Taqleed: the Emulation of Scholars

Is Taqleed truly a part of God’s teachings for mankind?

Taqleed is a Major Aspect of Mainstream Shi’ism in Islam

“And it is not for any human being that Allah should speak to him except by revelation or  from behind a partition or that He sends a messenger to reveal, by His permission, what He  wills. Indeed, He is Most High and Wise.”

Holy Quran, Ash-Shura: verse 51

Mankind was not created without purpose. It was with a specified design, and through a system put into place by an Almighty Creator. A flawless God, One so Great, and so beyond the realms of our understanding, that it is only through His mercy that we have known Him in any way, through revelation received from Him, through His prophets and messengers, which leads us to know Him-as best we can.
And what does that say of our small lives, here on this little planet in this one galaxy?

Life continues, day in and day out. And through the doings of our day, we encounter various systems that have been put into place for us-sometimes by us. Systems that we believe are there to stabilise our world. To encourage progress, and override regression.

In the rush of this world, and in our fight against time, perhaps we overlook the true makers of those systems. Perhaps we have not always ensured that they are placed there for us by our true guardians. Perhaps we have been fooled.

We go now into the folds of a system, to investigate and explore, in-depth, the workings of a system under which millions are submitting-all under the false assumption that it is a system from God-the Wilayat Al Faqih. The Guardianship of the Jurisprudents.

{They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah} (Holy Quran, At-Tawba: verse 31). Imam Al-Baqir (pbuh) interpreted the verse as: 

“…As for their scholars and monks, verily they have obeyed them and have taken their sayings, and they followed what they ordered them and submitted to what they called to, so they took them (the scholars) as gods by obeying them, leaving what Allah, His books and messengers ordered, so they rejected it (the order), leaving it behind their backs, and followed what the scholars and monks ordered, and they obeyed them and disobeyed Allah. Verily, He mentioned this in our book so that we may take a lesson from them…”

Tafsir Al-Qommi, Ali Ibrahim Al-Qommi, v.1, p.289

{They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah} (Holy Quran, At-Tawba: verse 31). Imam Al-Sadiq (pbuh) interpreted the verse as: 

“They (the scholars) did not call them to worship them, and if they had they would not have answered them, but they made matters lawful for them and forbade matters for them, so they took it, so they were their gods instead of Allah.”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, v.9, p.212, hadith 87

It is a system of belief that has formed right at the core of Shia Twelver Islam. Apart from a minority that does not adhere to it, the millions of Shia around the world rely on this system to understand how to live in every aspect- from gaining religious knowledge, to even knowing how to greet each other, and what is permissible or not.

The Shia Twelvers have submitted to this innovation of allowing their scholars and jurisprudents to take control of their religion-they have allowed them the authority over their wealth, judgments, and their very lives. They do this under the guise of worshipping God, believing these scholars to be representatives of their hidden Imam PBUH.

However, as we will dissect further, the establishment of the Guardianship of the Jurisprudents is an absolute innovation.

After the demise of Prophet Muhammad pbuhahf, the true successor and vicegerent appointed by him was Imam Ali Ibn Abi Taleb. All through his life, he pbuhahf had urged the Muslim nation to look towards Imam Ali pbuh as a beacon of guidance. A specific event, known as the event of Ghadeer, gave Imam Ali the undenible status of Guardian of the Muslims after Prophet Muhammad pbuhahf. However, as history has shown time and again, few would be loyal to their Guardian’s position, and ultimately many betrayed him.

Prophet Muhammad’s pbuhahf Will, as can be read in the book Ghaybat Al Toosi, mentions, name by name, every son that would come from the lineage of Ali ibn Abi Taleb for the next generations. It mentions the noble and righteous Imams that guided and ensured the safety of the true religion of Muhammad, preserving the truth despite severe oppression and abuse.
These infallible men held a divine role, as appointed by God, Himself. To be absolute guardians of the people, with authority and the ability to ensure justice in the society.

It was after the disappearance of the Twelfth Imam, Imam Muhammad Mahdi AS, that the wolves of darkness would rear their ugly heads.
Rather than continuing to uphold the authority of their Imam and lead humane lives of decency and morality, the people were presented with other ideas. Innovative ideas – concepts that diverted greatly from their Prophet’s pbuhahf directions. They were convinced that something new should be done.

It was many years after the Imam going into occultation that various schools of thought started appearing, which propagated the idea, over and over, that the general Shia population should begin following the jurisprudents as leaders, guardians, and lawmakers. The degree of insistence towards this way of thinking grew over time.

The Shias of the Post-Occultation era found themselves debating with Sunnis, and in the process of attempting to defeat them in debate, they ended up adopting techniques that had not been introduced by Muhammad or the family of Muhammad.
It was Allama Al-Hilli who really brought upon the Shia school of thought an absolute way of viewing the concept of Taqleed, by stating that reason and divine revelation are both on par with each other. He vouched that the jurist can teach both the principles of theology as well as jurisprudence to people.

He decided that a scholar could use his own reasoning- a process called Ijtihad- and so become a ‘Mujtahid’, or one who is to be followed by others who are less knowledgeable, since he can allegedly use his own reasoning better, specifically in religious matters.
He set down that following the Mujtahid in his religion is obligatory. For the sake of succeeding in religious debate by using the tools of Sunnism, he brought about aspects of so-called rational theology, and set down the system of ahadith analysis for the schools of Shia Islam.

These occurrences through history are the doings of fallible students of ahadith. It is bizarre to note that the actions of these men were based on their own understandings, and with little to no clear signs of direct command from the words of God Himself, either in His book-the Quran-or from His chosen infallibles.
In today’s world, Taqleed has become a systematic and structured foundation that centres on the Twelver faith. But it is an admitted innovation.

And so rose a new idea, something that was completely different to that which the messenger of Allah Muhammad had brought to the people. It was Taqleed, emulation-but not of their infallible imams. It was Taqleed of the scholars.

Scholars have an important role in society. But that role was never meant to be a form of leadership by the Ahlulbayt (pbut), or indeed, by any of the teachings of any of the religions of God. In fact, they have duties, but those duties slowly became overshadowed by other intentions.
As mentioned by our Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan, From Him is Peace:

“On the other hand, there is the Samaritan (non-working scholar) that always tries to make  the law of Allah’s Prophet go astray. He doesn’t try to promote virtue and prevent evil, neither the jihad for the sake of Allah by tongue, or by hand, if possible…”  

– The Calf, Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (fhip), v.1, p.5

The propagation of imposing leadership onto the people through convincing the people to  submit blindly to fallible opinions became more and more sinister, and ingrained into Shia society.  

It brought about the supposed fact that submitting to this was obligatory. They, the scholars,  would find ways to insinuate that without emulating a scholar, the Muslim’s prayer and fasting,  or indeed any act of worship performed, would not be considered acceptable by the Almighty Creator. However, there is absolutely no scriptural evidence from the Prophet Muhammad (pbuhahf) or his Ahlulbayt (pbut) to back up this claim. 

It was a new concept that has never been encouraged by Ahlulbayt (pbut). Emulation has always been towards the divinely appointed vicegerents of God.  

Having a divine messenger, or prophet from God, whom would guide the people towards  guidance, and act as a leader to them, is a system that God began from the beginning of  mankind with the creation of Adam PBUH. 

But this Taqleed was a new form of so-called worship of God- to follow fallible men, simply  because they had acquired some understanding of religion through texts and scripture. To allow them complete authority over the people. 

And this following goes further than simply taking advice or learning- the Jurisprudents of Islam  are supposedly capable of a great many more positions of authority.  

The scholar Haeiri in his book ‘Al Risala’ has defined Taqleed as: ‘In its linguistic form the root  word of Taqleed is ‘Qaladah’. This is the collar worn on the neck, just like when a rope is tied  around the neck of an animal. In this way the ignorant people put the Mujtahid’s collar around  its neck and follow him accordingly, and cannot go against his will. In its general usage Taqleed is the adoption of a Mujtahid’s statements and act upon it without asking for any proofs.’ 

They admit with their own tongues how the people are beneath the jurisprudents in degree,  and must obey them. 

We see this strange devotion in the behaviour of the Shia Twelvers towards their scholars,  allowing them strange titles such as ‘Marja At-Taqleed’, which literally translate to ‘object of emulation’. 

And in this day and age, the title they have considered themselves deserving of is ‘Ayatoullah’,  literally meaning a sign of God.  

Is it not of common sense to believe that the signs of God are His chosen people, his prophets,  messengers, and Imams, (pbut), and not just fallible men whom have acquired some  knowledge? 

The two major establishments of Taqleed today are split between Sistani, the so-called Grand  Ayatoullah, whom is considered most learned and knowledgeable, and Khamenei, the successor of Khomayni from Iran. Although there are many other scholars as well that the Shia Twelvers  follow as Mujtahids as well.  

In Iraq alone, the majority of Shia are submitters to Sistani. Sistani acts as the highest supposed  authority for 21 million Iraqi Shia, and is also internationally known as the most influential  religious authority to Twelver Shia.  

Although he makes great claims of not wishing to be politically active, his rulings regarding political affairs are many. By making rulings that ‘advised’ his followers on who to vote for, or  what to accept constitutionally, Sistani’s governmental influence has always been very obvious. 

The fact is that there are so many different so-called Ayatoullahs, and they have made it incumbent on the people that they be followed. It is a false principle, now, of Shia Twelver theology that to be accepted by and acceptable to God, they must choose for themselves a Mujtahid, to follow and submit to.  

The implications of this are very great. It allows these men to manipulate the workings of society as they see fit. 

And despite their alleged guardianship of both the people and the religion, the conditions of society, especially in Shia-majority Iraq and Iran, are far from prosperous or progressive. 


So how does the Shia Twelver get to choose their scholar?

Even here, the laws are ambiguous, but they tend to be told to follow the most knowledgeable. However, others say this by itself is not a necessary criteria.
For instance, Khamenei, Iran’s so-called Supreme Leader, has one of the biggest followings in the Shia community today, especially due to his supposed representation of Imam Mahdi (pbuh) and how he governs a Shia majority nation.

However, it is widely accepted also that he is not the most knowledgeable scholar, and that others are more experienced in the field of jurisprudence. It is his political position and glorified status, especially as he is regarded the successor of Khomeini, the so-called Saviour who established the Islamic Republic of Iran, that is promoting him in the eyes of the people.
Other than them, there are many other scholars that the Shia Twelvers are able to pick as their authority over their life decisions. Even in making this decision, they are meant to be led by higher experts in the field.

Some popular scholars that have claimed the right to be authorities over the people include: Sayyid Mohammad Alavi Ali Hosseini Gorgani, Sayyid Mohammad Jawad Alavi Borojerdi, Sayyid Hashem Bathaei Golpayegani and Sayyid Ali Mohammad Dastgheib Shirazi-among many others.


We draw ourselves towards the implications that this system has on today’s world and how much control it truly holds. 

In other words, what rights does the Shia Twelver society allow of its Marjas? A Marja, or jurisprudent, can: 

  •  Rule governmental issues and engage in politics 
  •  Make verdicts that their specific followers must submit to
  •  Act as jurist and set laws of Sharia based on his own conclusions. 
  •  Change laws according to time period and convenience 
  •  Accept the Khums (the obligatory charity for Shias) – in fact, it is popularly believed that Khums can only be given to them or those they permit to give it to 
  •  Distribute the Khums as they see fit 


 Rationally, it is obvious that the emergence of this newly accepted tolerance towards having the society governed by religious jurisprudents was nowhere seen during the lives of the Holy Ahlulbayt and Imams. 

And the reason behind that is obvious-that these duties are meant to be carried out by an infallible messenger of The Almighty Creator. Someone, He himself has appointed. The idea of a fallible scholar carrying out these great duties is completely illogical. 

Through time, the scholars decided that their supposedly higher knowledge had permitted them to resolve any issue that requires divine resolution through a flawed tool- they would use their own reasoning to come up with rulings. This is called Ijtihad

Ijtihad came into the Shia world much after the Holy Prophet (pbuhahf) and indeed, after the disappearance of the Hujjah, Imam Muhammad Mahdi. It is an adopted tool that has been used now for centuries by different scholars to arrive at what is considered, supposedly, logical and reasonable verdicts (Fatawa).

The method of using Ijtihad (reasoning), to formulate new laws and rulings, was, in fact, a tool that Sunnis would use during their debates with the Shia, as we have mentioned earlier. Rather than simply holding firm to the traditions of Ahlulbayt, Shia scholars like Mufid and Hilli chose instead to adopt these tools into their system. In fact, as mentioned earlier, Hilli went so far as to make the unjust claim that using logical reasoning to conclude a decision in religion is just as valid as divine revelation that would come to the Infallibles, that is the Prophets and Messengers and Imams (pbut).

This has slowly led to a religion formed of men using their own understanding, in place of authenticated scripture. 

Yet they attempt to prove that the tools or reasoning and analogy have been vouched for by Ahlulbayt.  

Interestingly, the Ahlulbayt themselves have warned us in their traditions against this End Times innovation that must be rejected:

Imam Ali (pbuh) said: “And he (Imam Mahdi) shall take revenge from the Fatwa issuers in religion from what they do not know, so woe unto them and their followers; was religion incomplete and they completed it? Or was it crooked and they straightened it? Or were the people about to oppose it and they agreed to it? Or did it force them to do righteousness and they sinned against it?”

– Ilzam Al-Nasib fi Ithbat Al-Hujjah Al-Gha’eb, Ali Al-Ha’eri, v.2, p.197

And the reasoning behind it is clear: 

It cannot be expected that true justice be carried out in the name of God, when the lawmaker is not from God Himself, and is simply a self-appointed jurisprudent. 

The typical approach of the jurisprudents concerning the idea of Taqleed is that the jurists have more knowledge than the common public, and so the public are obliged to follow them in all matters. 

The Mujtahid Al-Hilli writes in his book, Nihayat Al-Wusul Ela I’lm Al-Usul, v.5, p.167:

“Ijtihad means  employment of effort for arriving at presumption with regard to a command of the Sharia, in a way that is not blameworthy on account of negligence or omission.”

The Mujtahid Al-Amili Al-Jibai says:    

“Ijtihad is the effort and endeavour of a jurist in order to arrive at presumption in regard to a command of the Sharia.”

However, this is a very flawed approach. We know that religion and faith are not always centered around logic. God has shown countless cases in the Quran of faith emerging from sources that are, to the human’s limited senses, completely illogical. Books like Usool Al-Kafi and Bihar Al-Anwar are filled with verdicts from our pure Imams AS that were baffling to the common public. Conclusions were reached by our Holy Imams that mere fallible men cannot ever hope to stumble across using Ijtihad, or reasoning, as a tool. Because logical reasoning in faith, and even in jurisprudence, does not always apply. It can only be brought through a messenger, with divine revelation from an All-Knowing God.

An example of this is a conversation between the infallible Imam Ja’far Al- Sadiq (fhip) and Abu Hanifa. Abu Hanifa was once questioned by the Imam concerning his decisions in making jurisprudential rulings through his own logical thinking.
In order to show him how flawed the method of fallible thinking is in comparison to divine revelation, the Imam (fhip) asked him about some problems and he could not answer. Among the questions that the Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq (fhip) asked was:

Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq (pbuh) asked Abu Hanifa: “Which is greater in the eyes of God, adultery or murder?” He said: “Murder”.

He (pbuh) said: “Verily, God demanded two witnesses for murder and four for adultery. If it was based on reasoning and comparison (qiyas), then four witnesses should have been for murder, because it’s greater.”

Then he (pbuh) asked: “Which is greater in the eyes of God, prayers or fasting?”

He replied: “The prayers.” 

He (pbuh) said: “Prophet Muhammad (pbuhahf) ordered the menstruating woman to make up for missed days of fasting but not for the missed prayers. If it was based on reasoning and comparison (qiyas), then it would have been obligatory to make up for the prayers.”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, v.10, p.221, hadith 22

This form of comparison from Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq (fhip) was to prove that in regards to establishing divine rulings, the human mind is not the correct tool. Rather, in order to submit to God completely, mankind is obligated to follow the system laid down for him by an All Knowing Creator-not make the system up with his own logic.


The scholars have attempted to prove themselves as worthy of our emulation, and of us as obligated to emulate them, through four main forms of evidence. 

Quran, sayings of Ahlulbayt, Logical reasoning, and a fourth- consensus of the jurisprudents.


Those of the Scholars whom try to prove that this innovation is supposedly ‘an authentic command of God’ attempt this through the verses in the Quran. 

For instance, they claim the following verses are a command to submit to jurisprudents: 

“So then ask the people of the reminder if you do not have any knowledge.”

– Holy Quran, Al-Anbiya: verse 7 

“And We sent not before you except men to whom We revealed [Our message]. So ask the people of the reminder if you do not know.”

– Holy Quran, An-Nahl: verse 43   

The jurisprudents claim that they are the People of the Reminder, or the Ahlal Dhikr, and try to use this verse to prove their supposed authority over the people on the basis of their limited knowledge of religion. 

However…Are the Ahlal Dhikr really the jurists? 

Imam Al-Baqir (fhip) has said the following about the words of Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High: 

“Ask the people of Dhikr if you do not know.” (Holy Quran, An-Nahl: 43, Holy Quran, Al-Anbya: 7) that the Prophet (pbuhahf) said: ‘I am the Dhikr and the Imams are the People of the Dhikr.’ 

And the saying of Allah the Almighty: {It is a Dhikr (Reminder) for you and for your people and you will be questioned.} (Holy Quran, Az-Zukhruf:44), Imam Al-Baqir (pbuh) said: “We are his people and we will be questioned.”

– Al-Kafi, Muhammad ibn Yaqub Al-Kulaini, v.1, p.210, hadith 1


Imam Ali Sajjad (fhip) and Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (fhip) said:  

“It is upon you to obey those whom you have no excuse not to obey -the obedience of us Ahlulbayt– for Allah has tied our obedience with His obedience and with the obedience of His Messenger, and He has mentioned this in a verse in His book, bestowed upon us and upon you from Allah, so He has obligated obedience to  Himself, His messenger, and those in charge from the Family of His Messenger, and He has commanded you to ask the ‘People of the Dhikr’ (Ahlul Dhikr) and we, by Allah, are the ‘People of the Dhikr’, nobody claims that besides us except a liar. For Allah says in His book: {Allah has indeed revealed to you a ‘Dhikr’, and sent a messenger reciting to you Allah’s revelations, making things clear so that He may bring those who believe and do good out of darkness and into light} (Holy Quran, At-Talaq: verses 10-11). Then He said: {So ask the People of Dhikr if you do not know} (Holy Quran, An-Nahl: verse 43).  So we are Ahlul Dhikr, so accept our order and refrain from what we forbid, for verily, we are the doors that Allah commanded you to enter the houses from, by Allah we are the doors to those houses, this is not for anyone but us, and nobody else says this but us.” 

– Mustadrak Al-Wasa’il, Al-Mirza Al-Nouri, v.17, p.283, hadith 54

“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you.”

– Holy Quran, An-Nisa: Verse 59

In the sermon to the companions of Hurr, Imam Hussain (fhip) clarifies:

“We, the household of Muhammad, are more worthy of the authority of this matter over you, than those who claim what’s not for them.”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, v.44, p.377

“And those who disbelieve say: Why has not a sign been sent down upon him from his Lord? You are only a warner and (there is) a guide for every people.”

– Holy Quran, Ar-Rad: Verse 7

But as we have seen, their use of Quranic verses is simply a matter of twisting the words to fit  their own agendas, even interpreting the verses into meanings that are blatantly against the meanings told by Ahlulbayt. 


Besides trying to twist the Quranic verses to their own interpretations, we see these scholars attempting the same with sayings of the Ahlulbayt. 

For example, by quoting these words of the last Imam Muhammad Mahdi (pbuhahf):

“As for those events that will occur in the future, refer (for answers) to those people who narrate our sayings (Ahadith), for verily they are my proof over you and I am the Hujjah (Proof) of Allah.”

– Kamal Al-Din wa Tamam Al-Ne’ma, Muhammad ibn Ali Babawayh ‘Al-Sadooq’, v.1, p.512, hadith 4

This hadith does not refer to scholars acting as jurists or politicians over us, or indeed establishing new laws. Instead, it pulls the people back to knowing how to recognise men of God, the ones whom reiterate sayings of his Prophet and Imams (pbut). In fact, this saying proves that it is an innovation to follow anyone other than Ahlulbayt. 

As for sayings of Ahlulbayt proving Taqleed to be obligatory or recommended, the evidence is very limited, and that which exists does not encourage submission towards scholars at all.

Ahlulbayt have established the role of the scholars in society by emphasizing how they should be encouraging the good and discouraging evil practices. The work of these Mujtahids, however, seems to constantly be about insisting on their false assumptions of authority. 

In fact, there are ahadith that warn us against following such a creed. 

Imam Hasan Al-Askari PBUH narrated that Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq PBUH said, 

“… As for those among the jurisprudents who are guarding themselves, safeguarding their religion, opposing their desire, and obeying their (Mawla) Master, then it is for the common people to imitate them…” 

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, v.2, p.88

– Tafsir Imam Al-Askari (pbuh), p.300

Strangely, this hadith is used by scholars to prove their absolute authority over us, and that we are obligated to follow them, but the hadith doesn’t stop there. They tend to omit the rest of  our Imam Ja’far Al Sadiq’s words, which continue as: 

“…. and they (the jurisprudents) are more harmful to the weak ones of our Shia than the army of Yazid was to Hussain son of Ali (pbut) and his companions, for they take away from them their lives and money And those evil scholars, that claim to be loyal to us and hostile to our enemies, cause doubt and ‘Shubha’ (what seems like the truth) to enter the weak ones of our Shia, so they misguide them and prevent them from reaching the real truth.”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, v.2, p.88

– Tafsir Imam Al-Askari (pbuh), p.301

Bizarrely, the realisation of this second half completely invalidates the Marja’s claims of holding  absolute guardianship over us. Look at an argument used in favour of Taqleed by the supporters of this system…  

This clip is a good example of how sayings and narrations have been interpreted to the scholar’s liking as seen fit, instead of taken by the clear meanings as was meant to be the case. 

How can we say that our Imam Muhammad Mahdi (pbuhahf) is no longer present when he is the ever-present guide to humanity? And the claims made in the previously shown clip are theoretical, not even proven through God’s criterion of Quran or Ahadith. In fact, it is all the formation of ideas upon ideas of fallible men attempting to create a religious system with their own minds- a duty that God has never given to the scholars in any time period.   


Moreover, when it comes to logical reasoning, the entire foundation of Taqleed can be realised to be shaky, illogical, unreasonable, and unsound. Built on false premises and serving no purpose besides adding to confusion and division. 

We have in Imam Al-Sadiq’s words an offering of logical inference on how unreasonable it is to obey a fallible master: 

Al-Mufaddal asked Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq (pbuh): “May I be your ransom, how can Allah make obedience to someone an obligation upon His servants, then He veils/hides from him the mysteries of the heavens?” He (pbuh) said: “Allah is more generous and merciful to his servants than to make it obligatory upon them to obey someone whom the mysteries of the heavens have been veiled from him day or night.”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, v.26, p.109, hadith 1

Let’s take a look at two examples of a situation where we have a fallible man attempting to  establish justice, and the difference between him and an infallible Imam in making decisions.

Imam Al-Ridha (pbuh) narrated: “Umar ordered to stone a married Yemeni man, accused of adultery in Medina. So the Prince of the Believers (pbuh) said: He should not be stoned, for he is away from his wife, and his wife is in another country, but he should be whipped. Umar said: May Allah not make me face a dilemma and Aba Al-Hasan (meaning Imam Ali pbuh) is not there to solve it.”


– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, v.26, p.109, hadith 1

– Manaqib Aal Abi Taleb, Ibn Shahr Ashoub, v.2, p.183

– Mawsooa’t Al-Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (A.S.), Muhammad Al-Reyshahri, v.11, p.26, hadith 5741

Narrated from Muhammad ibn Amr ibn Sa’eed that a woman came to Umar ibn Al-Khattab and confessed that she committed adultery, so Umar commanded that she be stoned. The Prince of the Believers (pbuh) was present so he said: “Ask her how she committed adultery.” 

So Umar asked her and she said: “I was in a desert land, and I was extremely thirsty, I found a tent and in it was a Bedouin man. I asked him to give me water but he refused unless I submit myself to him. So I ran away from him and my thirst became so severe that my eyes were teary and my tongue all dry. When thirst eventually beat me, I went back to him so he gave me water and took me.”

So Ali (pbuh) said: ”This is whom Allah the Al-Mighty said {But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him} (Holy Quran, Al-Baqara: verse 173). She did not desire it nor did she transgress, set her free.” Umar said: “Had it not been for Ali, Umar would have perished.”

– Man La Yahdurhu Al-Faqeeh, Muhammad ibn Ali Babawayh ‘Al-Sadooq’, v.4, p.35-36, hadith 5025

– Mawsooa’t Al-Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (A.S.), Muhammad Al-Reyshahri, v.11, p.25-26, hadith 5740

The absolute power of rulership in the name of God, and as the face of God, belongs to God’s appointed caliphs, messengers, and Imams alone.
Without that security of position, law and structure in society would collapse, and injustice would be rampant.


The taking of the consensus of the jurisprudents as a proof for the validity of Taqleed is a completely non-scientific approach. It is totally unreasonable to believe that since all jurisprudents claim that we should follow jurisprudents, we must obey them.

As investigators of God’s religion, we now attempt to see in what sense the non-working scholars are serving benefit to society as they claim.  

Let’s break it down. 

The system of Wilayat Al-Faqih is meant to unify the Shia community in times of confusion, especially in terms of jurisprudential issues. 

It is said by the jurisprudents that they do this as they claim they are representatives of Imam Mahdi.


Religion is meant to create structure, especially in terms of laws.  

But with so many different scholars, giving differing opinions on many issues, a blend of confusion is seen forming. Matters such as laws of marriage, distribution of charity, and many other pivotal aspects of life are dictated as these fallible men see fit and then regarded as laws of an infallible God. 

So if Taqleed is to avoid confusion and contradiction in solving new matters through laws, then it does not serve that purpose. Rather, it aggravates it. 

Let’s take the example of jurisprudential disunity. 

We observe the conclusions made by certain supposedly eminent Shia scholars on the act of Tatbir, or self-flagellation. 

“There is no obstacle if it doesn’t cause harm, but it shouldn’t be practiced today.


Khoei, a very renowned Scholar of the Shia, stated a bit differently…

“If blood letting and hitting  oneself with chains, which are practiced in Muharram, cause serious harm, or harm or ridicule the religion and sect then it is impermissible.”

– Khoei 

The scholar Syed Sadeq Rouhani has a completely different view, and states: 

“I love the youths that do tatbir, or beating with chains, and I ask Allah to resurrect me with them.” 

– Syed Sadeq Rouhani

While the most notable non-working scholar Sistani, makes a ruling that bears no logic:

Reviving Hussaini traditions is Mustahab (recommended) but one is not allowed to harm the body or the noble reputation of the faith.”

– Sistani

This does not answer the question as Tatbir is, in essence, an act of self-harm. 

Then again, we see another completely different approach to the matter of Tatbir from Ali Khamenei, The so-called Supreme Leader of Iran:

Tatbir is a wrongful act…Tatbir is also a  fabricated tradition…Do not practice it, I do not approve. If someone does anything to display  their desire to practice Tatbir, I will be deeply disappointed in them.”

– Khamenei 

This is a central aspect of a Shia Twelver’s life. How can the community survive with so much discord and disunity in verdicts? 

It is claimed by the jurisprudents that they act as deputies to the Vicegerent of God, Imam Muhammad Mahdi (pbuhahf). Then we ask them, why so much difference in their understandings of religion? 

God does not have a divine system that is disordered or contradictory. 

If the Marja were all, or even some, coming from the same source of information, that being our main Imam Mahdi (fhip), why do we see so much disorder? 

Yet they claim that the jurisprudents are representatives of the Twelfth Imam Mahdi (fhip). 

They themselves admit that they cannot claim to be representatives…yet in the same breath claim, they are all general representatives. 

In the words of Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (fhip) on this matter,

“Rather, some of the non-working scholars, whom the ignorant one thinks that they are closer to him (pbuh), will not believe in him…” 

– The Calf, Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (fhip), v.1, p.63


We take another logical reason from their side as to why Wilayat Al-Faqih is of benefit to society. Let’s look at the example of Khums. 

Khums: It is a religious tax from the surplus income, considered as an obligation on the Shia to be paid, of up to 20 percent. 

This is an amount of charity that is meant to be divided into the society by the Vicegerent of Allah, Imam Muhammad Mahdi (pbuhahf).  

So Khums is meant to be divided into two portions. 

There is a portion that belongs to God, the Prophet, and his close family.  

Another portion must go to the deserving and needy in society, specifically those whose bloodlines are from the lineage of Prophet Muhammad (pbuhahf).

However, during his minor occultation, when the people decided to save their Khums to give to their Imam on his appearance, for him to distribute as he would know justly, the alleged and false deputies of the rightful Imam came up with a new ruling. They claimed this ruling to be from him and demanded that it be spread to the Mujtahids.

In the book An Introduction to Shiʻi Islam: The History and Doctrines of Twelver Shiʻism, Yale University Press, 1985, the writer Moojan Momen even comments on it, stating how “Khums became a major source of income and financial independence of the clergy in Shi’ite regions.” 

Not only is this an astoundingly unjust form of stealing, but this system of Khums that was placed by Ahlulbayt (pbut) to ensure the stability of society financially is not bearing any fruit. The poor seem to be getting poorer-the rich, despite presenting their Khums, are getting richer.  

The scholars of Islam themselves seem to be materialistically satisfied, with an abundance of wealth, mansions in foreign countries, and heavily armed security guards.  

According to a news article on 

“…statistics say that the income of an individual in Iran yearly is 17000 dollars, a 5th goes to the Marjas which is 3400 dollars for each individual. If you multiply that by 50 million Shia in Iran,  that equals 170 billion dollars yearly.”  

Quote from     ( – Article in Arabic)

And this is just from Iran alone. 

The amount pouring in from the Shia Twelvers globally, from places like Iran and Iraq, leads to the Mujtahids gaining in numbers of up to billions. 

The financial hypocrisy in the Shia Twelver world is astounding.

With the great domes of our Imams being encrusted with pure gold bars and year after year there is an improved renovation of these shrines-that are now in essence tourist sites.

And the irony of this upside-down, unjust world we live in is the sight of these embellished shrines of Imams of Ahlulbayt, pure and just, being adored by their so-called Shia from around the world, covering the 89-foot-high dome of Imam Hussain with solid gold, while beggars circulate these gold mausoleums, pleading for bread, or begging for just enough money to buy medication. Society has forgotten them. The so-called representatives of our Imam Muhammad Mahdi (pbuhahf), the supposed Ayatoullahs, have forgotten them. And poverty is eating the people from inside out, alive.

The amount of tourism to the shrines of Iraq and Iran is immense. Yet the Shia Twelvers, with their Khums going for the sake of charity and the industry of tourism increasing year after year, are not seeing any improvements in the structure of the society’s inequality. Instead, the vices of society, prostitution, illiteracy, homelessness, and starvation, are rampant. 

Where does this money go? 


So when did the jurisprudents become allowed to assume such control and authority over the Shia community the way they are today? 

What gave this concept life and instigated it as a law, by which it was made out that all in the Shia Twelver community must abide, as a ruling of the Almighty Creator? It was the events that led to the 1979 Iranian Revolution. 

In 1979, the world was met with the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, led by the so-called Imam Khomeini. After an arduous struggle for their rights, the Shias of this region were able to oust the tyrant Muhammad Reza Shah. 

It was only after the establishment of the supposedly Islamic state that a new, innovative form of government began, joining jurisprudence and politics together. This was the birth of Wilayat Al-Faqih, or Guardianship of the jurists. 

In a world where the Shias were now capable of establishing a government of their own, they turned to the jurists, completely disregarding the rights of the Ahlulbayt and giving their rights to fallible scholars, in their place and absence. 

And here we will present this statement, blatantly made by the so-called Supreme Leader Khomeini, from a series of lectures he made which was later compiled into a book named Wilayat Al-Faqih:

“The Marja has as much authority as the twelfth pbuh.”

-Khomeini, A series of lectures called  Wilayat Al Faqih

It is an accepted and indisputable matter that the true chosen Caliph of the people in the Shia school of thought is Imam Muhammad Mahdi (pbuhahf) – regardless of his being in occultation or not.  

So how possible is it to hold onto this belief, while submitting to the concept of absolute authority belonging to the jurist? 

Prophet Muhammad (pbuhahf) stated: 

“…scholars of that time will be the most evil scholars under the sky. Fitna will come from them and to them it shall return.” 

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, v.2, p.109, hadith 14

– Al-Kafi, Muhammad ibn Yaqub Al-Kulaini, v.8, p.308, hadith 479

– Kanz Al-Ummal, Al-Muttaki Al-Hindi, v.11, p.181, hadith 31135

It was this strategic form of governmental policy that has led Iran to where it is today. A nation of adorers and worshipers of fallible scholars, people who cannot cease to sing poetry over these jurisprudents, lauding them with insufferable praises, as though they were holding the position of the grandson of their Prophet Muhammad (pbuhahf) and enrobed in his cloak of authority – as, indeed, they falsely believe. 

It is this false belief of representation of Imam Mahdi that the scholars are holding their turbans up to. So it is not difficult to realise, in consequence, the absolute obedience felt by the people towards the jurisprudents. The names of powerful jurisprudents, such as Khamenei and Sistani, are trigger enough to rouse their followers into wilful submission towards any sort of command.  

An example of this blind following and abuse of humane laws can be seen in how the scholars and clerics misuse certain rulings, such as those of temporary marriage, to their own benefit, offering very young, destitute and desperate girls to rich men, and getting a good fee in return. 

This industry can be found blossoming in Iraq as well – a travesty of scholarly greed and misuse of religious rulings.

How far does the tide have to go before the Taqleed followers can willfully admit that they have stopped believing in Imam Mahdi being the ever-present guide sent to us by God? Or have they reached the point that they reject this in completion? 

Surely, a pivotal aspect of Shia faith is the appearance of the Vicegerent, the presence of the Guide. The very earth would collapse on itself without the presence of this Infallible Face of Allah. 

This Post-Occultation innovation gained the precedence that it did among the people through propaganda, and part of the agenda was the writings of Khomeini and his follower scholars. It is through reading these that we get to understand deeper the mindset that has twisted original texts into an attempt at convincing the people to submit to a new master. 

In the book, Wilayat e Faqih, by Ayatoullah ‘Ali Mishkini, a student of Khomeini’s,


“If a worthy individual possessing these two qualities (that is, the ability to manage and to lead)  arises and establishes a government, he will possess the same authority as the Most Noble Messenger (pbuhahf) in the administration of society, and it will be the duty of all people to obey him.” 

—End of Excerpt— 

It was statements such as these that are used to prove the supreme authority of fallible men over the people. Ironic, since it is widely accepted that these qualities belong to the infallible Ahlulbayt of Muhammad, and the ones to obey are, in fact, the rest of the Muslim nation, including scholars.

It was through the influence of the people of Iran, that this form of government of Wilayat Al-Faqih was firmly founded. It involves the rulership of the people through government, in which jurisprudents rule people. It is absolute innovation and a form of usurping the rights of our present caliph, chosen of Allah, Imam Muhammad Mahdi (pbuhahf).

From the Prophet Muhammad (pbuhahf),

“The jurisprudents (Fuqaha’) are the trustees of the prophets, as long as they do not concern themselves with the world (dunya).” The Prophet was asked: “What is the sign of their concern for this world?” He replied: “Following the sultans (kings). If they do that, then fear for your religion.”

– Al-Kafi, Muhammad ibn Yaqub Al-Kulaini, v.1, p.46, hadith 5

From the series of lectures by Khomeini on Wilayat Al-Faqih: 


“…This being the case, the true rulers are the fuqaha themselves, and rulership ought officially  to be theirs, to apply to them, not those who are obliged to follow the guidance of the fuqaha  on account of their own ignorance of the law.” 

—End of Excerpt—

It is an absolute contradiction to the words of the Prophet (pbuhahf). 

From Wilayat e Faqih by Mishkini, he quotes Imam Hussain (fhip) and then interprets his words as he sees fit… 


Al-Imam Al-Hussain says, “The administration of all affairs of the society is in the hands of men of Divine knowledge, who are faithful custodians of His commandments and instructions  about lawful and unlawful matters (Halal) and what is (Haram). (Tuhaf al-‘uqal).  

The expression al-‘umur, (affairs) that must be administered by the trustworthy scholars, refers  to the general affairs of society, which include all aspects, major and minor matters of its  management. 

—End of Excerpt—

Again, we see over and over how the scholars twist the words of Ahlulbayt to mean themselves when in reality the ones of knowledge mentioned in the sayings of our Imams (pbut) are the Imams themselves, those who are guided directly by the Almighty Creator- not by ignorance.

Al-Fudayl ibn Yasar narrated: 

“I heard Imam Al-Sadiq (pbuh) saying: “When our Qa’im rises he will face the ignorance of the people more severely than what the Messenger of Allah (pbuhahf) faced from the ignorant ones of Jahiliyya (before Islam).” I asked, “How would this be?” He (pbuh) said: “Verily, the Messenger of Allah (pbuhahf) came to people who were worshipping stones, rocks and carved wood, and when our Qa’im rises, he shall come to the people, all of them interpreting the Book of Allah and protesting against his interpretation. He then said: By Allah, his (meaning the Qa’im’s) justice shall enter inside their houses, just as the heat and the cold enter them.”

– Al-Ghayba, Ibn Abi Zainab Al-No’mani, p.307, hadith 1 (Online book: p.305)

– Mo’jam Ahadeeth Al-Imam Al-Mahdi, Ali Al-Korani, v.3, p.500, hadith 1072 (Online book: p.493)

The Holy Master Ahmad Al-Hassan, (fhip), has completely negated the idea of false authority belonging to fallible scholars, and has said:

“Whoever knew that Taqleed is false, and was still emulating, then yes they are to hell fire. And those of them who did not know, then the scholars whom they imitated are to hell fire, they carry their own sin and the sins of the ones who emulated them, to hell fire the most wretched destination. Whoever says to the people “I am a scholar” or “I am the most knowledgeable”, and says to the people “Emulate me”, or accepts Taqleed, then he is in hell fire. May God curse them all without exception. All of them, without any flattery or hypocrisy. Whoever acknowledges/approves Taqleed is in hell fire. The utmost bewilderment is especially regarding you, O Mutashayia’ (the ones who claim to be Shia) of Iraq! I ask you, by Allah, do you not see their actions and their robbery?” 

– Sayings of Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (pbuh), p.57, hadith 164

It also stands to reason that the acceptance of such a system being absolute – a system of fallible men-negates the concept of the saying of the Prophet (pbuhahf):

“Whoever I am the Master of, Ali is the Master of.”  

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, v.37, p.126, hadith 24

Because this is the standing principle on which the Shia school of thought differs from other schools of thought. And siding with any complete authority over people simply on the basis that these men learned a knowledge based on sciences that were structured by fallible men for fallible men, is completely against the basic principle of Shiism, the imamate, and even the creation of mankind itself.
And yet, the Muslim nation seems so unfortunate that they deprived themselves of this great privilege. For years after the sad demise of our Prophet (pbuhahf), we see the general chaos that ensued on the people. The establishment of a Muslim nation governed under the rule of Imam Ali (fhip) was not to occur without the divine obligation of the people to stand for their Imam against all other external forces. Sadly, history shows us how the Imam was forsaken by the people, and, indeed how the people brought upon themselves a shift in the good fortune bestowed upon them by Allah. His rule being usurped, a hatchet had fallen on the people, and in their rejection of their caliph, the darkness spilled through the years, generation after generation, with Ommayad and Abbasid tyrannical rule over the people.
Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (fhip) has addressed the scholars of deviance by saying,

“You, O students of religious sciences, and Muslim scholars (Shiite and Sunni), do you think  that all you are charged for is the collection of mental sciences and transportation, without  working and without the promotion of virtues and the prevention of evil within what you are charged for, which is repairing the nation, reporting and warning its children and jihad for  Allah’s sake dearly?!  

 If this is what you think, then the truth I say to you, “You are wrong.”  

 – The Calf, Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (fhip), v.1, p.6

And in the words of our shepherd, Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (fhip):

“…Because the Prophets, when the things are settled to them, they will not be pleased without pulling out the tyrants and establishing the Divine government on earth, and  therefore the disappearing of the authority of the tyrant and his government, and the  disappearance of the authority and position of the non-working scholars who  corrupted/deformed the Sharia (Law of Allah) and made themselves the heirs of the Prophets and Guardians pbut, seeking their places in the hearts of the people…” 

 – The Calf, Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (fhip), v.1, p.41

Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (fhip) is here to pour water over the destructive fires of misguidance that have been ignited. He has appeared to bring man back to the creed of purpose of creation-all the way back from when Adam was created – until this day. It is still the same call.

He has placed His Vicegerent on the earth.

He has freed us of the chains of false authority.

And we are ready to answer and serve.

Imam Ali (fhip) said: “Do not be the slave of anyone when God has created you free.”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, v.74, p.226

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