Marja (Arabic/Persian: مرجع), also appearing as Marja Taqlid or Marja Dini (Arabic/Persian: مرجع تقليد / مرجع ديني), literally means "Source to Imitate/Follow" or "Religious Reference". See also Shi'a Islam Twelver Shi'ism ( ar اثنا عشرية Ithnāˤashariyyah) is the largest branch of Shi'a branch of Islam Arabic (ar الْعَرَبيّة (informally ar عَرَبيْ) in terms of the number of speakers is the largest living member of the Semitic language Arabic (ar الْعَرَبيّة (informally ar عَرَبيْ) in terms of the number of speakers is the largest living member of the Semitic language It is the label provided to Shia authority, a Grand Ayatollah with the authority to make legal decisions within the confines of Islamic law for followers and less-credentialed clerics. Sharia ( Arabic: ar شريعة) is the body of Islamic Religious law. After the Qur'an and the Prophets and Imams, marjas are the highest authority on religious laws in Usuli Twelver Shia Islam. The Qur’an ( القرآن, literally "the recitation" also sometimes transliterated as Qur’ān, Koran, Alcoran Muslims regard as Prophets of Islam ( Arabic: نبي) those non-divine humans chosen by Allah as Prophets Imāmah (إمامة is the Shī‘ah doctrine of religious spiritual and political leadership of the Ummah. Usulis ( are the majority Twelver Shi'a Muslim group They differ from their now much smaller rival Akhbari group in favoring the use of See also Shi'a Islam Twelver Shi'ism ( ar اثنا عشرية Ithnāˤashariyyah) is the largest branch of Shi'a branch of Islam
Currently, marjas are accorded the title Grand Ayatollah (Arabic/Persian: آية الله العظمی Ayatollah al-Uzma), however when referring to one, the use of Ayatollah is acceptable. Arabic (ar الْعَرَبيّة (informally ar عَرَبيْ) in terms of the number of speakers is the largest living member of the Semitic language Previously, the titles of Allamah and Imam have also been used. An Allamah ( Arabic and Persian: علامه) also spelled Allameh and Allama, is an honorary title carried by only the very highest An imam (إمام plural ائمة A'immah, امام is an Islamic leader often the leader of a Mosque and/or community
This marja'yiat of an Ayatollah transpires when he becomes a celebrated figure in the hawzas and his students and followers trust him in answering their questions, and ask him to publish his juristic book - in which he answers the vast majority of daily Muslim affairs. Ayatollah ( Persian: آيتالله, âyato-llâh, from Arabic: آية الله, āyatu 'llāh, meaning 'the sign of Hawza ( Arabic / Persian: حوزة or ḥawza ˤilmiyya ( Arabic / Persian: حوزة علمیة is a Seminary of traditional This book is called Resalah and contains his fatwas on different topics, according to his knowledge of the most authentic Islamic sources and their application to current life. A Resalah (Arabic for "journal" "pamphlet" or "book" (رسالة توضيح المسائل is a book written by a Shi'a A fatwā (فتوى plural fatāwā فتاوى in the Islamic faith is a religious opinion on Islamic law issued by an Traditionally only the most renowned Ayatollahs of the given time published Resalah, while today many Ayatollahs of various illustriousness have published this book, but some of the renowned ones have refused to do so.
Where a difference in opinion exists between the marjas, each of them provide their own opinion and the Muqallid will follow his/her own marja's opinion on that subject. Taqlid or taqleed ( Arabic تَقْليد taqlīd) is an Arabic term meaning "to follow (someone" or "to imitate" 
Several senior Grand Ayatollahs constitute the hawza, a religious institution. Hawza ( Arabic / Persian: حوزة or ḥawza ˤilmiyya ( Arabic / Persian: حوزة علمیة is a Seminary of traditional The hawzas of Qom and Najaf are preeminent seminary centers for the training of Shia clergymen. Najaf ( BGN: An Najaf) is a city in Iraq about 160 km south of Baghdad. Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given Religion. However, there are other smaller hawzas in other cities around the world, such as Karbala in Iraq and Mashhad, and Isfahan in Iran. Karbala ( BGN: Al-Karbalā’; also spelled Karbala al-Muqaddasah) is a city in Iraq, located about southwest of Baghdad at For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Iraq topics. Mashhad ( literally the place of martyrdom) is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Esfahān or Isfahan (historically also rendered as Ispahan or Hispahan, Old Persian: Aspadana, Middle Persian: Spahān For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Iran topics.
Some say that having different marjas may cause certain problems in Shia Islam. TemplateInfobox Muslim scholars --> Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi is one of the most influential Ayatollahs Grand Ayatollah Hossein Noori Hamedani (born in 1926 is an Iranian Twelver Shi'a Marja. They argue some marjas might have a liberal view on a subject such as music, while others may be restrictive and have conservative fatwas on music. Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Ebrahim Jannaati ( born 1933 in Shahrood, Iran) is an Iranian Twelver Shia Marja. Clerical activities Grand Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani was declared as the most knowledgeable specialist in the field of the Islamic law ( Marja al-taqlid) by the central This situation has raised certain difficulties in running a velayat-faqih system in Iran, where the fatwas of the Supreme Leader is usually given precedence to others. Islamic leadership|Ja'fari jurisprudence Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists ( Arabic: ولاية الفقيه, Persian: ولایت فقیه For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Iran topics. The post of Supreme Leader ( Persian: رهبر انقلاب Rahbare Enqelab, lit (See: The situation in Iran)
However others argue that although it might seem that difference of opinion among marjas would be a source of contention, almost all marjas agree on vast majority of the rulings. Islamic leadership|Ja'fari jurisprudence Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists ( Arabic: ولاية الفقيه, Persian: ولایت فقیه There are very few rulings on which marjas differ, and even then they are quite similar to each other. For example, one marja might declare something to be wajib (obligatory), whereas another might consider it mustahab (recommended). Fard (الفرض also farida (الفريضة is an Islamic term which denotes a religious duty Mustahabb (Arabic مستحبّ literally "recommended" is an Islamic term referring to recommended favored or virtuous actions However, it is never the case when one marja considers something wajib, whereas another considers it haram. Haraam (حرام is an Arabic term meaning "forbidden"
Most critics agree that a marja is essential in preventing sectarianism and other differences in belief from creating conflict. Whereas differences in the beliefs of various mollanahs have historically created conflict; the marja system aids in maintaining unity in a land and preventing individuals from dividing the ummah. Ummah (أمة is an Arabic word meaning Community or Nation. It is commonly used to mean either the collective nation of states, or (in the