A scholar was asked about a Fatwa but he did not know the answer, and said: "Allah (Part No. 12; Page No. 95) and His Messenger know best."
Is he to blame for that? Should he say: "Allah knows best"? What is the ruling if he says:" Allah and His Messenger know best", as in the Hadith narrated on the authority of
Mu`adh ibn Jabal
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked Mu`adh, "Do you know what is the right of Allah on His slaves and what is the right of His slaves on Him?" Mu`adh replied, "Allah and His Messenger know best."
I hope that you will explain this issue to me.
If a scholar is asked regarding a religious matter but does not know the answer, he should say: "Allah knows best and I do not know" not "Allah and His Messenger know best" referring to both with the attribute of knowledge which is befitting only for Allah. This formula was permissible on the part of the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) during the lifetime of the Prophet, as mentioned in the Hadith reported from
Mu`adh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) mentioned in the question.However, after the Prophet's death, Allah alone, not the Prophet, knows what happens to the people, as authentically narrated
in the two Sahih
from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he said:
A group of people would be driven away from my basin, then I would say: O Lord, My Ummah! It would be said: You don't know what they innovated after you. I will say: Woe to him who changes (his religion) after me.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.