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AbstractIn Imamiyya Shi'a different opinions emerged from the early periods about who will assume authority of imam during the infallibility. From the fourth century onwards, Shi'i ulama has developed various theories about the need for this authority to be undertaken by the Shi'i jurists. The functions attributed to the Imam: leading the Holy War (jihad), division of the booty (gismat al fay'), leading the friday prayer (salat al-jum'a), putting judicial decisions into effect (tanfith al-ahkam), imposing legal penalties (*mat alhudud), receiving the religious taxes of zakat and khums. The question of which of these duties and how much of these duties will be undertaken by 'ulama has been one of the main points of discussion in the history.
At the time of the transfer of the authority of the imam to the 'ulama, a new stage was started with the sense of maga' taglid starting from the middle of the nineteenth century, and this transfer process turned into a more institutional structure. In the process of institutionalization, the name of the two mujtahids comes to the forefront. First of them is Sheikh Muhammad Hassan al-Najafi (d. 1849). He is the author of the well-known work named Cevahiru'l-Kelam and because of this work, it is known by the name of Sahibu'l-Cewahir.
Sheikh Hasan, after the death of Kashif al-Ghita (d. 1846), he became a religious leader of all Shi'ites, and established a strong religious authority as the na'ib al-imam together with his network of proxy, madrasah organization and financial power. The other leader after Najafi, is Shaykh Murtadha alAnsari (d. 1281/1864). Since the time he lived, his works named er-Resail and al-Mekeisib have become one of the basic educational resources in Shi'i madrasas.
Along with Najafi and Ansari, the institution of the juridical authority was actually formed but the jurisprudence and theoretical framework of this institution has been put forward by Muhammad Kamm Yazd (d. 1337/1918), also known by the title Sahibu'l-Urwa because of his famous work called Urwetill-Vuska. In his work, he claimed that it is obligatory to follow the most learned mujtahid of the time and stated a dead mujtahid can not be emulated also listed the qualifications that marja' taglid should have. According to this, the basic qualities order to be marja' taglid are: adulthood (bulogh), sanity ('aql), belief (iman), justice ('adala), freedom (hurriyya), masculinity (rujolah, being man), being alive, being the most knowledgeable mujtahid, purity of birth and tagwa. Although these are identified as the basic qualities in order to be marja' taglid, different factors have also been influential in the rise of this level in practice. Another point is that there is no institution to confirm that he has the necessary qualifications and to assign it to this position. Therefore, the ultimate determinant is the lay emulator (mugallid), who will choose the marja' taglid and indicate his commitment.
Imamiyya Shia who does not recognize the right of initiative in any way in the election of the imam, but has left this right to lay emulators in the choice of the na'ib al-imam. Leaving this choice to the lay emulators led to the diversity of the marja`ism, and in the same period it brought with it the presence of more than one marja' taglid.
In addition to the above-mentioned qualifications, different elements have been influential in the rise of the mujtahids to this position. For example, the majority of those occupying this position are Iranians. The Iranians, who have a significant population among the Stills, mostly in the election of the juridical person ,prefer the mujtahids of their own origin. This is an important indication of the fact that the majority of the lay emulators of Mirza Hassan Shirazi's (d. 1895) was made up of Iranians in the early days his marja`ism. On the other hand, except for Kashif al-Ghita, Muhsin al-Hakim and Sadr families, Arab mujtahids have not shown a significant presence throughout history of marja`ism.
Assignment of predecessor is also an important element in the rise of this position. The appointment of Murtadha al-Ansari before the death of Najafi had put him in front of his opponents and the donations under Najafi's control kept him in control.
The attitudes of the governments in the countries where they live are also influential in strengthening their leadership. Marj a' taglids in Iraq have general freedom of activity in the time of the Ottoman Empire. They have gained a wide range of movement within the Ottoman nation system and they have been accepted as leaders of the society and sometimes negotiated as the sage of their own society. After the Ottomans, the administrations tried to neutralize them.
Political transformations have also brought about significant changes in the institutional structure of marja`ism. Especially after the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution, the state began to shape this institution. The concept of the marja' has also changed radically. According to the constitution of the Islamic Republic, the Supreme Leader must be not only a mujtahid but also a marja' taglids. But Sayed Ali Khamenei, before he assumed leadership, was called "Hojjat ol-Islam", a title that shows one's middle rank and lack of ijtehad. Therefore he was appointed as Supreme Leader by the Assembly of Experts.