A hawza is the establishment responsible for the training of Shia Islam’s imams, preachers, professors, and researchers. For hundreds of years, its educational model has involved the teaching of Fikh,Usul, philosophy, Quranic studies and Arabic language. Over the past few decades, the social sciences—the systematic study of man and society which had emerged in the West—have been slowly making their way into these institutions, alongside a number of other changes. This article investigates, qualitatively, the religious training of Shia men of religion in Lebanon in order to explore the changes taking place within this institution. Based on a triangulation of participant observation, interviews with professors, students, and stakeholders, as well as content analysis of certain course material, it claims a hawza in metamorphosis. While structural and material alterations have straightforwardly made their way into the institution, content and curricular ones have faced more difficulty. These changes reveal plenty about both Islamic education and Shia Islam in Lebanon’s public sphere. Additionally, the article raises questions and insights regarding decolonial theory, Lebanon’s future, and the geopolitics of the Arab world.

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