A Mujtahid Should Be
1. Every Muslim should believe in the fundamentals of faith with his own insight and understanding, and he cannot follow anyone in this respect i.e. he cannot accept the word of another who knows, simply because he has said it. However, one who has faith in the true tenets of Islam, and manifests it by his deeds, is a Muslim and Mo'min, even if he is not very profound, and the laws related to a Muslim will hold good for him. In matters of religious laws, apart from the ones clearly defined, or ones which are indisputable, a person must:
· either be a Mujtahid (jurist) himself, capable of inferring and deducing from the religious sources and evidence;
· or if he is not a Mujtahid himself, he should follow one, i.e. he should act according to the verdicts (Fatwa) of the Mujtahid without asking him the reason of his verdicts;
· or if he is neither a Mujtahid nor a follower (Muqallid), he should act on such precaution which should assure him that he has fulfilled his religious obligation. For example, if some Ms
· sujtahids consider an act to be haraam, while others say that it is not, he should not perform that act. Similarly, if some Mujtahid consider an act to be obligatory (Wajib) while others consider it to be recommended (Mustahab), he should perform it. Therefore, it is obligatory upon those persons who are neither Mujtahids, nor able to act on precautionary measures (Ihtiyat), to follow a Mujtahid.
2. Taqlid in religious laws means acting according to the verdict of a Mujtahid. It is necessary for the Mujtahid who is followed, to be male, Shi'ah Ithna Ash'ari, adult, sane, of legitimate birth, living and just ('Adil). A person is said to be just when he performs all those acts which are obligatory upon him, and refrains from all those things which are forbidden to him. And the sign of being just is that one is apparently of a good character, so that if enquiries are made about him from the people of his locality, or from his neighbors, or from those persons with whom he lives, they would confirm his good conduct. And if one knows that the verdicts of the Mujtahids differ with regard to the problems which we face in every day life, it is necessary that the Mujtahid who is followed be A'lam (the most learned), who is more capable of understanding the divine laws than any of the contemporary Mujtahids.
· when a person is certain that a particular person is a Mujtahid, or the most learned one. For this, he should be a learned person himself, and should possess the capacity to identify a Mujtahid or an A'alam;
· when two persons, who are learned and just and possess the capacity to identify a Mujtahid or the A'alam, confirm that a person is a Mujtahid or an A'lam, provided that two other learned and just persons do not contradict them. In fact, being a Mujt ahid or an A'lam can also be established by a statement of only one trusted and reliable person;
· when a number of learned persons who possess the capacity to identify a Mujtahid or an A'lam, certify that a particular person is a Mujtahid or an A'lam, provided that one is satisfied by their statement.
4. If one generally knows that the verdicts of Mujtahids do vary in day to day matters, and also that some of the Mujtahids are more capable than the others, but is unable to identify the most learned one, then he should act on precaution based on t heir verdicts. And if he is unable to act on precaution, then he should follow a Mujtahid he supposes to be the most learned (Aalam), even if there is a light vitness (YAQEEN) of someone being an Aalam (learned) among others.
5. There are four ways of obtaining the verdicts of a Mujtahid:
· When a man hears from the Mujtahid himself.
· When the verdict of the Mujtahid is quoted by two just persons.
· When a man hears the verdict from a person whose statement satisfies him.
· By reading the Mujtahid's book of Masae'l (Risala Amaliyya), provided that, one is satisfied about the correctness of the book.
6. As long as a person is certain that the verdict of the Mujtahid has not changed, he can act according to what is written in the Mujtahid's book. And if he suspects that the verdict might have been changed, investigation in that matter is not necessary .
7. If an A'lam Mujtahid gives a fatwa on some matter, his follower cannot act in that matter on the fatwa of another Mujtahid. But if he does not give a fatwa, and expresses a precaution (Ihtiyat) that a man should act in such and such a manner, for example if he says that as a precautionary measure, in the first and second Rak'at of the namaz he should read a complete Surah after the Surah of "Hamd", the follower may either act on this precaution, which is called obligatory precaution (Ihtiyat Wajib), or he may act on the fatwa of another Mujtahid who it is permissible to follow. Hence, if he (the second Mujtahid) rules that only "Surah Hamd" is enough, he (the person offering prayers) may drop the second Surah. The position will be the same if the A'a lam Mujtahid expresses terms like Ta'mmul or Ishkal.
8. If the A'lam Mujtahid observes precaution after or before having given a fatwa, for example, if he says that if Najis vessel is washed once with Kurr water (390 killos and 120 grams), it becomes Pak, although as precautionary measure, it should be washed three times, his followers can abandon acting according to this precaution. This precaution is called recommended precaution (Ihtiyat Mustahab).
Following A Dead Mujtahid
9. If a Mujtahid dies, it is WAJIB on the follower to change his TAQLEED to a living A'lam Mujtahid (Most learned) whither this alive Mujtahid is more learned or not, whither equal to that died Mujtahid, less or more as the Taqleed (Following) of a dead Mujtahid is not allowed.
10. It is obligatory for a follower to learn the Masae'l which are of daily importance.
11. If a person faces a problem whose rule is not known to him, it is necessary for him to exercise precaution, or to follow a Mujtahid according to the conditions mentioned above. But if he cannot obtain the ruling of an A'lam Mujtahid on that matter, he is allowed to follow a non-A'lam Mujtahid, even if he has a general notion about the difference between the verdicts.
12. If a person relates the fatwa of a Mujtahid to someone, and then that fatwa is changed, it is not necessary for him to inform that person about the change. But if he realises after having related the fatwa that he had made an error, and the error would lead someone to contradicting the laws of Shariah, then as an obligatory precaution, he should do his best to rectify the error.
13. If a person performs his acts for some time without taqlid of a Mujtahid, and later follows a Mujtahid, his former actions will be valid if that Mujtahid declares them to be valid, otherwise they will be treated as void.