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Last Updated: 2010/04/06
Summary of question
What is Ayatullah Hadavi Tehrani’s view regarding taqlid after the demise of Ayatullah Bahjat?
Please explain who we have to follow after the demise of Ayatullah Bahjat. Who are the most learned of all marja’s today? I would be grateful if you could provide me with Ayatullah Hadavi’s viewpoint on the subject. Thank you.
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Detailed Answer

One of the ways for identifying the most learned of all mujtahids is for a number of learned persons who possess the capacity to identify the most learned, certify that a particular person is the most learned, and one becomes sure from their saying that that person is the most learned. [1]

Today, a group of the instructors of the Islamic seminary of Qom (as experts who bear the capacity to do such) have introduced a number of those mujtahids who are qualified to be marja’s of taqlid that others can choose from and follow in religious matters. [2] As for when one can't identify which of several marja’s is most learned, he is free to choose one from all of them, meaning that he can choose from any of the ones he is sure is a mujtahid and being the most learned will no longer be a condition because it isn't possible to adhere to (please note that he can't follow any mujtahid he desires, but must choose one from those he knows are higher than the rest, so for instance if there are ten mujtahids out of a hundred he knows are more learned than the rest, but can't identify the most learned out of these ten, he is free to choose from the ten, not the hundred).

As was said, luckily, in our day a group of the instructors of the Islamic Seminary in Qom have introduced several individuals as being qualified for being marja’s of taqlid whom people can choose from and follow and act upon the risalahs of and be sure that they have fulfilled their religious responsibilities. Also, considering the different methods of communication that can be used today, you can easily learn of your marja’s viewpoints.

As for who should be followed after the demise of Ayatullah Bahjat, we have repeatedly been contacted in this regard and Ayatullah Hadavi Tehrani has provided a list of those he thinks are equal and can be chosen from. This is the list with the marja’s in alphabetical order:

1- The Grand Ayatullah Javadi Amoli

2- The Grand Ayatullah Seyyid Kadhim Ha’eri

3- The Grand Ayatullah Khamenei

4- The Grand Ayatullah Ja’far Subhani

5- The Grand Ayatullah Seyyid Ali Sistani

6- The Grand Ayatullah Seyyid Musa Shubairi Zanjani

7- The Grand Ayatullah Lutfullah Safi Golpaygani

8- The Grand Ayatullah Makarem Shirazi

9- The Grand Ayatullah Hosein Vahid Khorasani

Therefore any Muslim individual who follows any of these nine as his/her marja’ and acts upon their risalah will have fulfilled his/her religious duty. [3]

[1] Tawdihul-Masa’el (annotated by Imam Khomeini), vol. 1, pg. 15, clearly, what is meant is being the most learned in Islamic matters.

[2]   With help from: Question 4520 (website: 4946).

[3] With help from: Question 1656 (website: 1666).

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