'Amr ibn Dinar said to Qatadah when he sat to give religious verdicts, "Do you realise the affair that you have fallen into? You have come between Allah and His worshippers and say, 'This is correct and this is not correct.'"
This is similar to the hatred of the salaf as-salih (the Pious Predecessors) that a person should put himself forward to give religious verdicts (fatawa) and to crave them, and to hasten to it, and to do it in excess. Ibn Lahi'ah reports from 'Ubaydullah ibn Abi Ja'far in mursal form from the Prophet that he said:
"He who is boldest from you in giving religious verdicts, will be the boldest in proceeding to the Fire."
'Alqamah said, "They used to say the boldest of you in giving religious verdicts is the one having the least knowledge." Al-Bara' said:
"I met a hundred and twenty of the ansar from the Companions of Allah's Messenger and when one of them was asked about a matter there was not a single man amongst them except that he wished that his brother would suffice him (by answering)."
In a narration there occurs the addition, "…so this one would refer it to another, and he would refer it to someone else until it would eventually return to the first one." From Ibn Mas'ud, who said:
"The one who gives a religious verdict to the people about everything that he is asked is indeed insane."
'Umar ibn 'Abdul-'Aziz was asked about a question and replied, "I am not one who is bold about giving religious verdicts." He also wrote to one of his governors, "By Allah I am not one who craves after giving religious verdicts, as long as I can find a way to avoid it."
Ibn Yaminah said, "This affair is not for those who love that the people should have need of them, rather this affair is only for those who love that someone can be found to take their place." It is also reported from him that he said:
"The most knowledgeable of people concerning religious verdicts is the one who is most often silent, and the most ignorant of people about them is the one who speaks the most with regard to them."
Sufyan ath-Thawri said, "We reached the scholars and they used to hate answering questions and giving religious verdicts until they could find no way out except to give a verdict, but if they were relieved of having to do so then that was more beloved to them."
Al-Imam Ahmad said, "He who puts himself forward to give religious verdicts has put himself forward to something very serious, unless he is forced through necessity." It was said to him, "Then which is better: for him to speak or to remain silent?" He said, "It is more beloved to us that he should withhold." It was said, "But if there is a necessity?" So he started saying, "Necessity! Necessity!" And he said, "It is safer for him to withhold."
So those who give religious verdicts should realise that they are transmitting Allah's orders and prohibitions and that he will be made to stand to account and be questioned about it. Ar-Rabi' ibn Khaytham said, "O giver of religious verdicts! Look and see how you are giving verdicts."
'Amr ibn Dinar said to Qatadah when he sat to give religious verdicts:
"Do you realise the affair that you have fallen into? You have come between Allah and His worshippers and say, 'This is correct and this is not correct.'"
From Ibn Al-Munkadir who said:
"The scholar enters between Allah and His creation, so let him look and see how he enters between them."
When Ibn Sirin was asked about anything pertaining to the permissible and forbidden his colour would change and he would alter so that he would not seem to be the same person. [Reported by Ibn Sa'ad (7/195), Al-Khatib in Al-Faqih wa'l-Mutafaqqih (2/167) and its isnad is sahih]
When An-Nakha'i was asked about something then hatred would be seen upon his face and he would say, "Could you not find someone else to ask other than me?" He also said:
"I spoke and if I had found any way out I would not have spoken, and indeed a time when I am the scholar of Kufah is an evil time."
It is related that Ibn 'Umar said:
"You ask us for religious verdicts in such a manner that it is as if we are people who are not going to be questioned about the verdicts that we give you."
Also from Muhammad ibn Wasi' who said, "The first of those who will be called to account are the scholars."
It is reported about Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, that when he was asked about a matter it was as if he were standing between the Paradise and the Hell-Fire. [Reported by Al-Khatib in Al-Faqih wa'l-Mutafaqqih (2/167) and its isnad is weak]
One of the scholars also said to a person who used to give religious verdicts:
"When you are asked about a matter then do not let your concern be to release and find a way out for the questioner, but rather to release and save your own self."
Another said, "If you are asked about a matter then consider - if you find a way out of it then speak, otherwise remain silent."
The sayings of the Salaf about this are too many to quote and gather.