opinion

The Value of Most People’s Judgements

It is reported that Mālik b. Dīnār – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Since I have come to know people, I do not rejoice when they praise and I do not dislike it when they blame, for those that praise go to excess in praise and those that blame go to excess in blaming. When the scholar learns knowledge in order to act, it humbles him; but if he learns it for something other than action, it only makes him more boastful.

Al-Dhahbī, Siyar ʾAʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 5:362.

Three Men and Three Women

It is reported that ʿUmar b. Al-Khaṭṭāb – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

There are three types of men and three types of women. As for the women, then [one] is the chaste, Muslim, gentle, loving and childbearing woman. She helps her family in difficult situations and does not help situations to overcome her family. Rarely will you find such women. Another is a vessel, she does nothing more than bear children. The third type is a shackle, Allāh puts her around the neck of whomever he wills, and when he wills to remove it, he removes it. Men are [also] three kinds. [The first is] a chaste, easy, gentle man who possesses opinion (insight) and is worthy of being consulted; and when a matter befalls him, he follows his insight, and approaches matters as they should be. [The second is] a man who has no opinions of his own, and when a matter befalls him he goes to the one who does have insight and should be consulted, and he adopts his opinion on the matter. The third is a man who is confused, lost and aimless; he neither follows (seeks) guidance, nor obeys any guide.

Al-Bayhaqī, Shuʿab Al-Īmān 10:39 ḥadīth 7131.

The Foolish Gathering

It is reported that Muʿāwiyah b. Qurrah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Do not sit with the foolish using your knowledge, and do not sit with the knowledgeable (scholars) using your foolishness.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar Aʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 5:154.

I Would Rather Sing a Song

It is reported that a man once came to Al-Shaʿbī – Allāh have mercy on him – and asked him about something, so he replied:

“Ibn Masʿūd used to say such-and-such [about this issue].” The man asked, “But tell me your opinion.” He replied, “Are you not all astonished by this man? I inform him of what Ibn Masʿūd [said] and he asks me my opinion. My religion is more important to me than that. By Allāh, I would rather sing a song than inform you of my opinion.”

Al-Dārimī, Al-Sunan ḥadīth 108.

The Importance of Knowing Different Opinions Before Giving Fatwa

Saʿīd b. Abī ʿArūbah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Whoever has not heard the differences of opinion, then do not consider him a scholar.

Ibn ʿAbd Al-Barr, Jāmiʿ Bayān Al-ʿIlm wa Faḍlihī no. 1521.

It is reported that Sufyān b. ʿUyainah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

The most audacious people in giving verdicts (fatwā) are those who know the least about the differences of opinion amongst the scholars.

Op. cit. 1527.

It is reported that Imām Mālik – Allāh have mercy on him – was asked:

“Which kind of person is allowed to give verdicts (fatwā)?” He replied, “It is not allowed to give verdicts except for the person who knows what people have differed over.” He was asked, “Do you mean the differences of the people of (mere) opinions?” He replied, “No, the different opinions of the Companions of Muḥammad ﷺ, and the one who also knows the abrogating from the abrogated [texts] in the Qurān and in the ḥadīth of the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ – such a person can give fatwā.”

Op. cit. 1529.

It is reported that Yaḥyā b. Sallām – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

It is not right for the one who does not know differences of opinion to give verdicts, and it is not allowed for the one who does not know about the various statements [of the scholars] to say: I prefer such-and-such opinion.

Op. cit. 1534.