To Change from One Marji‘ to Another
Q 29: We obtained permission of a mujtahid, who is not the most knowledgeable, to continue following a deceased marji‘. If the permission of the most learned mujtahid is required here, is it now obligatory to change our taqlīd to the most learned mujtahid and seek his permission to continue following the deceased marji‘?
A: If the fatwā of the mujtahid, who is not the most learned, in this matter is similar to that of the most learned mujtahid, there is no problem in following the former and it is not required to change to the most learned mujtahid.
Q 30: To stop acting upon one of Imam Khomeini’s (q.) fatwās, is it obligatory for me to refer to that mujtahid whose permission I obtained to continue following the deceased mujtahid, or may I refer to other mujtahids also?
A: Caution goes with reference to the fatwās of the mentioned mujtahid unless there is another living mujtahid who is the most knowledgeable and whose fatwā in the matter of changing one’s taqlīd differs from that of the first one. In such a case, it is an obligatory caution to refer to the most learned mujtahid.
Q 31: May one change one’s marji‘?
A: It is an obligatory caution not to change from a living mujtahid to another living one unless the latter is — at least probably — the most learned.
Q 32: As a pious teenager I used to follow Imam Khomeini (q.). This was before I reached the age of shar‘ī puberty and my taqlīd was not based on religious proof but on the conviction that following Imam (q.) would discharge me of my obligations. After some time, I changed to another marji‘ but my changing was also invalid. Then I changed to you after the second marji‘ passed on. What is the rule concerning my taqlīd of that marji‘ and my acts during that period, in particular? What is my duty now?
A: Your past actions, which were performed based on the Imam’s (q.) fatwās during his blessed life or after his demise — in continuation of his taqlīd — are ruled as valid. Regarding those acts you performed on the basis of making taqlīd of another marji‘ — which had not been grounded on shar‘ī standards — if they are in accordance with the fatwās of the mujtahid you must follow now, they are ruled as correct and would absolve you of any further obligation. Otherwise it is obligatory to repeat those acts. At present, you have the choice either to continue following the late Imam (q.) or to change to someone you consider qualified to be followed based on shar‘ī criteria.
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