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What are considered good reasons to go and study at the Hawzah?

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Guest Walker

What are considered good reasons to go and study at the Hawzah? How do I know the hawza path is for me?

I'm currently studying secular studies but I feel that I'm just not as inclined and passionate about it as compared to when I study or read about Islamic knowledge. I've always found it very pleasing and enjoyable to read about Islam and the different sciences of Islam. I have also always felt extremely inspired by the stories of the great jurists and scholars of the religion. I've always had this gread admiration, love, and sense of wilayah towards them. I'm starting to feel that I want to be like them myself now for I feel in doing so I would be able to be on a path that would allow myself personally to grow to as a human being to my max potential. 

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Salaam alaykum,

A good enough reason is that it is incumbent upon every Muslim to maximize their knowledge of the religion. 

HOWEVER, whether or not the hawza path is for you depends on a lot of other factors. Also, clarify if by scholars you mean like maraji or good speakers. Remember, to become like the scholars you admire and wish to become like, we are not talking of 5 to 10 years of hawza. I assume you are college/university schooling now, so technically, you are already "late" in the sense that the scholars you are talking about started their life in the laps of knowledge for the most part, and grew up in a circle of endless Islamic knowledge. Acknowledging this and realising it is a good step even if you decide to go to hawza, you will know that you are in for the long run, and actually have a ton of catching up to do. 

Secondly, a love and passion for studying religion can be fulfilled alongside whatever else you are doing/studying. I think Shiachat is a good place to see that there are plenty of masha'Allah well learned brothers and sisters who have never seen the inside of a hawza, and unfortunately Shiachat also has some few examples of bad eggs who went to hawza for a bunch of years, but it did not do enough/anything to nurture their taqwa or at times even their knowledge. At the same time, we are also blessed enough to have some really good examples on shiachat of ordinary people who have taken the time to go to hawza and are in there now. So it is really important that you know that going to hawza will not guarantee the end goal (which you must specify and know yourself).

Also, do you know the reality of how hawza students live? How they fund their lives? What standard of living a hawza education provides? What are you able to tolerate? Do you have additional sources of income that will supplement your income while at hawza? Do you have family? Will they be OK with the lifestyle choices you may make? If they will not be, what is your plan B?

All in all, I wish you the best. Just keep in mind, it does need you going to hawza to increase your knowledge. You can start it right where you are, then if you see that you have the dedication, time, resources to go to hawzah, bismillah.

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Guest Walker
2 hours ago, habib e najjaar said:

HOWEVER, whether or not the hawza path is for you depends on a lot of other factors. Also, clarify if by scholars you mean like maraji or good speakers. Remember, to become like the scholars you admire and wish to become like, we are not talking of 5 to 10 years of hawza. I assume you are college/university schooling now, so technically, you are already "late" in the sense that the scholars you are talking about started their life in the laps of knowledge for the most part, and grew up in a circle of endless Islamic knowledge. Acknowledging this and realising it is a good step even if you decide to go to hawza, you will know that you are in for the long run, and actually have a ton of catching up to do. 

Ws, thank you for your response. By the scholars I admire I meant like the great fuqaha/maraji/mujtahideen. If I do go to the hawzah, I wouldn't be going there with the intention that I want to be a mujtahid. However, I don't think I would I want to go there for the 5-10 year study package that many students do...I would definitely want to pursue advanced studies and go as deep into it as I can and then I'd see what happens after... In terms of specifying the goal, I'm not sure if I can, I feel the most specific I can make the goal right now is that I wish to continue to study past the 5-10 year study level. 

2 hours ago, habib e najjaar said:

Also, do you know the reality of how hawza students live? How they fund their lives? What standard of living a hawza education provides? What are you able to tolerate? Do you have additional sources of income that will supplement your income while at hawza? Do you have family? Will they be OK with the lifestyle choices you may make? If they will not be, what is your plan B?

Maybe I don't know too much about this, please elaborate...I know hawza students receive some money from the hawza itself but that I know is an extremely little amount. It's peanuts. Can hawza students teach at the hawza after they gain a certain level of expertise? So yes, please elaborate more on this aspect of the hawza, how do hawza students fund their lives? What are possible additional sources of income? What's the standard of living for like? How do they end up getting married and starting families? What lifestyle choices are you talking about? What are possible plan B s?

Edited by starlight

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8 hours ago, Guest Walker said:

 If I do go to the hawzah, I wouldn't be going there with the intention that I want to be a mujtahid.

Why not? Do you know how long it takes to become a mujtahid? Do you know what the consequences of becoming a mujtahid are (not a marja-taqlid)? I think the real question here is, why do you want to go to hawza? What do you hope to achieve, and how will you measure what you seek to achieve? For example, becoming a mujtahid means you will acquire sufficient knowledge not to need to follow a marja anymore. Is that enough for you? Or are you more interested in Islamic teachings, or perhaps Islamic finance, or history or philosophy, or irfan. If it is a particular and specific field you wish to pursue and delve into, and do not plan to spend the rest of your life doing it, then you should look for places to learn that particular field which has drawn you to consider going to hawza.

8 hours ago, Guest Walker said:

In terms of specifying the goal, I'm not sure if I can, I feel the most specific I can make the goal right now is that I wish to continue to study past the 5-10 year study level. 

You need to have a specific goal so that nothing will distract you from it. Having a defined goal will allow you to assess whether it is a worthwhile pursuit, or something that will collapse at the first challenge. You do not need to share your answers to these questions I am asking on shiachat, but you do need to think about them on your own and have answers to them. For example, you get into hawza, with a vague goal of becoming "learned and pious like the scholars I admire". It is a beautiful goal, but a vague one nonetheless. So what happens in 4-5 years when you are just done with learning the language of instruction, have not yet properly mastered Arabic, have some basic rudimentary Islamic knowledge, realise you are not yet at 1% of your goal, and feel the system is too slow for your liking, have given up an education and career you were initially pursuing, cannot get back into it as easily as you left it. Then what? Having a goal and knowing the hurdles you will potentially face along the way will allow you to make a realistic decision you can stand by, and if need be, adapt or change.

8 hours ago, Guest Walker said:

Maybe I don't know too much about this, please elaborate...I know hawza students receive some money from the hawza itself but that I know is an extremely little amount. It's peanuts. Can hawza students teach at the hawza after they gain a certain level of expertise? So yes, please elaborate more on this aspect of the hawza, how do hawza students fund their lives? What are possible additional sources of income? What's the standard of living for like? How do they end up getting married and starting families? What lifestyle choices are you talking about? What are possible plan B s?

Some of this has been answered on shiachat threads here. Hawza Life and Jobs in Iran without Farsi

From my own limited experience at the short time I spent at hawza, and being the wife of a hawza educated person, I know that the salary/maintenance amount given to hawzah students can fund a very very basic, simple life in Iran, and often, without many "basics". Hawzas do have food rations given to their students, and there are plenty of students with their turbans who go and line up for these food rations, or sometimes cloth rations. So yes, the life of a hawza student can be very tough if without a supplemented income. Iran as a country tries to provide quite a lot for its people, in terms of affordable medical care, recreational facilities, subsidized food prices etc. So it is possible to live, but it is not an easy life. Your spouse would need to be fully on board the program to be able to tolerate the life. For example, having to deliver at government hospitals, no private rooms, long qeues etc, not being able to afford to travel, own a house etc, live in the housing by hawzas for a few years provided if you get a space. Foreigners are not a priority for getting jobs, though within the hawza system if you happen to be an outstanding student and manage to reach the organizations that fund some activities, you may be able to supplement your hawza income e.g through doing translations, video subtitling etc.

Plan B I mean, for example, if your spouse does not enjoy the tough living conditions that come with being a hawza student, would you be willing to let them return to your/their country and have a long distance relationship? Would you be willing to give up your hawza dreams to go back to a normal life with them? 

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14 hours ago, Guest Walker said:

What are considered good reasons to go and study at the Hawzah? How do I know the hawza path is for me?

Please message me privately for advise, there are things any person seriously considering hawzah should know which I can't write in public. It could potentially save you a lot of regret.

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17 minutes ago, Ibn al-Hussain said:

Please message me privately for advise, there are things any person seriously considering hawzah should know which I can't write in public. It could potentially save you a lot of regret.

I don't think a guest can PM you unless its an oldie member posting anonymously.

The rest of us would love to hear that advise too:titanic:

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6 hours ago, habib e najjaar said:

Why not? Do you know how long it takes to become a mujtahid? Do you know what the consequences of becoming a mujtahid are (not a marja-taqlid)? I think the real question here is, why do you want to go to hawza? What do you hope to achieve, and how will you measure what you seek to achieve? For example, becoming a mujtahid means you will acquire sufficient knowledge not to need to follow a marja anymore. Is that enough for you? Or are you more interested in Islamic teachings, or perhaps Islamic finance, or history or philosophy, or irfan. If it is a particular and specific field you wish to pursue and delve into, and do not plan to spend the rest of your life doing it, then you should look for places to learn that particular field which has drawn you to consider going to hawza.

You need to have a specific goal so that nothing will distract you from it. Having a defined goal will allow you to assess whether it is a worthwhile pursuit, or something that will collapse at the first challenge. You do not need to share your answers to these questions I am asking on shiachat, but you do need to think about them on your own and have answers to them. For example, you get into hawza, with a vague goal of becoming "learned and pious like the scholars I admire". It is a beautiful goal, but a vague one nonetheless. So what happens in 4-5 years when you are just done with learning the language of instruction, have not yet properly mastered Arabic, have some basic rudimentary Islamic knowledge, realise you are not yet at 1% of your goal, and feel the system is too slow for your liking, have given up an education and career you were initially pursuing, cannot get back into it as easily as you left it. Then what? Having a goal and knowing the hurdles you will potentially face along the way will allow you to make a realistic decision you can stand by, and if need be, adapt or change.

Some of this has been answered on shiachat threads here. Hawza Life and Jobs in Iran without Farsi

From my own limited experience at the short time I spent at hawza, and being the wife of a hawza educated person, I know that the salary/maintenance amount given to hawzah students can fund a very very basic, simple life in Iran, and often, without many "basics". Hawzas do have food rations given to their students, and there are plenty of students with their turbans who go and line up for these food rations, or sometimes cloth rations. So yes, the life of a hawza student can be very tough if without a supplemented income. Iran as a country tries to provide quite a lot for its people, in terms of affordable medical care, recreational facilities, subsidized food prices etc. So it is possible to live, but it is not an easy life. Your spouse would need to be fully on board the program to be able to tolerate the life. For example, having to deliver at government hospitals, no private rooms, long qeues etc, not being able to afford to travel, own a house etc, live in the housing by hawzas for a few years provided if you get a space. Foreigners are not a priority for getting jobs, though within the hawza system if you happen to be an outstanding student and manage to reach the organizations that fund some activities, you may be able to supplement your hawza income e.g through doing translations, video subtitling etc.

Plan B I mean, for example, if your spouse does not enjoy the tough living conditions that come with being a hawza student, would you be willing to let them return to your/their country and have a long distance relationship? Would you be willing to give up your hawza dreams to go back to a normal life with them? 

I see, thank you for the detailed and very helpful message. Will definitely be thinking about the points you've brought up.

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1 hour ago, Ibn al-Hussain said:

Please message me privately for advise, there are things any person seriously considering hawzah should know which I can't write in public. It could potentially save you a lot of regret.

Thank you, will find a way and message you soon iA. 

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