The article deals with the reform concepts within the ḥawza of Najaf in the early 20th century. It analyses articles published in the Shiite journal al-ʿIrfān by members of the group “al-shabība al-ʿāmilīya al-najafīya” (“The Najafi-ʿĀmilī-Youth”). The shabība was founded in 1925 by young students of Najaf who embraced a radical and comprehensive critique and corresponding agenda of transformation and reform within the religious, political, and societal spheres. The young students of the shabība published articles in al-ʿIrfān on a regular basis dealing with topics as the state of the ḥawza, the political circumstances in Iraq as well as intellectual and political trends in the surrounding Islamic world and Europe. They can be labelled an early reform movement within the ḥawza that can at the same time be situated within the broader nahḍa-movements in the Arab world. The article seeks to analyse some articles published in al-ʿIrfān in the late 20s of the 20th century and to explore the topical and ideological self-positioning of the shabība apparent in the articles. The analysis features the differing but comprehensive processes of change that affected the ḥawza in this period and made a re-positioning within new contexts possible and necessary.