In Shia Islam, marjaʿ (Arabic: مرجع; plural: marājiʿ), also known as a marjaʿ taqlīd or marjaʿ dīnī (Arabic: مرجع تقليد / مرجع ديني), literally meaning "source to imitate/follow" or "religious reference", is a title given to the highest level Shia authority, a Grand Ayatollah with the authority to make legal decisions within the confines of Islamic law for followers and less-credentialed clerics. After the Qur'an and the prophets and imams, marājiʿ are the highest authority on religious laws in Usuli Shia Islam.
You need to seek advice of high caliber Islamic scholars in the Hawza who should witness who is the most learned scholar among all the authentic Mujtahids. Two (at least) pious high caliber scholars in the Hawza should such witness.
It comes down to different methods of sighting. Sayyid Sistani says that the moon has to be sighted with the naked eye; Sayyid Khamenei rules that using a telescope is permissible. Astronomists also say that technically the new moon starts before it can be seen by either of these, but generally the ruling is that it has to be sighted.
Another issue is the 'sharing of the same night'. This method used to be used. I.e. if a region shares a night, then the declaring of the moon from one part of that region would apply to all. This is now no longer being used as a criterion. Instead, Sayyid Sistani and Sayyid Khamenei say that you must follow your local horizon, so usually the moon can be seen in Southern Europe before it can in Northern Europe; hence, Spain will have Eid one day earlier than England.
as salam alaikum
the are different opinions on how a person should see the new moon. The major ones can be summarized as follows:
SIGHTING THE NEW MOON LOCALLY (VALID FOR ALL PLACES THAT SHARE THE SAME HORIZON) WITH NAKED EYE
This is the fatwa of Ayatollah Khomeyni, Ayatollah Sistani, Ayatollah Mararem Shirazi, Ayatollah Shobeyri Zanjani, Ayatollah Subhani, Ayatollah Qorban Ali Kabuli and Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq Sadr.
SIGHTING THE NEW MOON IN A CITY WITH NAKED EYE AND VALIDATING THE SIGHTING FOR ALL THE OTHER PLACES THAT SHARE WITH IT THE SAME NIGHT
This is the fatwa of Ayatollah Khu'i, Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir Sadr, Ayatollah Muhammad Araki, Ayatollah Ruhani, Ayatollah Ishaq Fayyad, Ayatollah Wahid Khorasani and Ayatollah Bashir Najafi.
SIGHTING THE NEW MOON LOCALLY (VALID FOR ALL PLACES THAT SHARE THE SAME HORIZON) WITH THE HELP OF A TELESCOPE
This is the fatwa of Ayatollah Khamene'i, Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi Bahjat, Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani and Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi Mudarrisi.
SIGHTING THE NEW MOON WITH NAKED EYE AND VALIDATING THE SIGHTING FOR ALL THE OTHER PLACES THAT SHARE WITH IT THE SAME NIGHT BUT MAKING A DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE OLD CONTINENT (EUROPE, AFRICA, ASIA AND AUSTRALIA) AND THE NEW CONTINENT (NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA).
This is the fatwa of Ayatollah Muhammad Sa'id Hakim.
With prayers for your success.
The linguistic meaning of it is (Peace be upon him) which is in fact used for every Muslim when you say to him : Salamun Alaykum.(Peace be upon you).
But as a term and common understanding , we have to be careful in using it to avoid mixing between the Infallible and others.
If the verdicts of different Marja' s are different on certain matter, you must follow the most knowledgeable Marja'.
It is never a matter of personal convenience but the Islamic duty to follow the most learned.
as salam alaikum
this opinion of some Maraji' is based on ahadith like the followings:
It has been reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, said: "There is no Riba between us and the people who fight us".
It has been reported that Imam Sadiq, peace be upon him, said: "There is no Riba between a Muslim and a Dhimmi".
On the other hand, we find hadith like:
It has been reportes that it was asked to Imam al-Baqir, peace be upon him, "Is there any Riba between me and the polytheists"? The Imam answered: "Yes".
All the above-mentioned ahadith can be found in the book "Wasa'il al-Shi'ah" by Shaykh Hurr al-'Amili.
Another evidence is given by the fact that taking the money from a non-Muslim with mutual consent is allowed by consensus; therefore the interest taken from a non-Muslims should fall in the same category.
However Riba is one of the major sins and it is categorically condemned in the Qur'an and sahih ahadith with no exceptions. That is why you may find ulama that have opted for a more precautionary stance not allowing Riba in its absolute sense.
With prayers for your success.
Kaffara has many types e.g. Kaffara of not fasting during the month of Ramadhan, which is feeding sixty poor believers for every missed day of fast, and Kaffara of traveling in a covered vehicle during the state of Ehraam for men in Hajj or Umra which is slaughtering a sheep and distributing it among the poor believers, and Kaffara of not fulfilling an oath, which is feeding ten poor believers or clothing them. These types of Kaffara can be given as material not cash to the poor believers directly.
Ahlul Khibra are the experienced scholars in the Hawza who have the full ability to evaluate the standard of knowledge of highest scholars and give scientific opinion about who is the most knowledgeable among all the scholars. They do not need to be Maraaji' themselves. They are not any normal scholar or intermediate students at Hawza.
This may be too complicated for youth, who sometimes need things to be black and white or absolute.
As Muslims, we like to see Islamic law as fixed and perfect and absolute, an exact copy of the divine will.
However, in reality, the derivation of Islamic law is a process. Some rulings are stronger than others.
For instance, it is obvious that drinking wine is prohibited in the Qur'an. There is 100% certainty on that viewpoint.
However, it is not obvious that a marja' must be a man. This is more of a viewpoint that has been deduced based on assumptions about the ideal social role and nature of women, as well as some sideways derivations from texts. (Probably, the era and cultural environment of these discussions also had some effect.) That is, we don't have an ayah or hadith that specifically says "a woman cannot be a marja'" in the same way that the Qur'an says "do not drink wine".
However, instead of understanding the process of how rulings are made, some Muslims start at the result and go backwards. That is, they take the ruling that "a woman cannot be a marja'" and then, from it, deduce all sorts of things about the role of a man or woman in society. This is a sort of layperson's error that comes from a pious but incomplete understanding of the Islamic scholarly tradition.
So... the short answer is... yes, it is a common viewpoint that a woman may not be a marja'; however, one can also make a case that it doesn't matter if a marja' is a man or a woman. Perhaps, the dominant viewpoint on this may change in the next couple centuries.
This is all theoretical; it is unlikely, in the present day, that a woman will actually become a marja'.
As for how you wish to discuss that with the youth... that is a more challenging question. My personal approach to dealing with young people is to try to be as honest as possible; at the same time, if they are growing up as a minority, sometimes they really need the sense of solidity of everything in their faith being 100% certain and agreed upon, at least up until a certain age. Perhaps someone else may be able to advise on this.
Ahlul Khibra are the highly qualified scholars in the Hawza. They are known by the majority of the scholars in the Hawza.
It is not a personal opinion to identify the best Marja' to follow, nor matter of publicity or media etc, but it must be taken from the highly experienced scholars in the Islamic teachings (Hawza) who are known as Ahlul Khibra or Ahlul Khubra who identify the most learned (A'lam) among the Mujtahid scholars. You need to seek the witness of at least two of Ahlul Khubra that this Marja' is the most learned in the Fiqh and Osool and other fields of Islamic studies.
From what our respected 'Ulama in the Hawzah say, it is a bit difficult to specifically pinpoint who exactly is the "most learnt" from among our esteemed living Maraji', may Allah prolong their lives.
On the topic of selecting a Marja', it is best that you refer to the rulings and following the correct criteria for your selection. It is not a difficult process, and it should not take a lot of your time.
With prayers for your success.