What conditions must a jurist have in order to be the Guardian Jurist (Waliy Faqih)?


What conditions or characteristics must a jurist have to be the ‘qualified jurist’ or the guardian jursit (Waliy Faqih)?


The jurist who has general guardianship must meet all of the eight following conditions:

1. Islam (being a Muslim) and Imaan (Faith):

Allah, the Exalted, has said: “and Allah will by no means give the unbelievers a way (to triumph) against the believers” (4:141).

2. Intelligence and wisdom:

Allah, the Exalted, has said: “And do not give away your property which Allah has made for you a (means of) support to the weak of understanding” (4:5), and it is narrated in Nahjul Balagha: “however, I fear that the affairs of this nation will be taken up by the foolish and sinful from among it. They would establish a monopoly over the wealth of Allah and will degrade the slaves of Allah. They will fight the righteous and take the sinful as allies” (Letter 62). Therefore, the guardian jurist must be wise – the antonym of foolish- as well as intelligent.

3. Justice:

Allah, the Exalted, has said: “And when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men. Ibrahim said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the unjust, said He.” (2:124). He, the Exalted, also says: “and do not obey the bidding of the extravagant, Who make mischief in the land and do not act aright” (26:151-152).

Al-Kulayni narrated with his chain from Hanan from his father from Abu Ja’far (Imam al-Baqir as): “the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: ‘leadership only befits a man who has the following three qualities: strong piety (wara’) which hinders him from disobedience of Allah, forbearance which control his anger, and good treatment of those who he has authority over so that he may be like a merciful father to them’”, and in another narration: “so that he may be for the flock like a merciful father” (al-Kafi, 1:407)

4. Knowledge and Expertise in the laws of Islam to the Level of Ijtihad (the ability to deduce Islamic laws from the legislative evidence):

Allah, the Exalted, has said: “Is He then Who guides to the truth more worthy to be followed, or he who himself does not go aright unless he is guided? What then is the matter with you; how do you judge?” (10:35). He, the Exalted, also says: “He said: Surely Allah has chosen him in preference to you, and He has increased him abundantly in knowledge and physique…” (2:247). It is also narrated in Nahjul Balagha: “…and not the ignorant who would misguide them by his ignorance” (Sermon 131).

5. Strength and Good Leadership:

What is meant by this is the political sense and knowledge of the art of politics and awareness of the conditions of the time, as well as bravery, strength of will, absence of disability, and the ability to rule. In general, any quality which is needed for the proper management of the community is part of this condition. The intellect indicates this, as does the following Qur’anic ayah speaking in the tongue of Prophet Yusuf (as): “He said: Place me (in authority) over the treasures of the land, surely I am a good keeper, knowing well” (12:55).

Al-Kulayni has also narrated from al-Redha (as): “and the Imam is a scholar who is not ignorant, and a shepherd who does not shrink from his task or become cowardly…mature in his knowledge, complete in his forbearance, strong in his leadership, knowledgeable of governance, one whom it is obligatory to obey, appointed by the command of Allah, an advisor to the slaves of Allah, a protector of the religion of Allah” (al-Kafi, 1:202). It is also narrated from Mufaddhal ibn Umar from Abu Abdullah (Imam al-Sadiq as): “O Mufadhdhal…and knowledge of his era, not overwhelmed by doubts.” (al-Kafi, 1:202).

It is also narrated in Amâli of al-Tusi, through his chain of narration from Abu Tharr that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “O Abu Tharr, I love for you what I love for myself, I see you are weak so you should not be made a leader over two nor should you be given authority over the wealth of an orphan” (Behârul-Anwâr 22:406). This indicates that weakness in management does not mean any slander of his other virtues.

6. Turning away from the Love of this World:

The Commander of the Faithful said: You certainly know that he who is in charge of honour, life, war booty, (enforcement of) legal commandments and the leadership of the Muslims should not be a miser as his greed would aim at their wealth…nor should he accept a bribe while taking decisions, as he would forfeit (others’) rights…” (Nahjul Balagha, sermon 131). He (as) also said: “No one can establish the rule of Allah, the Glorified, except he who does not relent, who does not behave like wrong-doers and who does not chase after objects of greed” (Nahjul Balagha, wisdom no.110).

The real guardian is he who does not relent to anyone by taking bribes or because of friendship or because that person is strong or for other reasons, nor does he become a captive or false imitations nor feels greed for what people possess. In the exegesis related to Imam al-Askari (as): “whoever from among the jurists protects himself, maintains his religion, goes against his desires and obeys the command of his Master, then the general public must obey him. These are only some of the Shi’a jurists not all of them.” (al-Ihtijaj, 2:511). If the one who follows desires and who chases after this world cannot be followed when it comes to his rulings, then by precedence he cannot have authority over the lives and wealth of people.

7. Masculinity:Based on the fact that judgment is one of the roles included within guardianship, then saying that masculinity is a condition for judgment makes it a condition for guardianship by precedence.8. Legitimate birth: it is unanimously agreed upon among our scholars that this is a condition for the judge and the issuer of edicts. The following authentic narration of Ibn Muslim from Abu Abdullah (as) indicates that it is a condition for the judge, the issuer of edicts and the guardian jurist: “the testimony of an illegitimately born person is invalid” (Wasailul Shia),as well as the narrations that indicate that this is a condition for the leader of the congregationalprayer, such as the authentic narration of Abu Baseer from Abu Abdullah (as): “Five types of people should not lead the prayer in any situation and among them he counted the insane and the illegitimately born person” (Wasailul Shia).

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei