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In the Name of God بسم الله

Al-Mahdi Institute or eHawza?


Imomali

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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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Guest Fra

I am currently a student at AMI an dlove the experience there. The teachers/alims teach you not what to think but how to think. Also, they give you room to question your own beliefs and come to conclusions to them on your own accord using rationality rather than just indoctrinating you in systematic theology. In terms of intensity, yes its quite intensive and you may have to become a part time student if you cannot take the burden 

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On 12/20/2021 at 7:45 PM, Imomali said:

and that eHawza is considered a more traditional style hawza but lacks in terms of teachers, only having Sh. Leghaei

That is true, but people have praised it quite a bit too. 

You could also check out Islamic College of London. 

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On 12/20/2021 at 7:45 PM, Imomali said:

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!

Salam. Not your question but Al-Hujjah is very good and has the first lecture free so you can see if you like it. https://hujjahseminary.com/

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On 1/25/2022 at 3:32 AM, AStruggler said:

This one also seems nice (completely free, online, self-paced): https://imamsadiq.tv/en 

It's good in some ways and depends on the individual and what sort of style of learning they prefer. It does seem modern in terms of high quality recorded lessons etc. 

They also have tutoring options where you can privately get tutored by a hawza teacher. Tbh the hawza hasn't personally caught my interest. But it may work for someone else. They have a very traditional book styled approach. 

I have to admit tho ehawza is slightly old and a lot of the initial courses were recorded many years ago and are only in audio and accompanied by slides (except the later ones and the Arabic units). But I think that's not a concern for me and I've actually been drawn to it a lot. I feel the exposure to the practical side of irfan and theoretical mysticism is something that you don't find in many online hawzas. Plus Sheikh Mansour is at a level to be teaching irfan - with these units you can't just get anyone and expect him to be teaching as It depends a lot on the teachers spirituality  etc.  He is a very good scholar alhumdulillah and I've actually found these lectures extremely beneficial. The way Arabic is taught at ehawza (based on where I'm at atm) is very engaging. In some hawzas you'd literally want to sleep during an Arabic lesson. So lots of positives and grateful for this journey. 

But online hawza itself is not the solution. Learning on the side, meeting with fellow students have creating discussion circles, extensively researching on the side - all these things are essential if someone wants to be a good student.

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7 hours ago, ali_fatheroforphans said:

It's good in some ways and depends on the individual and what sort of style of learning they prefer. It does seem modern in terms of high quality recorded lessons etc. 

They also have tutoring options where you can privately get tutored by a hawza teacher. Tbh the hawza hasn't personally caught my interest. But it may work for someone else. They have a very traditional book styled approach. 

I have to admit tho ehawza is slightly old and a lot of the initial courses were recorded many years ago and are only in audio and accompanied by slides (except the later ones and the Arabic units). But I think that's not a concern for me and I've actually been drawn to it a lot. I feel the exposure to the practical side of irfan and theoretical mysticism is something that you don't find in many online hawzas. Plus Sheikh Mansour is at a level to be teaching irfan - with these units you can't just get anyone and expect him to be teaching as It depends a lot on the teachers spirituality  etc.  He is a very good scholar alhumdulillah and I've actually found these lectures extremely beneficial. The way Arabic is taught at ehawza (based on where I'm at atm) is very engaging. In some hawzas you'd literally want to sleep during an Arabic lesson. So lots of positives and grateful for this journey. 

But online hawza itself is not the solution. Learning on the side, meeting with fellow students have creating discussion circles, extensively researching on the side - all these things are essential if someone wants to be a good student.

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.

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On 1/24/2022 at 7:32 PM, AStruggler said:

I'd steer clear from AMI.

Did you check this new one out, teachers seem very qualified and credible. : https://hawzaonline.org/ 

This one also seems nice (completely free, online, self-paced): https://imamsadiq.tv/en 

Why?

 

@Imomali

AMI is great. You get a traditional Hawza education but you're encouraged to challenge and think. In addition, you're trained in modern academic methods - in year 4, you're awarded a masters from the University of Birmingham, a very reputable Russel group university. The teachers are a mixture of traditional scholars who follow mainstream Usuli ideas and those who are more 'progressive'. In addition, the quality of students is much higher than other Western Hawzat, so you will be challenged by and benefit from your classmates. On a more technical level, in terms of curriculum, if you're interested in studying philosophy and Irfan, you're far better off at AMI where you study those subjects from the first semester. 

Whilst Shaykh Arif's influence may make AMI more 'progressive' leaning, you are taught the same traditional texts you would study anywhere else by teachers who are well-versed. No one tells you what to think, you are simply exposed to the shortcomings and encouraged to challenge. You are not taught Shaykh Arif's opinions.

However, what I would say is this:

If your intention in studying at a Hawza is to become a resident Alim somewhere, or become really popular and get invited to all the biggest centres, AMI is not for you. The Hawza of UK may be a better option, but in all honesty you're better off going to Najaf or Qom. Having said that, AMI has produced traditional scholars who serve the community and academics who carry out research at the highest levels.

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