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 A Glance at the Edification Charter of Al-Mustafa International University


In the name of God


Historically, the seminary schools, beside being academic places, have been centers for self-construction and for purification of soul. The seminary schools have been important not just because of producing  religious knowledge but also due to creating pious role-models for Islamic societies.


However, due to the issues of modern civilization which have involved the entire societies including Islamic ones, preserving the role of seminary schools requires a comprehensive approach which considers modern man's needs and challenges. Hence, Al-Mustafa International University considers it essential to have an organized approach towards teaching- on the one hand this university is rooted in traditions of seminary schools and on the other hand, it is an international education institution with a large number of international students.


Therefore, developing an academic charter is the first step toward achieving such an approach. It is a challenging job as there is no former practical experience regarding  mentioned charter. However, the charter was developed under the grace of God, special attention of the university's president and constant efforts of the Department of Edification Studies, related staffs and the members of Cultural-Educational Council.


The coming parts try to briefly introduce the charter to students and academic staffs.


Definition of the University's charter:

The charter is a collection of interconnected educational items which include fundamentals, goals, principles, approaches, policies, strategies, and educational methods designed to improve the situation of students and their spouse and children who are international disseminators of  Islam.



The University's charter is divided into three major sections:


First section: Overview:

This section includes all the issues which should be considered for developing the charter; e.g: the problem and its extent, features of an effective charter, necessity and objectives, major challenges, restrictions and limitations for writing the charter.


Second section: Theoretical issues

This section deals with the theoretical and principles of the charter, e.g. definition of the major questions, assessing worldview principles, anthropological and epistemological aspects, merits, the ten principles of Islamic ethical training, their objectives and major edification methods.


Third section: Practical issues

This section is about the policies and strategies which drastically improve the situation of the University. These policies are also divided into two sections:

1- Policies which cover the entire sections of the university and which are not limited to some departments

2- Policies which are limited to particular sections and are based on their activities and responsibilities.


First  Section: Overview

                     Question: generally the current situation of edification in society and its situation in the university indicates that there has been little attention towards ethical training and the approaches were unsystematic. 


The charter has a systematic and collective approach towards ethical training. It intends to increase the role of ethical training in educational system.

                     Features of  a desirable charter: clarity, comprehensiveness, depth and cohesion between the discussions, practicability, compatibility with major goals of the university, attention to ethical training, attention to relationship between different section of ethical training, attention to different sections of ethical training and the connection between the sections, refraining from subjectivity and bios in edification, having a standard for assessing ethical training programs, allocating necessary financial and human resources.

                     Goals: major goal of compiling the charter is to amend and improve primary processes and middle ones ( educational, cultural, research studies, welfare, administrative and so forth) and to make the products of the university based on Islamic principles.

                     Limitations of compiling the charter: due to the limitations we can realize the differences between ethical training and other fields and appreciate its sensitivities and constraints. The limitations are as below:

1.                  complexity and ambiguity in meaning, and methods of instructing individuals

2.                  Lack of a role-model and having no former successful experience in developing and administering such a charter (newness of the subject)

3.                  Shortage in budget, facilities and skilled human resources,

4.                  Diversity of cultures, languages, and interest of the audience and ethical programs of the university

5.                  Having idealistic look and lack of attention to realities,

6.                  Being hasty and having superficial approaches in the viewpoints and ethical education.


Second Section:Theoretical issues:

1- Principles

Recognizing man is a fundamental issue in ethical system because the subject of ethical instruction is 'man' and without having a true knowledge of man and his capabilities, it would be impossible to achieve a comprehensive ethical training system. Basically, man can not be recognized without attention to theoretical aspects(epistemology) and his practical aspects (virtues) as well as his relationship to the wold and to God. Accordingly, the major principles of Islam's edification are:


1-1- General overviews:

Essence of 'being from God' and 'moving toward Him'; systematic  and cohesive world;  purposeful world which is constantly guided; God as the highest power in the world; and the hierarchical system of the world.

1-2- Anthropological principles of edification

Man as a multidimensional being, man and his natural abilities, individual differences, man's natural  and acquired honor, unity and commonality of man in terms of essence of humanity, gradual formation of man's personality, interrelation between man's appearance and inner part, interrelation between man and environment, existence of limitations and human weaknesses regarding ethical education.


1-3- Principles of epistemology in edification:

Possibility of recognition for man, achieving recognition through emotions, intellect and heart, Afaqi and Anfosi as the recognition resources. 


1-4- Principles of virtues in edification:

Virtue: rooted in man's Vojdan-e elahi; theology as the basis of the entire ethical virtues; conditions of intention and insight for achieving ethical virtues


2- Principles of edification:

Principles of edification is defined as the issues which are conducted within the frame of principles, normative Dos and DON'Ts of the process, and ethical programs and activities.

                     Major principles in Islamic ethical training:

God-based; believing in God and worshipping Him; focusing on hereafter life and piousness while enjoying the wold; considering man's nature (seeking truth, virtue-based, considering aesthetic concepts, collectivism, attention to innovation, comprehensive approach and moderation, attention to man's dignity, attention to man's freedom and his free will, attention to personal differences, attention to reflection and wisdom, considering justice and  welfare, attention to improving the situation and environment,  compromising and toleration, perseverance, competition in conducting good deeds, friendliness and helpfulness, attention to preserving religious identity and personal immunity, attention to personal appearance and creating cohesion between appearance and inner part.


3-Methods of Edification:

Ethical instructions are mechanisms and activities conducted in order to change the behavior and personal characteristics of students. In Islamic ethical training there is a cohesion between principles, goals and edification principles. Followings are four methods applied in ethical training. These methods are compatible with the groups of trainees classified by Research Department:

3-1 Ethical training of the beliefs:

Encouraging students to reflect upon nature, studying history and learning about destiny of righteous and wicked nations and individuals, preparation for returning to man's pure nature (returning and attending to one's inner signs)


3-2 Ethical training of morality:

Purifying self/ meditation/ controlling self/affirmation/practice/connecting to virtuous individuals/ developing good habits/ inviting others to good deeds/ good temper and behavior


3-3 Ethical training of Social and Political aspects:


Constructing students based on political developments, encouraging team working spirit, preparing situation for collective activities, e.g. (commitment to others, generosity, and toleration of others), introducing social and political skills,  introducing policies of competitors, introducing activities of public media, preparing students for improving communication skills, consultation, and interacting with other cultures, making students sensitive about the good of Islamic Ummah, unity and destiny of Muslims.


3-4 Ethical training of Family:

Introducing psychological aspects of men and women for having attention and appreciation of such differences, understudying and accepting the role of family members, preparing for fulfilling each other's needs, understanding and observing each others' rights, eliminating possible damages in a family, introducing the importance and position of family, underlining necessity of children's upbringing.


Policies and Strategies:

This charter is applied on the basis of theoretical approvals, mission of the university and its capabilities. The Policies and strategies regarding edification are conducted within the framework of Islamic teachings.


1- General Policies:  covering all sections and departments

1-1. Attention and emphasis on the position of edification, and encouraging religious edification in the entire sections of the university due to its impacts on the missions of the university.

1-2. Creating a systematic approach toward edification in different sections of the university

1-3. Applying religious principles and ethical traditions of the Seminary Schools in the entire sections of the university

1-4. Preserving students' dignity

1-5. Creating a friendly environment between students and directors

1-6. Having good manner and Islamic etiquette and improving communication systems

1-7. Improving individual and organizational environment 
1-8. Observing and improving equality in policies and plans and being moderate in (allocating budget, human resources, and facilities)

1-9. Emphasizing on Islamic commonalities, unity, proximity of Islamic sects while emphasizing and expanding teachings of Ahle Bayt (a.s)

1-10. Attention to students' participation in programs, activities and policies of the university


2- Importance of common policies:

            a. Admission policies

1-1. Encouraging merit students and moving toward attracting merit students

1-2. Creating balance between volume of admission and capacities and facilities of the university

1-3. Attention to edification principles when assessing applications

1-4. Attention to modern tools and methods regarding applications


              b. Supporting tools and human resources  :

2-1. Fulfilling basic needs of the academic staffs (including livelihood requirements and social security) so that they pay attention to their own moral and ethical aspects

2-2. Attention to employment of the staff and improving staffs and academics' welfare

2-3. Employing experienced academics who also observe Islamic ethical codes of conducts

2-4. Improving skills and knowledge of the staff particularly through arranging vocational trainings and workshops

2-5. Improving evaluation system and using reward and punishment system.


c.  Instruction policies:

3-1. Attention to the goals of seminary schools when designing instruction policies

3-2. Preserving and improving ethical and edification standards in all educational levels

3-3. Employing experienced and innovative academic staffs

3-4. Paving the way for edification programs

3-5. Encouraging students towards expansion of religion and dissemination of religion in the modern world


d. Cultural-edification policies:

4-1. Improving and deepening the role of instructors

4-2. Having special attention to edification and spiritual training beside other trainings of instructors

4-3. Encouraging truth-seeking skills concerning edification and helping instructors to be religious-based

4-4.Encouraging practical and friendly methods beside normal edification methods

4-5. Prioritizing 'attraction to rejection' and 'prevention to cure' concerning moral and spiritual damages

4-6. Attention to maximizing students' and their family's knowledge, insight and their political analytical skills ant those of students' spouse.

4-7. Attention to students' and family's physical and mental well-being and planning for students' free time and that of their families.

4-8. Special attention to team-working spirit when conducting cultural activities and expanding vocational trainings and cultural skills and promoting communication skills

4-9. Attention to family's sanctity.


            e. Research policies:

5-1. Attention to cultural, and edification requirements in research field

5-2. Attention to research ethics, and academic spirit when facing opponents' ideas

5-3. Special attention to innovation and creativity in research studies

5-4. Refraining from bias and subjectivity and preparing the grounds for critiquing theories and ideas and attention to different opinions

5-5. Emphasizing on dynamic Ijtihad and considering time and space in Ijtihadi questions while preserving past traditions and Javaheri Ijtihad


            e. Communication and dissemination policies

6-1. Attention to increasing international cultural relationships, developments in contemporary world's tools and emphasizing on expansion of Islamic international relations

6-2. Emphasizing on Islamic principles and values in terms of Islam's cultural and international relations.