Name: Gulam Shabbir Mahdi Khan
Education Background: B.Comm.; P.G. Diploma in Fin. Planning
Commenced Hawza studies in: 2012
Q.1. Could you please tell us something about yourself?
Bismillahi Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem. Salamun Alaikum va Rahmatullah.
I was born in Abu Dhabi and lived there for many years, shifting to Chennai (my hometown) for higher education. I belong to a religious family from Chennai, so (thanks to Allah) there was always a religious environment around me since childhood. This might have been a factor in my coming here too.
Well, my educational background is not so interesting. As you know, most youth in our country, choose a field based on monetary considerations; unfortunately it was the same with me too. After my schooling, I acquired a B.Comm. and a P.G. Diploma in Financial Planning. Then I worked for TATA Consultancy Services as a financial analyst for a year and a half, later changing jobs to work for a private firm in Cochin, Kerala for three months. Finally, after waiting for over a year, I got call from the Markaz of Masoomeen (a.s.), the land of Noor, Qom.
Q.2. How did you become a Hawza student?
Looking around I could see people’s inclination towards materialism, and their frustration at not attaining worldly desires. And how this leads to injustice, crime, war, and enmity. In short, more than 95% of the people today have no peace. This is not a joke.
On the one hand, I could hear Imam Hussain (a.s.)’s call on the day of Aashura – “Hal min Nasirin…?!”. On the other I could see that hardly anyone was stepping forward to shoulder the urgent responsibility of learning about Islam and teaching it to others. I realized that I must do something myself.
Truly speaking, there was no opposition from my family. There was appreciation instead. There is service to Islam in this. How could anyone oppose this?
Q.3. How has your experience as a Hawza student been till now?
After coming here I feel there is nothing better I could have done. For one, the Haram of Hadhrat Masooma (s.a.) is here.
Then Qom is called the Centre of Masoomeen (a.s.) in the ahadeeth (Imam as-Sadiq(s):“If you are afflicted with distress and suffering, you are to resort to Qom because it is the refuge of the Fatimites and the resort of the believers.”Biharul Anwar, vol.6 p.214).
Here we have the students of Imam Ja’fer As-Sadiq (a.a.) engaged in learning and teaching the ‘Uloom (Knowledge) of Ahl Ul Bait (a.s.). All we need to do here is, learn how to become ambassadors for Islam, study hard and with sincerity, and then spread the light of knowledge in the world with sincerity like how the prophets used to do.
Q.4. What are your plans for the future?
As of now I am focused on increasing myself in knowledge and ma’rifat. Whatever He decides for me I shall accept that (I pray for Tawfeeq from him). You just need to prove yourself, it’s up to Him to assign a task to you. If I turn out to be a successful servant of Allah (swt), I would love to return to my community and serve them by guiding them in the light of Islam.
Q.5. What advice would you offer to those who are thinking of enrolling at the Hawza?
First, you should realize that Allah (swt) has conferred a special favour upon you by choosing you for this task, as the Ulama are the inheritors of the Prophets (a.s.). Have trust in Allah (swt), seek help from Masoomeen (a.s.). You will come across challenges but remember that if you say Labbaik to Allah, Allah will say Labbiyk to you (Call upon me, I will answer you). Once you have decided to take the step, do not get distracted. Select the right role models, seek advice only from the ones who are eligible.
Lastly, please remember me that belief in Allah grows with obeying His commands.