Responding to the growing demand of the general Shia Muslim community in the UK, CISS arranged for a distinguished guest from Najaf to meet with the concerned community to answer their specific questions regarding the marjaʿiyah (supreme Hawaza seminary leaders) and the role it plays in promoting community cohesion and development.
As part of the on-going commitment in bridging the gap between the Hawza seminary (seminary of traditional Islamic school of higher learning) and Western academia, CISS welcomed its distinguished guest from the Hawza seminary in Najaf Sayid Jafar al-Hakeem.
Sayid al-Hakeem expressed his delight and honour to meet and answer the concerns of what he called ‘the British Muslims in the UK’.
He expressed the importance of Muslim identity in the diaspora to adopt whole heartedly its new found home, and to be honoured in being identified as British Muslims.
He maintained that religion constructs the core of the individual’s identity and we should participate in the everyday functions of society.
In the question and answer session many concerns were raised such as, the role of the marja’iya in dispelling the radical Shia voices that are being broadcasted and the concern that these voices are fuelling Wahhabi hate motivated Jihad against the Shia around the world.
Other questions were concerned with the possibility of opening a Hawza seminary in the UK to be the central hub for western students. This was specifically mentioned as a concern regarding the new wave of speakers who proclaim their Islamic knowledge without attending Hawza seminaries.
Sayid al-Hakeem took time to answer all the concerns and reassured that all cases are valid and would be carried to the right individuals to consider in Najaf.