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Ruling 6

If the most learned mujtahid gives a fatwa on any matter, a follower (muqallid) of his cannot act upon another mujtahid’s fatwa in that matter.

However, if he does not give a fatwa and says that based on precaution, such and such action must be taken – for example, he says: based on precaution, in the first and second units (rakʿah) of a prayer, a complete chapter (surah) of the Qur’an must be recited after Sūrat al-Ḥamd – then the follower must either act in accordance with this precaution, which is known as ‘obligatory precaution’ (al‐iḥtiyāṭ al‐wājib) or ‘necessary precaution’ (al‐iḥtiyāṭ al‐lāzim)2 or he must act in accordance with the fatwa of the next most learned mujtahid;3 and if the next most learned mujtahid regards the recitation of only Sūrat al-Ḥamd as being sufficient, he can choose not to recite the other surah.

The same applies [i.e. it amounts to saying that the ruling is based on obligatory precaution] when the most learned mujtahid says the matter is one of ‘deliberation’ (maḥall al‐taʾammul) or ‘problematic’ (maḥall al‐ishkāl).

2 To avoid over-complicating the text, and given that ‘al‐iḥtiyāṭ al‐wājib’ and ‘al‐iḥtiyāṭ al‐lāzim’ refer to the same thing, both terms have been translated in the present work as ‘obligatory precaution’.

3 In the terminology of Islamic jurisprudence, acting on the fatwa of the next most learned mujtahid when one’s marjaʿ has stated that a ruling is based on obligatory precaution is known as ‘rujūʿ’.

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