The Painful End of Another Semester


If you're still a full-time student or have recently spoken to a full-time student, then you know why there seems to be that much more stress in the air these days. Alas, another semester is coming to an end. Students are scrabbling to get assignments completed in the midst of studying for exams with, of course, little time to enjoy for sleeping.

Since I was in my mid-teens, I have had three "life skills" goals - learn to sew, cook, and drive. I guess I figured that once I had these under my belt, I would be set to go through the motions of life, married or not. I have not proven mastery in any of these domains, yet I wonder if I ever will. My idea of 'achieving' these goals is to develop them to a point of automaticity, yet I observe others who have been doing them for years and years but they still run into 'problems' and experience learning curves. So really, I cannot count on being competent enough to have the luxury of slacking in my delivery of any of these essential skills for a 21st century Muslim woman. But does it matter? It doesn't, because that's not the point of achieving these skills.

My reflective point, you ask? Well, any goals that I have in my worldly life are hopefully a means to making things better in my eternal life. Meaning that I only want or need to be perform certain acts diligently for the sake of benefiting myself and my family for the sake of earning God's pleasure for the sake of being among those He chooses to bestow His infinite mercy upon. That's my hope, God willing.

Here's the problem, I'm not stressed enough. I am not like full-time students, and yet I am in the midst of an exam as I write this. I kid you not. This life is a test, and this is absolutely no joke. It's reality, the only reality that a sane person can accept. Yet I feel my failure. I sense it because I am looking for the point where I will be equipped without worry over certain things so that maybe I'll be peaceful enough to concentrate on the exam. Do you see the sad irony of what I'm saying??

I'd like this to make sense to more than just myself, so consider this quotation from the English translation of Imam Mawlud's "Purification of the Heart" with the commentary by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf:

Imam Mawlud says that dissatisfaction is a motivator to seek out better character. A human being is spiritually stalled as long as he content and smug with his state.

Thus, I must ask, do I have unrest because of minor things of this world that won't serve my goal, yet at the same time I experience some element of peace in that which is everlasting but of which I cannot claim possession?

The simplest way to summarize the underlying thoughts of this post is this... most exams don't deserve stress, but this one does. This test of life requires full dedication and the sacrifice of more rather than less. Am I even aware that this is a test? Is my internal self conscious of what the test is meant to achieve? And finally, what sincere effort am I putting toward success in this test?

Glory be to God, the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth, the One deserving of all praises. May His blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad, his companions, his family, all the messengers and prophets, and all the righteous people.


[a}ma said...

Hi, I came here through much bloghopping. Such an insightful post~!! I love it!

Farzeen said...


Hi! Thanks for popping by... I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]



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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]