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Different Fatwas: Which One Should I Follow?

28 January, 2020
Q Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. Could you please help me understand this issue of scholars' differences in juristic views? I sometimes read different, maybe contradicting, fatwas on a single problem. In such cases, what should the questioner do? Jazakum Allahu khayran.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

1- Fatwas should be issued by well-versed and qualified scholars.

2- The differences of Muslim scholars on certain issues are acceptable and are described as a mercy if based on sound and legal way of ijtihad and understanding the divine texts.

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3- If the issue is controversial among Muslim jurists and the contradicting opinions are issued by qualified and sincere muftis, then one can follow the opinion that he or she is most comfortable with.

Elaborating on this, Dr. Sano Koutoub Moustapha, Former Deputy Chairman of the International Fiqh Academy and Professor of Fiqh and its principles at the International Islamic University, Malaysia, states:

It is normal that there are sometimes different answers to the same question. This is due to the fact that scholars have different methods and principles in deriving the legal rulings from the divine text.

However, Islam does allow differences, and there should be no compulsion in following a special view as far as the issue is of the type of difference and subject to ijtihad.

Having said that, I shall stress that the differences must be coming from qualified and sincere scholars.

In other words, the difference is only acceptable if it is among the scholars. That means there should be no reason to waste your time in looking into fatwas from non-qualified scholars.

As for what you should do if there are different views, you can choose whatever opinion you feel comfortable with and has stronger foundation according to your own judgment.

Thus, both views are acceptable as far as they are established by qualified scholars.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.