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Husain al-Ja'fari

Recommendation Of Marja

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(salam)

Since my beloved Marja-e-Taqleed Ayatollah al-Uzma Fazel Lankarani passed away :cry: i am concidering following a living Marja. Who would you recommend and for what reason?

I'm interested in their in-depth doctrinal differences etc - when existent. I feel that i might aswell take this step now if ever. :angry:

Allahu Hafiz

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(salam)

The best thing to do is to ask ahle khibre to answer your question. You are going to get a lot of different answers here from a lot of people who are far from qualified; that will lead you to no where.

However since I also followed Ayatullah Fazel (ra), I can tell you the answers I have received from several knowledgeable men one of them Ayatullah Fazel's (ra) former student.

The names I was given:

1) Ayatullah Khamenei

2) Ayatullah Behjat/Ayatullah Naser Makarem

Edited by FOTROS

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(salam)

The best thing to do if one is uncertain is to ask TWO (obviously the more the better) knowledgable Islamic scholars (obviously that studied fiqh) to provide you with an idea of who to follow.

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(salam)

It is well understood that the majority of Shias do their taqleed under Sayed Ali Sistani, because they presume he is knowledgable but don't provide any facts or reasons upon his knowledge. In what ways he is the most rational scholar on the planet? Please enlighten us with his knowledable outlines and accomplishments. Don't get me wrong, but I myself do taqleed under Sayid Ali Sistani. But, insha'Allah a pointer.

Edited by Wise Muslim

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Since my beloved Marja-e-Taqleed Ayatollah al-Uzma Fazel Lankarani passed away i am concidering following a living Marja. Who would you recommend and for what reason?

I'm interested in their in-depth doctrinal differences etc - when existent. I feel that i might aswell take this step now if ever.

why do tou have to change, i was in the taqleed of Sheik Lanakrani (ra), and for the moment im staying in his Taqleed.

Anyway, you could do Taqleed of any of the following Marjas:

Sayyid Khamanie

Sayyid Sistani

SHeik Wahid Khorasani

Sheik Nasir Makarim Shirazi

Sheik Bashir Najafi

just b/coz Sayyid Sistani is popular does not mean he is the most knowledgable.

personally, if i was to change, it would be to Sayyid Khamanie.

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Salaam. If English is ur only/primary language then A. Seestani is the only option from a practical point of view. He has (I think) 5 simple fiqh books in English (all accessible on the net) with an office in London with 1 or 2 English speaking staff.

Also see:

http://al-islam.org/organizations/aalimnetwork/msg00005.html

http://al-islam.org/organizations/aalimnetwork/msg00464.html

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Ayatullah Seestani is a good default marja. Everyone recognizes his ijtehad and since his materials are pretty widespread, people tend to find him the most accessible.

What I find interesting about Seestani is people say he is the most knowledgable however there isn't much out there for us to make this determinatin for ourselves. You can get a gist of what's someone's thoughts and ideas are like from their books but in Ayatullah Seestani's I haven't seen much else written by him besides fiqh books...at least in English that is. Ayatullahs Khamenei, Makarem-Shirazi, Fadhlullah, Misbah Yazdi, and others all have at least something published on other subjects.

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Ayatullah Seestani is a good default marja. Everyone recognizes his ijtehad and since his materials are pretty widespread, people tend to find him the most accessible.

What I find interesting about Seestani is people say he is the most knowledgable however there isn't much out there for us to make this determinatin for ourselves. You can get a gist of what's someone's thoughts and ideas are like from their books but in Ayatullah Seestani's I haven't seen much else written by him besides fiqh books...at least in English that is. Ayatullahs Khamenei, Makarem-Shirazi, Fadhlullah, Misbah Yazdi, and others all have at least something published on other subjects.

You choose a marja ultimately depending on their fiqhi knowledge, not their status as a philosopher/theologian etc. Hence, only those who've studied fiqh for a couple years, if not decades, could really decide who seems most knowledgeable. At least, this is how it seems to me.

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^

Is it only knowledge of fiqh or a combination of that plus intellectual ability to deduce rulings? In the upper echelon of any field, everyone's knowledge is pretty much the same. All Ph.Ds have more or less taken the same courses and studied the same books. What distinguishes them is their ability to apply that knowledge to research and discover new things. The same is true for mujtahids and maraje. Those who've graduated from Dars-e-Kharij have studied all there is to study from classrooms and books. From that point on, any knowledge they acquire is the result of their own intellectual exersion i.e. ijtehad.

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If you believe in Science an Technology in deep like the way I do, then take a look at Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. He came to my choice since his differences among other great scholars made sense to me since I am more of a Scientific mind in a Technological world.

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(salam)

I know this sounds kind of funny, but whats the point of having a Marja. I'm not asking this in a funny type of way . :( But, since I just became Shia recently,i really don't know what the point is. And also do you have to follow one. Do you have to be completely obedient towards him. Are you also allowed to change Marja at anytime?

Edited by Follower of Ali

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Salaam. I can answer some of your q's.

Some people believe in following multiple mujtahids if each is the best in his own specialist area. E.g. one can be followed in economic affairs, one in personal acts of worship, one in transactions of society, etc.

The idea is to be obedient to God by following someone who has a good idea of what is the Islamic stance on various new issues. So, yes you have to be obedient to his interpretation of Islam insofar as you think you should be following him in the first place. I think this is out of consistency more than anything i.e. not picking and choosing between the rulings to follow. Hence swapping between marjas willy nilly does not make uch sense.

And one only needs to follow a marja on disputed matters of law (fiqh). One has to make one's own decision about matters of doctrine (i.e. beliefs) and there is no sense to taqleed on issues such as doing wudoo with water or whether there is 2 rakats for dawn prayers...the answer is obvious and not in need of any expert opinion.

should you do taqleed? there are other replies dealing with this, e.g. one fixed at the top of this forum.

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salam,

many people are saying to ask ahlul khibra, which is definetly a way to get a good opinion on different marjas, but i dont think it should be used to make our final decision. Obviously there are different people from ahlul khibra who will give you many different answers. So we should consider what biases (not bad) these scholars have, for example they may have spent more time with one marja they recommended more than another, or not spent anytime with another at all, thus they are not in a position to completely judge if the one they suggest is better than the one they have not even met or researched as well. Secondly many people say you should ask a certain number and base your final decision on the answers. What if you ask a certain group and they give you the final decision to follow Marja A. , but if you ended up asking another group of ahlul khibra they would tell you to follow Marja B. , so we shouldnt let who we choose as a marja depend on who was in front of us to ask at the time.

The majority of marjas say you must follow the most knowledgable, but Ayatollah Fadlallah says you can follow anybody who is qualified, which is understandable in my opinion since it is VERY hard to conclude who is the most knowledgable without doubt. And even if you conclude someone is the most knowledgable it will still be an opinion and not a fact, which is why we have more than one marja.

(salam)

I know this sounds kind of funny, but whats the point of having a Marja. I'm not asking this in a funny type of way . :( But, since I just became Shia recently,i really don't know what the point is. And also do you have to follow one. Do you have to be completely obedient towards him. Are you also allowed to change Marja at anytime?

To follow someone who has studied the religion thoroughly for decades is the point of taqleed. Because we have not studied as much as a marja. Even sunnis do taqleed, but on 4 people who are no longer living.

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(salam)

The best way I think is first to be sure of your idea of taqlid...why did you choose Ayatullah Lankrani? Do you believe that you should choose only THE most knowledgeable? How do you choose the most knowledgeable - is it by listening to others (but then you;d be a Christian...), or by listening to this ahl-ul kibra (system within a system...) or looking at the differences amongst the top few and choosing based on what you believe makes most sense...

Or do you like the idea that all the maraja have legitimate opinions and thus choosing any is ok because they all have a reasoning behind their laws, which follows the system of usul-ul fiqh?

I think the best way personally is to look at the major, most well-known fiqhi differences of the top few. As far as I am aware, most are very similar, except for Sayyid Fadlallah who has differences in the following:

1. Tahara of Non-Ahlul Kitab - he believes all are physically tahir but the non-ahlul kitab are spiritually najis

2. Smoking - he is unequivoca about its haramness

3. Equality in rules about marriage and Mut'ah - he believes that as boys do not need to ask their father for permission, neither should a girl

4. The Najasa of Alcohol - he believes that alcohol is of course haram but not najis

5. Taqlid - as explained more thoroughly in a previous post, he believes in a more

6. Money as a part of Zakat or not - he believes that cash should be counted as a part of Zakat

7. Praying behind Sunnis - he allows it

8. Smoke as something that breaks the fast - he believes that smoke does not invalidate a fast

9. Moonsighting - he believes that you should use calculations so that if the moon could be seen anywhere in teh world (if there were Muslims there) then it should be followed

There are probably others which I have forgotten to mention...but if you agree with all the major differences that he has....it might be worth thinking about Sayyid Fadlallah. If you do not, you may prefer Sayyid Seestani, who is (in terms of fiqhi rulings) more similar to Ayatullah Lankrani. Also, it seems that Sayyid Fadlallah is someone who is one of the most active in terms of:

1. Leading Juma prayers every week and reciting a Juma Khutba

2. Doing Tafsir classes every week

3. He used to have online live sessions on PalTalk to talk to anyone....answering anyone (trasnlated into English)

4. Talking about politics and to media organisations

5. Writing regularly and books such as World of Our Youth...etc.

Generally though, you have to make a choice as to what your fiqhi views are and do not get caught up in the scholarly historical differences which do not impact on fiqhi rulings...

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^

Is it only knowledge of fiqh or a combination of that plus intellectual ability to deduce rulings? In the upper echelon of any field, everyone's knowledge is pretty much the same. All Ph.Ds have more or less taken the same courses and studied the same books. What distinguishes them is their ability to apply that knowledge to research and discover new things. The same is true for mujtahids and maraje. Those who've graduated from Dars-e-Kharij have studied all there is to study from classrooms and books. From that point on, any knowledge they acquire is the result of their own intellectual exersion i.e. ijtehad.

Yes my friend. All other fields of knowledge shall ultimately contribute to their expertise in fiqh/usool. I did not spell this out, but this is my view also, and part of the ongoing evolution of these fields. However, I do believe that all those are necessary ultimately inasfar as they contribute to the mutjahid's understanding of fiqh.

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As far as I am aware, most are very similar, except for Sayyid Fadlallah who has differences in the following:

Sayyid Fadhlullah isn't the only marja who shares these differences nor was he the first to state it.

1. Tahara of Non-Ahlul Kitab - he believes all are physically tahir but the non-ahlul kitab are spiritually najis

He's not the only one. Recently this has become a popular opinon amongst many maraje.

2. Smoking - he is unequivoca about its haramness

Most maraje forbid smoking if one is aware of its potential dangers.

3. Equality in rules about marriage and Mut'ah - he believes that as boys do not need to ask their father for permission, neither should a girl

I don't believe he allows complete freedom in this regard. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe he allows this when the girl's father refuses for non-religious reasons.

4. The Najasa of Alcohol - he believes that alcohol is of course haram but not najis

Shaheed Ayatullah Sadr (ra) was actually the first to declare this.

5. Taqlid - as explained more thoroughly in a previous post, he believes in a more

Taqleed of multiple mujtahids isn't a new concept. Others allow it too with different conditions.

6. Money as a part of Zakat or not - he believes that cash should be counted as a part of Zakat

He is reviving antiquated laws about zakat for modern society. Good for him. A scholar told me that scholars in Iran are slowly beginning to push for a change in the interpretation of zakat. I believe he mentioned Ayatullah Makarem Shirazi as one of them. 50 years from now this will probaly be the de facto definition of zakat.

7. Praying behind Sunnis - he allows it

So does Sayyid Khamenei.

8. Smoke as something that breaks the fast - he believes that smoke does not invalidate a fast

Never heard of this one.

9. Moonsighting - he believes that you should use calculations so that if the moon could be seen anywhere in teh world (if there were Muslims there) then it should be followed

If there is scientific evidence ensuring the accuracy of calculations to sight the moon then why shouldn't we utilize it?

Edited by Talib-e-Ilm

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3. Equality in rules about marriage and Mut'ah - he believes that as boys do not need to ask their father for permission, neither should a girl
I don't believe he allows complete freedom in this regard. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe he allows this when the girl's father refuses for non-religious

His views on Mutah are same as that of Ayatollah Murtada Mutahhari (ar) i.e. Mutah marriage is permitted only in the case of non-availability of means to marry permanently. Sayed Fadhlallah also puts limit of 4 wives on both permant or temporary marriage.

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(salam)

@Talib-e-Ilm: Sorry I did not mean to imply that he is the only one...just that his opinons are different to many on these issues as far as I am aware...he did not come up with most of these opinions it is true...but those are his beliefs...

re: mut'ah - relevant pages are the end of http://english.bayynat.org.lb/Jurisprudence/sex.htm

and http://english.bayynat.org.lb/news/meeting05072007.htm

and http://english.bayynat.org.lb/QA/index.aspx#, go to marriage and personal relationships and then mutaa marriage..(baaad transliteration!) - here questions 6 and 8 imply what i said about the non-requirement of the father but I am unable at this moment to find an actual thing on the website directly confirming what I said....

Hope that clarifies the issue...

Thanks

Wasalaam

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(salam)

Since my beloved Marja-e-Taqleed Ayatollah al-Uzma Fazel Lankarani passed away :cry: i am concidering following a living Marja. Who would you recommend and for what reason?

I'm interested in their in-depth doctrinal differences etc - when existent. I feel that i might aswell take this step now if ever. :angry:

Allahu Hafiz

(salam)

I suggest you continue following Lankarani (ra) until something new comes up that there wasn't a verdict for.

If you must follow a new scholar, I advise reading the writtings and speeches of scholars and then decide.

with salams

Edited by Gangster

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(salm)

just a clarification

7. Praying behind Sunnis - he allows it

Most of the marjas such as Fadlallah, Sistani, and Khamenai allow this provided that you pray it with the intention of an individual prayer. So basically you pray by yourself but you move with them, Inshallah getting more reward.

As for smoking breaking the fast, somebody questioned it, its true he does not believe it breaks the fast but he believes smoking is haram in the first place, except under special circumstances such as having a problem where if you quit it will hurt you more than if you keep smoking, these are obviously medical issues.

wsalam.

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