The Mainstay Foundation in both the United Kingdom and United States are pleased to announce that registration is now open for this year’s Najaf Retreat.

This project aims to take a select group of active brothers and sisters ages 18-24 to the Holy City of Najaf, in which the retreaters will meet with renowned scholars in the Islamic Seminary and benefit from their knowledge and expertise, while at the same time connecting to the Ahlul Bayt by way of visiting the Holy Shrines.

This is a fast-paced program in which participants will be plugging into the intellectual hub of the Muslim World and engaging with scholars on a wide range of topics, exchanging thoughts and ideas and being provided with a means to receiving answers to pertinent questions. Our goal is to expose retreaters to seminary studies and provide a bridge to the Najaf Islamic Seminary for pursuit of future studies.

As stated, the focus of this retreat is to provide a platform for intellectual dialogue with the leading minds of the times, and as such should not be viewed as a general visitation trip to the Holy Shrines. Retreaters are expected to participant and keep pace with the rigorous program. Spots are limited so we ask that only serious applicants apply.  Applications will be reviewed by a committee and chosen based on merit.


  • Applicants must:
    • Be between 18-24 years of age and currently enrolled in university or recently graduated
    • Have not previously attended The Najaf Retreat
    • Be North American or European resident – If you do not have North American or European citizenship, you will be responsible for getting your own visa; The Mainstay Foundation will not be providing this for noncitizens.
    • Be active in Shia community projects
    • Provide two references who will attest to their involvement in community work and suitability for the retreat
    • Complete an online application
      • You must submit all requested information. Incomplete applications will not be processed.
    • Hold a valid passport that will expire on or after July 5, 2025
    • Pay the fees before the set deadline (which will be announced)
  • Other information:
    • Duration: Approximately 14 days including travel time
    • Dates (tentative): December 20/21, 2024– January 3/4, 2025
    • Cost (estimated):
      • The Mainstay Foundation will be covering the cost of hotels, food and transportation
        • Participants are responsible for paying Airfare, Visa, and any other associated travel costs.
      • Estimated airline tickets North America: $2,200– $3,000 (USD)
      • Estimated airline tickets EU/UK: £800 – £1,500 (GBP)

** A committee will review all applications and select 40+ attendees based on merit. Once selected, participants will be notified regarding the next steps in the application process including, paying the fee, and submitting the necessary paperwork.

If you are interested in attending the Najaf Retreat, you must fill out the application below.