FAQs – Before Deciding to Apply
1) I feel like applying but I am unsure whether enrolling at the Hawza is a good idea for me. What should I do?
Please take your time to think over the matter and then take a decision. For some tips and guidance to help you decide, please refer to the ‘Should I Apply?’ section of this blog. It would also be a good idea for you to read through the other contents on this blog, esp. all the FAQs.
2) Is it really possible for someone like me to become a Hawza student?! I thought that only those who study in a madrasa right from their childhood go on to study in Iran and become a “Maulana”…
Of course it is possible! For Indian applicants, MIU even has a specific quota for students with a college or university education. Besides, there is already a growing number of such students studying at MIU’s institutions in Iran.
3) I don’t know Urdu, Farsi or Arabic. Can I still become a Hawza student?
Of course! The medium of instruction at most MIU institutions is Farsi and much importance is given to Arabic. The Uni teaches these languages to its students after admission. There is no need to learn these languages in advance.
4) Do I need my parents’ permission to become a student there? How can I convince them?
This is an important question. Parents’ permission is important; keeping them happy will play an important role in your success as a taalibe ‘ilm. You may try and convince them in the following ways:
- Politely remind them of how much our Ma’sumeen (a.s.) have placed emphasis on their followers acquiring religious knowledge.
- Politely remind them of the spiritual rewards that would reach them in this world and in the next if they were to support your efforts to acquire religious knowledge.
- Politely remind them of the weak position that our community is in today, and how we need good scholars and reformers to help this community progress.
- Perhaps they have a particular image in their mind of what an Islamic scholar is (local Mulla/Maulvi), and do not want to see their talented child become like that. Help them realize that it’s not necessary that you will end up in the same way. Show them examples of great shia ulama and reformers and explain to them you wish to become like them. Show them documentaries (available online) about these great figures.
- Politely explain to them that your decision to study at the Hawza is not an impulsive, on-the-spot decision, or that you have been brainwashed by someone. Help them realize that you have taken this decision after carefully thinking over it.
- Seek the help of an aalime deen to convince them; however, please first check that the aalime deen you approach agrees with you on this topic!
- Show them examples of well-qualified and worldly successful Indians who have enrolled at the Hawza before you. Interviews with some of these are available on another section of this blog.
If they still do not agree, please delay your application or departure for the Hawza for a couple of years till they are convinced.
At every step, please remember to seek special help from Allah (awj) and the ma’sumeen (a.s.) in this important and delicate topic.
Please keep in mind that if joining the Hawza leads to a situation whereby your parents are forced into significant hardship (such as poverty), it is probably not jaaiz (permissible) for you to enrol at the Hawza. You may contact your Marja for more guidance on this matter.
5) I want to enroll at the Hawza but my husband/wife is against the idea. What should I do?
Please refer to the answer above. You will, inshaAllah, find many things useful in it.
Please act patiently. It may take time, but if you treat your spouse with a lot of love, concern and respect, you will inshaAllah manage to make him/her change her views over time. Try and understand what exactly the barrier is that is preventing your spouse from being supportive of this idea, and then develop a strategy to help him/her overcome it. At every step, please remember to seek special help from Allah (awj) and the ma’sumeen (a.s.) in this important and delicate topic.
6) I will be married in the next 1-2 years. Should I come there after marriage or before marriage?
It’s usually better to start your Hawza studies at the time you feel most motivated about it; so if you feel ready for it now, it would be better to enroll at the earliest. You can always take a short break and return for marriage. Also, starting before marriage has the advantage of at least one member of the family being familiar with Farsi and Iranian culture before having to deal with the challenges of house-hunting, buying household goods etc.
There are advantages in coming here after marriage too, esp. that of companionship when dealing with a new environment.
7) My unmarried daughter wants to study at the Hawza in Iran? Is this practical?
There are many unmarried female students enrolled at the Hawza. Educational and residential facilities for male and female students at the Hawza are completely separate from each other. This ensures their safety and dignity at all times.
8) I want to serve Islam and Imame Zamana (atfs). Do I have to become a Hawza student to do this? Can’t I serve Islam by earning and spending money instead?
Yes, Islam and our Imam (atfs) can be served in many different ways, but not all ways are equally beneficial. Depending on the needs of a society and a person’s abilities, some ways are superior to others. Generally speaking, a society’s need for knowledge, role models and leadership is usually far greater than its need for money. Please read http://studyinhawza.in/should-i-apply-2/serving-islam/ to understand this better.
9) I want to learn about Islam, but why should I enroll at the Hawza? Why can’t I just read books on my own?
If self-study were as good as on-campus study, why would so many compete for admission into the IITs and IIMs? Why don’t they just buy the textbooks used at these institutions, and become leading Engineers and Managers by simply reading them?
Clearly, attending classes, living on campus etc. are vastly superior to self-study. Self-study has its benefits, but also carries significant limitations and risks. This is especially true when the field of study is as vast and challenging as Islam.
10) Instead of relocating to Iran to study at the Hawza, is there a correspondence course I can do instead?
No correspondence course can substitute for a complete Hawza experience. The best way to learn about Islam is to do so while living in the Hawza as a full-time student. That’s where the best teachers, environment and resources are available. In it a student is able to make the ideal use of all his time and resources, is properly guided by teachers, and is also able to imbibe the right akhlaq and values from them. In fact some Islamic teachings even suggest that certain levels of knowledge cannot be acquired except through serving one’s Ustad and demonstrating humility before him.
However for those who are unable to relocate to the Hawza, correspondence courses can be beneficial to some degree. After all, something is better than nothing.
While we are not able to recommend specific correspondence courses, you may want to visit http://www.i-aou.com/html/index-en.html and http://www.openstudy.org/ and see if they offer something suitable for you.