To Islam teaching and learning is of great importance . In fact, God’s revelation to the Prophet started with the word “read” which signifies the weight it has. A thousand year-old Shia Islamic theological colleges have expanded Islamic teachings, based on the Prophet’s and Imam’s school of thought, and has always been the center of academic excellence throughout history.
By the establishment of Qom’s Hawzeh most of theologians came to Qom and made it the center for Islamic studies. However, after the victory of Iran’s revolution, Qom’s Hawzeh made a fresh start to attract thousands of enthusiastic students from all around the world. To meet the needs of students and to achieve Imam Khomeini’s aspiration the International Organization for Islamic Studies was established. As many as twenty thousand individuals from one hundred and three countries have benefited from Howzeh teachings, developed by the International Center of Islamic Studies. The center has also contributed to the education of more than ten thousand students who are now in their native countries doing teaching, researching or preaching virtues.
Being a combination of Hawzeh and university, the International Center of Islamic Studies is an educational-research organization. In other words, the center is a university which is founded on the experiences of the thousand-year-old Hawzeh having an Islamic approach and work on subjects related to the humanities.
The center is a nongovernmental university aimed at schooling non-Iranian students. The curriculum and degrees are verified by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology. The Center is based in Qom and has its branches in other cities, namely Mashhad, Isfahan, and the other provinces.
During Pre-revolution age only a few number of students, because of numerous problems, could participate in the Hawzeh. Even if they could come, they had to be on their own with no curriculum or organization to rely on. However, soon after the Islamic revolution of Iran, growing number of enthusiastic students entered to Iran to benefit from Hawzeh. To meet the demands of non-Iranian students in terms of education and livelihood the leaders of Hawzeh decided to found ‘the Non-Iranian Students Supervision Board’. The board was operational by August 1979 and continued its work for seven years. In 1986, with the approval of Imam Khomeini, the board was changed fundamentally and its name transformed to the “International Center of Islamic Studies.”
The center’s management system was a traditional one until 1993, during which Ayatollah Khamenei designated the center’s president, with whom the management system was organized and the center form then on, is supervised by the office of the Supreme Leader himself.
The International Center of Islamic Studies follows the following objectives:
1. Islam and the Quran
2. Ahl- albeit’s school
3. Conciliation of Islamic religions
4. Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Khomeini's and Ayatollah Khamenei’s viewpoints
5. Uniting the Islamic Ummah
6. Custom and tradition of Hawzeh
7. Qoranic and Arabic language and literature
8. Persian language and literature
9. Scientific innovation
10. Islamic moral and ethics
11. Human Dignity
12. Scientific Development
The International Center of Islamic Studies, an outstanding scientific-educational organization, is aimed at:
Representing the real Islam and Ahl al-bait’s school of thought;
Providing man with spiritual and material prosperity;
Helping create a just world.
The Hawzeh-based Center representing the real Islam to the world is engaged with the following activities:
1. Training non-Iranian students to become preachers, teachers, researchers, translators, Mojtahids, and managers who are pious, aware of situation, with the ability to mange academic or cultural centers and have thorough knowledge of Islamic sciences and Ahl al-beit’s traditions.
2. Spreading Ahl al-beit traditions internationally.
The primary objective of the center is to introduce and spread Islam throughout the world. To achieve this goal the following activities are done:
1. Schooling Iranian and non-Iranian students, Islamic scholars to be teachers, preachers, researchers, and school principals in proportion to the Muslim world requirements.
2. Organizing long-term and short-term courses with variety of subjects.
3. Establishing colleges, scientific and research centers.
4. Conducting research in line with the center’s objectives.
5. Publication of books, magazines and articles in different languages
6. Supervising inbound and outbound educational centers
7. Establishing scientific relationship with inbound and outbound scientific centers.
8. Offering scholarship
9. Organizing related conferences and meetings.
The management board of the center includes:
1. Supreme chairman: the leader of Islamic revolution of Iran
2. Trusteeship Council: shall be selected by the supreme leader for a term of seven years, including:
A. Legal Persons
1. President of the International Center of Islamic Studies;
2. President of the organization of the outbound schools and Hawzehs;
3. President of Culture and Islamic Relations Organization
4. Representative of Supreme Assembly of Qom’s Hawzeh;
5. Deputy of International Relation of the Leader’s Office.
B. Real Persons
1. 4 Members shall be selected by Supreme Leader, from Hawzeh Islamic scholars
2. The Center’s president shall be selected by the decision of Supreme leader for a term of five years, upon the recommendation of Trusteeship Council. Alireza Araffi, PhD is the current president, who took office in 8/27/2001, by leader decree.
Organizational Chart and Management
The Hawzeh-based Center is a quasi-academic organization. Important questions and policies are made by the Trusteeship Council; the decision making system of the Council is compatible with the Council’s rules and regulations.
Offices of the Centers are divided into two parts:
2. Academic Organs
Staff Headquarter includes:
International Relations Department, Supervising and Reviewing Office, Education Department, Research Department, Culture Department, Human Resources and Maintenance Department.
Academic Organs include:
Supreme schools, colleges, research centers, cultural and service centers, and Jameat al-Olum University, which are all certified by the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology.
The headquarter is located in Qom with its branches in other cities such as Mashhad, Isfahan, Gorgan and Tehran.
Micropolicies and strategies
The followings are the major policies:
1. Declaring and establishing Islam, Iran’s Revolution, Imam Khomeini’s religious and political thoughts, as well as Ayatollah Khamenei’s religious and political thoughts.
2. Safeguarding the Hawzeh’s customs, expanding Hawzeh doctrines and benefit from Islamic scholars’ sayings and aphorisms.
3. Employing the latest developments in the Center and customizing the developments according to the needs of the Center.
4. Expanding Islamic teachings worldwide.
5. Training students as the best method of spreading Islamic doctrine and Ahl al-beit school of thought.
6. Training Islamic scholars in different fields such as Ijtihad, teaching, researching, writing, translation, and preaching.
7. emphasizing on teaching, training and research
8. Preserving non-Iranian students and their families’ dignity.
9. Conducting new programs based on careful analysis and studies.
10. Increasing teachers’, students’, and staffs’ cooperation and contribution in the Center’s activities.
11. Elucidating Center’s activities and attempting to attain Hawzeh, national and international certifications.
12. Making the Center an internationally recognized organization and expand the activities to other countries
13. Adopting mega-policies in proportion with the needs, conditions, and possibilities.
14. All Center programs shall satisfy Center constitution.
15. Strengthening ties with Hawzeh, university, national and international organizations.
16. Increasing productivity and potential of the Center.
17. To have a constant review and feedback system to optimize the Center’s avtivities.
18. Attending to the latest world developments and their consequences on the Center.
19. Attending to the 5-year prospective plan according to the defined strategy.
1. Introducing the center to inbound and outbound organizations as an educational and international organization
2. Developing ties with outbound educational centers and inbound Hawzawi centers.
3. Active and effective participation in satellite televisions concerning education.
4. Employing the high-tech equipments for informing the public.
5. Signing educational and research contracts with inbound and outbound centers and universities.
6. Informing Islamic scholars and students
7. Increasing staff’s knowledge and awareness of IT technology.
PROFESSORS AND FACULTY MEMBERS
Faculty members are the fundamental entities and assets in every university; they are the main criteria for academic assessment. Hence, the Center attempted to employ only the most knowledgeable professors as the faculty member. Since then, there has been a drastic change in the educational sector of the Center.
The most important achievements attained through the changing are the followings:
1. Developing a curriculum for Islamic and Humanities sciences with an Islamic approach
2. Developing the syllabus for Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD degrees.
3. Developing new educational passages
There are currently as many as nine running departments namely:
1. Quran and Tradition Department
2. Quran and collecting passages Department
3. Quran, Philosophy and Beliefs
4. Quran, Religions and Sects Department
5. Arabic Literature Department
6. General Department
7. Jurisprudence and Principles Department
8. Jurisprudence and Law Department
9. History Department
Inbound And Outbound Center’s Status
The can be considered as the international side of Hawzeh since it is responsible for non-Iranian students. With its colleges and supreme schools, the Center administers students programs.
Besides teaching Islamic sciences, the Center offers the humanities with an approach to Islam.
Certificates offered by the Center are verified by the Ministry of Sciences, Research and Technology. Islamic Sciences University, a Hawzeh-based university, is included in the roster of Iran’s state universities. With an eye to expand bilateral cooperation with academic centers around the globe, the Center has signed memorandum of understanding with several academic centers around the world.
Rapid changes in technology in the last several decades have changed the nature of culture and cultural exchange. People around the world can transmit information to each other almost instantaneously through the use of computer and satellite communications. Cultures also cross national boundaries. Therefore, without informing public opinion it would be impossible to be internationally recognized. The International Center attaches great importance to the issue of proliferation of communication and information.
The Center, on the one hand, publicizes the inbound and outbound projects and services done so far, on the other it tries to boost its ties with Marajee, Islamic scholars, inbound and outbound academic centers and the media. To publicize its policies and strategies the Center arranges visits for distinguished personalities, clarifies the Center’s standpoints based on different occasions, participates in festivals, and fairs, and create databanks.
International Position Of The Center
Since The Center hosts many students from as many as 101 countries, it shall have an active participation in international arena. Being an academic center, it needs to boost its relations with scientific organizations and universities. The International Relations Department, in line with improving the relations, has taken effective steps in developing international relations.
Relations With International Academic-Cultural Centers
The Center has developed its relations with different institutes and universities and is still active in interaction with international universities. Currently, the Center works with universities and collages from Russia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Syria, Lebanon, India, Pakistan, England, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, and Eastern European countries, to name but a few.
Signing Contracts And Memorandums Of Understanding With Universities And Cultural Centers
The Center has carried out several activities in line with bearing the relations and exchanging educational, cultural and research expertise, exchanging students and organizing conferences and collaborative academic meetings. The followings are some of the contracts and memorandums signed between the Center and outbound institutes:
1. the International University of Republic of Kyrgyzstan
2. Islamic University of Russia
3. the Mufti of Republic of Tatarstan
4. the Religions Organization of Moscow
5. the Spiritual University of Kyrgyzstan
6. the London Islamic University
7. the Imam Hossein Hawzeh of London
8. the Seyede Khadijah Society of Pakistan
9. Islamic Center of Hamburg
10. The World Federation of Khojas of England
11. Yemen’s Islamic Research Center
12. Croatia Islamic Society
13. Zagreb Islamic Society
14. Bosnia Molla-Sadra Foundation
15. Romania Muslims Mufti
16. Indonesia Al-taqrib Institute and Al-hadi Institute
17. Kazakhstan’s Bishkek-based Rasoole Akram University
Every year the Center hosts many visitors from around the world who come to be acquainted with the Center’s activities, programs, and possible cooperation. Here is the list of distinguished guests who paid a visit to the Center.
• Indonesia’s Scholars Assembly
• Bahrain’s ministers and vice-president
• University chancellors of Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan.
• Thailand’s minister of foreign affairs
• Professor Jeel Keppel, French Islamologist
• Dr. Kattani from Europe, Sheik, Qarzawi, distinguished Islamic scholars from Egypt,
• Mufti of Australia, Kyrgyzstan, Bosnia, Albania, Croatia,
• Ambassador of China, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, and Senegal.
In order to visit cultural and academic centers and distinguished personalities as well as sharing their experiences and intruding the Center and its activities the Center has sent several delegations to countries namely England, French, Germany, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Croatia, Ukraine, Russia, Australia, India, Pakistan, and different parts of Africa.
The Center’s Participation In National And International Conferences And Gatherings
In line with increasing the Center’s relations with international organizations and institutes the Center
Has firstly attempted to relate to international Islamic organizations and secondly, international academic organizations. To that end, the Center has achieved the membership of International Federation of Islamic Universities. It has also applied for the membership of the World Universities Federation.