Dr Mohammed Husain Mokhtari (Chancellor of University of Islamic Denomination or Madhaheb University, Tehran Iran) in conversation with Shujaat Ali Quadri
Would you please explain philosophy, aim and the approach to
establishment of this university?
Today, we are living in the times that Islam is under fire from two sides.
One side is the enemies of Islam who have continuous enmity against
Islam. Global hegemony which is a global ideological and intellectual
system and also the international Zionism use all their elements,
properties and potentials to fire the reality of Islam. On the other hand,
there are Takfiri and extremist movements who are as the supreme
leader said: the fruit of global hegemony and the west. Due to their fail
on coping with the reality of Islam and omitting religion from the mind
of mankind, sought to distort Islamic practices and so created some
groups who have aggressive and extremist insights to religious texts. The
reflections like this, that are the result of a weak perception of religious
texts, try to substitute the pure reality of Islam by their wrong
understandings. They are also unaware of religion’s entity that is
time-free. Indeed, religion is not for a specific time and place but
coordinates with the fitrat of human. These groups endeavor to trap the
religion in the hole of dogmatism and superficiality. All these push us to
a knowledge-based and comprehensive academic faceoff. So the
establishment of Mazahebe eslami (Islamic denominations) university
by advice of the supreme leader, can be counted as a theoretic supporter
for the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought
(Taghrib e Mazaheb). The university is now active for two decades.
What was the need for a separate university in this arena in
spite of different clerics and also seminaries in the universities
of the country?
The university has two faces. One as an academy and the other as a
seminary. Before, there was not a university or any other type of
scientific and educational center to satisfy these two goals. There are a
lot of universities in the country that have stepped towards social
sciences but the university of Mazaheb e Eslami is engaged with
theorizing in Islamic social sciences. The lecturers and commentators
who are expert in different majors of Islamic knowledge of both Shia &
Sunni can study and graduate in the university. They can bring into
existence the pure Islam which Imam Khomeini mentioned. The version
of Islam that voice concern over benevolence and mercy, invites
humankind to noor (light) and releases him from zolmat (darkness). The alumni of the university can give the society and the youth in particular,
an explicit insight.
How do you accept a student?
The university is profitable like the other state universities in Iran and
accepts the students in 3 courses: B.A, M.A & Phd. the study fields
include: Imamie law and jurisprudence, Hanafiah law and
jurisprudence and Shafei law and jurisprudence, philosophy and
theosophy, religions and denominations and Arab literature. The central
branch is in Tehran but there are some other branch in provinces of
Hormozgan, Sistan & Baluchestan and also Kurdistan. some branches in
Golestan province and two other provinces are setting up too.
Is there any administrative selection after the entrance exam?
Yes. It is right on the three levels (B.A, ….) to attract prominent,
innovative and interested individuals to join the way of proximity of
Indeed, the main motto of the university is proximity of
Yes, we seek to enable the students in proximity of denominations and
religious schools and also as a well-educated missionary and be able to
teach in academic centers and seminaries.
Do you accept any foreigner student?
New presiding board of the university by the advice of the secretary
general of the World Forum for Proximity who is also the chairman of
board of trustees and also the members of the board of trustees, believe
that we should be known internationally. Regarding with the
development of Takfiri ideologies specifically in Islamic world, this
university can be so effective in uprooting or preventing spread of these
virus-like thoughts. We have about 80 students from different countries
and we intend to rise diversity of students and nationalities in new semester.
We will accept students even from Europe and the U.S in M.A and Phd.
As a matter of fact, this university is a knowledge-based attempt for
unity and coherence.
Is there any restriction on accepting the students?
The educational documents should be admitted by ministries of science
of the both countries. We are welcomed extraordinarily up to now. We
face some limitations in accepting foreign students in different levels but
we are trying to multiply the capacity of accepted students specially
those who are from Islamic countries and have contact with us in
different ways to realize the pattern expected by the supreme leader to
introduce real Islam to the students free of any type of aggression and
secularism, academically and intellectually.
Is there any restriction on age or beliefs?
Not at all. Even the age limit was put away in B.A level. It has to be taken
into consideration that most of the foreign students who want to accept
in this university are Muslims from different denominations. Here is the
only university which Hanafi or Shafei jurisprudences are taught by
their own lecturers and their own texts either in Tehran or in the
provinces. If this process goes on, can be effective on preventing divide
among the proponents of Islamic denominations which the enemy is
Which languages are taught in the university?
The formal language is Farsi but the students get familiar with Arabic
language too. The students gain skill in Persian and study in it. They
even write their theses and dissertations in Persian.
Don’t you believe that regarding with the era we are living in,
it is better to mix the majors you teach with the new sciences
and establish fields like: urbanism jurisprudence?
Yes, we reckon so. We planned a perspective document and send it to the
office of the supreme leader and some of the elites commented on that.
We consulted also with the secretary general. A decision made to set up
new fields such as urbanism jurisprudence. Islamic architecture is a field
that the need to it is sensed and the university which has prominent
experts in different denominations, decidedly should pay attention to
that. Management, art, cyberspace, mass media and so on are topics that
can be discussed in this center. Islam has its own opinion on all these
topics and we decided to hold scientific meetings by invitation from different lecturers of various countries in the beginning of the semester to give the students a scientific shot in the arms. This university can enjoy the expectations of late Imam Khomeini and also the supreme leader Imam Khamenei.
In which provinces do you have branch?
Now, the Branch in Zahedan is active and we intend to develop it. The
Sanandaj branch is also active and we can have good contacts with
Soleymaniah of Iraq through it and we have some talks on that. Bandar
Abbas branch is active. We decided to promote the education courses
there from B.A to M.A and then Phd. I should mention that we granted
from the ministry of sciences for a professional exam taken by both Shia
and Sunni students. Sunni students and lecturers themselves asked us to
design this to get needless of take exams in other countries like Pakistan
which mostly are affected by Takfiri groups. There is real freedom of
belief here and I think proximity is taking place practically because each
person passes the course by his own denomination& lecturers and texts.
Recently I had a trip to Ghirghizestan. The chairman of one of its main
universities told me that I wrote a book about Iran universities and
introduced them but I failed to find yours while it has specific points that
I am committed to write another book about it in particular. They said
we are interested in cooperating mutually by research opportunities,
exchange of professors and students and so on. We signed an MOU. Also
in Indonesia and some other countries. I believe we can introduce the
university in a way to prove the scientific reference of Iran for Islamic
How do you select the lecturers?
The lecturers are our faculty members who are now from Iran but we
intend to invite some foreign lecturers for short-time courses. It was
mentioned in one of our MOUs with Bishkek University. In a meeting
with the board of trustees, the supreme leader reiterated we need to such
a university since the beginning of Islamic revolution. His excellency
mentioned detailed and valuable matters that is our roadmap today.
Over proximity he mentioned: "the education may not be so effective but
what is important is that living together in unit classes and under unit
lecturers leads the students to coexistence. It contributes to proximity
and I believe that try to train proximity in such a living and behavior of the lecturers toward the students and in narrating these historical memories. Shia and Sunni students living together in the dormitories and have discussions and consultations.
Indeed, proximity is present in this university practically and is going to be formed theoretically which helps them to be aware of the insights of each other that itself can be
effective on the training and at least can neutralize the plots and
conspiracies planned by the global hegemony to sow the seeds of discord
among different denominations by showing the great extent of
commonalities specially in principles and that the minor divisions
cannot prevent form coexistence. It is also able to uproot the dogmatic
And how about the tuitions?
It is free in B.A course. The center is a profitable university.
To what extent the university can enhance the status of the
country among Islamic countries and unite them?
It plays an important role on it due to its scientific potential and
intellectually it can present in educational and academic centers around
the world and underscores peaceful coexistence of in the context of pure
Islam. It can also defuses the plots of the enemies and of Islam and
guides the juvenile generation.
When the university will establish new majors?
I accompanied the new administrative team and the deputies in
designing a four-years plan to put the university among the top
universities of the world. We will establish the new majors since next
Bahman semester by inviting the prominent lecturers in new fields.
How do you assess the function of the university so far? Is it
I think we did not reach our goals during the two decades. There were a
lot of attempts but incomplete. We should try more to keep the
reputation of Islam and Islamic republic. The expectations of the
supreme leader should be satisfied and we have serious decision to do
that. Those who are interested can visit the website.