Conditions of Taqlīd
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 taqlīd of a qualified mujtahid to be correct.
Q 10: May a mukallaf follow a mutajazzī 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 fatwā of a mutajazzī mujtahid is binding (proof) for himself. However, for others the permissibility to following him (his fatwās) 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 marji‘iyyah in issuing fatwās, 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 taqlīd 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 ijtihād?
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 taqlīd. In this way we combine both supreme leadership and the office of marji‘iyyah. What is your opinion in this regard?
A: The conditions of the eligibility of a marji‘ in matters of taqlīd are mentioned in detail in Taḥrīr al-Wasīlah and other books on practical laws of Islam. It rests with the mukallaf to recognize who enjoys all taqlīd 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 fatwās 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 shar‘ī 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 taqlīd 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 one’s taqlīd (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 one’s taqlīd will be obligatory if their fatwās 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 fatwā 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 fatwās and their fatwās are different, it will be of obligatory caution upon the mukallaf to follow the most learned one unless it is proven that his fatwā is contrary to caution while the other’s agrees with it. The basis for this view is reason and the way rational people behave, because the mukallaf is certain that fatwās of the most learned mujtahid are valid while the that of other’s is possibly valid.
Q 21: Concerning the taqlīd issue, whom should we follow?
A: It is obligatory to follow a mujtahid who meets all requirements needed for issuing a fatwā 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 taqlīd 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 fatwā of the most learned, living one.
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