Intellectual proficiency and etiquette

He opined that for emulation, the Shiite religious authority ought to be a ‘living’ person.

Prominent Islamic theologians have narrated to me that the late Ayatollah Boroujerdi did not consider it permissible to emulate (‘Taqleed’) the treatise (Risalah) of a deceased ‘Marja’ or Shiite religious authority. He opined that for emulation, the Shiite religious authority or ‘Mujtahid’ ought to be a ‘living’ person. Two well-known religious authorities including Ayatollah Yathrebi who was a top religious authority from the town of Kashan and a protégé of the renowned Shiite theologian the late Ayatollah Aqa Zia Araqi of the city of Najaf and Imam Khomeini tried hard to convince him to retract his statement and consider it permissible to emulate a deceased religious authority as well. First the late Ayatollah Yathrebi began the conversation and presented his case but Mr. Boroujerdi wasn’t convinced while Imam Khomeini sat silently and with extreme etiquette in the meeting. It was the Imam’s style that he would not utter a word until he was asked to. Seeing that the Imam was silent, the late Ayatollah Boroujerdi turned to him and asked him why he was keeping quite. To which the Imam responded: “You did not bid me.” The Imam’s personality and etiquette becomes evident from these words that first, he did not start the conversation (before his seniors) and second, that he says in all humility that he was not asked to. Mr. Boroujerdi then requests him to: “Please make your statement.” The Imam joins the discussion and it was after presenting his side of the argument that Ayatollah Boroujerdi changes his mind and legitimizes emulation of a deceased Shiite religious authority’s treatise as well

Narrated by: Hujjat al-Islam wal Muslimeen Kamal Faqih Imani

Taken from: Impressions from Imam Khomeini’s Memoirs, vol. 5, chap. 7, p. 66

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