It is reported that ʿUthmān b. ʿAffān – Allāh be pleased with him – once addressed the people in a sermon. He praised Allāh, then said:
O people! Fear Allāh and obey Him, for piety is a valuable prize. Verily the most intelligent person is he who takes account of himself and works for what comes after death, and acquires through the light (guidance) of Allāh a light for the darkness of the grave.
The servant of Allāh should fear lest Allāh the Mighty and Sublime resurrects him blind though he used to see. A few comprehensive words can be enough for a wise man, whereas the deaf (who does not listen to guidance) is being called from afar.
And know that whoever Allāh the Mighty and Sublime is with has nothing to fear; but whoever Allāh the Mighty and Sublime is against, then in whom can he hope after Allāh?!
Abū Bakr Al-Daynūrī, Al-Mujālasah wa Jawāhir Al-ʿIlm 4:116,117.
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:
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
Our present general dilemma is caused by:
1) Confusion and error in knowledge, creating the condition for:
2) The loss of Adab within the Community. The condition arising out of (1) and (2) is:
3) The rise of leadership who are not qualified for valid leadership of the Muslim community, who do not process the high moral, intellectual and spiritual standards required for Islamic leadership, who perpetuate the condition in (1) above and ensure the continued control of the affairs of the Community by leaders like them who dominate in all fields
Loss of Adab means loss of discipline – the discipline of body, mind and soul, the proper place in relation to one’s self, society and Community; the recognition and acknowledgement of one’s proper place in relation to one’s physical, intellectual, and spiritual capacities and potentials; the recognition and acknowledgement of the fact that knowledge and being are ordered hierarchically
Reference: Aims and Objectives of Islamic Education, S.N. al-Attas