Al-Mahdi Institute and Secretariat for the Assembly of Religious Seminaries (Hawza Ilmiyya, Qom) to Collaborate on Scholarly Research Activities

10th June 2019

Al-Mahdi Institute is pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Secretariat for the Assembly of Religious Seminaries (Hawza Ilmiyya, Qom) to work together on joint research activities pertaining to contemporary issues impacting the lives of Muslims.

AMI Director, Shaykh Arif Abdul-Hussain, and Dr. Hashim Bata had the honour of meeting Ayatollah Alireza Arafi, the Principal of the Hawza Ilmiyya, during their recent visit to Iran. As they discussed the function and objectives of religious seminaries in the 21st century, Ayatollah Arafi proposed a collaborative venture between AMI and the Hawza Ilmiyya working on issues of contemporary concern. He acknowledged and appreciated AMI’s research work and its efforts to promote critical Islamic scholarship and believed that working together would be extremely fruitful.

The following day, 10th June 2019, Hujjat al-Islam wa-l Muslimin Abdulrasul Hajari, the Secretary for the Assembly of Religious Seminaries (Hawza Ilmiyya)met with Shaykh Arif and Dr. Hashim to discuss prospective scholarly activities and multi-disciplinary research, which led to the finalising of the Memorandum of Understanding.  Shaykh Hajari explained that they have compiled an index detailing all the works on various contemporary issues produced by authors from the Hawza Ilmiyya.  Accordingly, the Hawza Ilmiyya commits to sending its finest scholars and authors to present their research in the forums provided by AMI. This includes participation in AMI’s existing initiatives that tackle pressing issues of jurisprudence, theology, and history dealt with in forums such as the Contemporary Fiqhi Issues Workshop Series, the Shia Scholars Forum, and the Centre for Intra-Muslim Studies. Scholars from the Hawza Ilmiyya will also be contributing at AMI’s upcoming research workshop on the Islamic perspectives on organ donation after death.

Both the Hawza Ilmiyya and AMI hope that embarking on this joint venture in the spirit of open scholarship will enable the production of research that can benefit the Muslim community, as well as the wider human community.

Ayatollah Alireza Arafi began his seminarian education in the 1970’s under the supervision of Ayatollah Motahhari, Ayatollah Jawad Amoli, Ayatollah Khorasani, Ayatollah Tabrizi, and Ayatollah Murtaza Haeri, who was the son of the founder of the Hawza Ilmiyya, Qom. Upon completion, he held senior position at the Imam Khomeini Institute before being appointed as the Principal of Al-Mostafa University. He is currently the Principal of the Hawza Ilmiyya, which is the central administrative body governing all of the seminaries of Iran. In addition, Ayatollah Arafi continues to teach the dars al-kharij (doctoral level) and holds the position of Imam of Jumma.  He has authored award-winning books on the topic of Islamic education from different perspectives, including education from the standpoint of the Prophet and the jurisprudence of education.