Following the Marja in All Matters
Question :

If I am in the taqlīd of a certain marja, should I follow him only on Sharia matters or all matters?

Answer :

It is obligatory on the individual to refer to the marja in learning about the religious rulings and implementing them in the matters of his worships, dealings, family relations and relations with other people, since the sharia has rulings and guidance for all issues that one could run into.
In other aspects of life, the marja is referred to as an advisor since he has knowledge on the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them).

Following the Most Knowledgeable
Question :

Is it necessary to follow the most knowledgeable religious scholar?

Answer :

Yes, it is obligatory to follow the most knowledgeable Mujtahid.

The Difference Between the Verdicts
Question :

If one is not aware of the differences between marja's opinions on a particular ruling, and does not know the verdict of his own marja, can he follow the edict of another marja'?

Answer :

If one is aware that there are differences between the maraja's in the rulings that affect him, which is usually the case, then he must observe precaution. Since this is not practical for many to do so, he must find the most knowledgeable from them and follow him.

The Age of Adulthood
Question :

What is the age of religiously recognized adulthood (bulugh)?

Answer :

Religious adulthood is recognized for the male by any of the following three signs, whichever happen first:
1. The presence of hard hair on his face or in the pubic area.
2. The release of semen, whether it was during a wet dream or when awake.
3. The completion of fifteen lunar years.
The female reaches adulthood when she completes the age of nine lunar years.

Becoming a Mujtahid
Question :

When I go to study in the Islamic seminary of Najaf, what do I have to study to become a mujtahid?

Answer :

A believer should aim to fulfill the religious responsibilities of upholding the orders of the Sharia; one of them is learning the Islamic laws and teaching them. This could be achieved by learning more about the religion – and not necessarily reaching the level of ijtihad – by which a believer could serve Islam. One could serve the religion and be a role model amongst his society, family and friends by being obedient to the Islamic laws and by spreading the religious teachings in the areas where he resides. Therefore, ijtihad is not a goal that a student should have from the beginning.
Ijtihad is a talent that can be achieved by studying and with the guidance of Almighty Allah. A student of Islamic studies should study hard and make use of his time as much as possible. If he achieves this, then he can thank Almighty Allah for this bounty. If he does not, he can still serve the religion.

Traditions of the Ahlulbait
Question :

I came across many authentic traditions of the Imams of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) about ghusl, purification and ablution. These traditions are highly descriptive and specific about the main issues in jurisprudence. Is it permissible for me to follow my understanding of these traditions, and follow the rulings of my marja in other issues?

Answer :

You should follow the scholar who has reached the level of ijtihad and fulfills all the other conditions of the marja in all issues.
The derivation of the edicts from the religious sources require a great amount of knowledge and experience gained from continuous studying and research over many years. The authenticity of the traditions is only one factor taken into consideration in this process. Only the scholars who have reached the level of ijtihad have the capability to undertake this.

Commiting an Act which the Marja Deems to be Prohibited
Question :

If a person commits an act which his marja deems to be prohibited, and on Judgment Day it is discovered that the act was not actually a sin after all, will this person not be punished for it since the act was not prohibited? Or will he get punished because he disobeyed the edict of his marja?

Answer :

The said person is not considered as disobedient, but is liable for proceeding to commit an act that he was informed to be a sin. An example of this is if a person drinks from a glass thinking it to be wine, but it turns out to be water.

Non-Shia Muslim
Question :

Is it permissible for non-Shias to make use of your edicts without becoming Shia Muslims?

Answer :

Our edicts are based on the teachings of the Imams of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) through the narrations that reached us in reliable ways, which all Muslims are required to act upon. The Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) ordered the nation of Islam to refer to the Ahlulbait and follow them in the famous well-known narration that is reported by numerous ways in the books of Shias and Sunnis: "I leave among you the two weighty things: the Book of Allah and my progeny; as long as you follow both of them, you will never be misguided."
Acting upon this narration, as well as other similar narrations, to follow the AhlulBait is not obligatory on the Shias only, but it is an obligation on all Muslims.

Different Laws of Sharia
Question :

Do mujtahids differ in the laws of the prayer? For example one tells us to pray this way and another tells us to pray another way?

Answer :

It is natural to have different derivations, as people differ in their understanding of a single text, whereas the mujtahids deal with numerous texts, plus the fact that as time passes further away from the time of the texts, fallacies and probabilities increase. From this, the mission of a mujtahid becomes harder and his responsibility becomes greater in protecting the religion in a correct way and to the greatest possible extent. The oppressors and the liars throughout the times have made obstacles for us in obtaining the truths from the Imams (peace be upon them) which made the mission of the mujtahids more difficult. Therefore some variations are to be expected, in all areas of jurisprudence.

Difference in Edicts
Question :

According to another marja synthetic alcohol is tahir and it is allowed to use perfume containing such alcohol; however, Sayyid Al-Hakeem considers all types of alcohol as najis. Both of them are marjas of taqleed, so why are their edicts different?

Answer :

The difference in deriving the laws between religious jurists naturally originates from their difference in understanding the religious texts or considering some of them over the others. His Eminence, Sayyid Al-Hakeem (may Allah prolong his life) sees that alcohol is najis, if it is an intoxicant and naturally liquid. Based on this, the prayer is invalid if the praying person’s body or clothes came in contact with it.

Difference of Opinion
Question :

The edict of my marja is that taking the lottery prize is lawful, and according to another marja taking it is unlawful. If I take this money and on the Day of Judgment it becomes known that the edict of my marja was wrong, how will my action be judged?

Answer :

If the layperson acted upon the edicts of the qualified marja he is following, then Almighty Allah will excuse him if his marja was not correct.

Incorrectly Recalled Edicts
Question :

If one quotes an edict of a marja for somebody else, and later realizes that he has recalled it incorrectly, is it obligatory upon him to inform the person?

Answer :

It is obligatory to inform the misinformed person if the latter is expected to act upon it.

Without Emulation
Question :

I have heard that if a person fails to do taqleed, all of his good deeds will be invalidated, no matter how virtuous a devotee he may be. Is this true?

Answer :

The individual – who has not reached the level of ijtihad, nor does he act on precaution between the edicts of the mujtahids – cannot guarantee the correctness of his deeds before Almighty Allah, unless they correspond to the edicts of a religious scholar who is an expert in Islamic jurisprudence, i.e. a mujtahid. Referring to the expert will relieve him from liability if the edicts of the mujtahid do not conform to the actual legislated laws of Allah Almighty. Without following the expert mujtahid, the person will be held responsible before The Almighty if the actions and transactions were not really in accordance to the religion.

The Procedure of Changing Taqleed
Question :

I would like to ask what is the procedure of changing one’s marja of taqleed?

Answer :

You can change your marja by starting to refer to the edicts of the new marja and acting upon them.
However, the change is permissible only if it is based on religious evidence, for example, when it is proven to you that the new marja is more knowledgeable than the current one.

Following Based on Religious Evidence
Question :

I have read on your site: "The change (of a marja) is permissible only if it is based on religious evidence, for example, when it is proven to you that the new marja is more knowledgeable than the current one." What would be an example of religious evidence? For example, if I asked members of ahl-ul-khibrah and they said that a mujtahid is more knowledgeable than the one I follow, would this be sufficient?

Answer :

Yes, the testimony of the ahl-ul-khibrah is considered as religious evidence as long as it is based on referring to the researches of the mujtahids.

Changing the Taqleed
Question :

Is it permissible to change my taqleed in a particular issue because the edict of the marja I am following causes hardship for me?

Answer :

It is not permissible to switch from a mujtahid to another just because the second mujtahid's edict is easier to follow or pleases the individual more. The first marja must be followed as long as he is still fulfills all the conditions of the marja. However, if the marja that you are following has an obligatory precaution, then you can follow another qualified marja in that issue.

Same Level of Knowledge
Question :

If somebody is following a certain marja and he discovers that there is another marja who is at the same level of knowledge according to the view of members of ahl-ul-khibrah, can he choose between the two?

Answer :

It is not permissible to change from the current marja unless it is proven by religious evidence that another mujtahid is more knowledgeable than him.

Questionable Taqleed
Question :

as following a Mujtahid who I believed to be worthy of being a Marja, but I later realized after some research that and he was not the most knowledgeable and his ijtihad was questionable. A trusted person told me that a particular Marja was amongst the most knowledgeable Mujtahids, and I began following him although I was not certain that He was the most knowledgeable. Is my taqleed valid?

Answer :

If it has been proven to you via religious evidence that there are Marjas who are more knowledgeable than the Marja that you used to follow, you should refrain from following the latter and search for the most knowledgeable amongst those Marjas. If you could determine him by religious evidence then you should emulate him. If you could not, you must choose the most pious amongst them and if the said is not possible too, you can choose one of them and emulate him.

Changing the Taqleed
Question :

I would like to know if I can change my Taqleed from a living Mujtahid to Ayatullah Sayyid Sa'eed al-Hakeem?

Answer :

You should stay on your Taqleed unless it is proven to you that his eminence Sayyid al-Hakeem (may Allah prolong his life) is more knowledgeable than your current Marja by referring to the experts who can certify this when they refer to the juristic derivation ways of both of them.

Following his Eminence
Question :

I am following a current Marja. After doing research, I concluded that Ayatollah Sayyid Saeed al-Hakeem (may Allah prolong his life) is the most knowledgeable. Is permissible to change my Taqleed to follow him?

Answer :

Yes, it is permissible to do so.