According to Ayatollah Khamenei, what should people do when there is difference of opinion between a Marja and Wali Faqih?
The Grand Ayatollah Khamenei issued a Fatwa to answer the question of what people should do when there is difference of opinion between a Marja and Wali Faqih.
The Grand Ayatollah Khamenei: In any issue when the opinion of Wali Faqih is different from their Marja, if it is related to managing the affairs of the country and general Muslim population, like defending Islam and Muslims, Wali Faqih must be obeyed. And if (the issue) is related to individual and personal matters, must act according to Marja’s opinion.
What is Wilayat al-Faqih?
The doctrine of Wilayat al-Faqih forms the central axis of contemporary Shi’a political thought. It advocates a guardianship-based political system, which relies upon a just and capable jurist (faqih) to assume the leadership of the government in the absence of an infallible Imam. However, although the guardianship of a high-ranking religious scholar is universally accepted amongst all Shi’a theories of governance, any disagreement is focused on the details such as the role of the jurist and the scope of his authority.
Because the theory of Wilayat al-Faqih has emerged from Imamate – which constitutes a cornerstone of Shi’ism – it is necessary to understand this political doctrine within the context of this concept of leadership. By comparing it to the tradition political theory of Sunni jurists – the doctrine of caliphate – and characterizing it’s major features, we will be able to better understand and appreciate the doctrine of Wilayat al-Faqih.
In order to overcome the ambiguities surrounding the relationship between Wilayat al-Faqih and the position of an Islamic jurist as a source of guidance and imitation (Marja’a e-taqleed), it is necessary to discuss the various dimensions of guardianship in the absence of the infallible Imam. Also in order to respond to those who suppose that this doctrine is an entirely new thesis, which has only recently appeared in Shi’a jurisprudence, and argue that it opposes the traditional position of scholars and jurists, it is vital to briefly explain the historical background of Wilayat al-Faqih amongst the Imami Shi’a School of Islamic thought.