39th IIUM Convocation: ‘Self-reflection builds your confidence,’ says LLB(S) graduate, Usamah

By Nurin Najmina Zaidi

GOMBAK, 30 November 2023: “Self-reflection contributes to one’s confidence, and that is immensely important when you are putting yourself into a gruelling five-year venture,” advised Usamah bin Mohd Na’im, a graduate from Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyah of Law (AIKOL).

Usamah was conferred his Bachelor of Laws (Shariah) or LLB(S) with Honours degree in the fifth session of the 39th IIUM Convocation Ceremony on 27 November 2023, at IIUM Gombak.

Usamah, who is the son of the current Minister of Religious Affairs, Datuk Dr. Mohd Na’im Mokhtar, looked back on his journey of being a law student who undertook LLB(S), which required five years of studying and advanced proficiency in the Arabic language.

In an interview with IIUM Today, when asked about his motivation in taking Shariah law, his initial desire was to preserve his Arabic literacy as he had been exposed to religious teachings and the Arabic language since primary school.

His desire to pursue LLB(S) burgeoned into a strong conviction as the late Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Datuk Ahmad Mohamed Ibrahim, the founder and former Dean of AIKOL, inspired him. 

“To his last breath, Almarhum strived for the holistic harmonisation of Civil and Shariah law in Malaysia, and for its fruition, harmonising two concepts requires an in-depth understanding of the two,” he stated.

The challenges he faced as a Shariah law student was somewhat on a par with the other law students, with a slight difference. For example, as a novice in Arabic literacy, the LLB (Shariah) course assessments that called for presentations, write-ups, and readings were challenging as he had not fully mastered the Arabic language at the time.

However, Usamah looked on the brighter side in which although it was tough, it supplied him with considerable understanding of the subject matter which would have been more substantial than those without the same experience. 

Furthermore, the help of his lecturers also helped him tremendously. “All in all, it was a worthwhile and memorable experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world,” he said.

Other than that, his family and his friends were also the sources of his motivation to continue studying for the degree. “I feel a sense of greater pride knowing that I have graduated amongst talented people within my batch,” he emphasised.

Usamah and his friends celebrating their graduation.

A piece of advice for students who are embarking on a Shariah law degree, Usamah reassured them that while there will be a time when the students will question their motive for their actions; he thus encouraged them to practise tajdid (renewal) and affirm their intention as this will help them with building their confidence.

“Another thing that nurtures confidence is by having a bunch of selfless, helpful and amazing group of friends surrounding us,” he advised.

With the feeling of immense satisfaction and relief after graduating, Usamah will stride forward with his head held high and move on as normally as he possibly can. At the time of the interview, he informed IIUM Today that was going through chambering and also undertaking a Master’s of Laws (LLM) programme at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).***