Gaining knowledge and developing talent
The transcriptof the interview of grand Ayatollah Duzduzani with Pegah journal in the commencement ofthe academic year 2002-2003 A.D
Question-According to the commencement of the academic year 2002-2003 A.D
, how do academic days differ from holidays for a Talibeh (a student of Islamic seminaries)?
Answer-As you know education means to transform what is unknown to something known, and there is to say that if someone is truly a Talibeh, they would not differ holidays from school days. It means that if someone is determined to gain knowledge and excel at top degrees and resolve issues and problems, they would not be concerned with the time when they endeavor, whether it is day or night, Thursday or Friday, holiday or school days, Muharram month or Ramadan month, being young or elderly, being busy or not busy.
I assume if someone loves studying, nothing would stop them. Basically “Talibeh” literally means “a lover of studying”, and I don’t think there could be something as a barrier and obstacle for him. I remember 55 years ago when I was a new Talibeh, I started Mughadamat (basic lessons), and I wasn’t having dinner many nights or I had only a little, so that I could stay up late at nights and I used to write down any problem that I had. On Thursdays and Fridays I was busy doing those works, and at other nights I was only studying.
I remember about 52-53 years ago when I encountered a difficult issue, and I searched a lot until I finally found its answer in the notes of the margin of Jaami’s book. The very idea of mine was that to delay working on the problems until Thursdays and Fridays every week. Fifty years ago when I came here, I had studied Mughadamat very well. As soon as I entered here, I started to teach Suyuti to some students, but I had not mastered Mantigh (a course of logic).Basically I had to teach the commentary of Mulla Abdullah after teaching Suyuti and Jaami. I once said to one of my teachers: “I’m eagerly waiting for holidays to come.”–“why?” He replied.–“I would like to study Mantigh well” I said.
I intended to know things, for example what Shamsiyeh, Sharh-Matale’ and others say, and I finally succeeded. I stayed at Qom during that year’s summer and studied Mantigh and I also taught Mantigh during educational days. That is why I advise those who like knowledge and those who are learning it to taste the joy of learning and doing away with ignorance, and if one feels this joy they would start to work automatically.
How awful it is when one doesn’t understand ignorance to be such a dangerous disease and knowledge to be such a pinnacle. If one knows that ignorance is a disease, they would cure it themselves. There is no doubt that nowadays there are a lot of issues in many aspects which you are aware of, such as thought,politics, cultural information, material information and so on.
In the past people kept studying while they were eating only bread and they were satisfied with it, but today there are so many problems. I believe that man should make himself love gaining knowledge in order to solve the problems. He should know what he intends to do.
Considering there are a lot of obstacles nowadays, the academic days have been reduced so problems have increased. It means that we don’t have academic days! We have 6 or 7 months of holiday, and still during the academic days there are holidays because of for example the birth of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) or birth of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or the day of Mab’ath (Mission of Prophet Muhammad) or demise of Prophet Muhammad and so on.
The Hawza has also been extended, and one day we hear someone’s demise …
These are all obstacles. Talibeh need to do something to prevent these things from turning into obstacles. In other words such problems don’t impact on him. He should have an alternative argument, movement or education which allows him to overcome such obstacle as a wheel which turns over them. I assume a man should understand himself that what is it that he wants to do.
Since the year I came to Qom, I had two kinds of education, one for the holidays and the other for school days. I used to study books such as Manzumeh, Mantiq, Mutawal, the second half of laws, Sharh-Tajreed etc. on Thursdays and Fridays, and on those days when I was studying Sharh-Tajreed, I also taught Sharh-Baab-Hadi-Ashar.
The first year I entered, we had a group discussion on Thursdays and Fridays where we discussed exegesis of Quran (Tafseer). I have been following that exegesis for 50 years and there are also notes regarding those discussions. One of the notes includes the lessons of “Revelation of Quran” which has been published once and now it has become rare. Another note is about Purgatory, which has also been published and finished.
I have written them on Thursdays. I mean I did not have any spare time. Unfortunately the day when Hawza is closed for holidays, our Talibeh have nothing to do because they have not provided themselves with two phases, so that when one of them is turned off the other one is still ongoing.
I advise contemporary Talibeh-s to be careful about education like they did in the past. I used to teach Lam’eh in the first two years when I entered Hawza. When I entered the seminary of Feyziyeh, I was busy until the sunset.
The Talibeh used to make noise like bees. They used to raise questions and come to us to find the answers. I think today it is not like that anymore. I don’t find the opportunity to go to Feyziyeh quite often, but when sometimes I happen to go there, I see it is different.
For example I went to the seminary of Daarul-Shafaa to attend the conference of late Allameh-Tabatabaei. When I was passing through Feyziyeh, I noticed that there is no sign of such matters. That quality and those moods and such noisiness don’t exist at all. That is why our Talibeh grow up superficially.
If Talibeh truly wants to become Talibeh, he should learn the right way of debating and discussing. He should not have solidity and inactivity. The man, who pours and drinks himself, does not understand his own faults. When he poured tea for someone else and gave it to them, then it would become clear where his problem lies.
When this argument is given to the person, then it can be understood what size and weight it has, or how true it is. That is why we demand gentlemen to have such a spirit.
There are so many works left to be done in this matter and we have to teach the Talibeh about it and encourage them. Although it has considerable effect on the progress of Hawzah, it is not right to only hold exams and want Talibeh to submit a piece of writing. Those who don’t study at all would have problems with exams and cannot take exams or receive funds or receive degrees, and they would be deprived of this source.