How can a Marja’ offer rulings that relate to women without experiencing them?


I know a sister who says she is against taqleed because she feels that fallible male scholars aren’t able to understand what a female goes through so their rulings aren’t fair towards them. How would you reply to this?


The role and responsibility of the Marja’ is to deduct the Islamic ruling from the approved sources of evidence to the best of their ability. Thus it is not for the Marja’ to empathise with the feelings of males or females, nor to apply the rulings to specific people or situations. Rather, the role of the Marja’ is to come to the correct Islamic ruling based on a professional study of the evidence to the very best of their ability.

A correct understanding of the evidence ensures that no one, female or male, is treated unfairly, because the evidence comes from the Word of God or the traditions of infallibles or principles derived therefrom, and these sources are completely Just and are aware of the situations of all humans, male or female.

The maraji’ are the people best positioned to come to this correct understanding because of their extensive professional training and high standards of piety and objectivity, and this is the basis for the system of Taqlid. While it is possible for a marja’ to make a mistake, this would be a ‘professional mistake’ and neither the marja’ nor their follower would be held responsible before God as long as they did the best they could. In order for us to meet our responsibility before God, we must perform Taqlid and this will be an excuse for us before God that we did our best to come to an understanding of what God wanted from us.


Answered by: Dr Ali Alsamail

Certified by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei