What are the qualities which a person must attain if he wants to set himself up to issue fatwas?
Ibn al-Qayyim said:
Abu ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Battah mentioned in his book al-Khala’ that Imaam Ahmad said: No man should set himself up to issue fatwas until he has attained five qualities:
1. He should have a good intention, for if he does not have a good intention, he will not be blessed and there will be no blessings in his words.
2. He should be knowledgeable, forbearing, dignified and calm.
3. He should have a strong grasp of knowledge.
4. He should have a strong personality and not be affected by people’s criticism.
5. He should know what people are like.
This is what Ahmad said, and this is indicative of his status and knowledge. These five qualities are the foundation for issuing fatwas. If any of them are lacking, there will be a commensurate defect in the mufti.