On September 1, according to tradition, Knowledge Day and Freshman Day took place at the Bolgar Islamic Academy. Masters and doctoral students, Academy staff and teachers took part in the solemn event on the occasion of the beginning of the new academic year.

In his welcoming speech, Acting Academy Rector Aynur Timerkhanov emphasized that this year the Bolgar Islamic Academy has enrolled more than 50 students, including masters and doctoral students, as well as theology students. A total of 26 regions of the Russian Federation and five CIS countries are represented in the Academy. For the first time this year representatives of the Republic of North Ossetia – Alania, the Karachay-Cherkess Republic and the Republic of Belarus entered the Academy.

“It is pleasant that 11 graduates of the Master’s degree program expressed a desire to enter doctoral studies. Not all of them were able to pass strict selection, but the opportunity always remains. We have noted a marked increase in interest in our master’s program in theology. This is an opportunity for our students to receive, in addition to the basic religious education, a secular education with a state diploma. This year we were accredited, and by the end of the year we will have our first graduate students who were enrolled in this program in 2020,” Timerkhanov said in his address.

The acting rector also emphasized that the high competition for admission to the Academy is connected with constructive and fruitful work, which builds the university with the spiritual departments of Muslims in the regions and with the leading Islamic universities of the country.

“The student is the central figure in any higher education institution, and the work of the rector, the activities of the teaching staff, and the entire infrastructure of the educational institution should be aimed at his success. The student must receive a quality education, get a good job and fulfill himself in life. All our work is aimed at creating comfortable conditions for receiving quality Islamic religious education at the level of standards of the world’s leading Islamic universities,” Timerhanov added, wishing undergraduates and doctoral students to get the most out of the Academy and improve their knowledge.

In turn, First Deputy Mufti of Tatarstan, Chairman of the Academy’s Board of Founders Ilfar Hazrat Hasanov reminded the audience of an āyah from the Qur’an, which says: “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?”.

“The Messenger of Allah Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The Messenger of Allah Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whom Allah wills good, he will give understanding of religion. In Tatarstan today one can get reliable knowledge of Islam from the basics to the academic level. Graduates of the Academy are outstanding specialists whose research work reveals the richest spiritual heritage of Russian Muslims not only to the world but also to Russian Muslims”, stated Khasanov.

He also stressed that the domestic theological heritage is a bottomless treasure trove for the scientific community.

“At the same time, you and I must remember that scientific research should not be conducted for the sake of worldly prestige, high position. The only goal of a scientist is to please Allah Almighty. Your path in science must follow the path of Allah, only then you will get to the truth and happiness in both worlds,” Ilfar Hazrat Hasanov admonished Masters and doctoral students.

Aleksey Rybalko, head of the department for educational programs and projects, deputy head of the Department for Cooperation with Religious Associations at the Domestic Policy Department of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, stressed that preserving cultural heritage and spiritual and moral traditions is especially important in the face of modern challenges.

“New spiritual-educational institutions and enlightenment centers have been built and are being created with state support, an important place among which is occupied by the Bolgar Islamic Academy, which has become one of the educational landmarks of Russia. Today, the Academy is a modern educational institution, a major venue for scientific forums and events of national, federal and international formats and an important element of interreligious cooperation”, Rybalko said.

First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Muftis Council Rushan Hazrat Abbyasov also said a word of farewell to students studying at the Academy, underlining that the Academy gives a unique opportunity to receive new and important knowledge, study sciences that allow developing the religion Islam in modern society, preserving ties of friendship, peace and agreement in a multinational and multi-religious society.

“I would like to express special words of gratitude to the faculty who impart important knowledge. Today we have a long-awaited opportunity to defend master’s and doctoral dissertations. This is a new level of development of Islamic education in our country,” Abbyasov concluded.

Also speaking about the importance of acquiring reliable religious knowledge were academy professors Saif Al-Asri, Anwar Ahmad, and Ahmad Sheikh Mustafa. In their speeches, they instructed all students of the Bolgar Islamic Academy.

The ceremony ended with the presentation of student cards to new masters and doctoral students.