Conditions of Taqlid | Islamic Laws by The Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei
Conditions of Taqlid
Q 9: Is it permissible to follow a mujtahid who is not a marji and does not have a book on practical laws?
A: If it is proven for a mukallaf, who wants to follow this mujtahid, that he is a qualified mujtahid, there will be no problem in following him. In other words, being a marji or having a book on practical laws of Islam are not conditions for the taqlid of a qualified mujtahid to be correct.
Q 10: May a mukallaf follow a mutajazzi mujtahid i.e. someone who is mujtahid only in some of the sections of Islamic law such as in the issues of prayers or fasting?
A: The fatwa of a mutajazzi mujtahid is binding (proof) for himself. However, for others the permissibility to following him (his fatwas) is problematic, although it is not remote.
Q 11: Is it permissible to follow the scholars of other countries even if they cannot be possibly reached?
A: Following a qualified mujtahid in matters pertaining to Islamic law does not require that the mujtahid comes from and/or reside in the same country as the mukallaf does.
Q 12: Is the justice that is required of a marji different in degree from that of a leader of congregational prayer?
A: Given the sensitivity and significance of the office of marjiiyyah in issuing fatwas, in addition to being just, having full control over rebellious desires and self-restraint in face of worldly aspirations are required of a marji, based on obligatory caution.
Q 13: It is said that one should to do taqlid of a just mujtahid. What is meant by being just?
A: A just person is so pious that he would not commit a sin deliberately.
Q 14: Is knowledge of the current times and circumstances one of the conditions of ijtihad?
A: It possibly plays some role with respect to certain issues.
Q 15: According to the opinion of the late Imam Khomeini (q.), a marji, in addition to the rules of the rites of worship and transactions, he should know political, economic, military, social, and leadership matters. We used to follow the late Imam Khomeini (q.) and now, upon the guidance of some respected scholars as well as our recognition, we feel obliged to refer to you in matters of taqlid. In this way we combine both supreme leadership and the office of marjiiyyah. What is your opinion in this regard?
A: The conditions of the eligibility of a marji in matters of taqlid are mentioned in detail in TaHrir al-Wasilah and other books on practical laws of Islam. It rests with the mukallaf to recognize who enjoys all taqlid requirements.
Q 16: Is it required to follow only the most learned marji? And what is the criterion of being the most learned?
A: It is a caution to follow the most learned mujtahid with respect to issues in which his fatwas differ from that of others. The criterion of being the most learned is to have a greater competence, when compared to other mujtahids, in the following realms:
i. Identifying the divine laws,
ii. Inferring the shari rules from their proofs, and
iii. Being aware of the events of his time insofar as it affects identifying the subjects of religious rules and influences the expression of juristic opinion.
Q 17: Thinking that the most learned mujtahid possibly lacks some qualifications, someone follows another mujtahid. Is his taqlid valid?
A: According to caution, the mere probability that the most learned mujtahid lacks the required qualifications does not make it permissible to follow a mujtahid who is not the most learned in issues upon which the two disagree.
Q 18: If a number of scholars are identified as the most learned in different issues (each being so in a particular area), is it permissible to refer to them (in their particular areas of expertise)?
A: There is no problem with dividing ones taqlid (between many mujtahids). Rather, presuming it is verified that each mujtahid is the most learned with respect to the particular issue(s) in which he is followed, dividing ones taqlid will be obligatory if their fatwas differ in that particular issue(s).
Q 19: May one follow a mujtahid who is not the most learned when the most learned mujtahid is alive?
A: There is no problem in referring to the mujtahid who is not the most learned concerning issues in which his fatwa does not disagree with that of the most learned.
Q 20: What is your opinion concerning the necessity of following the most learned mujtahid? And what is the proof for such an opinion?
A: If there are several mujtahids who are qualified for issuing fatwas and their fatwas are different, it will be of obligatory caution upon the mukallaf to follow the most learned one unless it is proven that his fatwa is contrary to caution while the others agrees with it. The basis for this view is reason and the way rational people behave, because the mukallaf is certain that fatwas of the most learned mujtahid are valid while those of others are possibly valid.
Q 21: Concerning the taqlid issue, whom should we follow?
A: It is obligatory to follow a mujtahid who meets all requirements needed for issuing a fatwa and functioning as a marji. And according to caution, he should be the most learned as well.
Q 22: Is it permissible to begin to follow a deceased marji?
A: Caution should not be overlooked in following the most learned and living marji when starting to do taqlid of a marji.
Q 23: To begin following a deceased mujtahid, does it depend on following a living mujtahid?
A: The permissibility of starting or continuing to follow a deceased mujtahid depends on the fatwa of the most learned, living one.