Islam is a way of life. The laws and teachings of Islam are known as Shari’ah, and these laws have come to us through the Qur’an and the sunnah. The Qur’an has over 6000 verses, and the Sunnah derived from various ahadith are thousands in number. This means that not every Shia can spend time to study for so many years the Qur’an and the ahadith (plural of Hadith); that too in Arabic.
All baligh (those at the age of maturity) males and females, have to follow a mujtahid. This concept is called Taqleed. If one wishes to study the Qur’an and Hadith on his/her own, then that is called Ijtihad.
There are a few conditions of becoming a Mujtahid (One that has done Ijtihad, and has the right to pass religious rulings derived from Qur’an and Sunnah). They are:
5. Born in wedlock
7. A’lam (well learned alongside all other mujtahids)
8. Adil (just)
Most of the Mujtahids now a days live in Iran or Iraq. If you would like an answer to a question on behalf of your mujtahid, you can do the following:
– Ask your local Aalim
– Read your Mujtahids law books (Tawzihul Massail)
– E-Mail the question to his office
– You can also travel to Iran or Iraq and meet them in person