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This article is about a Shia authority. Marja'_sentence_0

For the town in Afghanistan, see Marja, Afghanistan. Marja'_sentence_1

For people named Marja, see Marja (name). Marja'_sentence_2

For current Maraji, see List of current Maraji. Marja'_sentence_3

For deceased Maraji, see List of deceased Maraji. Marja'_sentence_4

Marji (Arabic: مرجع‎ marjiʿ; plural: marājiʿ), also known as a marji' taqlīd (Arabic: مرجع تقليد‎) or marji' dīnī (Arabic: مرجع ديني‎), literally meaning "source to follow" or "religious reference", is a title given to the highest level of Usuli Shia authority, a Grand Ayatollah with the authority given by a hawzah to make legal decisions within the confines of Islamic law for followers and lower-ranking clerics. Marja'_sentence_5

Their authority is only recognised in the Usuli branch of Twelver Shi'ism. Marja'_sentence_6

Title Marja'_section_0

Currently, maraji' are accorded the title Grand Ayatollah (Arabic: آية ‌الله العظمی‎ ʾĀyatullāh al-ʿUẓmā; Persian: آیت الله عظما‎ Ayatollâh-e Ozmâ). Marja'_sentence_7

Previously, the titles of Allamah (such as Allameh Tabatabaei, Allameh Majlesi, Allameh Hilli) and Imam (such as Imam Khomeini, Imam Rohani, Imam Shirazi and Imam Sadr) have also been used. Marja'_sentence_8

Role Marja'_section_1

From the perspective of Usuli jurisprudence, during the occultation of the Mahdi, Shia hawzah clerics are his representatives, with responsibility for understanding and explaining Islamic religious jurisprudence. Marja'_sentence_9

Shiite authorities in the history of Shi'ism have an important role in the religious, political and social thought of their communities. Marja'_sentence_10

One example is the fatwa of Mirza Mohammed Hassan Husseini Shirazi imposing sanctions on the use of tobacco during Qajar rule, which led to the abolition of the tobacco concession. Marja'_sentence_11

Authority Marja'_section_2

The title of an ayatollah transpires when he becomes a celebrated figure in the hawza and his students and followers trust him in answering their questions, and ask him to publish a juristic book, the risalah amaliyah—a manual of practical rulings arranged according to topics dealing with ritual purity, worship, social issues, business, and political affairs. Marja'_sentence_12

The risalah contains an ayatollah's fatwas on different topics, according to his knowledge of the most authentic Islamic sources and their application to current life. Marja'_sentence_13

Traditionally only the most renowned ayatollahs of the given time published a risalah. Marja'_sentence_14

Today, however, many ayatollahs of varying degrees of illustriousness have published one, while some of the renowned ones have refused to do so. Marja'_sentence_15

Where a difference in opinion exists between the maraji', each of them provides their own opinion and the muqallid will follow their own marja's opinion on that subject. Marja'_sentence_16

A mujtahid, i.e. someone who has completed advanced training (dars kharij) in the hawza and has acquired the license to engage in ijtihad (ʾijāz al-ʾijtihād) from one or several ayatollahs, is exempted from the requirement to follow a marja'. Marja'_sentence_17

However ijtihad is not always comprehensive and so a mujtahid may be an expert in one particular area of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) and exercise ijtihad therein, but follow a marja' in other areas of fiqh. Marja'_sentence_18

Several senior Grand Ayatollahs preside over hawzas, religious seminaries. Marja'_sentence_19

The hawzas of Qom and Najaf are the preeminent seminary centers for the training of Shia clergymen. Marja'_sentence_20

However, there are other smaller hawzas in many other cities around the world, the biggest ones being Karbala, Isfahan and Mashhad. Marja'_sentence_21

There are 86 Maraji living worldwide as of 2017, mostly residing in Najaf and Qom. Marja'_sentence_22

The most prominent among them are Ali Khamenei in Tehran; Hossein Vahid Khorasani, Mousa Shubairi Zanjani, Sayyid Sadeq Rohani, Lotfollah Safi Golpaygani, Naser Makarem Shirazi, Sadiq Hussaini Shirazi, Hossein Noori Hamedani and Abdollah Javadi-Amoli in Qom; Ali al-Sistani, Muhammad al-Fayadh, Muhammad Saeed al-Hakim and Bashir al-Najafi in Najaf. Marja'_sentence_23

See also Marja'_section_3


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