Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, may his soul rest in Peace, as a consequence of strict adherence to the principles and teachings of the holy Prophets and Imams, was blessed with a personality of variegated and multifarious splendour. On the one hand, he was among the most outstanding teachers and highly reputed Mujtahids of the Islamic Seminary, known for their erudition in the field of Islamic Jurisprudence and Principles of Jurisprudence, who have to their credit the honour of injecting fresh blood in the veins of Islamic belief and guiding the caravan of the traditional jurisprudence to newer goals. On the other hand, he was an exquisite moral teacher who focused all his attention to fostering spiritual and intellectual training to the people.
In the field of philosophy, he is universally recognized as a great thinker, having his individual and unique ideas and views. Not only did he relieve the Islamic philosophy of its inertia, but also resuscitated the indolent and languid Islamic seminaries by infusing in them fresh activity and valour. In this mission, he had to endure untold trials and tribulations, whose pain pricked him incessantly in life, and which to some is extent reflected in his famous epistle: ‘The Spiritual Manifesto’. At the same time, he enjoys a leading position in the field of theoretical and practical Gnosticism, and is known as ‘The Father of Gnostics’ of his time. His great works are a living evidence of his mastery over the various branches of Islamic learning.
As regards his relentless struggle in the field of practical politics and his crusade against the Taghoots of the time through his clarion call for rising in defense of Truth, and his stupendous perseverance, dauntless courage and manliness and unflinching chivalry, they form a part of the revolution-evoking chapter which has already been acknowledged through out the four corners of the world.
Imam Khomeini’s perfect grasp of the Islamic and human problems of today, his serious efforts, his dauntless policy and sincere leadership for their solution are self-evident truths and need no further proof. He conquered the hearts of all the people through exposing the satanic designs of their enemies and making prophetic campaign for materialization of the divine plans to frustrate them.
Unfortunately the depth and vastness of his knowledge and erudition has still not been fully introduced to the world. The stormy waves of his revolutionary struggle have touched even the farthest shores.His admirers have peeped into the mysteries of his personality but alas! only a limited horizon has come in sight, and they have failed to have a profound comprehension of its hidden spheres. It has, therefore, been found necessary to introduce to all the segments of human society the thoughts and works of this conqueror of the hearts of the people, as he is the one who has inherited his pure personality by following in the footsteps of the prophets and the saints, whose powerful and pure ideas are considered a humanizing element for the society. This is one of the many steps taken for the fulfillment of the duties and functions of the Institute for Editing and Publication of Imam Khomeini’s works through scholarly and cultural endeavors.
The present English translation of Imam Khomeini’s well- known book: “Tahrir al- Vasila” consisting of his juristic verdicts, occupies an important place in the program for translating his works into English. At the time of embarking on this herculean, arduous, but at the same time a valuable venture, we have had the following objectives before us:
Make accessible to the present and future English knowing scholars the Imam’s valuable verdicts in the field Islamic jurisprudence.
A large number of the English knowing people still follow the Imam in their daily pursuits of life. This book will fulfill their need of having detailed verdicts of the Imam on various problems of daily life.
It is an important fact that some of the individual exquisite judgments (Ijtihãds) of the Imam have left an indelible and far-reaching mark on the world of Ijtihad. The way he has given a new life to Jurists’ Rule theoretically and practically is quite obvious for all the intellectuals. Nevertheless, the Imam has always desired that this caravan of thoughts and views must march forward in conformity with the requirements of Time and Place, and this process should go on .The conditions he has enumerated for a jurist and a Mujtatiid, though difficult to fulfill, are yet indispensable. His attitude towards the safeguard and exploitation of the great treasure of the predecessors, in view of its being balanced, shall always receive laurels by the pioneers of this field and those having a true understanding of Islam. In this regard, the following summary of his views incorporates some very important points:
“I believe in the traditional jurisprudence and the Jawãhiri Ijtihad, and do not consider its violation to be permissible. This is the only correct way of Ijtihãd. But it does not mean that there is no room for further development in the Islamic Jurisprudence. In Ijtihad, Time and Place occupy a decisive (fundamental) position. A Mujtahid should have all the problems of his time before him. An intelligent, wise and sagacious Mujtahid should have competence to guide a great Islamic society, rather even a non-Muslim society. Sincerity, piety and abstinence which are the signs (or basic qualifications) of a Mujtahid should also be accompanied by the qualities of an administrator and an efficient manager.
‘A true Mujtahid should have before him the whole corpus of Jurisprudence for judgement which comprehends all the sides of the practical philosophy.
‘We should stand up to present the practical jurisprudence of Islam without being influenced by the deceitful West, transgressor East and the prevailing world diplomacy; otherwise, as long as it is concealed in the books and the hearts of the Ulema, it shall not pose any danger to the robbers.
“Ijtihŕd, as used in today’s technology, is not sufficient for administration of the society. The (Islamic Research) Centres and ‘Ulema should always feel the pulse of the society thinking and its future requirements, and should be ready to react, taking a few steps forward before the occurrence of the events.
“It is not far from likelihood that the prevailing systems for the administration of the society may change, and the human societies may need the modem system of Islam for the solution of their problems. The great ‘Ulema of Islam should be on the look-out for it right a larger from now.”
The English translation of Tahrir al-Vasilah, Vol.1 of which is now being published, has been accomplished by Dr. Sayyid Ali Reza Naqavi, former Professor of Shiah Jurisprudence, International Islamic University, Islamabad. Dr. Naqavi, who holds a Doctorate in Persian Language and Literature from Tehran University has studied in the said discipline for about ten years, and has attended the classes of a number of prominent Professors of the University such as Professors Foroüzanfar, Jalil Homã’i, Pour-e Da’oud, Modarres Rezavi, Dr. Moqaddam, Dr. Khãnlari’, Dr. Mo’in, Dr.Yâr Shäter, and Dr. Kiyã. During his stay in Iran, he has also worked as a Sub-Editor in some of the leading English newspapers and magazines of Tehran. After his return to Pakistan, he has translated into English and published a number of important legal and juristic texts like Family Laws of Iran, Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Penal Laws of Iran, Interest- Free Banking Laws of Iran, etc. He has compiled, single-handedly, the voluminous Farhang-e jame’ of Persian into English and Urdu. He has also translated iqtisaduna, (Vol.II); a monumental work on Islamic economic system by the late Allãmah Baqir Sadr for Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, In view of these facts, there is no need to emphasize the competence, sincerity and commitment of Dr. Naqavi. Besides, his full command over English, Arabic, Persian and Urdu, his vast experience in research and teaching in the field of Shi’ah Jurisprudence, together with his special love and devotion for the late Imam Khomeini, R.A., have served as the main stimuli for embarking on the colossal task of translating the works of the Imam into English. We pray to the Almighty Allah for success in his important mission of introducing the valuable works of the Founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the universities and research centres of the English knowing world.
In the end, we request the honourable readers to let us benefit from their valuable views and suggestions for the collection, preservation, editing and translating the works of the Imam, particularly with regard to the present English translation of his Tahrir al-Vasilah, as it is quite likely that even a single remark or opinion may serve as a source of guidance to a large number of people for time immemorial.
Sayyid Sirajuddin Mousavi,
International Affairs Wing,
Institute for Editing and Publication of Imam Khomeini’s Works
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
SECTION ONE - RULES REGARDING TAQLID
Know that it is obligatory (Wajib) on a (Muslim) who is a Mukallaf (a sane and adult person bound to fulfill religious duties) and one who has not attained the status of a Mujtahid (a religious scholar who is competent to exercise his individual judgement on theological issues) to be a Muqallid (a Follower of a Mujtahid) or be a Muhtät (one exercising caution),provided that he has the knowledge about the cases in which caution is to be exercised, in matters other than essentials (Daruriyyat) belonging to ibŕdãt (matters of purely religious nature as prayers, fasting, Zakãt, Khums and Haj) and Muãmalat (matters relating to public dealings),even if they belong to the category of Mustahabbät (Desirable acts) or Mubãhãt (Permissible acts),although there are a few who have knowledge of the cases of caution. So the acts of a person belonging to laity who has no knowledge of the cases where caution is to be exercised, except by way of following a Mujtahid, shall be void, according to the details given below.
Problem # 1 According to the stronger opinion, it is permissible to act cautiously, even if it requires the repetition of the act.
Problem # 2 Taqlid means acting on the authority of the verdict of a particular jurist (Faqih). It is used in this sense in the next two Problems. Indeed what bestows validity to an act is that it must be done on the basis of an authority, such as the verdict (Fatwa) of a jurist, even if the title of Taqlid may not apply to it. It will presently follow that the mere correspondence of an act with the verdict of a jurist is sufficient to bestow validity to an act.
Problem # 3 The authority for Taqlid must be a person who is learned (Alim),Mujtahid, just (Adil) and pious (Vara’) in matters regarding the divine faith, rather as a precaution, he must not be one, bowing himself before the world, nor avaricious of getting hold of mundane power and pelt. The (relevant) tradition says: “If a person from among the jurists is one protecting oneself (from evil),safeguarding the faith, resisting his temptations and submitting himself before the commandments of his Lord, then let the laity follow him.”
Problem # 4 It is permissible to renounce the Tailed of one living (jurist) after adopting the Tailed of another living (jurist) of an equal status. To be more cautious, the renunciations are obligatory in case the latter is more learned (than the former).
Problem # 5 To be more cautious, as far as possible, it is obligatory to follow the most learned jurist (Alma), and it is also obligatory to make a search for him. If two Mujtahids are equal in knowledge, and it is not known as to which one of them is more learned, one is free to select either of them.If one particular Mujtahid of the two is more pious or more just, then it would be more appropriate and more cautious to select him. In case a person has hesitation in making a choice between two persons, while there is likelihood of one of them being more learned than the other, then it would be more cautious to specify him for his Tailed.
Problem # 6 If two persons are exclusively more learned, and one is not able to determine (as to which one of them is more learned than the other), he should make a choice by way of caution, or it would be more cautious to act upon the more cautious opinion of the two (jurists) in case he is able to do so. In case of his inability to do so, he is at liberty to make a choice between both of them.
Problem # 7 It is incumbent on a common man to follow the most learned jurist in so far as the obligation to follow the most learned jurist is concerned. So if the most learned jurist gives a verdict for the obligation of his Taqlid, it would not be permissible for the common man to follow other jurists in matters of secondary importance. In case, however, the most learned jurist gives verdict in favour of permissibility of following a jurist other than the most learned, then the common man would be at liberty to make a choice between his Taqlid and that of the other. It would, however, not be permissible for a common man to follow a jurist other than the most learned in case the jurist other than the most learned gives a verdict in favour of non-obligation of the Taqlid of the most learned jurist. Of course, if a jurist other than the most learned gives a verdict in favour of the obligation of Taqlid of the most learned, it would be permissible to act upon his opinion, but not as its being a (final) authority, but rather his opinion being in conformity with caution.
Problem # 8 In case there are two Mujtahids of equal learning, the common man would be at liberty to refer to either of them (for guidance), as also it would be permissible for him to follow one of them in some cases and follow another in other cases.
Problem # 9 It is obligatory for a common man to act with due caution during his search for the Mujtahid or an A’lam (the most learned jurist). In the second case (i.e. the search for an A’lam), it is sufficient to exercise caution while acting on the verdict of those in whose case there is likelihood of their being A’lam, and that he should accept their most cautious statements.
Problem # 10 It is permissible to act upon the verdict of a non-A’lam Madful, (one who is excelled by another), in matters where his verdict agrees with that of the A’lam, but also in matters where he is not aware of any difference between the verdicts of the two.
Problem # 11 If, in a matter, there is no verdict of an A’lam, it would be permissible to refer that matter to a Mujtahid other than the A’lam, however, observing the order of succession from the more learned to less learned.
Problem # 12 If a person follows someone who is not competent to issue a verdict, and later comes to realize the fact, it would be obligatory on him to revert to someone who is competent. Similarly, if a person follows a non-A ‘lam, as a precaution, it would be obligatory on him to revert to the A’lam. As a precaution, the same would be the rule, if a person follows an A’lam and (later) someone else turns out to be more learned than that A’lam, as regards matters in which the person has knowledge in detail of their disagreement in both cases.
Problem # 13 It is not permissible to follow initially a deceased (A’lam). Of course, it is permissible to continue his Taqlid in some matters absolutely on which he has acted upon (during his lifetime), and apparently even in matters on which he has not acted upon (during his lifetime). As a precaution, however, it is permissible to revert to a living A’lam, and this reversion is in conformity with the most cautious opinion. As a precaution, it is not permissible subsequently to revert to the verdict of the deceased (A’lam). Similarly, it is not permissible to revert to another living jurist, except when the latter is more learned than the former, because, according to the more cautious opinion, it is obligatory to shift over to the more learned (Mujtahid). It is (more) reliable for a person to continue to follow a living (A’lam), (rather than to follow a deceased A’lam). If a person continues to follow a deceased Mujtahid, without shifting over to a living one, according to whose verdict it is permissible to continue to follow a deceased Mujtahid, it would be as if the person is acting without Taqlid.
Problem # 14 If a person adopts the Taqlid of a Mujtahid, and the Mujtahid dies, and then the person adopts the Taqlid of another Mujtahid, and he also dies, then as regards the problem of continuing to follow the deceased Mujtahid who favours the obligation or permissibility of continuing to follow the deceased Mujtahid, then would he continue to be under the Taqlid of the first or the second Mujtahid? Apparently, he would continue to be under the Taqlid of the first Mujtahid if the third Mujtahid is in favour of the obligation of the continuance (of the Taqlid of the first Mujtahid), or he may opt either to continue to follow the second Mujtahid or shift over to the living one, in case the (third) Mujtahid is in favour of its permissibility.
Problem # 15 If a person enjoys the permission or authority issued by a Mujtahid regarding the appropriation of property, relating to (charitable) endowments or bequests or legally interdicted persons, he shall cease to enjoy the permission or authority following the death of the Mujtahid. If a person has been appointed a custodian of property belonging to a (charitable) endowment or an interdicted person, then it is not far from likelihood that he shall not be removed (from the custodianship), but it is a caution which should not be given up that a fresh permission must be obtained or a new appointment (of a custodian) made by a living Mujtahid.
Problem # 16 If a person acts according to the verdict of the Mujtahid whom he follows, in case of worship (‘Ibãdät), contract or unilateral obligation, and then the Mujtahid (whom he followed) dies, and he adopts the Taqlid of another Mujtahid, according to whose verdict those acts are void, his former acts shall be valid on the basis of the validity of those acts, and he shall not be required to perform those acts again, though he shall be required to perform his future acts according to the verdicts of the second Mujtahid.
Problem #17 If a person adopts the Taqlid of a Mujtahid without due investigation, and subsequently has doubts about the Mujtahid’s possessing all the necessary qualifications, it will be obligatory on him to carry out the necessary investigations. Similarly if a person believes in full competence of a Mujtahid, and later starts doubting it, it shall be obligatory on him to make necessary investigations. Likewise, if a person believes in full competence of a Mujtahid and then, as a precaution, starts doubting the comprehensiveness of his competence, or when he believes him to be fully competent, and later starts suspecting him to have lost some of the qualities, like honourable record (Adãlat) and Ijtihad (competence to issue verdict in religious matters), it shall not be obligatory on him to make necessary investigation, and it shall be permissible for him to continue according to his previous position.
Problem # 18 If the Mujtahid suffers something which leads to the loss of qualification for issuing verdict, such as moral depravity (Fisq), insanity, or amnesia (Nisyãn), it is obligatory on his followers to shift over to a Mujtahid who possesses those qualities, and it is not permissible for them to continue his Taqlid, because it would be as if a person had been following someone devoid of full competence and continued to do so for some time, so that he would be like one who has not adopted Taqlid of any Mujtahid at all, and his position would be like one who is negligent deliberately or inadvertently.
Problem # 19 Ijtihãd (Competence to issue verdicts in religious matters) is established by personal investigation, favorable reputation about the person’s erudition and by the testimony of two well informed persons or experts. The same rule applies to (establishment of) an Aŕlam. It is not permissible to adopt the Taqlid of a person about whom there is no knowledge of his having attained the status of a Mujtahid, even if he is one of the learned persons, in the same way as it is obligatory on a person other than a Mujtahid to follow a Mujtahid or act upon caution, even though he be one of the learned persons or close to ljtihãd (or competence to issue verdicts in religious matters).
Problem # 20 The acts of a deliberately negligent person without following (Mujtahid), who is conscious of his negligence, are void, except with the hope that he would attain the factual position, or his acts happen to be in accordance with the factual position or the verdict of a person whom it is permissible to follow. The same rule applies to the acts of a negligent person acting deliberately or inadvertently with the intention of reaching close to the correct position, in case they are in accordance with the factual position or the verdict of a Mujtahid whom it is permissible to follow.
Problem # 21 There are three ways of adopting the opinion of a Mujtahid on different issues:
1. Listening to the opinion from the Mujtahid himself.
2. Narration by one or two morally sound (Adl) persons about the Mujtahid (‘s opinion) or about (his opinion given in) his Risâlah (the booklet containing the Mujtahid’s verdicts on different issues), provided that it is free from (typing) errors; rather, the narration by a single person would be sufficient, if he happens to be one whose statement is relied upon.
3. Consulting the Mujtahid’s Risãlah, provided that it is free from (typing) errors.
Problem #22 If two narrators disagree while narrating the verdict of a Mujtahid, then, according to the stronger opinion, the statements of both of them should be dropped absolutely, irrespective of the fact whether both of them were equal in trustworthiness or not. If it is not possible to refer to the Mujtahid himself or his Risãlah, the person should act according to what is in conformity with caution in both the verdicts, or should himself act cautiously.
Problem # 23 It is obligatory to have knowledge about the problems of doubts, omissions, and the like, which occur generally, except when one is sure of not facing such problems, in the same way as it is obligatory to have the knowledge of the different constituents, conditions, obstacles and preliminaries of ‘Ibãdãt (religious observances). Of course, it would be all right if a person knows in short that his act contains all the necessary elements, fulfils all the conditions and is free from all the obstacles, even if he has not a detailed knowledge.
Problem # 24 If a person knows that for some time he had performed his ‘Ibãdat (acts of worship) without following a Mujtahid, but does not know the exact period of time, if he knows the nature of the ‘Ibãdãt (acts of worship) and their agreement with the verdict of the Mujtahid to whom he has referred, or to whom he intends to refer, then it would be all right; otherwise, he shall be required to make up for his previous acts as far as he knows about their performance, though it would be more cautious if he makes up to the extent that he is convinced of his full atonement.
Problem # 25 If his previous acts were performed by way of Taqlid, but he does not know whether it was a valid or invalid Taqlid, they would be considered to have been performed by way of a valid Taqlid.
Problem #26 If a period of time has passed since a person has attained legal maturity (Bulugh), and he has doubts whether his acts had been performed by way of a valid Taqlid or not, his previous acts shall be considered valid, though he shall be required to perform his future acts in the valid way.
Problem #27 Adãlat (Moral soundness) is a condition for a Mufti (one giving a Fatwã or a formal legal opinion) and a Qâdi (Magistrate, or Judge). It is established by the testimony of two morally sound persons, association producing knowledge and confidence, or favorable reputation about his knowledge; rather, a man may be known by his good appearance of the acts required by the Islamic canon law (Shari ‘at), obedience to divine commands (Ta’at) attendance in social gatherings, and the like. Apparently a good appearance is an unquestionable sign of moral uprightness, though it does not produce (good) opinion or (absolute) knowledge.
Problem # 28 Adalat consists of a permanent trait of character which produces constant adherence to piety through avoidance of what is forbidden and performance of what is obligatory.
Problem # 29 The quality of Adalat is virtually lost by commission of the major sins and persistence in the commission of the venial sins ; rather, according to the more cautious opinion, even venial sins. However it is restored by resorting to penitence if the said trait of character subsists.
Problem # 30.lf a person erroneously narrates the verdict of a Mujtahid, it is obligatory on him to inform all those to whom he had narrated the verdict (about his error).
Problem # 31 If a problem crops up during the performance of prayers, the actual rule about which is not known to the person, and it is not possible for him to enquire about it at that time, he shall act according to one of the two alternatives (discontinue the prayers or complete it) with the intention of enquiring about the actual rule after the prayers. Now, if it turns out that he has not acted according to the actual rule, he shall be required to perform the prayer again, but if it transpires that he had acted upon the actual rule, his prayers shall be considered valid.
Problem # 32 It is obligatory on an agent acting on behalf of another in acts like a contract, unilateral obligation, payment of Khums, Zakãt, or expiation, or the like to act in the way required according to the Taqlid (of the Mujtahid) of his client and not according to the Taqlid (of his own Mujtahid), in case they are following different Mujtahids. As regards a person hired by an executor or administrator for offering prayers or the like on behalf of the deceased, according to the stronger opinion, it is necessary for him to observe what is required by the Taqlid (of his own Mujtahid) and not that of the deceased, nor according to the Taqlid (of the Mujtahid) of the executor administrator. In like manner, if the executor does something voluntarily or on hire, it is obligatory on him to comply with the conditions of the Taqlid (of his own Mujtahid) and not that of the deceased. The same rule shall apply in case of an administrator (who does something on behalf of the deceased).
Problem #33 If a transaction takes place between two persons, one of the parties to which is a follower of a Mujtahid in whose opinion such transaction is valid, while the other party follows a Mujtahid in whose opinion it is void, it is obligatory on both of them to follow the opinion of their respective Mujtahids. If a dispute takes place between the two parties, the issue shall be referred to one of their two Mujtahids or a third one, who will decide the matter according to his own verdict, and his judgement shall be accepted by both the parties. The same rule shall apply in case of a unilateral obligation belonging to two parties, such as a dissolution of marriage or manumission (of a slave), or the like.
Problem # 32 An absolute caution is not permissible to be dropped in case of a verdict before a verdict in favour or against it has not been issued. Rather, it is obligatory to act by way of caution, or refer the matter to another Mujtahid in order of succession according to his superiority in knowledge. If, however, in the Rasa’il-e Amaliyyah (Instruction Books of Mujtahids for their respective Followers) the word “Caution’ has been used after a verdict which is contrary to the verdict, for example, if, after the verdict on a matter, it is said: “Though it is more cautious to do so and so:”, or subsequent to a verdict it is said, contrary to the verdict: “The more cautious opinion is such and such, although the rule in this case is such and such”, “or though the stronger opinion in this and such”, or close to the verdict there are words carrying approbation (Istihbab),as for example it is said: “The better or more cautious opinion is such and such”, in all these three cases, it is permissible to drop caution.