Opposing fatwas given by ulema

Question ID: 27592


Dear Mufti,

We as “layman” muslims, who are truly endeavouring to “learn, improve, educate ourselves” are starting to find it extremely difficult, from the point of view that prominent and respected Ulema are giving divergent and contrary fatwas’s on many of the same issues,

let me explain:
the way things had evolved, we as South African muslims were in recent years faced with views from many different groups, sects, schools of thought etc (i may not be explaining my thoughts properly and the terminology but i think you will appreciate what i am saying),

i have personally and still do follow the views of the Deobandi and Deobandi linked Ulema, (though i must say that sometimes arguments by the anti- Debandi Ulema to a layman like me seem quite convincing?),
i took the view that most of the time i try not to involve myself in getting to involved whether in discussions, debating, or even reading the literature produced by the anti- Deobandi brigade, – but being human and prone to imperfections i sometime peruse literature from all sides as well……

the problem i’d like to highlight and seek your guidance on is that increasingly nowadays even prominent respected righteous Ulema from the same school of thought are giving opposing fatwa, – for example the fatwa’s on copyright, digital photography etc….
the above are just two examples and there are many more, – and i feel that this problem will in future become even worst as more and more contrasting Fatwa are given,

where does that leave us? who’s views do we follow? (originally the choice was less complicated; one could decide that he respects the views of the prominent Deobandi Ulema and that he will “blindly” follow, but now the Ulema from the same school are differing in their views),

the huge problem i have is that when views are totally opposing one another then there can only be one right and one wrong (and no in between, – i normally dont like to take the in between road because that leads to just accepting anything and everything in the big picture whether right or wrong!!!!),

(also, just a suggestion, – can’t the Ulema thoroughly debate alot of the contencious issues and then give a joint mutually agreed fatwa rather then giving individual divergent fatwa on everyday issues?) as the opposing fatwa’s only result in confusion in a already difficult environment that we Muslims living in Western countries have to contend with

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Asked on February 2, 2009 12:00 am
Private answer

We acknowledge your dilema.
It is natural.
The Ulema from amonst the Deobandis whom you have confidence by virtue of their Ilm, Taqwa, Constancy, practicality and moderation you should follow. You as a layman will not be held accountable by Allaah - Insha Allaah.

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Answered on February 2, 2009 12:00 am