بسم ا الرحمن الرحيم
In the name of the gracious and merciful God,
Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.) said:
مثلنا مثل سفينة نوح من ركبها نجا ومن تخلف عنها غرق
“Our parable is like the parable of the Ark of Noah. Whoever entered it was saved, and whoever stayed away from it drowned.” [Kitab Sulaim of al-Hilali, page 358]
Chapter 1
Fiqh does not mean law,
Faqih does not mean jurist
Muhammad ibn Hanafiyyah, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.), said to his brother Hasan ibn Ali (a.):
الحسين أعلمنا علما و أثقلنا حلما وأقربنا من رسول الله صل الله عليه وآله رحما كان فقيها قبل أن يخلق وقرأ الوحي قبل أن ينطق
“Husain (a.) is the most knowledgeable and the most forbearing of us and the nearest relative of the Messenger of God (s.). Before he was created, he was a Faqih, and before he used language, he read Revelation.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, Volume 1 Page 302 Hadith 2]
So was the Imam (a.) a student in a religious institute and learned the law and became a jurist?
الفقه العلم بالشيء والفهم له
“The fiqh is knowing something and understanding it.” [Lisan-ul-Arab by Ibn Manzur, volume 13 page 522]
Anyone who deals with the sayings of the Imams (a.) and translates the terms like Faqih or Fuqaha’ which is the plural of it, as jurist or fiqh as a jurisprudence, is wrong. Even if a jurist is called a faqih in the modern usage, this does not mean that Imam Husain (a.) was also called a jurist or any other person in the narrations. In the modern usage a car is also called as Sayyarah, now who would come up with the idea that the Qur’an talks about cars and promotes them?

“And there came Sayyarah.”[Qur’an 12:19]
وَجَآءَتۡ سَيَّارَةٌ
In the common translations you will find that the term was not translated as a car, but rather as Travelers. Likewise, the term fiqh which means “the understanding and comprehension” is not unfamiliar with the Qur’an:
فَمَالِ ھٰٓؤُلَۤاءِ الۡقَوۡمِ لَا يَكَادُوۡنَ يَفۡقَهُوۡنَ حَدِيۡثًا
“What is it with these people? They are not Faqih of any statement.” [Qur’an 4:78]
وَاِنۡ مِّنۡ شَىۡءٍ اِلَّا يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمۡدِهٖ وَلٰـكِنۡ لَّا تَفۡقَهُوۡنَ تَسۡبِيۡحَهُمۡ
“There is nothing except that it praises Him, but they are not Faqih in their praise.” [Qur’an 17:44]
لِّيَـتَفَقَّهُوۡا فِى الدِّيۡنِ
“That they may become faqih with regard to the religion.” [Qur’an 9:122]
Whoever looked up to these verses in English translations that he has at hand, he came across Fiqh as “to understand” or “comprehend.”
Prophet Muhammad (s.) said:
الفقه حتم واجب عل كل مسلم
“The fiqh is an unavoidable obligation for every Muslim person.” [al-Mustadrak of at-Tabarsi, Volume 17 Page 301 Hadith 55]
Imam Ali (a.) said:
 تفقه في الدين فان الفقهاء ورثة النبياء
“Become with regard to the religion a Faqih, for the Fuqaha’ are the heirs of the Prophets.” [Ghawali al-La’ali of al-Ahsa’i, volume 4 page 60 hadith 5]
Imam Sadiq (a.) said:
تفقهوا في دين الله ولا تكونوا أعرابا فإنه من لم يتفقه في دين الله لم ينظر الله إليه يوم القيامة ولم يزك له عملا
“Become a Faqih with regard to the religion of God and do not be Bedouin, because those who do not become a Faqih with regard to the religion of God, on the Day of Judgement, neither would God look at them nor would He declare any of their actions to be pure.” [al-Mahasin of al-Barqi, Volume 1 Page 228 Hadith 162]
Imam Kazim (a.) said:
تفقهوا في دين الله فإن الفقه مفتاح البصيرة وتمام العبادة والسبب إلى المنازل الرفيعة والرتب الجليلة في الدين والدنيا وفضل الفقيه على العابد كفضل الشمس على الكواكب ومن لم يتفقه في دينه لم يرض الله له عملا
“Become a Faqih with regard to the religion of God, for the Fiqh is the key to the insight and the perfection of Ibadah and the means to high levels and noble rank in religion and this world, and the preference of the Faqih over the one who practices Ibadah is like the preference of the sun over the stars, but whoever did not become a Faqih with regard to his religion, for him God was not satisfied with any of his action.” [Tuhaf-ul-Uqul of ibn Shu’bah al-Harrani, page 410]

So being a Faqih is not a special position of the clerics.
Imam Sadiq (a.) said:
تعلموا العربية فإنها كلم الله الذي يكلم به خلقه
“Learn the Arabic language, for it is the language of God, to which He speaks to His creatures.” [al-Fusul-ul-Muhimmah of al-Hurr al-Amili, Volume 1 Page 678 Hadith 1]
لا يسع الناس حتى يسألوا ويتفقهوا ويعرفوا إمامهم ويسعهم أن يأخذوا بما يقول وإن كان تقية
“People are not given any freedom until they ask and become a Faqih and gain knowledge of their Imam, and he gives them the freedom to stick to what he says, even if it is done out of caution.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, Volume 1 Page 40 Hadith 4]
أنتم أفقه الناس إذا عرفتم معا ني كلمنا
“You are among the people the most faqih, when you understand the meaning of our saying.” [al-Fusul-ul-Muhimmah of al-Hurr al-Amili, Volume 1 Page 573 Hadith 2]
اعرفوا منازل شيعتنا بقدر ما يحسنون من رواياتهم عنا فانا لا نعد الفقيه منهم فقيها حتى يكون محدثا
“Recognize the ranks of our followers by the amount of sayings they narrate about us in a good way, for we do not count the Faqih of them as a Faqih until he is a narrator of our sayings.” [ar-Rijal of al-Kashshi, page 11 Hadith 2]

Imam Mahdi (a.) said:
وأما الحوادث الواقعة فارجعوا فيها إلى رواة حديثنا فإنهم حجتى عليكم وأنا حجة الله عليهم
“As for the events that will occur, return to the narrators of our saying, for they are my proof for you and I am the proof of God for them.” [Kamal-ud-Din of as-Saduq, Volume 1 page 512]
Every believing person must therefore be and become a Faqih, which, as mentioned above, does not refer to modern jurisprudence but to the understanding and comprehension of religion. Someone can therefore be called a Faqih by the people, although according to the Imams (a.) he is not. Those who understand and comprehend are the heirs of the Prophets (a.), those who understand and comprehend are as excellent as the sun, and not those about whom one assumes without knowledge that they would understand and grasp everything.
Chapter  2 
Fatwa does not mean legal opinion,
Mufti does not mean legal expert

God said to His prophet (s.):
فَاسۡتَفۡتِهِمۡ اَلِرَبِّكَ الۡبَنَاتُ وَلَهُمُ الۡبَنُوۡنَ اَمۡ خَلَقۡنَا الۡمَلٰٓـئِكَةَ اِنَاثًا وَّهُمۡ شٰهِدُوۡنَ اَلَاۤ اِنَّهُمۡ مِّنۡ اِفۡكِهِمۡ لَيَقُوۡلُوۡنَ وَلَدَ اللّٰهُ وَاِنَّهُمۡ لَـكٰذِبُوۡنَ‏
“Ask them for a fatwa! Are the daughters your lords and the sons theirs? Or did We create the angels in female form and are they the Witnesses? Behold! out of their falsehood they say: God has begotten! They are liars.” [Qur’an 37:149-152]
Istifta’ means to strive for fatwa, ‘ifta’ is the expression of fatwa and a mufti is a person who announces a fatwa. So should Muhammad (s.) ask the liars for a legal opinion and follow them? Did the liars study in a religious institute, learn law and obtain the title of a jurist?
وأفتاه في الأمر أبانه له
“He gave him a fatwa on the matter, meaning: “He clarified it to him.”[Lisan-ul-Arab by Ibn Manzur, volume 15 page 147]
Whoever deals with religious texts like the Qur’an and sayings of the Imams (a.) and translates terms like these as legal opinions is mistaken. Even if in modern usage one has got into the habit of calling legal opinions as fatwa and legal experts as mufti, this does not mean that God or the Prophet (s.) or his followers (a.) cultivated this habit in the same way. As with the term Fiqh we must make a strong distinction with regard to fatwa between the original texts and what is used in modern times.
If you are looking for the term in the Qur’an, feel free to look up the available translations of the following verses:
وَيَسۡتَفۡتُوۡنَكَ فِى النِّسَآء​ؕ قُلِ اللّٰهُ يُفۡتِيۡكُمۡ فِيۡهِنَّ
“They ask you for fatwa concerning women, say: God gives a fatwa for you about them.” [Qur’an 4:127]
يُوۡسُفُ اَيُّهَا الصِّدِّيۡقُ اَ فۡتِنَا فِىۡ سَبۡعِ بَقَرٰتٍ سِمَانٍ يَّاۡكُلُهُنَّ سَبۡعٌ عِجَافٌ
“Joseph, you truthful one, give us a fatwa on the seven corpulent cows that eat seven lean ones!” [Qur’an 12:46]
Neither God nor Joseph (a.) studied law in any of the religious institutes. It can be said that they have enlightened the people, but they do not claim that this enlightenment is limited to law, because in itself the term fatwa has nothing to do with the topic, which is dealt with by an enlightener, that is, a mufti.
Imam Sadiq (a.) said:
إنا لو كنا نفتي الناس براينا وهو انا لكنا من الهالكين ولكنها اثار من رسول ا صل الله عليه وآله اصل علم نتوارثها كابر عن كابر عن كابر نكنزها كما ينكز الناس ذهبهم وفضتهم
“If we were to perform fatwa to the people according to our own opinion and desire, we would throw ourselves into destruction, instead, they are traditions from the Messenger of God (s), the root of knowledge. We inherit them from one elder to another. We keep them as treasures, as men keep their gold and silver as treasures.” [Basa’ir-ud-Darajat of as-Saffar, page 319 Hadith 3]
Imam Sadiq (a.) asked Mu’adh Ibn Muslim:
بلغني أنك تقعد في الجامع فتفتي الناس
“I hear that you sit in the house of prayer to give fatwa to the people?”
He answered:
نعم و أردت أن أسألك عن ذلك قبل أن أخرج إ ني أقعد في المسجد فيجئ الرجل فيسألني عن الشيئ فإذا عرفته بالخلاف لكم أخبرته بما يفعلون ويجئ الرجل أعرفه بمودتكم وحبكم فأخبره بما جاء عنكم ويجئ الرجل لا أعرفه ولا أدري من هو فأقول جاء عن فلان كذا وجاء عن فلان كذا فادخل قولكم فيما بين ذلك
“Yes, i wanted to ask you about that before i left. I sit down in the house of prayer and someone comes up to me and asks me about something. If i recognize him as one of your opponents, i will narrate to him what they are handling with and if someone comes whom i recognize as your servant and lover, then i narrate to him what has been reported by you and if someone comes whom i do not know and of whom i do not know who he is, then i say: “From the so and so this was reported and from the so and so that was reported!” So that i might place your saying in between?”
The Imam (a.) said:
اصنع كذا فا ني كذا أصنع
“Do so, for i too do so.” [Wasa’il-ush-Shi’ah by al-Hurr al-Amili, volume 27 page 148 Hadith 36]
As can be seen from the previous examples, fatwa also contains clarification of the statements of the Prophet (s.) or his successors (a.). So anyone who claims that people at that time merely expressed legal opinions in the modern sense, without providing any proof, speaks without real knowledge of the term and does injustice to the companions of the Imams (a.), to whom such ways of acting were unknown.
Abu Hanifah asked Hariz ibn Abdillah al-Azdi:
أنت لا تقول شيئا إلا برواية
“You do not say anything except with a narration?”
He answered:
“That is right!” [Wasa’il-ush-Shi’ah von al-Hurr al-Amili, volume 27 page 147 Hadith 32]
Imam Sadiq (a.) said:
دع القياس والرأي وما قال قوم في دين الله ليس له برهان
“Abstain from making comparisons (qiyas) and opinions and from what the people said about the religion of God without proof.” [Al-Fusul-ul-Muhimmah of al-Hurr al-Amili, Volume 1 Page 527 Hadith 10]
أما إنه شر عليكم أن تقولوا بشئ ش ما لم تسمعوه منا
“It is an evil thing for you, to advocate a statement, that you do not hear from us.” [Al-Hada’iq-un-Nadirah by Yusuf al-Bahrani, Volume 15 page 546]
إياك وخصلتين ففيهما هلك من هلك
إياك أن تفتي الناس برأيك أو تدين بما لا تعلم
“Beware of two characteristics through which one has been thrown into destruction: Beware of giving fatwa to the people with your own opinion or to take over as a religion, what you do not know.” [Al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, Volume 1 Page 42 Hadith 2]
For example, if a person gives a fatwa:
لحم طاووس حرام
“The flesh of the peacock is forbidden.”
So we do not know whether one of the infallible ones (a.) has forbidden the consumption of the peacock or not. Even if the person made this statement with knowledge about it, this knowledge remains unknown to us. It could also be that the person is mistaken and does not reflect the religion of God in this point. It does not matter what titles are attributed to the person, how good-looking he is or how big his headgear is. The person has not told us why he or she declares the animal to be forbidden, so there is no reason for us to attribute this information to God, the messenger (s.) or an imam (a.) or to act accordingly to it until we know it from them.
Prophet Muhammad (s.) said:
من عمل على غير علم كان ما يفسد أكثر مما يصلح
“He who acted without knowledge did more harm than good.” [al-Kafi von al-Kulaini, Volume 1 page 44 Hadith 3]
من عمل بالمقائيس فقد هلك وأهلك ومن أفتى الناس بغير علم وهو لا يعلم الناسخ من المنسوخ والمحكم من المتشابه فقد هلك وأهلك
“He who acted according to comparisons (qiyas) threw himself and others into destruction, and he who made a fatwa without knowledge and does not know how to distinguish between what is abolished and what is clear from what is ambiguous, threw himself and others into destruction.” [al-Kafi von al-Kulaini, volume 1 page 43 Hadith 9]
Imam Baqir (a.) was asked:
ما حق الله عل العباد
“What right has God with regard to his servants?”
He answered:
أن يقولوا ما يعلمون ويقفوا عندما لا يعلمون
“That they say what they know and stop when they do not know.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, Volume 1 Page 43 Hadith 7]

To assume that a statement is true, is not the knowledge of it.             
Chapter 3
Ijtihad does not mean finding law,
Mujtahid does not mean jurist
Imam Sadiq (a.) said:
اجتهدت في العبادة وأنا شاب
I did the Ijtihad in the Ibadah when i was young.” [al-Kafi from al-Kulaini, volume 2 page 87 Hadith 5]
Was the Imam (a.) a Mujtahid ,who tried to find Islamic law in a religious institute?
والاجتهاد والتجاهد بذل الوسع والمجهود
“Ijtihad and Tajahud means to do a lot of work and to make an effort.” [Lisan-ul-Arab von Ibn Manzur, volume 3 page 135]
Ijtihad means effort, and the Imam (a.) did this with regard to worship activities. So he was a Mujtahid, a person who strived and struggled.
Imam Baqir (a.) said:
أي الجتهاد أفضل من عفة بطن وفرج
“What ijtihad should be more exquisite than chastity of the belly and private parts?” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, Volume 2 Page 79 Hadith 4]
Imam Sadiq (a.) said:
كونوا دعاة للناس بالخير بغير ألسنتكم ليروا منك الاجتهاد والصدق والورع
“Call the people without your tongues to goodness, that they may see from you ljtihad, honesty and piety.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, Volume 2 Page 105 Hadith 10]
Every striving person can linguistically be called a Mujtahid, and this is by no means meant to form our own opinions about the religion.
They asked Imam Sadiq (a.):
ترد علينا أشياء ليس نعرفها في كتاب الله ولا سنة فننظر فيها
“We are confronted with something we do not know in the Book of God or the Sunnah. Do we make up our own opinion about it?”
He said:
لا أما إنك إن أصبت لم تؤجر وإن أخطأت كذبت على الله عز وجل
“No, if you were right, you will not be rewarded, and if you were wrong, you have lied about God.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, volume 1 page 56 Hadith 11]
ما أجبتك فيه من شئ فهو عن رسول الله صل الله عليه وآله لسنا من أرأيت في شئ
“What i am giving you as an answer comes from the messenger of God (s.). We are not among those who form our own opinions about anything.” [al-Kafi von al-Kulaini, Band 1 Seite 58 Hadith 21]
من عرف أنا لا نقول إلا حقا فليكتف بما يعلم منا
“He who knows that we speak only the truth shall be satisfied with what he knows from us.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, volume 1 page 65 Hadith 6]
لولا ان الله فرض ولايتنا ومودتنا وقرابتنا ما ادخلناكم ولا أوقفناكم على بابنا فوالله ما نقول باهوائنا ولا نقول برأينا ولا نقول الا ما قال ربنا
“Had God not made our Wilayah and the love and the nearness to us an obligation, we would not have let you enter nor stop at our gate, for, by God, we do not speak according to our desire nor out of our own opinion and we say nothing except what our Lord has said.” [Basa’ir-ud-Darajat von as-Saffar, Seite 320 Hadith 7]
To be a Mujtahid and to practice Ijtihad does not mean to be recognized as a jurist by others.
Imam Sadiq (a.) said:
عليكم بالورع والاجتهاد
“Your duty is to be pious and ljtihad.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, Volume 2 Page 635 Hadith 3]
أشد الناس اجتهادا من ترك الذنوب
“The people who do the most fierce Ijtihad are those who forsake the sins.” [al-Khisal of as-Saduq, page 16 Hadith 56]
About the people of the house (a.) he said:
ودينهم الورع والعفة والصدق و الصلاح والاجتهاد
“Their religion is piety, chastity, honesty, righteousness and Ijtihad.” [al-Khisal of as-Saduq, page 479 Hadith 46]
Imam Baqir (a.) said:
وإنكم على دين الله ودين ملائكته فأعينوا بورع واجتهاد
“You belong to the religion of God and the religion of His angels, so seek help through piety and ljtihad.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, Volume 2 Page 187 Hadith 5]
Imam Sadiq (a.) said:
من سعى في حاجة أخيه المسلم فاجتهد فيها فأجرى الله على يديه قضاءها كتب الله عز وجل له حجة وعمرة واعتكاف شهرين فالمسجد الحرام وصيامهما وإن اجتهد فيها ولم يجر الله قضاءها عل يديه كتب الله عز وجل له حجة وعمرة
“Whoever tried to fulfil the wish of his Muslim brother and did it through ljtihad, so that God would make it come true through him, He would write down for him a pilgrimage, large and small, and two months of fasting and seclusion in the holy house of prayer, and if he did it through ljtihad, but God did not fulfill it through him then He wrote down a pilgrimage for him, great and small.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, Volume 2 Page 198 Hadith 7]
Chapter 4
Taqlid does not mean following a scholar in legal matters or hanging the deeds on his neck
Prophet Muhammad (s.) said:
ما من ذي زكاة مال نخل أو زرع أو كرم يمنع زكاة ماله إل قلده الله تربة أرضه يطوق بها من سبع أرضيي إلى يوم القيامة
“No owner of palm trees or crops or vines, who has alms (zakat) to pay, refuses alms from his possessions, except that God shall take taqlid with him until the day of resurrection in respect of his earth, which he must bear until the day of resurrection in the measure of seven earths.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, Volume 3 Page 503 Hadith 4]
Is God a person who questions and imitates a scholar about legal matters? Is God not knowledgeable about His laws and will He hang His deeds like a chain on the neck of a scholar so that the scholar bears responsibility for His actions and God is excused?
وقد قلده قلادا وتقلدها
“He made taqlid with him in regard to attachment, and he became attached to them.” [Lisan-ul-Arab by Ibn Manzur, volume 3 page 367]
So God, as a consequence of his trade, attached to him his earth, which he has to carry until the time mentioned, and that is exactly what Taqlid is, to be attached to something and the thing or person who is attached to something is called Muqallad. However, the term alone does not say anything about which Qiladah the attachment is about, which the active Muqallid is attached to. Whoever claims that a jurist would take upon himself the deeds and sins committed according to his own prescriptions and would declare them innocent, he is mistaken, because this definition of taqlid is not known by the Prophet (s.) nor by any of the Imams (a.) and cannot be attributed to them.
Imam Sadiq (a.) said:
إنما المرأة قلادة فانظر إلى ما تقلده
“The woman is only a qiladah, so watch where you make taqlid.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, Volume 5 Page 332 Hadith 1]
So a female person is called an attachment, where you should be careful where you attach yourself and not as a sin or a deed that you hand over to someone else.
Prophet Muhammad (s.) said:
أيها الناس علي بن أبي طالب فيكم بمنزلتي
فقلدوه دينكم وأطيعوه في جميع أموركم
“O you people, Ali ibn Abi Talib stands among you on my level, so make taqlid with him concerning your religion and obey him in everything that has to do with you.” [al-Fawa’id-ul-Madaniyyah of al-Istarabadi, pages 248 – 249]
Imam Sadiq (a.) said:
أما إنه شر عليكم أن تقولوا بشئ ما لم تسمعوه منا
“It is an evil thing for you to make a statement you do not hear from us.” [al-Hada’iq-un-Nadirah by Yusuf al-Bahrani, Volume 15 page 546]
إياك أن تنصب أحدا دون الحجة فتصدقه في كل ما قال
“Beware of giving someone a position besides the proof (a.), so that you accept everything he has said.” [al-Fusul-ul-Muhimmah of al-Hurr al-Amili, Volume 1 Page 525 Hadith 3]
اسمع حديثنا ولا تكذب علينا
“Hear our words and do not lie about us.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, Volume 4 Page 187 Hadith 1]
Imam Sadiq (a.) said:
إياكم والتقليد فإنه من قلد في دينه هلك إن الله تعال يقول واتخذوا أحبارهم ورهبانهم أربابا من دون الله فلا والله ما صلوا لهم ولا صاموا ولكنهم أحلوا لهم حراما وحرموا عليهم حلال فقلدوهم فذلك فعبدوهم وهم لا يشعرون
“Beware of taqlid, for whoever did taqlid concerning his religion, he threw himself into destruction. God say: They took their scholars and monks to be lords instead of God.” No, by God, they neither worshipped them nor fasted for them, but they declared forbidden things to them as permitted and permitted things as forbidden, whereupon they made taqlid in them and worshipped them, being unaware of it.” [Tashih-ul-I’tiqadat of al-Mufid, pages 72 – 73]
من أطاع رجلا في معصية فقد عبده
“He who obeyed someone in disobedience (to God) has already worshipped him.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, volume 2 page 398 Hadith 8]
دع القياس والرأي وما قال قوم في دين الله ليس له برهان
“Abstain from comparison (qiyas) and opinion and what the people said about the religion of God without proof.” [al-Fusul-ul-Muhimmah of al-Hurr al-Amili, Volume 1 Page 527 Hadith 10]
One asked Imam Sadiq (a.):
ما حق الله على خلقه
“What right has God over His creatures?”
He answered:
أن يقولوا ما يعلمون ويكفوا عما ل يعلمون فإذا فعلوا ذلك فقد أدوا إلى الله حقه
“That they say what they know and let go of what they do not know, and when they do so, they are fulfilling the right of God.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, Volume 1 Page 50 Hadith 12]

Imam Sadiq (a.) said:
فأما من كان من الفقهاء صائنا لنفسه حافظا لدينه مخالفا لهواه مطيعا لمر مولاه فللعوام أن يقلدوه وذلك لا يكون إلا في بعض فقهاء الشيعة لا جميعهم فان من ركب من القبائح والفواحش مراكب فسقة فقهاء العامة فلا تقبلوا منهم عنا شيئا ولا كرامة لهم
“As for the one of the Fuqaha’ who is self-restraining, preserving his religion, resisting his desire and obeying the command of his Mawla, it is up to the common people to make taqlid with him and these are only a few of the Fuqaha’ from the followers and not all, but whoever committed the vile and disgraceful transgressions from among the transgressing Fuqaha’ of the common people, take nothing from them about us and they shall have no honour.” [Tafsir-ul-Imam of al-Askari, page 300 Hadith 143]

Only a few Fuqaha’ keep these points, not all. How can you tell if a faqih is obedient if you do not know the commandments of God? How can you tell if he is preserving the religion if you don’t know the religion? When one does not know what the Prophet (s.) or the people of his house (a.) said? Without knowing about a person, how can one claim to keep the religion? Without knowing about a person, how can one claim to understand the religion? How can you attach religion to someone if you don’t know if his actions are in conformity with it? How do i make taqlid with such a person? How and what do i attach to it?
Imam Sadiq (a.) said:
اعرفوا منازل شيعتنا بقدر ما يحسنون من رواياتهم عنا فانا لا نعد الفقيه منهم فقيها ح ت يكون محدثا
“Recognize the levels of our followers by the amount of sayings they narrate about us in a good way, because we do not count the Faqih of them as Faqih until he is a narrator of sayings.” [ar-Rijal of al-Kashshi, page 11 Hadith 2]
The scholar Husain al-Karaki al-Amili writes:
التقليد عند المتأخرين من الإمامية هو عمل العا مي بقول المجتهد فيما يرجحه ظنه من فروع الشريعة شيعة وعند قدمائهم هو رجوع العا مي إل قول المعصوم في أمور دينه ولو بواسطة يوثق بنقله فمن نفى التقليد من القدماء أراد الأول ومن قال به اراد الثا ني
“The later scholars of the Imamites define taqlid as the act of the layman, corresponding to the statement of the Mujtahid about what he considers to be right in the legal branches, whereas among the early scholars of the Imamites, it is the return of the layman to the statement of the infallible, concerning his religion and that atleast through a means that one trusts with regards to his narration. Whoever spoke out against taqlid among the early scholars meant the first, and whoever advocated it meant the second.” [Hidyat-ul-Abrar by al-Karaki al-Amili, page 300]
The scholar Muhammad al-Hurr al-Amili writes:
اختلف في جواز التقليد في الأصول والفروع فمنهم من منع منه فيهما ومنهم من أجاز فيهما ومنهم من أجازه في الفروع والخلاف مشهور
“There is a disagreement over the permissibility of taqlid in Usul and Furu’. Among them are those who forbid it in both and those who allow it in both and those who allow it in Furu’ and the disagreement is not a secret.” [al-Fawa´id-ut-Tusiyyah von al-Hurr al-Amili, Seite 326]
التقليد المرخص فيه هنا إنما هو قبول الرواية لا قبول الرأي والاجتهاد والظن وهذا واضح وذلك لا خلف فيه
“Permissible taqlid is only the acceptance of traditions, not the acceptance of personal opinion, ijtihad and assumptions and this is clear and cannot be disputed.” [Wasa’il-ush-Shi’ah by al-Hurr al-Amili, volume 27 page 132]
As a justification for the fact that only the person who announces a fatwa, but not his follower, is responsible, some cite the statement of Imam Sadiq (a.) about a person who performed a fatwa:
هوفي عنقه قال أو لم يقل وكل مفت ضامن
“He has them on his neck, whether he said it or not, and anyone who issued a fatwa is responsible.” [Wasa’il-ush-Shi’ah from al-Hurr al-Amili, volume 27 page 220 Hadith 2] 
Does it say here that the follower of the fatwa is not responsible? No, so how do you claim the imam (a.) said such a thing? Also, he didn’t say that it was a fatwa in legal matters. Nor did he say that the one who gives fatwa or bears responsibility is a jurist. An alcoholic could give the fatwa that beer drinking is allowed and those who would follow it would be excused, because the Imam (a.) did not say that one would only be excused for the fatwa of a certain group of people within a certain topic like law.
Imam Baqir said (a.):
من علم باب هدى فله مثل أجر من عمل به ول ينقص أولئك من أجورهم شيئا ومن علم باب ضلال كان عليه مثل أوزار من عمل به ولا ينقص أولئك من أوزارهم شيئا
“He who taught what was right has a reward like that of one who acted accordingly, while none of them is rewarded any less, and he who taught what was wrong has the guilt of the one who acted in accordance with it, while none of them has any less guilt.” [Wasa’il-ush-Shi’ah by al-Hurr al-Amili, volume 16 page 173 Hadith 2]
من أفتى الناس بغير علم ولا هدى من الله لعنته ملئكة الرحمة وملئكة العذاب ولحقه وزر من عمل بفتياه
“Those who issued a fatwa to the people without knowledge and guidance from God, the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment cursed them and the guilt caught up with those who acted according to their fatwa.” [Wasa’il-ush-Shi’ah by al-Hurr al-Amili, Volume 27 Page 20 Hadith 1]
Chapter 5
Marja’ does not mean
model of imitation
One asked Imam Baqir (a.):
لاي علة يولد النسان هاهنا ويموت في موضع آخر
“For what reason is man born in one place and dies in another?”
He answered:
لان الله تبارك وتعالى لما خلق خلقه خلقهم من أديم الرض فمرجع كل إنسان إلى تربته
“Because God created His creatures from the crust of the earth at their creation, therefore the Marja’ of every man is to his own earth.” [Ilal-ush-Shara’i’ by as-Saduq, Volume 1 Page 308]

Does the imitation of a religious model await all the people at the end of their lives? In which religious institute has the earth studied to which they return? Who gave the earth permission to issue legal opinions and who gave it its title of jurist?
إلى الله مرجعكم جميعا أي رجوعكم
“The Marja’ of all of you is to God, by which is meant “your return.” [Lisan-ul-Arab by Ibn Manzur, volume 8 page 114]
Raja’a means to return, Raj’ah and Ruju’ are the return and Marja’ is that to which one returns. So the term leaves open to whom or what is being returned to and for what reason. A concept that one must return to a particular scholar and cleric and act according to their legal opinions and views is not expressed by the wording alone.
Imam Ali (a.) said to Umar ibn Khattab:
ليس بعدك مرجع يرجعون إليه
“There is no Marja’ after you to whom they will return.” [Nahj-ul-Balaghah of ar-Radi, Volume 2 Page 18 Sermon 134]
If the term ‘Marja’ would correspond to what some people have made of it in the modern times, there would be no model of imitation for the Muslims after Umar.
Muhammad al-Kulaini wrote about his al-Kafi:
ويرجع إليه المسترشد ويأخذ منه من يريد علم الدين
“He that seeks the true path, for him it shall serve as a Marja’, and he that acquires knowledge, takes from it the knowledge of the religion.” [al-Kafi of al-Kulaini, Volume 1 Page 8]
Muhammad as-Saduq wrote about his al-Faqih:
ليكون إليه مرجعه وعليه معتمده
“It shall serve as Marja’ and be relied upon.” [Man la yahduruh-ul-Faqih of as-Saduq, volume 1 page 2]

If the term ‘Marja’ meant an authority to be followed, then one would have to follow al-Kafi and al-Faqih.
Imam Sadiq (a.) said:
اعرفوا منازل الناس على قدر رواياتهم عنا
“Recognize the ranks of the people by the amount of sayings they narrate from us.” [Wasa’il-ush-Shi’ah by al-Hurr al-Amili, volume 27 page 138 Hadith 3]
Imam Mahdi (a.) said:
فارجعوا فيها إلى رواة حديثنا فإنهم حجتي عليكم
“Let the narrators of our saying serve as a Marja’, for they are my proof to you.” [Wasa’il-ush-Shi’ah of al-Hurr al-Amili, Volume 27 Page 140 Hadith 9]

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