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In the Name of God بسم الله

A Unique Opportunity To Study


Socrates

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Salaam Alaikum all! :)

OK (to all those that want to apply) I just tried again and info@zahratrust.co.uk, definitely does not work here's the message:

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

info@zahratrust.co.uk

Technical details of permanent failure:

Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 Unknown user (state 14).

I used Info@Zahratrust.com, which was provided by the website.

Insha'Allah that helps, and Insha'Allah, someone from ZT can clear up this misunderstanding.

Edited by Superman4ever
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What kind of professions, except from being a moulana who gives english lectures?

Btw, do they give public speaking lessons in hawza?

Depending on how good you are, you can work in translation and in academia as well, where you could get admission onto a PhD programme.

Unfortunately they don't give public speaking lessons in the hawza.

Realistically speaking though, unless one wants to take up the lifestyle of the "resident `alim" (if one even gets to do that), 5-10, even 20, years in howza will mean next to nothing over here in terms of a job qualification in the market. If one plans to have a career and actually support oneself and family, it's better to plan that out ahead of time, even if it means taking the time to get some type of degree, getting a trade, etc., in advance of going instead of waiting till you get back here, realizing you can't get a better job than something like working at your local Walmart, and having to go to school to get some type of degree.

Having seen both sides of the picture, I kind of sit in the middle now. I have a couple of degrees, including a masters, yet I still struggled to find a decent job in the UK. So in that sense, degrees are no longer a job qualification and most people would attest to that due to the saturation of the job market. With hawza studies, the least a person would have would be proficiency in a couple of languages, and hence work in various translation projects.

I did get a degree before I came to hawza, and anyone who can should get a degree, but I don't think makes a difference to your job prospects as such, not in the UK at least.

So at what stage of ones Hawza studies would you learn about Aqa'id?

I was under the impression that understanding of ones Aqa'id would have been fundamental before learning other sciences, no?

Usually after a couple of years.

The books on aqaid use quite detailed and specific terms, for this reason, one has to proficient in Arabic before attempting to study those books. Since the focus of the hawza is on fiqh and usool al-fiqh, most of the time is devoted to learning first the risalah al-amaliyyah, followed by the advanced books in fiqh.

Also apologies, it is zahratrust.com and not .co.uk

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Whoever gets to go to my hometown is among the luckiest. Paradise on earth; no joke.

I wish the best of luck to anyone going, and insha'Allah it's a safe trip and may Allah protect you.

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Having seen both sides of the picture, I kind of sit in the middle now. I have a couple of degrees, including a masters, yet I still struggled to find a decent job in the UK. So in that sense, degrees are no longer a job qualification and most people would attest to that due to the saturation of the job market. With hawza studies, the least a person would have would be proficiency in a couple of languages, and hence work in various translation projects.

I did get a degree before I came to hawza, and anyone who can should get a degree, but I don't think makes a difference to your job prospects as such, not in the UK at least.

Oh for sure, let me clarify. I don't mean everyone needs to get a degree from a university, nor that having one automatically translates in a job (it certainly doesn't always do so). But, I think beforehand one should have some concrete qualification in place and plans in regards to how one will support oneself when they get back that doesn't involve their howzawi studies. So if they can get some sort of marketable trade under their belt, some business experience, etc., that would be well advised. For many people this will mean getting a degree of some sort, but that isn't necessarily the case for everyone (nor is it the necessarily the best for everyone). Without having that when they get back they can face an unpleasant situation, realizing they now have to support themselves (and possibly a family) but without much experience or qualifications that they can use on their resume. So better to prepare beforehand and not depend on getting that through the studies one does in the howza.

Since the focus of the hawza is on fiqh and usool al-fiqh, most of the time is devoted to learning first the risalah al-amaliyyah, followed by the advanced books in fiqh.

I think a lot of folks don't realize how true this is. Unless you enter some path of specialization and go outside of the more standard program, very little time (comparatively that is) is given to aqaid studies in the howza. The majority of your time there is going to be first with learning Arabic grammar and secondarily stuff like mantiq, some basic fiqh, etc, for about 4-5 years, and then the rest of the time (5 more years and then a further 10 years possibly if you enter kharij) is fiqh and usool al-fiqh. The more traditional howza like Najaf is very much designed to train jurists (in the usooli mold), so if law isn't your interest, the howza isn't your place.

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Update for all applicants and potential applicants:

Please send your CV, brief biography and special circumstances to info<at>zahratrust<dot>com

We are looking into doing something for couples and even sisters if possible.

All cases will be considered inshallah.

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I think a lot of folks don't realize how true this is. Unless you enter some path of specialization and go outside of the more standard program, very little time (comparatively that is) is given to aqaid studies in the howza. The majority of your time there is going to be first with learning Arabic grammar and secondarily stuff like mantiq, some basic fiqh, etc, for about 4-5 years, and then the rest of the time (5 more years and then a further 10 years possibly if you enter kharij) is fiqh and usool al-fiqh. The more traditional howza like Najaf is very much designed to train jurists (in the usooli mold), so if law isn't your interest, the howza isn't your place.

In that case, Najaf probably isnt the best place to study if you want to be an effective Aalim in the West. You definitely need to know your fiqh, but you also need to be able to defend Islamic beliefs and practices against the charges of irrationality and irrelevance. Knowing fiqh inside out won't help you much in that respect. To be effective you need to engage with contemporary Western thinking and show why Islam rejects the parts that it does in an intellectually respectable way. The West is an increasingly hostile place for religion generally and Islam in particular, and a good Aalim needs to be able to deal with this hostility.

Personally, I would recommend for all those who wish to go down the Howza route to get a degree in something like politics, psychology, economics, philosophy, sociology first. Or, enroll initially in a howza in the West like the one in London, and then when you want to do bahth kharij you can go to Qum or Najaf.

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  • Advanced Member

I think a lot of folks don't realize how true this is. Unless you enter some path of specialization and go outside of the more standard program, very little time (comparatively that is) is given to aqaid studies in the howza. The majority of your time there is going to be first with learning Arabic grammar and secondarily stuff like mantiq, some basic fiqh, etc, for about 4-5 years, and then the rest of the time (5 more years and then a further 10 years possibly if you enter kharij) is fiqh and usool al-fiqh. The more traditional howza like Najaf is very much designed to train jurists (in the usooli mold), so if law isn't your interest, the howza isn't your place.

Seriously? I personally have no interest in becoming a formal 'alim or speaker, I mostly just wanted to go to hawza to increase my own knowledge. I really don't see the need to spend years on fiqh for myself. Is there no way I can focus my studies more on history, kalam, ahadith, language, philosophy and like ?

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Seriously? I personally have no interest in becoming a formal 'alim or speaker, I mostly just wanted to go to hawza to increase my own knowledge. I really don't see the need to spend years on fiqh for myself. Is there no way I can focus my studies more on history, kalam, ahadith, language, philosophy and like ?

What prevents you from doing that now?

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What prevents you from doing that now?

I started to do some of my own studying online but I hit a few important bumps:

1.) A lot of the material is contradictory and of questionable authenticity. I don't want to waste time on things that aren't verified.

2.) Lack of good resources in English. I've read many of the basics but there doesn't seem to be much English works that deal with intermediate or advanced level subjects.

3.) related to point 2, my Arabic isn't amazing. I can't just pick up Al-Kafi and start reading without a good dictionary (of Classical Arabic not Modern) which I can't seem to find. My main problem is with vocabulary. There's always that one important word I have to guess the meaning of to understand the hadith.

4.) Time. I'm still at school and it's wasting a large chunk of my day on unimportant things. I'm also involved in the community which takes up even more time.

5.) Local scholars. We do have many scholars here but they have to base their lectures on the knowledge level of the general public. As soon as they get into topics that are a bit more advanced, people start complaining that they don't understand anything. We were thinking about starting some hawza style lessons but, knowing this community, it's never going to happen.

Anyway, do you have any advice for me to learn on my own, taking into account the above problems?

Edited by akf
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First things first, learn (classical) Arabic. Without it one's knowledge of Islamic study is always going to be peripheral, second hand, and not very deep. Good news there is that you don't have to go anywhere to learn it. In fact, you don't even need a Shi`a scholar to teach you it. Either you could do self study through books and such (read, read, read!), or attend some classes. With language, it doesn't matter if you teacher is Jewish professor at the university, or a local Wahhabi imam (just don't him what your religion is). Get a firm grasp of tasrif, a decent overview of nahw, and practice every day, gradually building your familiarity with the words, expressions and so on. Don't worry about speaking so much, but read every. single. day. For that, I have no better source to turn to than reciting the book of Allah and in reading the ahadith of the Ma`sumeen (as).

Which then takes you to going to the authentic material. Nothing can ever take the place of the direct approach, that is by going straight to the thaqalayn. If you are worried about authenticity (if you mean the sihhat of the isnads) then I'm afraid you won't get that from howza either, unless you're prepared to go through ten years of study _before_ you take a class in diraya. And in terms of aqaid hadiths and so on then chances are you won't get that at all since they don't apply that to those, only to fiqh (and even there not including mustahabbat/makroohat). To you help navigate through it, then go to the works of the mutaqaddimeen scholars of the Ta'ifa, such as Saduq, Mufid, Tusi, and so on, and let them be your teachers.

The nice thing about what I've laid out in the above two paragraphs is that they are not mutually exclusive, that is you can start them both at the same time, reciting the Quran as daily `ibada and paying attention (including the language) to what you are saying, reading the hadiths but not skipping over the isnads (actually looking up the names you find recurring and start getting some familiarity with them and who they were, e.g. Zurara b. A'yan, Muhammad b. Muslim, Ibn Abi `Umayr, al-Fadl b. Shadhan, etc.)

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Is there any recreation or indoor gym/hall there ?

Im going to apply insh'Allah

Nope.

Good advice from brother macissac there, in fact, I'd recommend it to people who did want to come to the hawza to take up the advice too.

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First things first, learn (classical) Arabic. Without it one's knowledge of Islamic study is always going to be peripheral, second hand, and not very deep. Good news there is that you don't have to go anywhere to learn it. In fact, you don't even need a Shi`a scholar to teach you it. Either you could do self study through books and such (read, read, read!), or attend some classes. With language, it doesn't matter if you teacher is Jewish professor at the university, or a local Wahhabi imam (just don't him what your religion is). Get a firm grasp of tasrif, a decent overview of nahw, and practice every day, gradually building your familiarity with the words, expressions and so on. Don't worry about speaking so much, but read every. single. day. For that, I have no better source to turn to than reciting the book of Allah and in reading the ahadith of the Ma`sumeen (as).

Which then takes you to going to the authentic material. Nothing can ever take the place of the direct approach, that is by going straight to the thaqalayn. If you are worried about authenticity (if you mean the sihhat of the isnads) then I'm afraid you won't get that from howza either, unless you're prepared to go through ten years of study _before_ you take a class in diraya. And in terms of aqaid hadiths and so on then chances are you won't get that at all since they don't apply that to those, only to fiqh (and even there not including mustahabbat/makroohat). To you help navigate through it, then go to the works of the mutaqaddimeen scholars of the Ta'ifa, such as Saduq, Mufid, Tusi, and so on, and let them be your teachers.

The nice thing about what I've laid out in the above two paragraphs is that they are not mutually exclusive, that is you can start them both at the same time, reciting the Quran as daily `ibada and paying attention (including the language) to what you are saying, reading the hadiths but not skipping over the isnads (actually looking up the names you find recurring and start getting some familiarity with them and who they were, e.g. Zurara b. A'yan, Muhammad b. Muslim, Ibn Abi `Umayr, al-Fadl b. Shadhan, etc.)

Thanks for the advice brother, I guess it's inevitable that I have to improve my Arabic first. Do you have any specific recommendations for books other than the Quran?

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Thanks for the advice brother, I guess it's inevitable that I have to improve my Arabic first. Do you have any specific recommendations for books other than the Quran?

Whatever works for you :-)

I don't have one set book I'd say "start with this one for sure" and there are many to choose from. But what works for one person might not work for another, so you have to see what fits your own style and taste. Definitely pass over any of the colloquial dialects though (at this early stage that is, later is fine), they will be useless and can even be harmful to your learning of the proper classical Arabic. And make sure to get a solid grounding in sarf/tasrif aka morphology. It's one of the most important parts of learning the language you will get, key to understanding it (and even to using a dictionary).

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I don't have one set book I'd say "start with this one for sure" and there are many to choose from. But what works for one person might not work for another, so you have to see what fits your own style and taste. Definitely pass over any of the colloquial dialects though (at this early stage that is, later is fine), they will be useless and can even be harmful to your learning of the proper classical Arabic. And make sure to get a solid grounding in sarf/tasrif aka morphology. It's one of the most important parts of learning the language you will get, key to understanding it (and even to using a dictionary).

Maybe I didn't make it clear enough but I actually am an Arab and I can speak (colloquial) Arabic fine. Even my fusha is not so bad because I went to Arabic school until I was 14. How solid does my tasrif have to be anyway? I mean I can do "huwa akala huma akalaa hum akaloo hiya akalat..." for most common verbs easily, even without understanding all the rules behind it. I guess that I just have an intuitive understanding of Arabic since I was raised listening to it. I can tell when it "sounds wrong", if you know what I mean.

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Maybe I didn't make it clear enough but I actually am an Arab and I can speak (colloquial) Arabic fine. Even my fusha is not so bad because I went to Arabic school until I was 14. How solid does my tasrif have to be anyway? I mean I can do "huwa akala huma akalaa hum akaloo hiya akalat..." for most common verbs easily, even without understanding all the rules behind it. I guess that I just have an intuitive understanding of Arabic since I was raised listening to it. I can tell when it "sounds wrong", if you know what I mean.

Then you're two steps ahead but maybe one step behind. The ahead is that you have some background already that you can work off of. The behind is that some of that background might be a hindrance in that your knowledge of Arabic might be mixed with the spoken language(s) of today that can be quite far off from the fusha. I would say then though that you should be able to go to the more intermediate to advanced material. The tasrif is very important not just for basic conjugations like the above, but to know what the wazn a verb is on, what the unwritten weak letter in a word is to know what the root letters of it are, and other such things that can be critical to properly understanding the meaning. I consider it more important to get a solid grasp on than I would nahw which a basic overall understanding of should be ok to get you going (though you might embarrass yourself if you were reading aloud to someone who would know whether for example some word should be majroor or not).

If you want to go the older, traditional route, get yourself a copy of Jami` al-Muqaddimat and go through it (preferably with a tutor, but if not just read it for yourself). Or pick up an academic work like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Koranic-Classical-Arabic-Elementary/dp/0936347406/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300846802&sr=8-1

Don't let the "Elementary" fool you, it's pretty involved.

Apart from getting the grammar down though you just need to really practice through continuous reading, and even taking a hand at translating (even if only for yourself). And for that again I emphasize on the Quran and the ahadith.

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Then you're two steps ahead but maybe one step behind. The ahead is that you have some background already that you can work off of. The behind is that some of that background might be a hindrance in that your knowledge of Arabic might be mixed with the spoken language(s) of today that can be quite far off from the fusha. I would say then though that you should be able to go to the more intermediate to advanced material. The tasrif is very important not just for basic conjugations like the above, but to know what the wazn a verb is on, what the unwritten weak letter in a word is to know what the root letters of it are, and other such things that can be critical to properly understanding the meaning. I consider it more important to get a solid grasp on than I would nahw which a basic overall understanding of should be ok to get you going (though you might embarrass yourself if you were reading aloud to someone who would know whether for example some word should be majroor or not).

If you want to go the older, traditional route, get yourself a copy of Jami` al-Muqaddimat and go through it (preferably with a tutor, but if not just read it for yourself). Or pick up an academic work like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Koranic-Classical-Arabic-Elementary/dp/0936347406/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300846802&sr=8-1

Don't let the "Elementary" fool you, it's pretty involved.

Apart from getting the grammar down though you just need to really practice through continuous reading, and even taking a hand at translating (even if only for yourself). And for that again I emphasize on the Quran and the ahadith.

Thanks for the help brother. Is this the Jami' you mean?

Edited by akf
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