Shia clergy

In Shi'a Islam the guidance of clergymen and keeping such a structure holds a great importance. The clergy structure depends on the branch of Shi'ism is being referred to.


Main article: Twelver

Usooli and Akhbari Shia Twelver Muslims believe that the study of Islamic literature is a continual process, and is necessary for identifying all of God's laws. Twelver Shia Muslims believe that the process of finding God's laws from the available Islamic literature will facilitate in dealing with any circumstance. They believe that they can interpret the Qur'an and the Twelver Shi'a traditions with the same authority as their predecessors. This process of ijtihad has provided a means to deal with current issues from an Islamic perspective. Generally, the Twelver Shi'a clergy have exerted much more authority in the Twelver Shi'a community than have the Sunni ulema, who have generally followed directions handed by their political authorities.

Most Sunni scholars, preachers, and judges (collectively known as the Sunni ulema) traditionally believe that the door of ijtihad, or private judgment, is closed. That is because they have been under the direct scrutiny and control of Islamic scholars over the years. Thus, traditionally religious rulings have been issued by ulama. In contrast, Shia scholars have traditionally been distanced from, and therefore, outside the direct control of governments. This has afforded these clerical establishments much more flexibility in dealing with religious as well as political matters, while also allowing the door to Ijtihad wide open.

Usooli Shia considering it obligatory to obey a mujtahid when seeking to determine Islamically correct behavior. They believe the 12th Imam, ordered them to follow the scholars (Fuqaha) who: "...guard their soul, protect their religion, and follow the commandments of their master (Allah)..." The mujtahid they follow or emulate is known as a Marja' Taqleedi.[1] As of 2014 there were over 60 recognized Marj in the Shia Muslim world.


Main article: Da'i al-Mutlaq

The term Dāʻī al-Mutlaq (Arabic: الداعي المطلق) literally means "the absolute or unrestricted missionary". In Ismā'īlī Islām, the term dāʻī has been used to refer to important religious leaders other than the hereditary Imāms and the Daʻwa or "Mission" is a clerical-style organisation. "The Daʻwa" was a term for the Ismā'īlī faith itself from early on. They are also called Dāʻī Syednas.

See also


Contemporary scholars






United States



  1. "The Importance of Ijtihad and Taqlid". Shah e Mardan. Retrieved 26 February 2014.


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