Rules of Imitation [taqleed]
Q 1: Is the necessity of following a qualified jurist authority itself based on imitation [taqleed] or is it grounded on personal judgment?
A: It is a concluded matter based on personal judgment and reason.
Q2: Is it better, in your opinion, to act with precaution [ihtiyat] or to follow an authoritative reference [marji’]?
A: Since acting according to precaution depends upon knowledge of its cases (instances in which it is applied) and its method, which only few people have knowledge of and, in addition, acting with precaution consumes a lot of time, thus, it is preferable to follow a qualified jurist [mujtahid].
Q3: What are the limits of acting with precaution with respect to the verdicts of Islamic jurists? Is it obligatory to take into consideration the verdicts of the past jurists as well?
A: That which is intended by acting with precaution, in its necessary cases, is to observe all juristic probabilities for the case in which its consideration is presumably necessary.
Q4: My daughter will reach the age of legal maturity in a few weeks, and consequently, she will have to select an authoritative reference [marji’] (to follow). Since she has some difficulties in understanding this matter, kindly advise us about our duty in this regard?
A: If she does not pay attention to her religious obligation in this regard, your duty towards her will be to remind her (of this obligation) and to show her the way.
Q5: It is generally thought that identifying the subject of a rule is the responsibility of the individual bound by religious obligations [mukallaf] whereas the determination of the rule itself is a duty of the jurist [mujtahid]. In view of this matter, what should be done with respect to the identifications of a subject reached by the authoritative reference [marji’]? Is it obligatory to act upon them, for we observe in many cases that he also intervenes in this matter?
A: Yes, the responsibility of identifying the subject rests with the individual bound by religious obligations [mukallaf]. Therefore, he is not obligated to follow the identification of his jurist [mujtahid] unless he is certain of his (the mujtahid) identification or the subject is one of which should be identified by juristic inference(1).
Q6: Will one be considered a sinner if he forgoes learning the religious rules that he frequently encounters?
A: If his failure to learn religious rules leads to forsaking an obligation or committing an unlawful action, he will be a sinner.
Q7: When some individuals - who are not well informed - are asked whom they follow, they reply: "We do not know," or say: "We follow this or that authoritative reference [marji’] " without feeling any obligation to refer to his practical book of laws and act upon it. What is the rule concerning their actions?
A: If their actions are in accordance with precaution, the actual rule, or the verdict of the jurist [mujtahid] to whom they must refer, their actions will be valid.
Q8: In cases where the most learned jurist [mujtahid] gives a verdict of obligatory precaution [ihtiyat wajib], we can refer to a jurist [mujtahid] who is, after him the most learned. Our question is that if the second most learned jurist [mujtahid] also calls for obligatory precaution, is it permissible to refer to someone who is the most knowledgeable after the previous two jurists [mujtahid]s and so on? Please explain this rule.
A: there is No problem in referring to a jurist [mujtahid] who does not call for obligatory precaution, and instead has a clear-cut verdict on the issue provided that the order of the most knowledgeable [a'lamiyyah] is observed.
Q9: Is it permissible to follow an Islamic jurist who is not an authoritative reference [marji’] and does not have a book of practical laws?
A: If it is proven for the individual bound by religious obligations [mukallaf], who wants to follow this jurist, that he (the jurist) is a qualified jurist [mujtahid] there will be no problem in following him.
Q 10: May an individual bound by religious obligation follow someone who has juristic expertise [ijtihad] only in one of the sections of Islamic law ((inexpert jurist [mujtahid mutajazi'])), such as in the issues of prayers or fasting?
A: the verdict of a inexpert jurist [mujtahid mutajazi'] is binding (proof) for himself. However, the permissibility for others to following him (his verdicts) is problematic, although its possibility is not improbable.
Q 11: Is it permissible to follow the scholars of other countries even if they cannot be possibly reached?
A: Following a qualified jurist in matters pertaining to Islamic law does not require that the jurist comes from and/or reside in the country of the individual bound by religious obligation.
Q 12: Is the ‘justness’ which is required of an Islamic jurist and authoritative reference [marji’] different in degree (more or less) from that which is required of a leader of congregational prayers?
A: Given the sensitivity and importance of the office of authoritative reference [marji’iyah], in addition to being just, having full control over rebellious desires and self-restraint in face of worldly aspirations are requirements of an authoritative reference [marji’], based on obligatory precaution.
Q 13: Is the knowledge of the contemporary time and place one of the conditions of juristic expertise [ijtihad]?
A: It possibly plays some role with respect to certain issues.
Q 14: According to the opinion of the late Imam Khomeini, an authoritative reference [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 and now, upon the guidance of some respected scholars as well as what we discovered for ourselves, we feel obliged to refer to you in matters of taqleed. In this way we combine both supreme leadership and the office of authoritative reference [marji’iyah]. What is your opinion in this regard?
A: The eligibility of an authoritative reference [marji’] - with respect to issues that must be followed by a non-jurist or one who does not act based on precaution - are mentioned in detail in the book of practical laws by Imam Khomeini and other scholars. The verification of these qualifications and the identification of the jurist who may be followed depend on the judgment of the individual bound by religious obligation.
Q 15: Is it required in following an authoritative reference [marji’] who is the most learned jurist of his time? and what is the criteria and cause of this requirement?
A: It is more precautions to follow the most learned jurist [mujtahid] with respect to issues in which his verdicts differ from others. The criterion of being the most learned [a'lamiyyah] is to have a greater competence, when compared to other jurists [mujtahid]s, in the following realms:
1) Identifying the laws of God, the Almighty,
2) Inferring the divine obligations from their proofs, and
3) Having familiarity with the situation of his time insofar as it affects identifying the subjects of religious rules and influences the expression of juristic opinion, which clarifies the religious duties and plays some role in jurisprudence, as well.
Q 16: Is the taqleed of someone who follows a jurist who is not the most learned invalid when it is supposed that the most learned lacks the qualifications required to make taqleed (to him)?
A: According to precaution, the mere probability that the most learned jurist lacks the required qualifications does not make it permissible to follow the jurist who is not the most learned in issues upon which the two disagree.
Q 17: If a number of scholars are identified as the most learned in different issues (each being so in a particular area), is it be permissible to refer to them (in their particular areas of expertise)?
A: There is no problem in 'division’ in taqleed (between many jurist), rather, in presuming that each jurist is the most learned with respect to the particular issue(s) in which he is followed, and ‘division’ in taqleed will be obligatory if their verdicts differs from others in that particular issue.
Q 18: May one follow a jurist who is not the most learned when the most learned jurist is alive?
A: There is no problem in referring to the jurist who is not the most learned concerning issues in which his verdict does not disagree with the verdict of the most learned.
Q 19: What is your opinion concerning (following) the most learned Islamic jurist? and what is your proof for such an opinion?
A: If there are several jurists who are qualified for issuing verdicts and their verdicts are different, it will be of obligatory precaution upon the individual bound by religious obligations [mukallaf] to follow the most learned unless his verdict is adverse to precaution and the other’s verdict agrees with it. The basis for this view is rational concurrence (of jurists); rather, the exposition of reasons for this matter disseminates between a specific and/or a determined obligations.
Q 20: Concerning imitation [taqleed] issue, whom should we follow?
A: It is obligatory to follow a jurist who meets all requirements needed for issuing a verdict and functioning as an authoritative reference [marji’] and according to precaution he should be the most learned, as well.
Q 21: Is it permissible to begin taqleed for the first time by following a deceased authoritative reference [marji’]?
A: Precaution (in this matter) should not be overlooked in following a live jurist who is the most learned when beginning imitation [taqleed] for the first time.
Q 22: To begin following a deceased jurist for the first time, should it be based on following a live jurist?
A: The permissibility of starting or continuing to follow a deceased jurist [mujtahid] depends on the verdict of a living jurist.
Q 23: After I verified the competence of a certain jurist [mujtahid] through the testimony of two just Muslims, is it obligatory upon me to ask other persons about this matter also?
A: Relying on, and referring to, the testimony of two just experts regarding the competence of a certain jurist [mujtahid] who meets all requirements of taqleed is enough and it is not obligatory to ask others, thereafter.
Q24: What are the methods for selecting an authoritative reference [marji’] and obtaining his verdicts?
A: The juristic expertise [ijtihad] or learnedness of an authoritative reference [marji’] should be verified either by researching (the matter), by obtaining certainty - even if it stems from the reputation (of that marji’) which brings about certainty, or the testimony of two just experts. The verdict of a Marji’ should be obtained either by hearing it directly from him, by the narration of two just persons and/or one just person, by the statement of a reliable person which induces certainty, or by referring to the authentic practical book of laws, written by the authoritative reference [marji’].
Q 25: Is representation [wikalah] correct in selecting an authoritative reference [marji’], such as the representation of a son by his father or a student by his teacher?
A: If that which is intended by representation is to entrust one's father, teacher, etc., with the task of searching for a qualified jurist [mujtahid], there is no problem in that. Their opinion in this matter will be legally valid and accepted, provided that their opinion induces knowledge and/or certainty, or it meets the criteria of legal evidence and testimony.
Q 26: I asked several jurist [mujtahids] about the most learned jurist. They told me that following so-and-so (may God, the Exalted, elevate his spiritual ranks) would discharge me of my obligation. May I rely on their opinion if the learnedness of that jurist [mujtahid] is unknown, or seems only probable, to me, for example, I am certain that he is not the most learned jurist due to the existence of others with similar testimonies in their favor, and (other examples) likewise?
A: If legal evidence is established as to the learnedness of a jurist [mujtahid] who meets all requirements for issuing a verdict, it is binding proof upon which one may rely. As long as there is no contradicting evidence known, there is no obligation in obtaining knowledge or certainty (of the issue), and thus, there is no need to search for opposing testimonies.
Q 27: Is it permissible for someone without formal permission (from a mujtahid in transmitting his verdicts) and who occasionally makes mistakes in relating verdicts incorrectly? What if he relates verdicts by reciting the book of practical laws?
A: Permission is not required in quoting a jurist’s verdict and explaining religious rules. However, undertaking these tasks is not permissible for someone who makes mistakes while performing them. If a person notices his mistake in quoting a verdict after making that mistake, it is obligatory upon him to inform the listener about the mistake. In any case, it will not be permissible for the listener to act upon the statements of someone who relates verdicts unless he obtains confidence regarding the correctness of his statements and conveyance.
Q 28: We obtained permission of a jurist, who is not the most learned, to continue following a deceased authoritative reference [marji’]. So, in the case in which the permission of the most learned jurist is required, is it now obligatory to switch to the most learned jurist and seek his permission to continue following the deceased authoritative reference [marji’]?
A: If verdict of the jurist, who is not the most learned, in this matter is similar to the verdict of the most learned, there is no problem in following it, and thus, no need to switch to the most learned jurist.
Q 29: Is it permissible to switch from the most learned jurist (to another jurist) in regards to new issues because he is unable to deduce their correct rulings from their detailed proofs?
A: If the individual bound by religious obligations [mukallaf] does not wish to act according to precaution or it is impossible for him to do so (in regards to that issue). And, on the other hand, he finds another jurist [mujtahid] who has a verdict regarding that issue; it will be obligatory on him to switch to that jurist [mujtahid] with respect to that issue.
Q 30: To stop acting upon one of Imam Khomeini's verdicts, is it obligatory upon me to refer to the verdict of the jurist whose permission I obtained in order to continue following a deceased jurist, or may I refer to other jurists also?
A: Switching does not require permission. Therefore, one may switch to a jurist [mujtahid] who meets the requirements upon which imitating him is correct.
Q 31: May one switch from the most learned to other than he (the most learned)?
A: Switching (in this case) is contrary to precaution, rather, it is not permissible based on precaution when the most learned issues a verdict on an issue which disagrees with the verdict of others.
Q 32: I continued to follow Imam Khomeini based on the verdict of a prominent jurist [mujtahid]. When I came to know your verdicts on religious issues and your esteemed opinion about continuing to follow the late Imam Khomeini, I stopped following the aforementioned verdict and began acting upon the verdicts of the late Imam along with your verdicts. Is there any problem in the switching (between jurist) which I have done?
A: It is not permissible according to obligatory precaution to switch from one living jurist [mujtahid] to another. This is unless the second jurist is more knowledgeable, as determined by the individual bound by religious obligations [mukallaf] than the first. And also, if the second’s verdict on the matter differs from the verdict of the first - if so, it is of obligatory precaution to switch to the second.
Q 33:May a follower of Imam Khomeini, who has continued to follow him, refer to other authoritative references [maraji'] concerning any issue such as not considering Tehran to be a large (cosmopolitan) city.?
A: He may do so. However, it is recommended not to forego precaution with regards to continuing imitating [the taqleed] of the late Imam if he considers him to be more knowledgeable than the living authoritative references [maraji'].
Q 34: As a pious teenager I used to follow Imam Khomeini. This was before I reached the age of legal maturity and my taqleed was not based on religious proof but on the conviction that following the Imam discharged me of my obligations. After some time, I switched to another authoritative reference [marji’] but my switching was invalid and then I switched to you after the second authoritative reference [marji’] passed on. What is the rule concerning my taqleed of that authoritative reference 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 verdicts during his blessed life or after his demise - in continuation of his taqleed - are ruled as valid. And that which you performed, following the verdicts of the other authoritative reference is also valid provided that your actions were in accordance with the verdicts of whomever you should have been following then or whom must follow now, otherwise it is obligatory to repeat those actions. At present, you have the choice either to continue following the deceased authoritative reference or to switch to someone you consider qualified to imitate [for taqleed] based on religious criteria.
Q 35: Someone has been following a certain authoritative reference since the late Imam Khomeini passed away, and now he/she wishes to follow the Imam again. May he/she do so?
A: On a more precautionary basis, switching taqleed from a living and qualified jurist [mujtahid] to a deceased one is not permissible. However, in the case where the living jurist [mujtahid] is not qualified, switching (taqleed) to him is void. And thus, the individual bound by religious obligations [mukallaf] is still on the taqleed of the deceased jurist, enjoying the choice either to continue following him or to switch to a living jurist whose taqleed is permissible.
Q 36: I was legally mature when Imam Khomeini was alive. I followed him in certain rules, but did not have a clear notion of the issue of imitation [taqleed]. What is my duty now?
A: If you performed your rites of worship according to the Imam's verdicts while he was alive and you were a follower of him, even in certain issues, you may keep following him in all issues.
Q 37: What is the rule in continuing to follow a deceased jurist [mujtahid] if he was the most learned?
A: Continuing to follow a deceased jurist [mujtahid] in any case is permissible but not obligatory. However, precaution should not be abandoned in the case of continuing to follow a deceased jurist [mujtahid] who was the most learned.
Q38: Is the most learned jurist’s permission necessary in continuing the taqleed of a deceased jurist or is it enough to have the permission of any jurist?
A: It is not obligatory to follow the most learned jurist regarding the issue of it being permissible to continue the taqleed of a deceased jurist [mujtahid]. This is due to the unanimous agreement of the scholars.
Q 39: Someone who used to follow the late Imam Khomeini switched, with respect to certain issues, to another jurist [mujtahid] after the Imam passed away. After a while, the second jurist also passed away. What is this person's duty now?
A: It is permissible for him/her, as before, to continue to follow the first authoritative reference [marji’]. As for the issues in which he switched to the second marja ', he has the choice of either continuing to following him or to switch to a living jurist [mujtahid].
Q 40: After Imam Khomeini passed away, I thought it was not permissible, in accordance with his verdict, to continue following a deceased authoritative reference [marji’], and therefore, I chose a living jurist for imitation [taqleed]. Is it now permissible to switch back to the imitation [taqleed] of the late Imam.?
A: It is not permissible for you to switch back to his imitation [taqleed] after you switched to a living jurist [mujtahid] in all religious issues. This is unless the verdict of the living jurist is that it is obligatory to continue following the most learned jurist who has passed on; and you are of the opinion that the late Imam was more knowledgeable than the living jurist. Therefore, in this case it is obligatory upon you to switch back to the late Imam's imitation [taqleed].
Q 41: Is it permissible for me to refer sometimes to a deceased jurist [mujtahid] and at other times to a living jurist, who is the most learned, with respect to a particular issue on which they have different opinions?
A: It is permissible remain on the taqleed of a deceased authoritative reference [marji’], however, once you switch to a living jurist [mujtahid] it is not permissible to refer back to the deceased one.
Q 42: Is it obligatory for the followers of the late Imam Khomeini who wish to continue his imitation [taqleed] to seek permission from one of the living authoritative references [maraji']? Or, does the unanimity of most of the authoritative references and eminent scholars concerning the permissibility of continuing to follow a deceased authoritative reference [marji’] suffice?
A: It is permissible to rely on the unanimity of the contemporary scholars regarding the permissibility of continuing to follow a deceased marji' in order to continue the taqleed of the late Imam and there is no need to refer to any specific jurist [mujtahid] in this regard.
Q 43: What is your opinion about continuing to follow a deceased authoritative reference [marji’] with respect to a rule upon which the individual bound by religious obligations [mukallaf] has, or has not acted upon during his lifetime?
A: Continuing to follow a deceased authoritative reference with regard to all verdicts, even those which he has not acted upon is permissible and sufficient.
Q 44: Does the permissibility of continuing to follow a deceased jurist [mujtahid] also apply to those who acted upon his verdicts although they were not individual bound by religious obligations [mukallaf] when the jurist was alive?
A: There is no problem in continuing to follow a deceased jurist [mujtahid] assuming that taqleed was actualized by them (their actions) even before reaching legal maturity during the life time of the jurist.
Q 45: We are followers of Imam Khomeini and have continued to follow him since his heartbreaking demise. At times, we face some new religious problems, especially since we live in a period of struggle against oppressive (non-Islamic and illegitimate) regimes and the global arrogance. Since we feel the need in our lives to refer to your Excellency, concerning all religious issues, we want to switch to your taqleed, May we do so?
A: You may keep following the Imam and at the time there is no substantial reason for you to switch from his taqleed. If the need arises to obtain religious verdicts concerning new problems, you may correspond with our office about them. May Allah grant you success to achieve His pleasure.
Q 46: What is the duty of the follower of a authoritative reference [marji’] when another authoritative reference [marji’] is recognized to be the most learned jurist [mujtahid]?
A: It is obligatory, as a matter of precaution, to switch from the authoritative reference [marji’] who is currently being followed to the one who is the most learned with respect to issues in which their verdicts differ.
Q 47: When is it permissible for a follower to switch to another authoritative reference [marji’]?
A: It is permissible to switch to another authoritative reference [marji’] when the other jurist is either more knowledgeable than, or as knowledgeable as, the present authoritative reference [marji’].
Q 48: Is it be permissible to switch to a jurist who is not the most learned if the verdicts of the most learned jurist are not timely (in accordance to the time) or are difficult to practice?
A: It is not permissible to switch from the most learned jurist to another simply based on speculations that the verdicts of the authoritative reference [marji’] whose imitation [taqleed] is obligatory - the most learned - are not compatible with their circumstances or are difficult act upon.
Q 49: What is meant by ‘ignorant due to negligence’ [jahil muqassir]?
A: A person that is ignorant due to negligence [Jahil muqassir] is someone who realizes his ignorance and knows the possible methods by which he can overcome his ignorance, but does not employ those methods.
Q 50: Who is ignorant because of lack of capacity [jahil qasir]?
A: A person that is ignorant because of lack of capacity [jahil qasir] is someone who is not at all aware of his ignorance or he/she is aware of his/her ignorance, but does not know how to overcome it.
Q 51: What does obligatory precaution [ihtiyat wajib] mean?
A: It means that it is necessary to performing or refraining from an action in concurrence with precaution.
Q 52: Does the phrase "there is a problem in it," which occurs in verdicts, mean prohibition?
A: It differs from one case to another. If the problem is in permissibility, it will, in practice, amount to prohibition.
Q 53: Are the following statements verdicts or are they calling for precaution: (1)“there is a problem in it”; (2)“it is problematic”; (3)“it is not void of problem”; and (4)“there is no problem in it”?
A: All of these phrases call for precaution, except for the negation of a problem - (4), which is a verdict.
Q 54: What is the difference between the terms “impermissible” and “haram” [unlawful]?
A: In practice, there is no difference between them.
Q 55: When the verdict of the Guardian of Muslims’ affairs [Waliy al-Amr] on social, political, and cultural issues disagrees with that of another authoritative reference [marji’] what is the religious obligation of Muslims? And is there a dividing line between verdicts issued by authoritative reference [marji’] and those issued by the Supreme Jurist Leader [Waliy al-Faqeeh]? For example, if the opinion of a authoritative reference [marji’] concerning music differs with that of the Supreme Jurist Leader which one will be sufficient and obligatory to follow? And, in general, what are the rules relating to governance and/or government regarding which verdict of the Supreme Jurist Leader has priority over that of a authoritative reference [marji’]?
A: The rulings of the Guardian of Muslims’ affairs [Waliy al-Amr] must be followed with respect to the issues relating to the administration of the Islamic country and general affairs of the Muslims. Hence, every individual bound by religious obligations [mukallaf] may follow his own authoritative reference [marji’] in categorically personal issues.
Q 56: As you know, there is a discussion in the principles of Islamic jurisprudence on the subject of the inexpert jurist [mujtahid mutajazi'], is not Imam Khomeini's separation of holding the office of authoritative reference [marji’iyah] from leadership considered a step toward the actualization of inexpertness [tajazi’]?
A: Separation between the leadership of the Supreme Jurist Leader and the office of authoritative reference [marji'iyah] has nothing to do with the issue of inexpertness [tajazi’].
Q 57: If the Guardian of Muslims’ affairs [Waliy al-Amr] declares war against the tyrant infidels or calls for holy war [jihad], whereas the authoritative reference [marji’] that I follow does not allow me to participate in the war, should I follow the opinion of the marji' or not?
A: It is obligatory to obey the orders of the [Guardian of Muslims’ affairs Waliy al-Amr] with regard to public affairs, which includes the defense of Islam and Muslims against aggressive infidels and tyrants.
Q 58: To what extent is the order [hukm] or verdict of the Supreme Jurist Leader applicable? And when it conflicts with the opinion of the most learned jurist which one is to be acted upon and given priority?
A: It is obligatory on all to obey the order of the Guardian of Muslims’ affairs [Waliy al-Amr] and the conflicting verdict of the authoritative reference [marji’] is not viable.
Q 59: Is the belief in the principle of the Supreme Jurist Leader [Waliy al-Faqeeh], with respect to its concept and exemplification, based on reason or derived from Islamic law?
A: Wilayah al-Faqeeh, which is the rule of a just jurist who is learned in the religion, is a devotional religious precept that is confirmed by reason as well as by the Islamic law. There is a rational method for determining the outer exemplification of this precept, which is elaborated upon in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Q 60: Are religious rules alterable and revocable when the Supreme Jurist Leader passes a verdict that that contradicts those rules due to the public interest of Islam and Muslims?
A: The cases differ.
Q 61: Should the media in an Islamic State be supervised by the Supreme Jurist Leader or by the Islamic Seminaries or by some other organization?
A: They should be run under the direction and supervision of the Guardian of Muslims’ affairs [Waliy al-Amr]. That is, it should be used for the service of Islam and Muslims, the dissemination of divine teachings, solving the problems of the Islamic society, intellectual development, the promotion of the spirit of brotherhood and solidarity amongst Muslims, and so forth.
Q 62: Could someone who does not believe in the absolute authority of the Supreme Jurist Leader [Waliy al-Faqeeh] be considered a true Muslim?
A: The lack of belief, whether based on juristic expertise [ijtihad] or imitation [taqleed], in the absolute authority of the Supreme Jurist Leader [Waliy al-Faqeeh] during the period of occultation of the Imam al-Hujjah [the 12th Imam] -may our souls be sacrifices for his cause- does not lead to apostasy.
Q63: Does the Supreme Jurist Leader enjoy a macrocosmic authority (in creation) that enables him to abrogate religious laws for such reasons as public interest?
A: Abrogation of the rules of the Islamic law, after the demise of the Great Messenger of Islam (SW) is impossible. Alteration that takes place in the subject or the emergence of necessity and exigency or the existence of a temporary obstacle in the way of a rule's implementation do not constitute abrogation. According to the advocates of macrocosmic authority (in creation), it is exclusive to the Infallible(s) (AS).
Q 64: What is our duty toward those who think that the authority of the virtuous Supreme Jurist Leader is restricted only to personal affairs, given that some of their representatives propagate their belief?
A: The authority of the Supreme Jurist Leader in the realm of the leadership of the society and governance of social affairs in all periods is one of the fundamental beliefs of the true Twelve Imam Shi 'a creed; as its roots are founded in the principle of Imamate. Whoever is led by reasoning not to accept this notion is excused, but it is not permissible for him to spread disunity and discord.
Q 65: Are the orders of the Supreme Jurist Leader binding for all Muslims or only for his followers? Is it obligatory upon someone who makes taqleed to a jurist who does not believe in the absolute authority of the Supreme Jurist Leader, to obey him (the Supreme Jurist Leader) or not?
A: According to Shi 'a law, it is obligatory on all Muslims to submit to the judicial/administrative commands issued by the Guardian of Muslims’ affairs [Waliy al-Amr], and compliance with his commands and proscriptions is even obligatory upon all eminent jurist, let alone their followers! In our opinion, commitment to the authority of the Supreme Jurist Leader is not separable from the commitment to Islam and the authority of the Immaculate Imams (AS).
Q 66: The term 'absolute authority' was used during the time of the noble Messenger (SW) in the sense that when he (SW) ordered an individual to do something, it was obligatory on him to carry out his order, even if it was one of the most difficult acts such as killing oneself. My question is whether the term 'absolute authority' still means the same thing, given that the Noble Prophet (SW) was infallible, and whereas no infallible leader exists at the present time?
A: The 'absolute authority' of the qualified jurist means that the upright Islamic faith, which is the final heavenly religion and will last till the Day of Resurrection, is a religion of governance and administration of social affairs. Therefore, it is necessary for the Islamic society, with all its strata, to have a Guardian of Muslims’ affairs [Waliy al-Amr], a judge, and a leader who to defend the Islamic society against the enemies of Islam and Muslims. He must preserve their social system, establish justice among them, prevent the strong from victimizing the weak, and attain for them the means of cultural, political, and social development and prosperity.
At the plane of implementation, the above goals sometimes conflict with the tendencies, ambitions, interests, and liberties of some individuals. On the other hand, while accomplishing his leadership related duties in the light of Islamic law, it is obligatory on the Leader of Muslims to take the necessary measures whenever he realizes the need for them.
When the general interests of Islam and Muslims are at issue, the leader's will and authority should necessarily be superior to the wills and powers of the people in case of disagreement. What is stated above is only a short gist of the concept of absolute authority.
Q67: According to the verdict of Islamic jurists, continuing to follow a deceased jurist [mujtahid] depends on the permission of the living jurist. Does the judicial/administrative commands and verdicts issued by a deceased (Jurist) Leader also require the permission of the living (Jurist) Leader to remain effective or are they efficacious as they are (without the permission of a living (Jurist) Leader)?
A: The judicial/administrative commands and decisions made by the Guardian of Muslims’ affairs [Waliy al-Amr] remains effective unless they are limited to a certain time span or the new Guardian of Muslims’ affairs [Waliy al-Amr] sees benefit (and/or commonweal) in revoking them, and thus, does so.
Q68: Is it obligatory on an Islamic scholar who lives in the Islamic Republic of Iran but does not believe in the absolute authority of the Supreme Jurist Leader to obey his orders? Will he be considered a hypocrite if he defies the Supreme Jurist Leader? If an Islamic scholar believes in the absolute authority of the Supreme Jurist Leader but regards himself to be more qualified for that position, will he be considered a hypocrite if he disobeys the orders of the jurist [faqeeh] who is in charge of Leadership?
A: It is obligatory upon every individual bound by religious obligations [mukallaf] - even if he is a jurist [faqeeh] - to obey the ordinances of the Guardian of Muslims’ affairs [Waliy al-Amr]. It is not permissible for anyone to disobey he who is in charge of the Leadership responsibilities based on the claim that he is more qualified. This is the case in which the present jurist in charge of Leadership reached the office through its known legal process; otherwise, the matter will be completely different.
Q69: Does the qualified mujtahid [jurist] have any authority to enforce Islamic punishment [hudud] during the period of occultation?
A: Enforcement of Islamic punishment is obligatory, even during the period of occultation and the authority in this regard belongs to the Guardian of Muslims’ affairs [Waliy al-Amr].
Q 70: Is the authority of the Supreme Jurist Leader an issue of imitation [taqleed]- in which someone could follow a marji’ - or is it an article of credence, which the individual bound by religious obligations [mukallaf] must believe in through his own reason and understanding? And what is the rule with respect to someone who does not believe in it?
A: The authority of Supreme Jurist Leader is an aspect of Wilayah (or Imamate) that forms one of the fundamental principles of the Shi'a creed. The rules pertaining to it are derived, like every other juristic rule - from the sources of Islamic law. Whoever is led by reasoning not to believe in it is excused.
Q 71: Occasionally, we hear some officials talking about the “Administrative Authority” [Wilayah al-Idariyah] meaning unquestionable obedience to a superior authority. What is your opinion in this regard and what is our legal obligation?
A: It is not permissible to defy or violate the administrative orders that are issued according to executive policies and decisions, this is, although there is not such a thing as “Administrative Authority” [Wilayah al-Idariyah] in the Islamic scheme of notions.
Q 72: May military authorities order their personnel to take care of some of their personal affairs, whereas their (the military authorities) time is wasted if they attend to those affairs themselves?
A: It is not permissible for the authorities or, for that matter, anyone else to order their personnel to take care of their private affairs for them. And if they did so, they (the authorities or whosoever) will be liable to pay them (the personnel) the wages that accrue for such jobs.
Q 73: Is it obligatory to carry out the decisions of the Supreme Jurist Leader’s representative that lie within the jurisdiction of his representation position?
A: If his mandatory orders are within the limits of the powers delegated to him by the Supreme Jurist Leader, it is not permissible to disobey them.
1- There are two kinds of subjects: (1)simple and (2)inferred. The responsibility of identifying a simple subject, such as determining whether a certain liquid is wine or not, rests with the individual bound by religious obligations [mukallaf]. In contrast, identifying an inferred subject lies within the competence of an Islamic jurist, i.e., defining profane singing as a voice that causes excitement and not as every melodious voice though it may be free of exciting effect. Inferred subjects are, in turn, of two kinds: (1)"Fixed", which do not vary according to time and/or place, as in the case of profane singing. (2)"Variable", which is influenced by surrounding circumstances (time and/or place). Since rules depend on their subjects and hence they change as a result of the alteration of their subjects, the identification of variably inferred subjects is overshadowed by Islamic jurisprudence.