The Muslim Scholar’s Authority (Wilayat-e Faqih)

Question No. 10

Is Islamic State possible just through the sovereignty of a grand Muslim scholar (Faqih) or the clerics?

Islamic State is principally exercised through leadership by the Impeccable; the starting point for this government has been the great Prophet’s “Imamate and Leadership” and then that of Imams from the Prophet’s Household. In the Occultation period, the Authoritative Muslim scholar (“Waliy-e Faqih”), i.e. the person with all necessary qualifications for issuing legal decrees (fatwa or the religious decrees pronounced by a Muslim scholar) and the leadership of the society, is appointed as the leader of the Islamic community by Impeccable Imams, and when he enjoys necessary qualifications, it is incumbent upon him to take on the “leadership” of the community as the vicegerent of Impeccable Imams.

Therefore, in the Occultation period, Islamic State is nonsense without “The Muslim scholar’s Authority”. The philosophy of this principle is clarified by exploring the features of the Islamic State and the necessary qualifications of the rulers in Islam. In other words, all affairs in the Islamic State are to be regulated based on the divine laws and decrees. The presence of a knowledgeable and competent leader, capable of discerning divine decrees, accommodating them with the needs of the time, and committing himself to the religious norms, is thus self-evident. Therefore, it is stated in a tradition by Imam Ali (as): “Among people, one who is more potent and more knowledgeable about divine decrees is more qualified for leadership”1

  • 1. “inna ahaqqa al-nas bi haza al-amr aqvahum a’layhi va a\lamuhum bi amr Allah fih”, Nahj al-Balagha. Sermon no.173. For further information, see Muhammad Hadi ma’rifat, Wilayat-e Faqihi, p.165.