The four schools of Sunni Law have been the standard hall mark of Sunnism for around 1000 years, now some scholars such as Yasir Qadhi are calling for an end to both the four classical schools and Salafism, in favor of a religious authority that will constantly interpret Islam law for modern society. Are the doors of Ijtihad opening again?
I agreed with the concepts and the majority of this talk, but what I disagreed with is the selection of the A’laam – the person you refer to for your Islamic questions, your Islamic doctor etc.
He mentions two criteria, one is that the person appears to have good faith, the second is that they have some form of training as a scholar. This is better than what most people do now, but it is not completely logical. His whole argument for having a taqleed based system is that it allows the layperson to have access to expert advice, so that they have the opportunity to make the right decision, and have a defense in front of God. Now, surely one of the criteria should be that the scholar is the most knowledgeable? lets imagine we know one scholar is highly regarded, the vast majority of other scholars acknowledge that a particular scholar is the most knowledgeable, and that their fatwas are most likely to be correct. How could one ignore the most knowledgeable scholar for the lesser one? This makes no sense.
One criteria surely must be that the scholar is thought to be the A’laam (most knowledgeable) by at least two trained mujtahids. Either way I feel this line of thought is a massive step in the right direction, however it is a very uncomfortable notion for those who subscribe to the Salafi or ancient approach to religion.