When mom life meets hawza life

When mom life meets hawza life

I apologize for not updating the blog in a long time but I’ve been literally taking exams for the past month. And I still have two more to go.

The one thing you learn pretty quickly as a hawza student is that one must always be ready for anything. Like having midterms a week before finals. (Don’t ask)

In between regular life, cram sessions, midterms, wiladat celebrations, fasting, and finals, I have realized life is really what you make of it. There have been days when I feel like just closing my books and quitting hawza. When I first started hawza with Farsi language classes, it didn’t seem so difficult to manage a home life with school. But now as I finish my first term as an official hawza student I’ve gotten just a glimpse into what it takes to learn about Islam.

Our classes are not a joke – Sarf (Arabic grammar), aqaid (beliefs), akhlaq (Islamic code of ethics), tareekh (history), ahkam (Islamic laws of practice), khanvadeh dar Islam (family in Islam), and some classes based on Shaheed Mortaza Motahhari’s books.

Attending classes this term felt like I was quenching this inner thirst. Our teachers opened our eyes to different concepts, helped us realize our true identities as Muslims, and what it means to follow the path we are on. Every time I felt like dropping out, I just told myself it’ll get better.

Our akhlaq teacher was one of the best of the bunch. She started every class with a verse from the Quran and encouraged us to read and understand at least one verse a day.

I didn’t just learn religion this term; I learned life. I learned about sisterhood, overcoming obstacles, prioritizing, keeping a schedule, and that going back to school is never a bad thing.

My kids wonder why I’m still in “school” if I’m a mom. They wonder why I get homework, and if my teachers are nice. I don’t dare do homework on my kids’ time – that’s just asking for trouble. I wait until they’re asleep to crack open the books and feel like an adult again.

Once you’re a parent you get really good at making life work and anything that comes in the way – school, work, etc – gets organized accordingly. You have no choice but to make it work, for your sanity.

It’s been a while since I’ve been back in the school grind, but I have to say I’m enjoying every moment. From getting new notebooks to eyeing the clock for the end-of-class dua, school life is truly magnificent.

The Holy Prophet told us to “seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave,” and I’m humbled with the opportunity to be here learning, and hopefully pass this valuable information to others.

What is the date today?

What is the date today?

I used to be able to answer this question quite easily, but since moving to Qom, I am usually left searching frantically for my phone.

Today is the 5th of Dey. Year? 1395.

You see in Iran, they go by the Iranian calendar. The Iranian calendar coincides with the seasons, so the first day falls on the 21st of every Gregorian (or miladi) month. The new year, Nawrooz, starts with the first day of Spring, or March 21.

The countries of Iran and Afghanistan both follow the solar Hijri calendar. (But the Afghan months are named differently than the Iranian months). The year count starts with the migration of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) to Madina.

The year is divided into 12 months. The first 6 months have 31 days, and the next 5 months have 30 days. And the last month, Esfand, has 29 days in a common year and 30 days in a leap year.

I found this awesome app to help me figure out what day it is.


So now that I regularly converse in three different languages, I am also fluent in three different calendars – the Gregorian one, the Islamic one, and now the Iranian one.

Here is the breakdown of the Iranian calendar:

  • Spring (Bahar)
  • Summer (Tabestan)
  • Fall (Payeez)
  • Winter (Zamestan)

The different calendar makes for interesting conversations regarding birthdays or other important dates. Usually when you sign up for something you are asked for your birthdate or the day’s date. And it’s not the Gregorian one or the Islamic one they are asking for. To make life easier I have converted our kids’ birthdays to the Iranian calendar so I am not left struggling at the last minute.

Dates are really important in Iranian culture, too. Often you will see roads named for important dates, like 15 Khordad, 19 Dey, etc.


Back to Qom life

Back to Qom life

Returning to Qom after summer always leaves a bittersweet taste in my mouth. 

I hate saying ‘goodbye’ to family and friends and my home, but there’s an urge to return home quickly and get back to my routine. 

Now the countdown to the new school year begins. Since I started part-time classes, there’s a certain excitement of getting back to the classroom. 

I’m also looking forward to incorporating new things into my kids’ routines that we will do as a family. The goal, inshallah, is to keep us active, learning, and growing closer to Allah.

Here’s to learning new things, watching my kids grow and soaking in more of that Qomlife.

Welcome to Qom

Welcome to Qom

It’s been a little more than 2 years since we first moved to Qom, Iran. We being the Rizvis from Houston, Texas.

My husband and I had two kids then – two daughters aged 4 and 1.5. My son was born about a year and a half ago.

When we first decided to move to Qom so my husband could pursue religious studies, we went searching the Internet for articles or blogs related to life in Qom. There was a blog that did offer lots of information, but it was outdated and from what we heard, things fluctuate quite a bit frequently in Iran. Luckily we had a few good friends who had already moved here and they offered tons of useful advice about daily life, things to bring, life with kids, etc.

So this post essentially serves as an introduction to this blog, which will hopefully offer an inside look to a non-Iranian family’s life in Qom. I plan on blogging about issues centered around families and kids, and everyday things you face here when living as a transplant.

I invite anyone interested on moving here to pursue religious studies to ask questions. If I can’t answer them, there is a big community of students from the West who can help. I also welcome your suggestions to make this blog more useful.

With that said, there is another blog (about two years old) by a howza student from Canada which I think is well written: http://www.iqraonline.net.

Disclaimer: This blog is in no way connected to or associated with the seminaries in Qom, the city of Qom, or the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. These views and blog entries are mine, and mine alone.

Thank you for reading. With the help of Allah, the Most High, I hope this blog offers prospective howza students and their families some useful information that will make their move to the holy city easier.

Iltemas e dua….