Before getting to know the "University of Religions and Denominations", it is worth reviewing the rich historical background of the city of Qom, 120 km south of Tehran that is today considered as the leading city of Ithna Ashariyya Shiite Islam.
Where is Qom
According to the "History of Qom", about the last year of the first century (hegira), when Iraq was ruled by Hajjaj Thaghafi, a group of Arab people immigrated to Qom, a town in Central part of Iran dating back to the ancient times from the 4th and 1st millennium BCE.
But the immigration that tended to change the character of this city to its today one was that of the Asharees of Kufa, Shiite families renowned for their religious and scientific background. From that time on, gradually Qom turned into a center for the expansion of Shiite Islam.
Over the last years of 4th century (hegira), Qom fell into a decline as a center of Shiite Hadith, but the next two centuries, by the Seljukid era, it recaptured the lost position.
By the Safavid era, the Shiite schools flourished as the advocate Safavi kings rebuilt them, among which the Feyziyya school of Qom is the most outstanding that is still active, hosting a great number of seminary students.
Entering a new age by the Qajarid era, the flourished contemporary activity of Qom Seminary School (Hawzah Elmiyya) started when Sheikh Abdol Karim Haeree entered this city, accepting the invitation of the students who just had lost their supreme cleric, Ayatullah Burojerdi.
A few decades before the Islamic revolution, Imam Khomeini attracted the attentions to the Hawzah of Qom by his captivating lectures inviting the nation to stand up against then Pahlavi regime of Iran.
By the victory of Islamic revolution under the leadership of Imam Khomeini, Qom gained more significance in the world of Islam and Hawzah started to reconstruct its administrative body, getting equipped with the latest technology of educational systems.
Today, up to 40000 students coming from all around the world are studying Islamic sciences in Qom, as the center of Shiite schools.
Initiating our mission in 1995 under the name of "The Center for Studies of Religions", we followed some internal educational programs. In a four-year period, these programs covered English, Sanskrit and Hebrew languages, and the students followed academic studies along with their seminary studies.
We seek security, peace and harmony, and to prove this we do attempt to participate in studies on Religions and Civilizations in today world through fundamental and scientific studies and researches without any prejudice or dogmatism. We hold neutral attitudes toward other religions, respect them, and try to know them well enough. This indicates our attitude and behavior in our policies and trends. Now the university, along with some other international centers, covers these goals. We have begun this path toward which many students have showed tendency.
In religions and Denominations subject we trained tens of experts who now hold M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. We also established the first specialized library of Religions with thousands of specialized books in various languages. The specialized quarterly of religions, named Haft Aseman, has been another activity of ours. We also started the M.A. courses in religions during the few past years and these took a decade of fruitful activities.
The University of Religions & Denominations, the first of its kind in Iran, is an offshoot of the Islamic Seminary established to train experts and conduct research in these very fields. While striving to introduce Islam in the light of the teachings of the Holy Prophet’s Household ... more