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  1. This is a reference post, as all this Basic information can be obtained on the Internet. https://www.al-islam.org/articles/taqlid-meaning-and-reality-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi https://www.al-islam.org/islamic-laws-ayatullah-abul-qasim-al-khui/taqlid Islamic Laws by Sayyid Abul Qasim al-Khu'i Sayyid Abulqasim al-Khui
  2. My Marja’ (Saanei) is non-responsive to questions posed on his English website. It is literally illegal to send money from the US to Iran, so what are people’s thoughts on giving khums to whatever person or group would be in greatest need directly? There are Shi’a here in the US that need help just as much as in Qom or Najaf.
  3. Salam We have all heard that taqlid is in fiqh but not in beliefs (theology), but why this distinction? Can anyone point me to arguments for this distinction? Thanks in advance
  4. Not Sure if some one has posted this earlier. Its taken from the below link. I personally believe someone should stand up and answer.
  5. Is it allowed to blindly follow Ayatullah or Marja or jurists, Scholars? التقليد: هو العمل مطابقاً لفتوى الفقيه الجامع للشرائط وإن لم تستند اليها حين العمل، فتفعل ما انتهى رأيه الى فعله، وتترك ما انتهى رأيه الى تركه، من دون تمحيص منك، فكأنك وضعت عملك في رقبته كالقلادة، محمّلاً إياه مسؤولية عملك أمام الله. ويشترط في الفقيه المقلّد فيما يشترط فيه، أن يكون أعلم أهل زمانه، وأقدرهم على استخراج الحكم الشرعي من مصادره المقررة Taqleed is to mimic the opinions (fatwas) of the qualified Faqih, you do what he thinks should be done and you leave what he thinks should be avoided, you do not research or verify anything, it is as if you place your deeds in the neck of the Faqih like a necklace, you make him take responsibility for your actions in front of Allah. The Faqih must be the most knowledgeable of his time and most capable of extracting rulings from the designated sources. http://www.sistani.org/arabic/book/17/952/
  6. Salam, There is this Marja that I would like to follow but he has passed away. Can I Do Taqlid to a Marja that is dead? **I'm planning to follow Ayatollah Sistani on new issues**
  7. Following (Taqlid) the Religious Maraja (Mujtahid) Question: There are among us such people also who do not think that doing Taqlid in Islamic law is obligatory. They argue that it is incumbent on all to derive the laws of the Shariah from the Holy Quran and other sources. Because: 1. The Holy Quran is opposed to any kind of following (Taqlid) and it is absolutely against blindly following anyone. 2. Taqlid is to follow without question, and reason and wisdom do not like this type of following. 3. Taqlid is the cause of disunity among the Muslims because there are usually more than one Maraja and their legal rulings are not the same. Answer: We think that the source of all these objections is one. It is that there are two meanings of the word ‘Taqlid’. One of them is a general meaning which is the usual connotation. It has another literary meaning with which discussions are initiated in the books of Jurisprudence and principles. The previous and the present objections are regarding the first meaning while there is no connection between the first meaning and the second meaning. The explanation of this is usually Taqlid is used for improper actions in everyday life which people usually do by initiation without any proper thought or justification. To imitate foolish people is certainly a greater foolishness. It is neither sanctioned by reason nor by Islamic law. And no sane person is ready to follow any other person blindly. It is the same Taqlid with which the idolaters used to justify their idolatry. They used to say that their ancestors used to follow that custom and they were not prepared to forgo the customs of their ancestors. The Holy Quran has mentioned their argument in the following verses: Surely we found our fathers on a course, and surely we are followers of their footsteps.[113] They used to justify their foolish custom (of worshipping wooden and stone idols) by saying that their ancestors also did that. They used to blindly follow their customs. It is that same type of Taqlid that is responsible for the spread of social evils like racing, fashion and sexual perversion. Maulana Rumi has indicated this same type of Taqlid: “Their foolish Taqlid has destroyed the people”. As mentioned above most of the objection with regard to Taqlid are there due considering the first meaning of Taqlid which is used in general sense. However, the second meaning of Taqlid, used in religious terminology is completely different. It can be expressed in one sentence: “Following the specialists by non-specialists people in some matters.” That is, those who are not having the knowledge of religious problems, which require specialization and years of study they have to compulsorily follow the religious Mujtahid and act upon their rulings. In this sense is the meaning applicable for Taqlid—that is the following of a learned person by a less learned person. It is the basis of human life in all the fields, be they agriculture, manufacturing or medicine. If at any time this is taken out from human life, that is a patient does not visit a doctor, or people do not consult lawyers for legal advice, one does not consult the engineers and architects, one does not use the services of artisans, mechanics and experts of other fields, the social structure of the world would be endangered and every field will become extinct. The religious problems are not exempted from this system. Without any doubts, in the principles of faith like Tauheed, Adl, Nubuwwat, Imamat and Qiyamat, everyone has to do proper research themselves and their justification is nothing difficult and complicated also. Every person can do this according to his or her understanding capacity. However, for the Islamic practical laws: Worship acts, business transactions and politics like Prayer, fasting, holy war, penalties and punishments, relations and blood money marriage and divorce and thousands of other day-to-day matters. Everyone cannot obtain the knowledge of all these laws individually. Neither can they derive any benefit from the sources of Islamic law, like the Holy Quran, traditions, Reason and Consensus. Therefore people have no option but to follow the religious scholar for these problems. The scholars who have put in years of study and have gained deep knowledge of the book of Allah, the practice of the Prophet, and the sayings and writings of the Imams of Ahle Bayt (‘a). From this discussion we conclude that following a Mujtahid is not blind following without justification. This Taqlid has the logical and reasonable proof as follows: The view of a scholar, a wise man and specialist and that also that it is harmless; it is usually nearest to the truth and generally it is not away from the truth. And even if there is a mistake in it the error is limited while a non-learned person tries to act on his own he will do most of things in a wrong way. For example when a sick person goes to a doctor he usually takes a prescription and it is possible that the doctor might commit an error in it. However, his error will not have very serious repercussions in the prescription. (Here doctor denotes a knowledge and learned person). However, if man stops following the advice of doctors and whenever he is sick he takes whichever medicine he likes, then indeed he would be performing a risky thing. He has put his life into danger. The result of this discussion is that the layman following a specialist is logical and reasonable proposition. This is also established that this type of following and seeking benefits is not a sign of helplessness of man, it is rather a proof of his capability. Because we know that the sphere of knowledge is so vast that every field has hundreds of specialized branches and even if a person has the age of Nuh (‘a) and the brain of Avicenna he cannot even specialize in 1/100 of the sciences. Thus there is no other option but that he follows the specialists in the fields in which he himself is not an expert. For example if an engineer falls sick, he goes to a doctor and when a doctor wants to construct a house he goes to his favorite architect so that he may construct a plan for him. And when these two have some problem with their cars they go to an automobile mechanic. Also, those who are not specialists in Islamic law they follow the Mujtahids. Now the point remains that when people refer to the religious scholars and one dispensed appropriate advice why are they not allowed to ask questions? It is like saying that: What is the problem in the patient asking for explanation and justification of all the medicines that the doctor has prescribed for him. Is it possible for the doctor to explain all the prescriptions to his patients? Even if we presume that the doctor agrees to do so, but what use would it be for a person who is neither an expert in biology nor pharmacology and how would he accept all this to be true? Those who utter such things are indeed ignorant of the vastness of Islamic sciences. They don’t know that to understand the Holy Quran and hundreds of thousands of traditional writings is not a job of a layman. Years of study is required to understand the verses of Holy Quran, the traditions, the narrators of traditions and the system of knowing whether a particular tradition is correct or not; the interpretation of the sayings of the Prophets. All this requires specialization. Sometimes it also happens that to find the solution to a problem related to marriage, divorce or rearing of children one has to see many verses of Quran and refer to tens of traditions. Then one has to closely study the accounts of tens of narrators of traditions in the books of Ilme Rijal. Can everyone really have this much expertise? Does it not mean that everybody should leave their work and get busy in studying religious law? While we do not even know if all the people have the ability to reach to the level of Ijtehad or not. Whether they have the capacity to derive the laws of the Shariah or not. It is possible that in most of the people have different abilities. And to say that following different Mujtahids causes disunity, is indeed a strange allegation! 1. In every period there is only one or a few Maraja who are well known to all. But if all the Muslims express their views regarding the Islamic law there would be chaos in the community. 2. There is difference of opinion among the scholars in only the third or fourth level problems. There is no controversy regarding the basic laws and principles. That is why you see people who follow different Mujtahids standing together in the same row during congregational prayers. The partial difference in laws does not prevent their coming together of Jamat Prayers. All of them go for Hajj in the same days and perform the Hajj rituals and the difference in religious decree (Fatwa) does not inconvenience a single man of the caravan. All these things indicate that the differences in religious decree are only in the matters that do not affect Communal unity. Notes: [113] Surah Zukhruf 43:23 http://www.al-islam.org/falsafa/103.htm
  8. The necessity of taqlid is the result of a rational conclusion based on the need for divine guidance, through the Qur'an and the traditions. Thus, taqlid has its jurisprudential evidence in addition to reason which also admits that a person who is ignorant of religious rules should refer to a qualified mujtahid. In Islamic jurisprudence taqlid denotes a `commitment' to accept and act in accordance with the rulings of the Shari`a as deduced by a well-qualified, righteous jurist (mujtahid). It also suggests adopting his rulings with confidence in their correctness, without investigating the reason that led the jurist to make his decisions. In other words, it is important for believers to feel confident in their religious observances, and that confidence can be attained either through ijtihad (i.e. investigating all the proofs that led to a particular legal decision him-herself), ihtiyat (taking the safe, prudent line by adopting precautionary stance in those matters in which one is not sure), or taqlid (putting the responsibility for one's religious acts on a qualified jurist-scholar).
  9. Salamun alaykum. A question from Shi'a only: Who is your Marja' Taqlid (religious authority)? It is specially useful for those who want to answer to religious questions. Also I'll appreciate if you tell me that who is the most-followed Marja' Taqlid by Shi'a community in your region (mention your region if you like). Thanks in advance.
  10. (salam) I was first in taqlid of Ayatollah Khamenei but later I replaced him with Ayatollah Sistani. I think I am in his taqlid now. Reasons: 1) Ayatollah Sistani is more knowledgeable than Ayatollah Khamenei. I came to this conclusion after visiting their websites. Ayatollah Sistani has solved more modern problems as compared to those solved by Ayatollah Khamenei. There are many examples: A. Adoption B. Gelatin C. Purity of People of the Book D. Brain death E. Contraception 2) Ayatollah Khamenei is unaware of some religious affairs like he believes its halal to play chess. I myself asked him whether I can play chess or not and I was replied: However, Ayatollah Sistani deems it haram to play chess. These points made me convert from Khamenei-ism to Sistani-ism. What do you all say?
  11. If i have a doubt i ask the alim of my local islamic center, if i cant find him then i ask the alim of a nearby center. If i am unable to get an answer, i ask someone knowledgeable or just search it online (al islam, SC, etc). So my point is, never in my life have i ever felt the need to consult a marja. So, do i really need to do anyones taqleed?
  12. (bismillah) (salam) How I Found the Right Path by Brother Muhammad Yusuf BisMillah Hir Rahman Nir Rahiim In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful How did I, a Sunni following Hanafi fiqh, come to find and embrace the Right Path of Ahl ul-Bayt? All Praise and all Thanks are for Allah (Subhana wa'tala) who in His Mercy and Compassion guided me toward the truth. My journey began when, on starting a new job, I first met a follower of Ahl ul-Bayt. Up until that time, I knew little about those who were called Shi'as - except what I had heard from Sunni brothers, which to say the least was not very complimentary. I had read nothing about them, for I had never found anything to read: all the books on Islam I came across over a period of many years were about Sunni Islam, written by Sunni Muslims. All the Muslims I had met, in my country of residence and in places like Egypt, were Sunni, and even on that modern medium of communication, the Internet, I had not come across any Shia sites, probably because I had not looked for them specifically and just followed links from one Sunni site to another Sunni site. I also knew very little about the early history of Islam, except of course what I had read in Sunni books about how wonderful the 'pious Caliphs' were. And yet I had already begun to think seriously about certain questions, such as predestination, and begun to be a little concerned about some Hadith which I read in Bukhari and Muslim which seemed to me in my innocence and with my lack of knowledge to contradict the words of the Holy Quran. I had concerns also about following scholars, for I was always being told that I could choose which Madhhab to follow, and that if I personally was not happy with something, I could follow another school in certain matters just as I could take advice from, and follow the advice of, any scholar of any School. This just did not seem to be right. Perhaps I should add that at this time I was a relatively recent convert to Islam, having over a period of some years come to discover the truth about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad) and having become convinced that not only was Allah the one and only God, but also that Muhammad (Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad) was his Messenger and Prophet. [ I had previously been a Christian, and indeed, a Catholic monk for a while.] The Shia brother and I were the only Muslims in our place of work so it was natural that we prayed Zuhr and Asr together. He was kind, considerate and well-mannered - in fact, an example of what Muslims should be - and it did not matter that he prayed in a slightly different way from me. I just assumed in my naivety that he was simply following a different Madhhab. Then I mentioned that I was praying with a Shia to a brother at the local Masjid. His negative reaction just made me interested in finding out more about them. So I asked some questions of my Shia brother. He answered simply, always stressing that I must make my own judgement and use reason as a guide. One incident I remember vividly. I had been sent several articles by a group, who were influenced by the Wahhabi, which were vehemently anti-Shia, and which made all sort of allegations about the followers of Ahl ul-Bayt. I mentioned this group to my Shia brother, and he said, calmly and simply: "What you you think about them?" I replied that I could not see the Prophet Muhammad (Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad) acting in such an intolerant way, for I remembered the Hadith about how the Prophet treated the man who was ill-mannered enough to urinate in a Mosque while the Prophet himself (Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad) was there. My Shia brother said nothing, but a few days later (as I remember it) he leant me a copy of an English translation of Nahj al-Balagha containing some of the wisdom of Imam Ali (Alayhi salaam). I read it, and marveled at his wisdom, and decided to try and find out more about these Shia's - at this time, I still knew so little I did not even know that Shia meant follower, and that the Shias were followers of Ahl ul-Bayt, a term which again meant nothing to me. Then, not long after, I left my job to take up new employment and so lost contact with my Shia brother, although I did try to contact him, once, but my E-mail was returned as I obviously had not remembered the right address. Several months went by before I began a more serious study, prompted by reading about the sermon of Ghadeer Khumm as related in Tirmidhi and Muslim: Sunni sources which I still implicitly accepted. For were they not Sahih - second only to the Holy Quran itself? Here was the Prophet (Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad) stating that we should follow and hold onto his Ahl ul-Bayt, just as I had read how he had many times praised Imam Ali (Alayhi salaam) in such terms that surely meant he saw or wanted Ali (Alayhi salaam) to be his successor. I discovered some of the basic beliefs of the followers of Ahl ul-Bayt, such as Taqlid and the Fourteen Infallibles and the more I considered these, the more rational and logical they seemed. They were natural, logical consequences of the Holy Quran itself. This really enlightened me about the Shia: it was as if I had come across a fundamental truth for the first time, something simple and yet profound. A few days later, on an Internet site, I read about Karbala. I admit I cried. How could those who called themselves Muslims treat fellow Muslims as they did - and in particular how could they fight, and kill, the grandson of the Holy Prophet himself? I found this fact quite astonishing. How did this tragedy come about? And then, I read some of the words spoken by the fourth Imam (Alayhi salaam) about this tragedy, and what it meant and would always mean. I then spent several days reading about the early history of Islam - about the Umayyads and Abbasids and how they viciously persecuted the followers of Ahl ul-Bayt. I read Muhammad Tijani's Then I Was Guided and his Shia are the Real Ahl al-Sunna, several other books and many, many articles written by followers of Ahl ul-Bayt. I read the sermon of Imam Husain (Alayhi salaam) at Mina which described the appalling state of Arabia only fifty years after Muhammad's death (Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad) - the corruption of Yazid, and the corruption of the scholars of that time. And I remembered a saying I had read somewhere: "Every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala." I thought deeply about the issues my reading had raised, and became convinced that it was my duty, as a Muslim, to follow Ahl ul-Bayt - for that was clearly the wish of the Holy Prophet (Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad) who was revealing the will of Allah, which as a Muslim I must submit to. There were simply no rational arguments against the beliefs of the followers of Ahl ul-Bayt, since it seemed to me that these beliefs not only expressed what was reasonable, and logical, but were also based on the teachings of the Holy Prophet himself (Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad). So it was that I tried to find my Shia brother. I found a name similar to his in the telephone directory of the city where I knew he lived, and telephoned. A fax machine answered, so I sent a brief fax, asking him to contact me, not knowing whether he would ever receive it. Alhamdulillah, the fax machine belonged to his Uncle and less than a week later I was with him, and the Imam, at his local Masjid, affirming that Ali (Alayhi salaam) was the rightful successor of the Prophet (Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad). Source: http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=190465
  13. (bismillah) ÇáÓáÇã Úáíßã This is a question for those who make taqlid (non-taqlidis are welcome to answer only if they don't skew the results on purpose plz) Please answer the poll according to the following scenario: You are currently a muqallid of Merja A and you want to switch to Merja B. However, Merja A says (for some irrelevant hypothetical reason) that you cannot switch to Merja B or that Merja B does not fit the criteria of a Merja in Merja A's opinion. But Merja B says that you can switch to him and he is generally accepted as a Merja among other Meraaja. So, would you obey Merja A and not switch to Merja B or would you switch to Merja B even though your Merja A says don't? This is not a fiqh question, it is a personal opinion question. Please explain your answers below (if you feel necessary).
  14. (bismillah) In response to requests by several people and as a defence for taqleed, the ShiaChat team have written the following article, which explains the background and the reasons for taqleed. Feedback is welcome, which should be sent through a PM. The necessity of Taqleed Firstly, what does 'Taqleed' mean? Translated into imitation, it essentially means the following in actions of another person. In the Shia Imamiyah school, this relates to the following of a 'mujtahid' by a 'non-mujtahid' in Islamic rulings (Sharia' law) and matters relating to 'Furu' Al-Deen'. A Mujtahid is an expert in Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) who has been verified as having the ability to derive laws and rulings from the two sources of Islam; the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Ahlulbayt (as). A non-mujtahid is then obviously someone who does not have this ability. Ijtihad is a completely scientific process and cannot be compared to 'qiyas'. It has its sciences and only the most erudite of scholars are able to achieve this status. Indeed, the roots of Ijtihad can be traced to the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet pbuh . In the chapter of 'The Prophets', this verse states: "…ask the people of remembrance if you do not know" (21:7). Clearly this is asking people who have no knowledge on certain matters, to refer to people that do, whom essentially are the experts. This is the natural way of things, to seek knowledge from those who have it. Even the Prophets were instructed to do so, as the case with Musa (S) when he was told to seek wisdom from Al-Khidhr. We then need to identify these experts and the Qur'an has done this again, in 'The Family of Imran', 'The Originator' and 'The Pleading One': Allah bears witness that there is no god but He, and (so do) the angels and those possessed of knowledge (3:18) …those of His servants only who are possessed of knowledge fear Allah (35:28) Allah will exalt those of you who believe, and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees (58:11) Clearly then, Allah (SWT) has placed emphasis that those with knowledge are given a special status. Then the Exalted has instructed that those knowledgeable ones are to be followed, as is the natural thing to do: O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those vested with authority from among you (4:59) Authority cannot come without knowledge; the leaders should always be the most knowledgeable of the people, for they are best equipped to lead the people. Having knowledge is a pre-requisite for leadership, for with it difficulties are overcome, as Amir Al-Muimineen (S) has explained: Knowledge is power; whoever finds it overcomes by it and whoever does not find it is overcome Following the knowledgeable applies equally in political and religious matters, regardless of the state of affairs in that region, for the erudite are the closest to Allah (SWT): He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are allegorical; then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity they follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation, but none knows its interpretation except Allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord; and none do mind except those having understanding (3:7) Why should not a company from every group of them go forth to gain profound understanding in religion and to warn their people when they return to them, so that they may beware (9:122) The first verse gives the reason why you cannot choose to deduce rulings yourself (or to use qiyas) if you do not have the necessarily knowledge. This verse also admonishes those who follow their own opinions, even though they lack knowledge: And follow not that of which you have no knowledge in (17:36) The word used for those who would gain understanding in verse 9:122 is 'liyataffaqahu' which means 'to become fuqaha'. This is exactly what the mujtahids are, Fuqaha. The Prophet pbuh also showed that the fuqaha are to be followed, as these examples show: After the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet (saws) decided to return to Madinah, so he designated a governor, who was a young man called 'Atab Ibn Usayd. He set him a fixed salary and the governor addressed the people: "The Prophet has fixed my salary and in view of this, I do not stand in need of any gift or assistance from you" (Seerat Rasulallah, Ibn Hisham, vol 2, p 500) Mu'adh Ibn Jabal states that when the Prophet (saws) sent him to Yemen, he asked: "On what will you rely for resolving the differences?" To this he replied: "On the Book of Allah, the Qur'an." The Prophet said: "What if nothing specific is found in the Book of Allah?" He replied: "On the basis of the judgements of the Prophet of Allah, for I have observed your judgements in different matters and I have committed them to memory. If there presents a matter which is similar to one in which you have given judgement, I shall make use of it and give judgement accordingly". The Prophet again asked: "What course will you adopt when a problem crops up about which there is nothing specific in the Book of Allah or in my judgements?" He replied: "In such cases I shall resort to ijtihad and give a decision on the basis of the Holy Qur'an and your traditions with equity and justice". The Prophet then said: "Thanked be Allah that He has enabled His Prophet to choose for the administration of justice a person whose actions are commensurate with His Will". (Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad, vol 2, p 347) From the above example, it is to be noted that where a clear legal law has been given in the Qur'an or by the Prophet pbuh , then no-one has the right to give his ijtihad on it: And whatever the Messenger gives you accept it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain (from) (59:7) The same applies to matters of the Fundamental Principles of Religion (Usul Al-Deen), for they are matters in belief and you must research these yourself, rather than blindly follow someone in them. This has been highlighted in several verses, among which are: And when it is said to them, come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger, they say: That on which we found our fathers is sufficient for us. What! Even though their fathers knew nothing and did not follow the right way (5:104) When he said to his father and his people: What are these images, to which you are devoted? They said: We found our fathers worshipping them. He said: Indeed you and your fathers have been in manifest error (21:52-54) The Imams further encouraged the role of the fuqaha and the mujtahids, even during their Imamate: Narrates Al-Askari, from his grandfather Al-Sadiq, peace be upon them both: "if there is anyone among the fuqaha who is in control over his own self, protects his religion, suppresses his evil desires and is obedient to the commands of his Master, then the people should follow him" (Al-Ihtijaj, Al-Tabrasi, vol 2, p 263) Concerning the four great fuqaha: Abul Hasan Zurarah Ibn A'yan, Abu Ja'far Muhammad Ibn Muslim, Abu Basir Layth Ibn Al-Bakhtari and Abul Qasim Barid Ibn Mu'awiyah, who were among his students, Imam Al-Sadiq (S) said: "they are the trustees of Allah for the administration of the permissible and forbidden in religion" (The Development of Shi'i Islamic Jurisprudence on Death and Dying from the Fourth/Tenth to the Eighth/Fourteenth Centuries, Hasnain Kassamali) When Umar Ibn Hanzalah asked Al-Sadiq (S) who the Shia should refer to when they dispute, He replied: "They must seek out one of you who narrates our traditions, who is versed in what is permissible and what is forbidden, who is well-acquainted with our laws and ordinances, and accept him as judge and arbiter, for I appoint him as judge over you. If the ruling which he based on our laws is rejected, this rejection will be tantamount to ignoring the order of Allah and rejecting us is the same as rejecting Allah, and this is the same as polytheism" (Furu' Al-Kafi, Al-Kulayni, vol 7, p 412) Imam Al-Ridha (S) approved Zakariyyah Ibn Adem Al-Qummi and Yunus Ibn Abd Al-Rahman, as judges for the people in their regions. (Al-'Amili, Wasail Al-Shia, vol 18, pp 106 – 107) The eleventh Imam (S) said: "It is obligatory for the populace to follow the jurist who refrains from committing wrong, mentions his faith, opposes carnal desire and obeys Allah's command" (Al-'Amili, Wasail Al-Shia, vol 18, pp 94 – 95) As for following the fuqaha during the occultation of the 12th Imam (AF), there are many hadiths pertaining to these instructions, among which are: The tenth Imam, Ali Al-Hadi (S) said: "After the occultation of your Qa'im a group of the 'ulemah will call upon people to believe in al-Qa'im's imamah and defend his religion by using proofs sent by Allah, so that they might save the weak minded faithful from either the deceptions of Shaitan or the deceptions of those opposed to Ali" (Al-Ihtijaj, Al-Tabrasi, vol 2, p 260) In reply to a question Ishaq Ibn Yaq'ub had sent to the Imam (AF) via the second deputy: "As far as newly occurring circumstances are concerned, you should turn (for guidance) to the narrators of our hadiths, for they are my proof over you just as I am Allah's proof over them" (Al-Ihtijaj, Al-Tabrasi, vol 2, p 260, Al-'Amili, Wasail Al-Shia, vol 18, p 101, Bihar Al-Anwar, Al-Majlisi vol 53, p 181) So, we have learned three things: The knowledgeable fuqaha are to be followed, they can give Ijtihad in relevant matters and taqleed is necessary in the time of occultation. The evidence has shown that Ijtihad is an established practice and the erudite and pious fuqaha are to be followed whenever and wherever they maybe. Below are some of the qualities a Mujtahid must have in order for him to become a Marja' and for people to follow him: A Male (women can become mujtahids, but not maraji') Shia Imami Adult (baligh) Sane Of legitimate birth Just Also, one cannot follow a Mujtahid who died before the person initially observed his taqleed. However, most of the fuqaha agree that if you follow a Marji' and he dies, you can still follow his rulings, but new issues must be referred to a living Marja'. Also, the majority of the fuqaha believe that the most knowledgeable of the mujtahids must be followed. One can also choose to not do direct taqleed but instead act on Ihtiyat (precaution). Basically, he has to view all the mujtahids rulings on a matter and act on the most precautious of them. For more information on the rulings of taqleed, refer to the relevant book of rulings for each marja'. Taqleed is no different then other natural processes whereby you refer to the experts. Take the example of going to a doctor for a medical reason. You will go to him because you are the patient (muqallid) and you do not have the necessary information and ability to treat yourself (non-mujtahid) so you seek the doctor's advice (taqleed) because he is the expert (mujtahid). However, when there are differences between the doctors, you will seek the most knowledgeable or seek a second opinion. This is a good thing, because differences may mean easier or cheaper or simpler treatments. So, you wouldn’t risk your health by not referring to a doctor, so why would you risk your deeds and your religion by not referring to a mujtahid? It is by the Grace of Allah that today we have many maraji' in different countries who have published their rulings in many languages and which are available through a variety of means. We also have scholars available to us who can answer our questions and guide us to the right rulings and learned brothers and sisters who can refer us to these resources. Make use of these for there is no excuse for ignorance, especially in religion.
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