Following are excerpts from an interview with Shiite Mufti of Tyre
Sheik Ali Al-Amin, which aired on Future TV on April 26, 2007:
Sheik Ali Al-Amin: I am not against the cultural or political agenda of Hizbullah, but we do not support its military agenda. It has the right to propose its political and cultural perspectives, but it does not have the right to impose them on others.
In any event, the cultural agenda it raises – "the Rule of the Jurisprudent" – will not gain widespread popularity, because it does not have such popularity in its country of origin.
Interviewer: In Iran?
Sheik Ali Al-Amin: Even in Iran, it is not [popular].
Interviewer: That's new to me.
Sheik Ali Al-Amin: Even in Iran. I've lived in Iran. Over there, a vast majority of the religious scholars do not support "the Rule of the Jurisprudent." This is true on the popular level. I recall that in elections held in the past, when Nateq Nouri was a presidential candidate, he was the candidate supported by "the Rule of the Jurisprudent," while Khatami was the candidate who opposed "the Rule of the Jurisprudent."
Interviewer: [Khatami] defeated him.
Sheik Ali Al-Amin: Khatami won 15 million votes, while Nouri got many less. Even on the popular level, there is no support for the principle of "the Rule of the Jurisprudent." Even in its land of origin, this principle does not transcend borders. Some people claim that the "Rule of the Jurisprudent" is an authority that transcends borders, continents, and societies. It is not. Some people have turned this principle into something it is not.
It is an authority in the hands of a jurisprudent who has come to power, and this authority is subject to agreements, laws, and norms. This jurisprudent cannot ignore borders and corrupt relations between societies. It's not like that. "The Rule of the Jurisprudent" means the authority of a jurisprudent who has come to power.
The concept of "the Rule of the Jurisprudent" has been blown up out of proportion, in order to give an aura of holiness to the ruler. In other words, to give an aura of holiness to political decision-making. Ultimately, the ruler, whether jurisprudent or not, must be obeyed. The obligation to obey the ruler is the same as in all the other regimes in the world. Every citizen must obey the law. In Iran, people obey him not because he is a jurisprudent, but because he is the ruler.
Interviewer: In other words, what matters is the institutions...
Sheik Ali Al-Amin: Obeying the institutions and following the law. He does not have a divine authority or right to determine the fate of other peoples and countries.
Let's assume he says people in Lebanon should not obey the Lebanese regime. He doesn't say so, but let's assume this. This is something one cannot comply with. "The Rule of the Jurisprudent" is a religious source of authority. This is a religious guiding authority similar to that of the Vatican, for example, or that of Al-Azhar, and so on. This source of authority is not political but cultural-religious, the purpose of which is to clarify concepts and issue rulings. It is not a political authority.