Prerequisites of a Mujtahid

Q: Is it permissible for a person to practice Ijtihad (juristic effort to infer expert legal rulings) in the Islamic rulings? Are there certain conditions for a Mujtahid (a scholar qualified to exercise Ijtihad)? Is it permissible for any person to give an opinion without being aware of the clear evidence supporting it? How authentic is the following Hadith: The most daring to give Fatwa (recklessly) is the most daring to enter the Hellfire. Or the Hadith that means the same as this?

A: All praise is due to Allah Alone and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger, his family, and Companions! The door to Ijtihad in the rulings pertaining to Shari`ah (Islamic law) is open for any qualified person provided that they know the sources they need to use as reference - the Ayahs (Qur'anic verses) and Hadith, and have the ability to understand them and use them as supporting evidence. In addition, a Mujtahid should have knowledge of the grade of the Hadith they use as evidence and of the issues on which Ijma` (consensus) has taken place so as not to clash with the Muslims' Ijma` in the rulings they issue. Moreover, they should be familiar with the Arabic language to understand the meanings of the texts and, thus, can use them as proof and deduce conclusions from them. A person is not allowed to give their opinion on a religious issue without knowledge. They should seek guidance from Shari`ah (Islamic law), then from the scholars' opinions and follow their way of examining and using evidence to deduce conclusions. Only then, can a Mujtahid give a Fatwa based on their conviction and to benefit their religion.As for the following Hadith: The most daring to give Fatwa (recklessly) is the most daring to enter the Hellfire it is related by Imam (Part No. 5; Page No. 18)  `Abdullah ibn `Abdul-Rahman Al-Darimy in his Sunan on the authority of `Ubaydullah ibn Abu Ja`far Al-Masry as a Hadith Mursal (a Hadith with no Companion of the Prophet in the chain of narration), because `Ubaydullah is a Tabi`y (follower, the generation after the Companions of the Prophet) and not a Sahaby (Companion).May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.