My friends and I have launched a series of classes dubbed in as "Hawzah or University" to discuss about the nature of Hawzah studies and its procedures. We request you to kindly help us get answers to the understated questions:
What is Hawzah? What is it like? Why? What are the Hawzah educational methods? What are the subjects taught in the Hawzah? What are the different scientific stages or levels in it? When is it good to become a student of the Hawzah? Is it good to start Hawzah education when we have done metric or when I have finished FSC or BA or MA? What are the manners and features characteristic of a student of religion? Why and how? What are the differences between university and Hawzah students? How does the life of a university differ from that of a student of religion? What does "unity of Hawzah and University" mean? What is the future of a religious student like? Is it good? Where does he end up? Does it have an end at all? Does the Hawzah give a religious student whatever he needs? What are the deficiencies of Hawzah curricula? Why are some of the Hawzah students who come from our area never seem to graduate? It is not known what they are doing there in Qom? What are the criteria for a good Islamic religious school (Madrasah)? How can we find a good religious school? Which religious school is good? How to become a good student? Who is a successful student?
What about non-educational studies and activities? Are there any? What is the extent to which one should engage himself in learning and doing non-educational activities? What are those activities?
To deal with all the questions in your message at length will definitely take a long time. However, a general answer to your question would be as follows: Acquiring education in all disciplines and fields is very important as it helps a person achieve perfection. If one is to gain values and perfection, he should prepare the preliminaries and be ready to take hardships. Entering the Hawzah and acquiring religious sciences are not an exception. In fact, the difficulties and hardship of acquiring religious education in the Hawzah are much more as compared to acquiring education in other fields of sciences else where because studying in the Islamic seminaries is always coupled with financial deprivations and constrains. Moreover, a student in the Islamic seminaries should always fulfill his religious obligations and he should abide by the norms characteristic of a student of religion. That is to say, not only he should fulfill the obligatory duties and stay away from prohibited things but he should in many cases be self-sacrificing and that he should overlook many lawful pleasures that are opposed to the status of clerics and religious men. Only those people can take these difficulties who truly love the knowledge of religion. The main duty of a religious student is to acquire religious sciences and engage in research in modern issues so as to respond to people's religious questions and problems except for when they feel that there is a more important and urgent duty to be tackled and fulfilled such as tabligh (preaching), judgment, management and leadership of the Islamic society. Where there is someone fulfilling these duties efficiently, it is necessary for the religious student to carry on getting Islamic education.
For further information see Miqat-e Sabz by Ayatollah Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani. Also answers are available on the website. Kindly go to the following addresses to read more and if you require further explanation, you can send us an email again:
1. Index: Method of acquiring education in the Islamic Seminaries of Iran, question 1637 (website: 1712)
3. Index: Not choosing Hawzah for acquiring education, question 2375 (website: 2868).