The scholars are the ones to be referred to and turned to regarding the important issues, especially in matters that concern the welfare of the Muslim ummah. If you look at the condition of the first generations from the Salaf as-Saalih, you would find that they were strict with regard to returning back to the senior scholars that were alive in their time, especially in getting rulings that resulted in making tabdee’ (declaring someone an innovator) or takfeer (declaring someone a disbeliever). 
Look at the example of Yahyaa bin Ya’mar Al-Basree and Humaid bin ‘Abdir-Rahmaan Al-Himayree Al-Basree, when the Qadariyyah appeared in their time and they began to manifest contradictions to the Fundamentals of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, which necessitated that they be declared disbelievers or that they be pronounced innovators and removed from the fold of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. However, they did not rush into making a ruling against them. Rather, they went to those who held the position of being referred to with regard to issues of knowledge, from the scholars. And he was ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (رضي الله عنهما). So they informed him of what occurred to them and he issued a ruling to them stating the misguidance and deviation of (this group of) the Qadariyyah.
Yahyaa bin Ya’mar said:
“The first person who spoke (deviant views) with regard to Al-Qadar in Basrah was Ma’bad Al-Juhnee. Humaid bin ‘Abdir-Rahmaan Al-Himayree and I set out to make Hajj or ‘Umrah, and we said to each other: “If only we could meet one of the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger so that we could ask him about what these people are saying about Al-Qadar. So Allaah granted us that ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (رضي الله عنهما) enter the masjid So I and my companion gathered around him – one of us on his right and the other on his left. I felt as if my companion entrusted me with speaking to him, so I said:
“Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan, a people have appeared in our land that recite the Qur’aan and pursue knowledge...[and he mentioned some other points about them]...and they claim that there is no such thing as Al-Qadar (Divine Pre-Decree) and that it is rejected.”
He responded: “If you meet these people, inform them that I am free from them and they are free from me. By the One whom ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Umar swears by, if one of them had the likes of Mount Uhud in gold and he were to give it away in charity, Allaah would not accept it from him, until he believes in Al-Qadar.“ Then he said: “My father reported to me...” 
And look at the example of Zubayd ibn Al-Haarith Al-Yaamee when the Murji’ah appeared in his time and he saw that they had oppositions to the Fundamentals of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, which necessitated that they be ousted from the fold of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. Yet, he did not rush into making a ruling against them. Instead, he went to one who had the position of being referenced in religious matters in his time from the people of knowledge and fatwaa, those who took their knowledge from the Seniors amongst the Companions, who in this case was Abu Waa’il Shaqeeq bin Salamah Al-Asadee Al-Koofee (رحمه الله).
So Zubayd went to him informing him of what had occurred, and Abu Waa’il issued a fatwaa to him based on a text from Allaah’s Messenger, which indicated the falsehood of the misconceptions of the Murji’ah and their deviating from Ahlus-Sunnah. Zubayd said:
“When the Murji’ah appeared, I went to Abu Waa’il and mentioned that to him, so he said: ’Abdullaah narrated to me that the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) said: ‘Reviling a Muslim is sinfulness and fighting against him is disbelief.’” 
So if you were to compare between the condition of these people with regard to how they looked toward the people of knowledge in their time and between the condition of many of those who have become unstable in their repentance in this time of ours, you would find a huge difference between the two examples.
Those people (in the first example) strove hard to implement this rule, and they did not rush to make a ruling against those people of their time whose deviation become apparent, until they first presented their case to the people of knowledge, those capable of issuing rulings (fatwaa) from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. So when they heard the ruling, they bit onto it with their molar teeth and distanced themselves from those deviants who were in opposition to Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah.
But as for today, then it is very rare that you can find those who strive hard to implement this rule. Rather, you will find those who have no concern for the words of the people of knowledge and fatwaa with regard to warning against the people of desires and innovation. So they wage war against the fataawaa (religious rulings) of the scholars and they distort their (intended) meanings. We ask Allaah to save and protect us!
 This does not mean that a student of knowledge is not to rule on issues altogether. What is meant here is that he should not rule on issues related to current occurrences, from the outset, especially those that are ambiguous from it. As for the clear issues, which are not ambiguous, then he is not required to refer to them (i.e. the scholars).
 Saheeh Muslim (no. 93)
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (48) and Muslim (218)