Master students of the Bolgar Islamic Academy are undertaking internship at the Bilad Al Sham University in Damascus, Syria from April 27 till May 3. Representatives of the Academy leadership, interm vice-Rector for Research Ruslan Sayakhov, head of the department of religious and humanitarian disciplines Ramil Gizzatullin and lecturer Dr Ayman al-Zahravi came to Damascus with the students. The international traineeship is taking place within the framework of cooperation agreement signed between the Academy and Bilad Al Sham university last year.

During the internship the academy’s Masters students have attended lectures given by leading Syrian experts in the field of kalam, quranic studies, hadith studies and scientific research methodology on such topics as the historical roots of modern quranic studies, the impact of methodological integration in the term “hadith” on repulsing suspicion of the Sunnah, rules of islamic interpretation of the Quran text, most important arguments of rejecting Sunnah and response to them, etc.

Representatives of the academy’s leadership, in turn, will be introduced to the experience of the educational process and theological research.

The trip will also include a series of meetings with prominent Syrian theologians, a visit to the Ministry of Awqaf and the university of Damascus.

“It is noteworthy that Bilad Al Sham university, like the Bolgar Academy, pays great attention to the study of theological heritage: about 40% of the research papers in the master’s program are devoted to theological and textual analysis,” said Ruslan Sayakhov.

Ramil Gizzatullin emphasised that the internship provided an extensive cultural programme. Thus, the students visited the graves of the Prophet Muhammad’s (“peace be upon him”) companions in the Bab as-Sahir cemetery, the tombs of Imams Ibn Asakir, Al-Haskafi, Ibn Abidin, Khalid al-Naqshbandi maulana and Sheikh Muhyiddin ibn Arabi. In addition, students and staff of the Academy visited the Umayyad Mosque, participated in a majlis to celebrate the transmission of hadith in Dar al-Hadith, and listened to a lecture by Dr Mohamed Abdel Sattar al-Sayyed, Minister of endowments (awqaf) and chairman of the board of trustees of the Bilad Al Sham University.

The Academy staff met with the management of the Shariah Faculty and discussed the specifics of the teaching process and the specifics of the organisation of research activities. The representatives of the Academy were also able to get acquainted with the scientific and educational complex (maqam), which includes a preparatory level of education (corresponding to grades 6-9 in Russia), secondary education (grades 10-11), faculties, masters and doctoral studies.