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the study of the Holy Qur'an must be among the curricula of the hawzah on two levels

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the study of the Holy Qur'an must be among the curricula of the hawzah on two levels:


First Level

The Holy Qur'an must be studied on the level of the primary studies of the ljawzah. The students of this level must be taught the following course:

(1)                    They must memorize and learn how to recite the Holy Qur'an according to the grammatical and morphological rules of the Arabic language and within the lawful frame.

(2)                    In order that the students of the primary stage in the klawzah will have a general idea about the meanings of the texts of the Holy Qur'an, they must study a general exegesis and explanation of the words of the Holy Qur'an even if in the form of vocabulary and explanation, as is followed in the famous book entitled Tafsir Shubbar.

(3)                    The students of this level must study the scientific fields of the holy qur'an. The best book that can be taken as curriculum of this subject is the famous book of al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur'an [1] or the introduction of the famous book of Ale al-Ratiman. [2]

(4)                    Competitions on the various fields of the knowledge of the Holy Qur'an must be held. Then, prizes and gifts must be presented to the winners.


Second Level

The Holy Qur'an must also be studied on the level of the high studies of the Hawzah. The method of this study can take the following steps:


(1)            Specialization in the Qur'anic studies must be established. The best stage of such field of knowledge is after the accomplishment of the high studies of the Hawzah (Sutuh) so that the student of the Qur'anic studies prepares a private course and presents his thesis. Before this stage, the seeker of the Qur'anic studies, after making use of certain books on this topic, must be put under a certain test in order to discover his exact qualifications in this field. When competence is proven, the scholar of the Qur'anic studies must dedicate all his efforts and time to the study of the Holy Qur'an and must be supplied with the necessary reference books so that he will be graduated as instructor, exegete or searcher in the knowledge of the Holy Qur'an.

(2)            The exegesis of the Holy Qur'an (terminologically Tafsir) must be studied elaborately and deeply either totally or partially, through selecting certain verses that serve a certain goal or discuss a certain topic. One of the famous books of Tafsir can be taken as the course for this purpose, and an instructor can explain and comment on the material of such a book to the students and can also add any useful information excerpted from other books of Tafsir as well as other reference books of the Qur'anic studies. In my conception, the best two reference books of Tafsir that can be useful for this mission is Sayyid Muhammad Husayn al-Tabatabaiy's al-Mizan fl Tafsir al-Qur'an and Sayyid Qutb's Fi Zilal al-Qur'an. The contents of these two books can act as courses for the study of the exegesis of the Holy Qur'an since each book has its own method of interpretation that is totally different from the other. This fact can be obviously noticed by anyone who reads the two books.

(3)            After studying a general interpretation of the words and expressions of the Holy Qur'an, certain curricula of studying the concepts, views, system, proposals and philosophy of the Holy Qur'an about universe and existence must be identified for the students of the Qur'anic studies. Although the familiar partial method of studying the verses of the Holy Qur'an is the original, it is recommended to study the method of the objective survey of the Holy Qur'an rather than the partial one. In my book entitled Madkhalun ila Tafsir al-Qur'an (An Introduction to the Exegesis of the Holy Qur'an)', I have made a comparison between the two methods. It is also advisable to throw thorough light on the scientific topics of the Holy Qur'an that are applicable to the reality on the levels. of beliefs, ethics and intellectuality. For instance, it is recommendable to study the topics of piety, patience, understanding, monotheism, Imamate, loyalty to the divinely commissioned leadership of the Holy Imams, Resurrection, Satanic inspirations, the Muslim community along with the constituents of its construction and the factors of its collapse, hope, admonition, learning lessons from the past experiments, Almighty Allah's deed with the past nations and societies and so on. As these topics and their likes are understood according to the notion of the Holy Qur'an, the majority of our ideas will be changed positively. Because of the accumulation of the miscellaneous interpretations and personal judgments on the texts of the Holy Qur'an that have been influenced by sectarian and extremist views in addition to the violent campaigns of the foes of Islam, the currently circulated meanings of the words and expressions of the Holy Qur'an are not exactly compatible to their true denotations, especially if we take into consideration the induction of the places of the verses in the Holy Qur'an.

As an example on the social notions of the Holy Qur'an, I have earlier presented the notion of Jahiliyyah, according to the conception of the Holy Qur'an, along with the qualities and characteristics of the ignorant society and have referred to the substitutes of Jahiliyyah as provided by the Holy Qur'an.

As another example, let us provide the Holy Qur'an's conception about Fiqh. [3] Although this word, in the conception of the Holy Qur'an, stands for the acquaintance with Almighty Allah, its common sense is the acquaintance with the religious laws. Obviously, there is no relationship between the two connotations; rather they participate in the general sense of acquaintance.

Let us ponder over the following holy verse: "Nor should the believers all go forth together. If a contingent from every expedition remained behind, they could devote themselves to studies in religion and admonish the people when they return to them that thus they may learn to guard themselves against evil. 9/122" It is generally known that to guard oneself against evil and to be pious are not originated from acquaintance with religious laws; rather guarding oneself against evil is resulted from spiritual, psychological and intellectual sources. Similarly, only after the attainment of piety and recognition of Almighty Allah can one be stimulated to learn the religious laws and to apply them to one's practices. To be sure of this fact, one can try it oneself. Even if all the books of religious laws are read, understood and mastered, they will not lead one to be cautious and pious; rather too many are those who are well-versed in the religious laws while they are using all their knowledge and capacities for collecting the materials of this transient world and thus they are far away from the course of Almighty Allah. The Holy Qur'an has cited an example on such a faqih, saying: "Relate to them the story of the man to whom We sent Our signs (knowledge) but he passed them by; so Satan followed him up and he went astray. If it had been Our will, We should have elevated him with Our signs; but he inclined to the earth and followed his own vain desires. His similitude is that of a dog; if you attack him, he lolls out his tongue, or if you leave him alone, he still lolls out his tongue. That is the similitude of those who reject Our signs; so, relate the story perchance they may reflect. 7/175-176"


According to the verses of the Holy Qur'an, the center of fiqh is the heart. This is a clear-cut proof on the fact that the word fiqh stands for the acquaintance with Almighty Allah. The center of the acquaintance with the religious laws is the intellect, while the center of the recognition of Almighty Allah is the heart. The Holy Qur'an reads, "They prefer to be with the women who remain behind at home. Their hearts are thus sealed and so they understand not (i.e. they have no fiqh). 9/87"

It also reads, "They have hearts wherewith they understand not (i.e. have no fiqh). 7/179"

Another holy verse has considered fiqh (firm acquaintance with Almighty Allah, the Origin and the Resurrection) the motivation of doubling the power of the believers tenfold. The last statement in the verse corroborates this fact: "O Prophet! Rouse the believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred. If a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the unbelievers, for these are a people without understanding. 8/65"

Confirming this concept, the Holy Prophet is reported to have said, "May I inform you about the true faqih? It is he who does not call people to despair of the mercy of Almighty Allah, who does not call them to feel secured from the punishment of Him, who does not make them lose hope in the soothing compassion of Him, who does not allow them to commit acts of disobedience to Him and who does not abandon the Qur'an and adhere to something else. Verily, knowledge without understanding is worthless; and recitation (of the Holy Qur'an) without pondering over the meaning is worthless; and act of worship without acquaintance (with Almighty Allah) is worthless. [4] On the Resurrection Day, a caller will call upon them, 'O People! Verily, this day, the nearest of you to Almighty Allah shall be the most fearful of Him; and the most favorable of you to Him shall be the doers of the best deeds; and the winners of the grandest reward of Him shall be the most desirous for gaining what He has in possession (through acting righteous deeds that He pleases).' Then, Almighty Allah shall say, 'This day shall I not inflict upon you both the disgrace of the transient world and the disgrace of the Hereafter.' He, the Exalted, shall then order to bring seats for them on which they shall sit and He shall approach them with His All-omnipotent Face with pleasure after He will have rewarded them excellently. " [5]


According to this tradition, the qualities of a faqih is any righteous deed that draws near to Almighty Allah.


In another tradition, Imam 'Ali is reported to have said, "In the messages of the faqihs and wise people, there was no more than these three maxims: (1) For him who has made the affairs of the Hereafter his main concern, Almighty Allah shall settle the concerns of his worldly life; (2) For him who improves his inner self, Almighty Allah shall improve his outer self; and (3) For him who builds good relations with Almighty Allah, He shall cause his relations with people to be positive." [6]

Imam 'Ali ibn Musa al-Rida is also reported to have said, "Forbearance and knowledge are within the signs of a fiqh. Silence is one of the doors of wisdom. It yields amicability and leads to every goodness." [7]

The Holy Prophet is reported to have said, "My ummah is righteous when two categories of people are righteous and is indecent when these two are such. These are the faqihs and the rulers." [8]

In conclusion, the faqih according to the conception of the Holy Qur'an is not necessarily faqih according to the term of the Hawzah and vice versa. Many are the pure saints whose nearness to Almighty Allah and the honors that He has conferred upon them are witnessed by everybody. Meanwhile, these saints are not full acquainted with the studies of the Hawzah. On the other hand, too many are the scholars and students of the Hawzah who are well-versed in the jurisprudential questions, theories and theses and are conversant with the reason-based and traditional fields of knowledge while their hearts are far away from Almighty Allah and they know nothing about self-discipline, self-building, ethics or pure-heartedness. Such individuals are not faqihs in the conception of the Holy Qur'an. However, the most excellent individuals are those who enjoy the qualities of the two meanings of fiqh, such as our master scholars who have mastered both the jurisprudential and the mystic fields of knowledge. About such faqihs, a hadith reads, "Faqihs are the representatives of the Messengers (of _Almighty Allah)." [9]

In the same way, we must understand the other kladiths so that the exalted meanings of the Holy Qur'an will not be wasted.

In the respect of the hawzah, it is sufficient to refer to the following hadith that manifests without a doubt the responsibility of the Hawzah for the enlightenment, guidance and reformation of the community:

It has been narrated that the Holy Prophet, once, delivered a sermon opening it with statements of praise and gratitude to Almighty Allah and statements of laudation for some groups of the Muslims. He then said, "Why is it that I see some peoples neither learning nor understanding nor comprehending from their neighbors? I swear by Him Who grasps my soul that if they keep on such I will hasten on for them punishment in this world."

The Holy Prophet then left towards his house. The companions asked each other about the reference in the Holy Prophet words, and those who had understood it answered, "As much as we know, he must have meant those scholars whose neighbors are discourteously ignorant."

Then, a group of those scholars visited the Holy Prophet and asked the reason for his having praised certain groups of the Muslims and dispraised others. Directly, he addressed to them saying, "You must educate your neighbors, enjoining them to act righteously and forbidding them from evildoing. If you do it not, I will certainly hasten on for you punishment in this world." Asking for respite, they said, "O Allah's Messenger: Give us a respite of one year because we require this period for teaching them." The Holy Prophet agreed on this and recited before them Almighty Allah's saying, "Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary, because they disobeyed and persisted in excesses. Nor did they usually forbid one another the iniquities which they committed. Evil indeed were the deeds which they did. 5/78-79" [10]

In addition to the aforementioned suggestions for the Hawzah, I remind them of the fact that the common responsibility is the perseverance on reciting and making use of the Holy Qur'an at all times. More light will be shed on this topic in the next chapter.

Although this responsibility must be burdened by all the classes of the Muslim community, the scholars and students of the Hawzah have been liable for it exclusively because they are required to persevere in the recital and comprehension of the Holy Qur'an more than anyone else is. Generally, the Muslim community is entirely required to follow these steps as much as each individual can. For instance, those who have a little acquaintance with the Holy Qur'an can begin with reading the books of simplified Tafsir, such as Tafsir Shubbar. In this regard, I advice each Muslim individual to begin his life with the Holy Qur'an through reciting it from the copies that comprises interpretations so that he/she will understand, at least, the words and expressions of the Holy Qur'an while reciting them. I myself followed this method and then harvested its remarkable fruits throughout my life. As a second step, it is advisable to recite the Holy Qur'an again but in a more advanced manner through reading higher books of Tafsir, such as Sayyid Muhammad Husayn al-Tabatabaiy's al-mizan fi Tafsir al-Qur'an and Sayyid Qutb's Fi Zilal al-Qur'an, as well as other books that deal with the concepts and topics of the Holy Qur'an. One can pick up a definite topic and then investigate all the verses that deal with it so that the Holy Qur'an's concept about that topic will be inferred since the Holy Qur'an is expected to treat all the actual problems—whether doctrinal, ethical or mental—of the society.


It will be preferred if such inference be under the supervision of a scholar from the Hawzah since such experts can provide useful directions, answer unknown questions and guide to the best way of deduction. In fact, the relationship between the Hawzah and the society must be reciprocal in the sense that each one should be the completion of the other. In plain words, the Hawzah directs the society to the right and the society must force the Hawzah to be at the level of the responsibility, as well as the needs and ambitions of the Muslim community, that is required from it. The Hawzah must also act according to the demanding challenges of the age in which the Muslim community live. Such being the case, the well-qualified students of the Hawzah will manifest themselves and the community will realize the fittest.

The Holy Qur'an cannot be comprehended adequately unless it is embraced as a message that achieves self-building and reformation of the community and unless it is raised for facing the wrong and deviation that unfortunately covers the human race. Only then will the Holy Qur'an live in the same atmospheres when it was revealed and will it reveal its secrets. It is insufficient to recite it for seeking blessings although this aim is not unacceptable.


It is also necessary for the Holy Qur'an to be studied according to the temporal revelation of its verses. Yet, such a study will definitely counter huge difficulties because of the nonexistence of decisive proofs on the temporal order of the verses. In any event, it is possible to find out a good deal of information in this respect, which will certainly present many advantages in the field of the acquaintance with the gradual steps of the Holy Qur'an on the path of social reformation since it is undeniable that the Holy Qur'an was revealed gradually according to events.


As a matter of fact, the gradual revelation of the Holy Qur'an had its direct and effective influence on the states that it treated. In this regard, Almighty Allah says, "It is a Qur'an which We have divided into parts from time to time in order that thou mightest recite it to men at intervals. We have revealed it by stages. 17/106"

Naturally, since the Holy Qur'an is mainly a book of education, guidance and revival of hearts and minds, it must have been revealed by stages so that it would prescribe the proper treatment in the proper time on proper dosages. Thus has the Holy Qur'an led the Muslim community gently to the peak of highness, perfection, sublimity, dignity and might in a period of twenty years only.


[1] Written by Ayatollah Abu'l-Qasim al-Khu'iy, this book has been translated into English under the title 'Prolegomena to the Qur'an'.

[2] This book is written by Muhammad Jawad

[3] The Arabic word fiqh has mainly two denotations. As a branch of knowledge, fiqh is the study of the religious laws (jurisprudence) and thus faqih is the well-qualified authority in the religious laws. As a mental power, fiqh stands for understanding and thus faqih is one who is well-versed in an item of knowledge.

[4] According to Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amiliy, in Wasa'il al-Shi'ah 4:829, the Hadith stops at this point. Rather, in other reference books of Hadith, it continues.

[5] Musa al-Zinjaniy: Madinat al-Balaghah 98 (as quoted from Israeli. ibn Musa ibn Ja'far: al-Ja'fariyyait).

[6] Shaykh al-Saduq: al-Khisal 129.

[7] Ibid 158.

[8] A1-hurr al-'Amiliy: wasail al-Shi'ah 4:837.

[9] Al-Mirza al-nuriy: Mustadrak al-Wasail 13:124.

[10] Sayyid Muhammad husayn al-tabatabaiy: al-mizan fi tafsir al qur'an 6:84 (as quoted from al-suyutiy: al-durr al-manthur)

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