The seminary is a name given to religious education and research centers in the Islamic world, and especially among the Shiites. The first Shia seminary was established in Sheikh Tusi in the fourth century AD in Najaf, Iraq, alongside the shrine of Ali ibn Abi Talib (the first Shiite imam).
The most important Shia seminaries are now located in the cities of Qom, Najaf and Mashhad.
The Seminaries in Iran are currently managed by the Seminars Management Center. The center is run collectively under the auspices of the Qom Seminary Teachers’ Association, called the Supreme Council of Seminaries.
The director of the Qom seminary is elected with the approval of the members of the Supreme Council of the Qom, as well as the general and fundamental policies of the Qom, in addition to being endorsed by the Council, to be applied more with the leadership’s opinion.
The Qom Seminary Management Center comprises more than ten departments including education, research, propaganda, purification, school affairs, statistics and research. The Deputy Director of Statistics and Investigations at the Management Center is an intelligence service in the area, and is heavily involved in the pursuit of what goes beyond what is called “standards”.
The Qom seminary has specialized centers such as commentary, Nahj al-Balagha, propaganda, theology, philosophy and science of hadith, and an office called the Office of Specialist Affairs has been established to further coordinate specialized fields of management and training programs. Specialty disciplines have grown dramatically from Year 3 to Year 6, with three specialized centers being added over three years, and many curricula and educational codes have been substantially revised over the three years.
Every year in March or April, the entrance examination is taken. After taking the test, which is usually done at two levels, “diploma” and “sub diploma”. Admissions are distributed based on places of study, and after that, admissions to Qom are called to the Management Center for interviews, and those accepted for cities to districts. For those who want to go to university after obtaining a degree, there are no exams and only interviewing for admission. In the past, today students are also interviewed to determine their IQ.
The above diploma entrants study at Masumieh School of Qom. The schools in Qom have a total of about 6 schools, half of which are diploma graduates and the other half are cycle schools.
The curriculum of the cycle schools differs slightly from that of the diploma schools. The educational system in all areas of Iran is completely the same.
Traditional System: Prior to the Iranian Revolution, the seminaries were run on the basis of mutual cooperation between professors and students and had no unified and systematic education system.
The New System: After the revolution, the constituencies became nationals of the Supreme Council of Seminaries and the management of the Seminary Management Center under the Supreme Council of Sections. Subsequently, traditional structures in some parts collapsed and the seminaries found a new structure.
Among Shiites, religious education among women was singular and dispersed. For nearly four decades, there have been few organized women’s religious education centers. The Supreme Council of the Seminary of Qom established the Sisters ‘Seminary Management Center in March to “organize, direct and supervise the Sisters’ Seminary Schools with a single management.” Its activities are accused of “trying to maintain and spread patriarchal attitudes among women.”
The main courses in these centers are primarily jurisprudence, jurisprudence, Arabic literature and, alongside them, theology, hadith, rijal, commentary, Islamic history, logic, philosophy and rarely ethics, mysticism, medicine, mathematics and astronomy.
Graduates of these clerical centers and practitioners are called graduates. After completing the introductory course and then completing the undergraduate course, these graduates will enter the course and will be mujtahid if completed. The first-rate mujtahids, referred to by Shiites for their knowledge of Shari’a law, are called imitation sources. These authorities, in addition to giving religious orders, nurture goldsmiths in higher education abroad.
The method of studying the seminaries has been inherited from the past and is still being applied with changes. In the educational system of the field, the students are studying at the same time as studying previous books. In addition to attending the lectures, they also engage in discussions with other students on the subject.