Gaining an A* In Ungratefulness to Allah
As the exam period looms ahead, the minds of many students across the educational spectrum are filled with one very simple question; “will I pass all my exams this year?” Of course, a serious student needs to entertain this question, just as a sailor needs to entertain the possibility of dangerous weather and high tides. However, what can place a student in deep waters, as it were, are their resulting actions, because it is these which can cause them to think they have braved the storm only to be later hit with a tidal wave which completely knocks them off course.
The nature of study is such that it can completely engross a person who puts their mind to it. Many bookish students find themselves so focussed on their studies that they lose focus. Having paid little attention to the state of their faith (Iman), they will, without realising it, have allowed their hearts to become completely devoid of the remembrance of Allah (SWT).
This will continue, until such a person reaches their all-important exams. It is at this point they will account themselves, so to speak, and realise they have allowed their Iman to drop to harmfully low levels. They will remember success comes from Allah (SWT), vaguely recalling how they once heard somewhere that Allah (SWT) Says; “And whatever blessing or good thing you have, it is from Allah” (16:53) – realising they are in dire need of the help of An-Nasir (The Helper).
Thus the person will actively work to gain closeness to Allah (SWT), praying all their five daily prayers on time with Nawafil Salah, as well as fasting Mondays and Thursdays, and attending the Masjid more regularly. Having located their copy of Allah’s Book, they will find themselves reading the Qur’an on a daily basis, managing to fit all of this around their revision timetable beautifully. What is more, they will find that despite such a seemingly busy schedule, revision has also become easier, and it is almost as if Allah (SWT) who is Al-Basit (The Expander), has Expanded their hearts and minds.
This pattern of constant worship will continue, and increase right up to the day the exam results are published.
On that day, Fajr Salah will be prayed on time and they will be at the gates of their school in the early hours, anxiously waiting to be given their results. When they receive their results, they will be overjoyed. “I passed! I did it!” they will exclaim, jumping for joy. As they then turn to their friends, something only Allah (SWT) sees will happen in their hearts. Pride and arrogance will seep in. Suddenly, they will start to utter to their friends such phrases as, ‘It was easy, I knew I would do it!’, and ‘I revised so hard for this, I deserve those grades!’ Almost instantaneously, the person will have denied Allah (SWT) and taken all the success and achievements for themselves, forgetting that success is from Allah (SWT): “And He gave you all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them” (16:53).
At this critical point, such a person becomes, figuratively speaking, a car without brake pads; a car crash waiting to happen.
With their new found success, the person will start to lapse in their Salah, the Quran will go back on the dusty shelf, and the optional fasting will stop. Allah (SWT) is Ar-Rafi (The Exalter), but He is also Al-Mudhill (The Humiliator), and Al-Adl (The Just). Sometimes, people who so openly deny Allah’s Blessings are painfully reminded of this.
The forgetful student will go a year or even more, increasing in their forgetfulness of Allah (SWT). Then will come the fateful day of another exam. They will think to themselves, ‘I passed the last exam, so I will pass this one.’ Of course, they will fail, and the world will come crashing down around them, crumbling the arrogance they had developed in the process.
Having been reminded by Allah (SWT), the next step is up to them; either they return back to Allah (SWT) and be granted further success, or continue to deny Him and face further failure.
As students prepare for their exams, they need to try to safeguard themselves from such a sad state of affairs and from such an appalling, ungrateful relationship with their Creator. The way to do that is, quite simply, to follow His Guidance and Instructions: “Therefore Remember Me [by prayer and glorification], I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and never be ungrateful to Me” (2:152).
A person should never let success cause them to forget Allah (SWT), or they may be reminded through pain, misery and anguish.
By Aslom Ullah