Am I a good fit for the Hawza?
Choosing to enroll at the Hawza is not a choice that many people make. As such, you are justified in being worried or concerned about whether or not it’s right for you.
Here are a few points to help you make up your mind:-
1) People at the Hawzas in Iran are drawn from diverse backgrounds. You can read these interviews to get some idea about this.
2) Successful Hawza students usually display a few characteristics (at the time of entry):
- They have a strong desire to acquire a deep understanding about Islam.
- They want to commit their lives to serving Allah (awj) and Imame Zamana (atfs), and are ready to make sacrifices in this path.
- They are concerned about the well-being of humanity in general, and of shias and Muslims in particular.
- They believe that rizq is in the hands of Allah (awj) alone, and that if they try to understand his religion and be of service to it, he will take care of their needs.
- They are trying to develop Taqwa, self-control and discipline.
3) High academic ability and aptitude is certainly an advantage for a Hawza student; after all, the main things he is supposed to do here is study, research and write. However, more important than academic aptitude is determination and perseverance. Therefore those with average academic abilities, but with a high degree of motivation and discipline, can be very successful as Hawza students.
4) Spiritual and Akhlaqi purity and progress are important factors in success as a Hawza student. This does not mean that you must be sin-less before you come to the Hawza (hardly anyone is!), but a successful Hawza student has usually made at least a start in avoiding sins and in increasing his Taqwa, before arriving at the Hawza; his spiritual journey then continues at the Hawza.
5) The following are some of the common barriers to success sat the Hawza:
- Being forced into joining the Hawza by others (e.g. by parents).
- Joining the Hawza to hide from the pressures of the world. The Hawza is not a place for those seeking to escape from the world; rather it is for those who wish to change it!
- Joining the Hawza just to get a degree or a “stamp”.
- Not being able to alter one’s lifestyle to suit the requirements of life as a Hawza student.
- Having an unsupportive family, especially a spouse who is unhappy about being married to a Hawza student.