Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Hard Lesson

A special dedication to all my students who are currently in the midst of final exam.

I know that they are having their final exams right now. But that day I received a message from one of them saying something of the following:
"Madam, someone broke into our car and stole everything, my laptop, my books, my notes, my Qur'an...." My heart goes out to her.
The exam is stressful enough, and to lose all the precious valuable belongings while in the midst of preparing for the exam is a double blow. But in the same message she managed to say, "Allah is trying to teach me something.."
Subhaanallah...may Allah bless her. Of course she is not jumping up and down celebrating her loss, but she has the heart of a true student. A student who is in a continuous state of learning, where everything that happens is considered as a lesson to be learnt.

The thing is, when something is meant to happen, there is nothing in the world that we can do to prevent it. And, when something is not meant to happen, there is nothing in the world that we can do to make it happen. Yes, we should take lesson from what had happened and be extra careful the next time. But we should not dwell upon regretting that "I should have done this or that.. if I do that..if..if.."
If she is meant to be successful in her exam, she will, with or without her notes and books. And what had happened is part of the plan that He, The Most Merciful, has laid for her. Nothing escapes His mercy and wisdom.
This event reminded me of the story about the great scholar, Imam Al-Ghazali.

On his way back from Jurjan to Tus al-Ghazzali was robbed by highwaymen. 
When they left him he followed them but was told: "Leave us or you will die." 
He replied: "I ask you for Allah’ sake to only return to me my notes, for they are of no use to you." The robber asked him: "What are those notes?"
 He said: "Books in that satchel, for the sake of which I left my country in order to hear, write, and obtain their knowledge." 
The robber laughed and said: "How can you claim that you obtained their knowledge when we took it away from you and left you devoid of knowl-edge!" 
Then he gave an order and the satchel was returned to him. 
Al-Ghazzali said: "This man’s utterance was divinely inspired (hâdhâ mustantaqun): Allah caused him to say this in order to guide me. When I reached Tus I worked for three years until I had memorized all that I had written down. 
(Taken from here)

That was a significant turning point in the great imam's life. A lesson from a robber.

Back to my student who had lost her books. Just a few days before the event, I met her at the masjid. She was commenting about how some lecturers were not teaching in a way that she expected. What she said was true and she has the right as a student to voice out her opinion and dissatisfaction. And she was not in any way condemning her lecturer. I know that deep down she has maintained a deep respect towards her  lecturers.
So, I reminded her that, while lecturers do have their responsibility in teaching, as a mature student, she must be responsible in her own learning. And more importantly a student must always remember the purpose behind learning, that is to seek the pleasure of Allah, to fulfill the obligation as a muslim in answering the call for "Iqra'...Read.. "
"Iqra' bismi rabbik..Read in the name of your Lord.."
Forgetting that purpose will leave you groping in  the dark. And you will find that your hard work and your struggle to be very tiring and exhausting, because your had lost the meaning of what you are doing.

Besides that, we must always focus on ourselves, on what we can do, not what others should do. You cannot change your teacher, but you can change yourself. Imam Ghazali decided to change his learning method and not worry about the robber. He considered the robber as God-sent, to remind him about his purpose in learning.

May Allah bless her and lead her to the path taken by the pious learned man, Imam Ghazali. Ameen...

Yesterday I was clever, I want to change the world.
Today I am wise, I want to change myself. (Sheikh Navaid Aziz, Twins of Faith)


Sarah Ruhana said...

Assalamualaikum mdm
mdm sihat?
Saya Sarah Ruhana
skrg tinggal 2 paper lagi 13 & 14hb
doakan saya & kawan2 :)
Skrg madam mengajar di Gombak kan?
Can't wait to see u (:
take care
May Allah bless u

mawar said...

Waalaikumsalam Sarah,
Alhamdulillah..I am good. Yes, I am in Gombak now. Come visit us here at the new office. All the best in your exam. :)