakr and Bilal

Jābir b. ‘Abdillāh reports that ‘Umar b. Al-Khattāb – Allāh be pleased with them – used to say:

Abū Bakr is our sayyid (master/leader), and he freed our sayyid – meaning Bilāl.

Al-Bukhārī, Al-Sahīh, hadith 3754.

Seven Hundred Deadly Sins

Sa’īd b. Jubayr – Allāh have mercy on him – reports that a man once asked Ibn ‘Abbās – Allāh be pleased with them:

“How many kabā`ir (major, deadly sins) are there? Seven?” He replied, “They are closer to seven hundred than seven; except a major sin does not remain so if one (truly) seeks forgiveness [from Allāh], and a lesser sin does not remain so if one insists on continuously doing it (i.e. it becomes a major sin).”

Al-Tabarī, Al-Tafsīr article 9207, et al.

Respect for Scholars and Ahl Al-Bayt

It is reported from Al-Sha’bī that he said:

Zayd b. Thābit – Allāh be pleased with him – once mounted [his horse or camel] to ride it, so Ibn ‘Abbās – Allāh be pleased with them – took hold of the reins [to serve him by leading his ride]. When he did this, Zayd said (out of respect for him), “Don’t do this o cousin of Allāh’s Messenger – Allāh’s praise and peace be upon him.” Ibn ‘Abbās said, “This is what we have been told to do with our scholars (i.e. respect them and serve them).” Zayd said, “Show me your hand.” Ibn ‘Abbās held out his hand, and Zayd kissed it and said, “And this is what we have been told to do with the Ahl Al-Bayt (Family) of our Prophet – Allāh’s praise and peace be upon him.”

Abū Bakr Al-Daynūrī, Al-Mujālasah wa Jawaāhir Al-‘Ilm 4:146, et al