I know that we must follow a mujtahid. I also know that a woman cannot be followed as a Marja'. However, for a woman who has reached the level of education of a mujtahid, is it necessary for her to follow someone else? In a recent discussion, someone said that we must follow a mujtahid, and the mujtahid must be male, therefore a woman mujtahid would still have to follow someone else. This woman, by virtue of the fact that she is a mujtahid, should not need to follow anyone else, just as a male mujtahid would not. The level of knowledge of a mujtahid implies that the person is capable of independent reasoning on Islamic subjects. Can you please clarify this?
Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi,
Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi went to the Hawza-e ‘Ilmiya-e Qum, Iran where he attended the dars-e kharij lectures of Ayatullah Wahid Khurãsãni. He also obtained an MA degree in History in 1991 from Simon Fraser University (Vancouver).
It is haram for a person who has reached the level of ijtihad to do taqlid for another mujtahid. This applies equally to men as well as women.
However, when the question of a marja` comes (i.e., a mujtahid who is followed by others), then one of the conditions is that the marja` must be a male. For example, the late Ayatullah al-Khu`i, says: "The conditions [necessary] in marja`i 't-taqlid...", before listing the well-known conditions ---like sanity, being baligh, iman, justice and being a male (Minhaju 's-Salihiyn, vol. 1, p. 7).
In short, a woman can reach the level of ijtihad and follow her own views but she cannot become a marja`.