[quote=iamrefreshed]I have asked this a couple of times without answer. I would appreciate any direction so I may further understand how the Muslim religion is guided.
1- Who is authorized to issue Fatwa’s?
[quote=Urooj]1. A Mufti is the one authorised to issue a fatwa.
this doesn’t exactly answer the question. a muftee is someone who gives fataawaa (pl. of fatwaa). it’s a title that literally means “one who gives fatwaa”. a fatwaa is a religious ruling given by a scholar who is capable of doing so.
in order to give fataawaa, a scholar must be one with enough knowledge to make ijtihaad, which is a word derive from the arabic root word jahada - to struggle, to strive (it’s the same root word that the word jihaad is derived from). ijtihaad means effort, extertion, endeavor. here it can be taken to mean examining the evidences and coming up with a ruling for any given situation. a scholar who is capable of doing this should have good knowledge of the various evidences and differences of opinions regarding various issues. he should at the very least have basic knowledge of hadeeth, which ones are authentic, which ones are weak and which ones are fabricated.
[quote=iamrefreshed]2- What/Who gives them that authority?
[quote=Urooj]2. To become a mufti, you have to graduate from certain Islamic Schools and colleges, where you pass certain courses, ensuring you know certain sciences, and are well versed in Arabic and the like. When you graduate you are given an “Ijaazah” or a “permission” which authorises you to give fatwas.
The Ijaazah also has the details regarding what subjects you are allowed to give fatwas on, hence limiting you to the knowledge you have acquired.
it’s not necessary for a muftee to have graduated from an islamic school or college. traditional learning never took place in these types of institutions. going to these types of schools are stepping stones to attaining the amount of knowledge and understanding you need to be able to be considered muftees.
ijaazah is good, but it isn’t a necessity. sis urooj, if you’re able to read arabic, i would recommend you read the section on ijaazah in al-baa’ith al-hatheeth ikhtisaar 'uloom al-hadeeth by al-'allaamah ahmad shaakir. it’s ahmad shaakir’s notes on a book by al-haafidh ibn katheer on the sciences of hadeeth.
[quote=iamrefreshed]1- So that I may know which Fatwa’s are legitimate can you tell me where I can find out which schools and courses are approved.
usually, the fatwaas that come from the permanent committee for religious rulings in saudia arabic are legitimate. there are also the fatwaas that can be found on islam-qa.com that are pretty reliable. there’s no real way to tell if fataawaa are legitimate except to look for the proofs and evidences they present to support their ruling and not all fataawaa mention these things. some just mention the ruling and then don’t mention their evidences.
also, just because someone graduated from a particular course or school does not mean that they are qualified to teach, let alone issue fatwaa. there are many who graduated from the various islamic institutes around the world who aren’t deserving of the position of muftee.
[quote=iamrefreshed]2-OR is there something in an Imam’s title that indicates this “Ijaazah” like MD for doctor? Or would he just be called a Mufti?
there isn’t any real way to tell if someone is qualified by looking at their title. that’s because the titles given to scholars are so loosely used nowadays. people are called “shaikh” when they don’t even deserve it. so many others are called “muftee” or “mullaa” and its the same deal, they don’t deserve it.
the only real way to tell if a person is qualified is by looking at the knowledge they possess, through their writings, lectures and various other things. do they continually quote from the Quran and the statements of those who matter (i.e., prophet muhammad, his companions and the scholars of ahl as-sunnah from the early generations and those who followed them)? or is he continually giving opinions from the top of his head without proofs and evidences?
[quote=iamrefreshed]3-If he is a Mufti then whatever he issues is Islamic and are all Muslims bound to comply?
no. you’re not bound to comply. a ruling from a muftee is not like the ruling from a judge. the ruling from a judge must be carried out, whereas the ruling from a muftee may be taken or left according to the evidences provided in it.