My name is Shaimaa and I am a 28 years old PhD student. This is the first time I have joined a course in Islamic studies on an academic level, so I’m really looking forward to these coming weeks!
We have been here for more than a week now, and are slowly starting to settle into the daily routines here in Malaysia. We are getting used to the heat and the special Malaysian food, and the early mornings .
For the past few days there has been a smog covering parts of Kuala Lumpur due to forest fires in Indonesia. Today the PSI (pollutant standards index) rose to above 200, which means we should remain indoors as much as possible and have to wear masks whenever we go outside. Hopefully conditions will get better so we won’t miss our trip to Melaka this weekend.
Our first lesson today was a continuation on Islamic Creed where we started talking about God, his names, attributes and actions. Today’s lessons were more interactive than previous when each student had to present at least one of God’s 99 names and explain its meaning. It was quite interesting and informative to learn that some of the shorter suras you usually read in the prayer, and that you thought you understood had a much deeper meaning and could be discussed for hours. The discussions in class got really lively when we started discussing the topics of free will and destiny. Based on previous year’s diaries, I’m guess this is a popular topic that is quite confusing. Another intense discussion dealt with the fate of people who have never received knowledge about God and Islam. It is a really great opportunity for us to discuss these topics with teachers who are knowledgeable in their field, since almost all lecturers here have a PhD in their respective fields.
After Islamic Creed, we had Ethics and Tasawwuf class where we learned about the relation between islam, iman and ihsan. These topics are usually not discussed in lectures we usually attend in Sweden as they usually only focus on what is haram and halal, and how we should live as Muslims in Sweden.
After classes, some of us went to Megamall for dinner (pancakes! ) with our coordinator Ummu. That’s pretty much all we did today!