Halimi, student in the Madresseh of Shiraz.
In Isphahan, we came into a coranic school, a madresseh, and the curious students all gathered around us to answer kindly to our questions.
We (Chatlotte et Isa) decided then to go and meet those young students who gave their life to Islam. We went to the most famous madresseh in Shiraz. The place is wonderful, a real peace haven, fresh, in the middle of the bazar. It is a patio, walls are covered with yellow, blue and white ceramics wich represent vegetals. You fell well, quiet and everything makes you want to stop there to have a rest. We are nevertheless less lucky than in Isphahan, since there are only 8 students, all foreigners because the Iranians went to their parents.
We meet Halimi, young 21 years old Afhan. He "felt" in the Coran when he was a boy, at the age of 7, his parents registered him for a religion course form 1p.m to 5p.m every day, when the others had free time.
At the age of 14, he goes with his brother to Pakistan et starts courses in a real coranic school, then at the age of 18, he leaves for Iran (country where most of religious leaders are educated). He studies there three years. In three years, he will normally get his Sath, the final diploma but he can keep on studying during many years. In Shiraz, he is really satisfied of his conditions of studies, he is payed by school to buy food and some books. In the courses, he studies of course Coran, but also Arabian literrature, logic and some days are reserved for discussions. Life style is quiet monacal, students live in small cells with a bed and small books. I think of the huge contrast between the life standard of this young student and the one of an Iranian mollah. Mollah is besides pejorative, an Iranian using this word expresses implicitly the misuse of their power, their wealth, and their selfishness towards the rest of the rest of the population living in poverty. It is indeed quiet difficult to know at what extent the attraction of the power and the religion motivate those young students. Islam helps Halimi to understand the world better, to take better personal decisions.He says for exemple that the violent situation of Afghanistan will not last because "bad things never last". According to him, Talibans are manipulated by Pakistan, itself manipulated by the US. Talibans are not Afghans but just peasans who want to worsen the situation. Moreover, he wants to go back there to become a mollah. In this Islamic Republic, religious are the most respected persons, over the politicians and the scientists.
We are used to assimilating mollahs to fondamentalists, we ask him then what his perception is of the other religions. "I can not talk of the other religions. Each should be considered one by one. But it is a pity that each of them considers it is the truth. Anyway, Islam is the unic religion founded on a book which has never been modified, only interpreted. The Bible or the Torah are only rewriten books."
At the end of the discussion, he asked us some questions about our faith and about christiannism. The meeting with him impressed me a lot, but left me also unsatisfied. I woul have like to talk more with him, but the language and the cultural gap hindered me. Charlotte and I were certainly the first women sitting in his room, he never looked at us in the eyes and only talked to Farzin, our translator. more, I would have liked to know his opinion about the situation of Iranian Mollahs, but I was afraid to be too frank, all the more because his teachers (all Mollahs) were the persons he admired the most. He even had pictures of them in his room. Still, the faith of this young man seemed to me unfailing but not blind, Halimi was gentle, open and clever.
Since we did not have a camera, pictures represent the Immam mosq in Isphahan.