Ibn al-Qayyim said, “The Mufti and the Governor cannot govern fairly unless they have two kinds of knowledge. The first is the understanding of the reality, being totally involved in it and being able to derive facts from what happened using evidence, indications and signs, until they are totally informed. The second is the understanding of Allah’s rulings depicted in His Book or through the sayings of His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and understanding how to apply them to the reality under consideration.”
Also, Abu Batah al-Akbari said, “Imaam Ahmed said, ‘It is not acceptable for a man to establish himself as Mufti unless he has five characteristics. First, he must have the intention. If he does not have an intention, there will be no light in him or in his speech. Second, he must have the knowledge, tolerance, dignity and tranquillity. Third, he has to be sure of his speech and his knowledge. Fourth, he must be self sufficient (financially). If not he will be used by people. Fifth, he must know the people.”
Ibn al-Qayyim commented on this saying, “Knowledge of the people is a great trait that every Mufti and Governor should have. They should be involved with the people, be very knowledgeable in enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and then applying the one to the other. Otherwise they will do more harm than good. If they are not knowledgeable about people, they might mistake the oppressor for the oppressed and the rightful for the wrong-doer, and vice versa.
If they are ignorant of the people, their circumstances and their customs, they will not be able to distinguish between the good and the bad. They have to be very knowledgeable in people’s cunning, deception, fraud, customs and traditions. A fatwa is subject to change depending on the time, place, customs and traditions and that is all from Allah’s religion.”
Scholars who sell themselves for worldly possessions. The Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “Keenness on money and worldly belongings will ruin someone’s religion more effectively than a couple of hungry wolves can ruin in a herd of sheep, if left alone with it.” [Sunnan Daramhi]
Ibn al-Qayyim said, “When people of knowledge prefer this worldly life and love it, they will definitely say what is not true about Allah, in their Fatawa, judgments, sayings and actions.”
This is due to the fact that Allah’s rulings are not always in accordance with people’s desires especially those in positions of power and those who follow dubious paths. Their needs are always fulfilled in disagreement with the Truth.
If the scholars and Governors have a liking to power and follow dubious paths, they will have their way only by using what opposes the truth. Beware of these two types of scholars.
Those who have lost contact with reality and those who prefer worldly affairs especially in matters concerning Defending the Ummah, enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and everything that concerns tyrant rulers.
Ibn Taymiyah has described both types of scholars in one saying, “It is imperative, concerning the oppression against us, to take the opinion of the true religious people who have experience in real life, not the people who love this world and whose views on religion are not in depth. Their opinions and the opinions of those scholars who lack contact with reality and life.”