In the previous post where I discussed finishing tamhidiyah, I listed out the courses that one studies during the roughly 6 month period. A lot of individuals who are interested in coming to the Hawzah would like to know what exactly those subjects cover and to what extent. I am going to break down the details of the courses in this post for those who are interested.
The aqaed book that is covered is written by 2 teachers of the school who are also senior scholars. The book is loosely based on Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi’s Theological Instructions. It covers Tawheed, Adalah, Nabuwah, Imamah and Ma’ad (Qiyamah) in decent detail. In the introduction of the book, there is some discussion on religion and methods of acquiring knowledge. Each chapter by itself covers different sub-topics , discussing them both from an intellectual perspective and from the perspective of the Qur’an and Hadith. There are 5 tests for this course, one per each section.
This is a small oral test which the students give after finishing their Aqaed course. In this test, there are a few students who question each other on topics related to creed and the teacher marks the ability of a student to be able to answer correctly and confidently.
In Ahkam we are basically reading through a Tawdhee ul-Masael book (they cover the rulings of Ayatullah Khomeini) and it is not really meant for a person to refer to for their own day to day questions. Rather it is just meant for an overview of the different subjects and also the rulings that are generally given for those subjects. We essentially cover all material that one would be able to find in the Tawdhee of any Mujtahid, such as Taharat, Najasat, Prayers, Fasting, Buying & Selling, Marriage, Zakat, Hajj, Slaughtering Animals, Vows and Covenants etc. Previously the book we study from was 3 short parts, but now they have combined it into 2 parts. Each book has a final test at the end, and after the second book you have an oral exam from the whole book. You can get asked simple questions such as what is Hunoot, or complicated ones like what is the ruling for a person who breaks their Qadha fast that they were keeping for the month of Ramadhan after Dhuhr.
Sarf – Arabic Morphology
This is an introduction to Arabic morphology course and the book has 30 chapters in total. The book is separated into two main categories; namely verbs and nouns. This is a course that you will go in a lot more detail during your first year of Hawzah, but nevertheless if you do this you will have a decent understanding of the subject matter. You will be learning the patterns on which Arabic verbs and nouns are formed and what meaning do those patterns give to a word. For example, there is a noun that is called a Locative Noun (اسم الظرف) which can be on the pattern of مفعَل or مفعِل (maf’al or maf’il). Now when one comes across a word such as “masjid”, “maqtal”, “mal’ab”, when we look at the Arabic we can figure out that these are based on the patterns of the locative noun and thus determine that these words are referring to a location (respectively: place of sajda, place of qatl, playground). Likewise, there are tons of patterns that are present in the language and also rules regarding how they change and the effect they have on the meaning of the words. This course has 3 written tests and one final oral test that covers the whole book.
Nahw – Arabic Syntax
If one does not have an Arabic background, this is probably the most challenging course one will have to take during the course of Tamhidiyah, but nevertheless it is extremely crucial. One will be studying Nahw for at least the next 2-3 years in the Hawzah and so one can imagine the depth that is in it. There are 24 chapters in the book. Nahw will eventually help a person understand many Arabic words, implications they have and the reason for why they get a certain diacritical marks. So for example, when we read in the Qur’an in Surah al-Fil, verse 1, the words بِأَصْحَابِ الْفِيلِ (bi-ashabi al-fil – with the Companions of the Elephant), with knowledge of Nahw we can determine why is it that the letter “ba” in Ashaab is getting a “kasra” (i.e why is it Ashabi, and not Ashaba or Ashabu) and why is the letter “laam” in the word Fil also getting a “kasra” (i.e why is it not Fila, or Filu). This course also has 3 written tests, and one final oral test for the whole book.
Rawaan Khawaani, Tajweed & Hifz Qur’an
Rawaan Khawaani in Farsi basically means fluent reading and this book plus the Tajweed book are studied back to back. Most people who are fluent in reading the Qur’an will find this very easy, but it is the rules and terminologies that made it a very interesting course. You cover the rules of idghaam, iqlaab, madd, ghunna, waqf etc. Once you are about to finish off the Tajweed book, you are assigned the Hifz Qur’an paper. One is required to memorize the following surahs: Ikhlaas, Kafiroon, Falaq, Naas, Kawther, Dhuha, Inshirah, Qariah, Zilzilah, Ma’oon, Takathur, Fil, Quraysh, Teen, Masad, Humazah, Nasr, Asr, Adiyaat, Shams, A’laa, Qadr, Jummah, Munafiqoon, Ayah 285 & 286 of Surah Baqarah, Ayat ul-Kursi (and 2 verses following it), Ayah 55 & 67 of Ma’idah, Ayah 59 of Nisa, 61 of Aal Imran and Ayah 207 of Surah Baqarah.
Mafaheem e Qur’an
This is also a great course. It is 3 books where in each book you are essentially learning hundreds of words and their translations in Farsi. The intended purpose of the book is to get you to be able to understand or roughly translate up to 80% of the Qur’an if one studies the book well. All 3 books combined, one will be expected to learn approximately 2500 words (and their translation in Farsi). The book also covers or goes over a bit of Arabic morphology again. At the end of each book there is a final test, where the main question asks you to translate verses from the Qur’an.
This is a history course from just before the birth of the Prophet (pbuh) till the life of the 11th Imam (as). It is separated into two books, each book having a final exam at the end of it. For those interested in critical analysis of history, this isn’t the course for it. It is merely a narrative of how things most probably happened, referencing both Shi’a and Sunni sources where required. It is pretty long and detailed nevertheless, and one needs to cover a lot of material for the test. The first book is just the life of the Prophet & Imam Ali whereas the 2nd book is the life of 10 Imams.
Darsnameh Ma’rifat & Ayeen Nigarish
This is essentially considered Farsi Book #8 (after the 6-7 books that are covered during the 6 months of the Farsi program). It is a bit tough, as the level of Farsi in it is advance. They cover different subjects in it such as summaries of Rustam and Sohrab by Ferdosi, some poetry and other material pertaining to Farsi literature. It has 20 chapters and just one final test at the end which may be a bit challenging if one is not familiar with the vocabulary.
Ayeen Nigarish is another book which is relatively easy and goes over skills for writing summaries, diaries, letters etc. It has one test at the end.
The Akhlaq book covers various vices and brings Qur’anic verses and Hadith discussing them, their effects, reasons why one may be afflicted with them and how to deal with them. It is a lengthy book, and covers subjects such as showing off, pride, conceitedness, shahwah etc. The book only has one final test.
Qisayhaye Qur’an and Ashnayee ba Qur’an
Qisayha is plural for stories in Farsi and this book has Qur’anic stories, though it mostly concentrated on the story of Prophet Ayub (as) and the different lessons one can take from it. It was a good read and it only has one test at the end of it.
Ashnayee ba Qur’an is one final Qur’an recitation test that they do when you are done everything and are about to leave the school.
Computers and Tarbiyate Badani
There is meant to be a computers class, but it seems like most students just prefer to prepare for the test directly and one can easily get permission to do so for this class. For anyone who is a bit tech-savvy, the questions are really easy such as what is RAM, ROM, Hardware, Software, Input & Output devices and there are a few questions where the teacher asks you to do certain actions on the computer itself. Overall, it isn’t something that a student should be worried about.
Tarbiyate Badani is also another test that is not something very serious. It is a test where you are asked to do a few physical exercises such as push-ups etc. in the school’s gym.