A seminar was held on Saturday 23rd March 2013 in London highlighting some of the guidelines and expectations of studying in the Islamic seminaries (Hawza). It aimed to shed light on a topic that has drawn increasing interest for Shia Muslims residing in the West, particularly from the younger generation.
Organised by AIM, the event titled ‘Reflections on Studying in the Hawza’ had the presence of Shaykh Usama Abdulghani, who has himself studied at the Hawza Ilmiya in Qum for more than 18 years now. He shared some personal experiences and familiarised the audience with some aspects about life in the Hawza. The Shaykh underlined the importance of the quest for knowledge and the need to seek this from rightful sources, emphasizing that this is an Islamic duty. He further noted that followers of the AhlulBayt (as) must earnestly strive to emulate their role models by improving their understanding of the teachings and characters of the Holy Prophet (saw) and the AhlulBayt (as).
Before concluding his speech, Shaykh Usama Abdulghani strongly encouraged those eager to prepare themselves spiritually before pursuing studies in the Hawza. He also recommended parents and the community to play a more pro-active role in eliminating social and cultural obstacles that prevent youths from embarking on this path. To the wider community, he urged the need to strengthen bonds with the Hawza and the learnt scholars therein, and not to be fooled by those claiming Islamic knowledge without studying correctly. He further emphasised that there is a need for fully trained scholars who have studied thoroughly because through them is the surest path to ensure leadership, unity, a correct understanding and a better future.
The program ended with an interactive Question & Answer session during which the audience had an opportunity to put forward their questions on the topic.