Position of Ijma in Islam
I have learnt that there is no consensus on the domain, constitution and eligibility of ijma', whereas some people say it is binding on common Muslims. This does not add up. What is your opinion on the position of ijma' in Islam?
There are two possibilities of consensus among Muslims (ijma'). The first was observed in the process of accepting and transmitting the Qur'an and Sunnah. Indeed the core message of Islam is based on that ijma'. This is authentic. The second possibility is an expression which has been coined mostly to be used for the majority opinion of scholars on religious issues and that too without complete authority. Otherwise, no ijma' outside Qur'an and Sunnah has taken place in the history of this Ummah nor can it be proved. This view is shared by such illustrious scholars as Imam Shafi'i, Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal, Ibne Hazm, Razi, Ibn Taimiya, to name a few.