The World Federation One Stop Fiqh

Ruling 2

Following a jurist in Islamic laws means acting according to a mujtahid’s instructions. Only a mujtahid who is male, of the age of legal responsibility (bāligh), sane (ʿāqil), a Twelver (Ithnā ʿAsharī) Shia, of legitimate birth, living, and dutiful (ʿādil), can be followed.

A ‘dutiful’ person is someone who does the things that are obligatory for him and refrains from doing the things that are unlawful for him. The sign of being ‘dutiful’ is that one appears to be a good person, such that if [religious, trustworthy Shia Muslims who are] local to him, his neighbours, or associate with him were to be asked about him, they would confirm his good character.

In cases where a person knows, albeit vaguely, that there are differences in the fatwas [as defined in Ruling 4 below] of mujtahids in matters that are commonly encountered, even though he may not know what these differences are, it is necessary for him to follow the mujtahid who is the most learned (aʿlam), i.e. the one most capable of understanding the law (ḥukm) of Allah the Exalted from among all the mujtahids of his time.

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