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In the Name of God بسم الله

Imomali

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    Every Land is Karbala
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    Shia Islam
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  1. Allahumma salli ala Muhammad wa Ale Muhammad
  2. I definitely agree, knowing from friends a lot of lectures in the Hawzas in Qom can literally cause one to fall asleep. I think that's why I love eHawza so much, Sheikh Mansour always manages to keeps the lectures very lively, relatable and explains in such a way that you can understand, even if the topic is a bit 'dry'. Definitely we need to keep in mind the approach of learning for the Sake of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), even if the thing we are learning may not have 'nur' by itself. The approach and attitude makes all the difference. The initial courses definitely are a bit older but honestly it's not something that makes them bad or anything, they just happen to be mostly audio only in the beginning. The handouts and commentaries he made are very useful (his works can be found on al-islam) and help a lot. Online Hawza is what you make of it like any education. Students of the hawza usually have two different approaches to their studies: the "taqlidi" approach where you just memorize and repeat and the "ijtihadi" approach where you apply philosophy and contemplate everything. Definitely, now that I've started Hawza with eHawza the best way to maximize your learning is to have discussions, doing research and reading important books/texts, using other outside reliable lectures and resources.
  3. As I am only a student of eHawza I can only truly vouch for it so here is a collection of different information pertaining to it. I am recommending it from a completely personal side as a student and am in no capacity a official for the school. Here is some info on eHawza and Sheikh Dr. Mansour Leghaei: http://www.askthesheikh.com/about-the-sheikh/sheikh-mansour-leghaei-2/ (Sheikh Mansour is the head scholar & contributor) https://www.al-islam.org/person/shaykh-mansour-leghaei https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mansour_Leghaei https://ehawza.com/hawza/about https://ihic.org.au/e-hawza/ Other Threads on SC about eHawza:
  4. It's unfortunate that certain individuals today view the online hawza route as somehow not being the same as a hawza. The reality is the quality of a hawza, whether online or in-person, is completely dependent on the instructors. This view seems to be held by non-hawza students as well who must think of Qom or Najaf as Hogwarts and the online hawzas as some mobile Harry Potter game. The truth is it's completely dependent on the teacher and the student. You can go to Oxford in-person and truly learn nothing or you can go to a 'normal' college online and truly comprehend something.
  5. Nahjul-Balagha - Part 2 Letters and Sayings: Hadith 417 417. Someone said before Amir al-mu’minin, peace be upon him: "Astaghfiru'llah" (I ask Allah's forgiveness), then Amir al-mu’minin, peace be upon him, said: Your mother may lose you! Do you know what "istighfar" (asking Allah's forgiveness) is? "Istighfar" is meant for people of a high position. It is a word that stands on six supports. The first is to repent over the past; the second is to make a firm determination never to revert to it; the third is to discharge all the rights of people so that you may meet Allah quite clean with nothing to account for; the fourth is to fulfil every obligation which you ignored (in the past) so that you may now do justice with it; the fifth is to aim at the flesh grown as a result of unlawful earning, so that you may melt it by grief (of repentance) till the skin touches the bone and a new flesh grows between them; and the sixth is to make the body taste the pain of obedience as you (previously) made it taste the sweetness of disobedience. On such an occasion you may say "astaghfiru'llah". (https://www.al-islam.org/nahjul-balagha-part-2-letters-and-sayings/selections-sayings-and-preaching-amir-al-muminin-ali#hadith-n-417)
  6. We should give them the benefit of the doubt that in some way they do have pure intentions but a lot of people unfortunately believe the Hawza is like a nice religious vacation. It's unfortunate that people aren't able to discern that the wearing of a Turban and clerical clothes doesn't make someone a true 'Alim as well. A lot of people go to Qom for 3-4 years get their Bachelor's just to escape the reality of their lives. It is wajib to act upon and share your good knowledge but people don't seem to understand that. Also, you need to have a plan with the Hawza, even if it changes have one, are you going there for 3-4 years only? Going to get a Master's? Or do a PhD and reach the level of ijtihad? What do you want to specialize in? Fiqh, Rijal, Tafsir, Irfan? What are you going to do during and after your studies? There's so much thought that has to go in before you start the Hawza but, people think it will be like some long term ziyarat with a little education, cool clothes and an escape from life. In reality, it is the beginning of life.
  7. Assalaamu Alaykum, I very much found myself similarly being torn between leaving for the Hawza or continuing with my degree first. In the end, I had managed to find the absolute best of both worlds! I have started attending eHawza (https://ehawza.com) which offers Hawza studies online at a Diploma and Bachelor's of Arts level. eHawza was founded and is under the direction of Sheikh Dr. Mansour Leghaei (ha) (http://www.askthesheikh.com/about-the-sheikh/sheikh-mansour-leghaei-2), who has a PhD in Islamic Theological Philosophy and has studied under many Maraji. I can honestly say Sheikh Mansour is an amazing teacher and that his specialization in Islamic Theosophy and Mysticism really does set eHawza apart. Completion of the the Bachelor's (after the diploma) qualifies one to be a junior scholar and wear the turban. One of the major benefits of eHawza is that the language of instruction is always English, which means if you don't already know Farsi or Arabic you can start learning the actual Hawza courses before having to gain fluency in Farsi (language of instruction in Qom). The Creme de la Creme of eHawza is without a doubt the courses on Practical Irfan (Mysticism). In Qom, you are usually hard pressed to even be able to attend Irfan courses, let alone quality ones, whereas, in eHawza from start to finish of the Diploma and Bachelor's every semester has a beautiful and in-depth Irfan course (thanks to the specialty of Sheikh Mansour). eHawza is not the only online Hawza program which takes a student to the level of a scholar but in my understanding it is the oldest and first of its kind. As I have not attended other online Hawzas I cannot comment on the quality of their programs or their instructors. The other main online Hawza which offers a Bachelor's program is the Al-Mahdi Institute (https://www.almahdi.edu) however, many people have warned against attending it due to the very unorthodox and liberal approaches of the founder/director and school. Another alternative is to complete your secular Bachelor's and then take the Master's of Arts in Islamic Studies online through the Islamic College of London (https://www.islamic-college.ac.uk). The Master's program there is accredited by Middlesex University and described as being open to those who have either Islamic or non-Islamic Bachelor's. I've seen quite a few scholars who have either have a secular Bachelor's and then took the MA at the Islamic College or have taken an Islamic degree and then took the Master's, sometimes simultaneously as they pursued higher level degrees in an in-person Hawza. I have also seen that this last school year that a new online Hawza, Mufid Seminary (https://www.mufidseminary.org), has started. Mufid Seminary is affiliated with I.M.A.M. (https://imam-us.org) however, as they are in their first year and I haven't seen or heard much I can't really give any comments on it. It seems the Mufid Seminary program does have an in-person component for two weeks and is geared towards students in North America, as they have a once-a-year meet up in Washington DC. My online Hawza experience has been fantastic and being able to do it alongside a secular degree is amazing! We need to also have faith in Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) that He will provide for us and remember not to attach ourselves to the material 'wealth' of this Dunya. Rather, no matter how rich or poor be able to be dis-attached to the distractions and temporary 'wealth' of the Dunya and focus instead on your relationship to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) through Islam. However, you also have a family to provide for or will have one which has needs and being reduced to such poverty that you have to leave your Islamic education or work is not the best. The main advantage of having a secular degree and an Islamic degree s being able to do genuinely pursue Islamic studies and use your knowledge for the benefit of yourself and others without being reduced to begging for membership donations to feed your family. It is unfortunate that communities today think we don't have to provide for the livelyhood of those who sacrifice themselves for the community, not even just scholars but those who volunteer to always be on-call for Ghusl Mayyit and such. However, one on the path of Islam and Islamic studies needs to have pure intentions, faith in Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) that He will provide for them and not pursue Hawza for the wrong reasons. It is very noble to want to pursue it to help your community or others but that shouldn't be why you are at the Hawza. You have to be like a cancer patient seeking out the cure for cancer, you use the medicine for yourself and help yourself and come to know yourself before you give it to others. You can't be like the business person who wants the cancer drug to sell to people, even if they give it away, because they truly don't know for themselves how much it can change you and how it works and they never will unless they get cured by it themselves. So, do some thinking and look why you really want to attend the Hawza and if you are ready to begin that journey to search for that wonderful medicine. Iltimas-e Dua, Assalaamu Alaykum.
  8. اللّهُمّ صَلّ عَلَى مُحَمّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمّدٍ
  9. Assalaamu Alaykum, After extensively looking into different options for online hawza studies which allow for on-demand learning/flexibility I've come to see only 2 realistically viable options: Al-Mahdi Institute (https://www.almahdi.edu/) or eHawza (https://ehawza.com/) It is my understanding that AMI is considered a more liberal/progressive hawza, especially due to the opinion of Sh. Arif on usul ul fiqh, and that eHawza is considered a more traditional style hawza but lacks in terms of teachers, only having Sh. Leghaei. I have some previous Islamic Foundations education which had a profound effect on myself and has caused me to seek out online hawza studies; so I am able to pursue both my current undergraduate studies at university and a hawza education. Questions about AMI: Has anyone here obtained the BA from Mofid University that they offer? How intensive is the program? Does this program enable you to become a practicing 'Alim? What were the main shocks and challenges? Questions about eHawza: Has anyone here obtained the BA in Islamic Studies from eHawza? How intensive is the program? Does this program enable you to become a practicing 'Alim? What were the main shocks and challenges? Is eHawza an accredited school (I have seen claims that it both is and isn't)? Is the eHawza BA program available online? Any other related advice and information would be greatly appreciated! I've noticed AMI has caused a bit of controversy for not always aligning with the majority opinions of mainstream/orthodox ulama and experience-based feedback would be great!
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