One of the scariest things a student can think of is getting up late on an exam-day. There are many of us who do not sleep for fear of this. 2 years ago*, Amatullah lived the nightmare we all never wish to have. However, she took a valuable lesson out of this. Read on to find out what she realised…..
* This article was written two years back by Amatullah
Yesterday was a very ordinary day. I hardly studied anything and wasn’t in the mood, so by 12:30 I decided: “Just go to bed and then be awake fresh at Fajr time” I did exactly that and woke up right in time to pray Tahajjud and Witr and wait for Fajr. After Fajr revised for the last practical exam I was to have at 10:00 am that day…Had no plans to sleep. Why should I? I thought…I got a few hours of sleep at night and that should be enough. Read Qur’aan and tried to keep myself occupied. By 8:00 though I felt a little sleepy and wondered what to do until it was time to leave for college. Telling myself its better to get an hour of rest I went to bed setting the alarm for 9:00 AM…And then I was drifting in the word of sleep…sleeping beauty….zzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Suddenly I heard a gasp and a low scream: “Aathifa!! It’s 10:00 o’clock!!!” Panic struck me, I had no clue what to do. The exam starts at sharp 10 am and finishes in barely 10 mins!! I reached for my glasses, then raced from my bed directly to my clothes stand and snatched my abaya, scarf and niqaab. Then I snatched my bag, unknowingly picked up my lenses case and ran out of the room, waking my friends on the way out…There was no thinking…there was no time to be lost at all. I had no idea what the others were doing at that moment, I felt too dazed. Before I knew it there were 6 of us standing, shaking at the door of the hostel, begging the driver to come quickly and pick us up….each second took a breath away and I could hear groans…my mind raced, the exam is gone…
As we made it to college I was half hopeful (silently revising for the exam) and half thinking there’s no chance. On reaching college, we were a sight to be seen. 6 girls literally running for their lives from the door of the college to the examination hall.
As we entered the building though….My hopes crashed….Girls were walking out laughing and smiling at such a simple paper. They glanced at us panting and running in shock “You missed the exam? “. I had no time to waste, or listen to anything, I just ran for my life or so I felt…
I opened the door of a class where girls were still inside, and stood at the door panting and staring around. For the life of me I never thought I’d put myself in a situation and look so desperate in front of a whole load of girls and 2 professors. But I did, I was ready to do anything right then that would make them allow my friends and I to do the exam….10 mark exam…the girls were staring at me in confusion and pity. “What’s wrong? You missed the exam? Try sitting down, they may re do it.” And a very cute question I heard at that time that actually made me half smile: “Why are you wearing glasses?”
We tried out with them, but the doctors refused saying there’s no way they could repeat the slides without permission from the section head. We had no choice but to walk to her office. My friends all got up to leave. I didn’t. I sat down a few seconds to comprehend what was happening and to make sure that I don’t cry in public. Even then, I put my hand in my bag and took out my lenses case. Right there, in the midst of all that havoc and mess I put on my lenses…I then followed my running friends to the office. However, I calmly tried to walk ignoring all the questions around me and trying to regain the respect I had just lost looking so fluttered and decomposed.We tried to explain to the supervisor why we were late. There was only one reason WE OVERSLEPT, yes ALL 6 of us. The supervisor and professors looked at us in disbelief, no surely these girls must have some other reason??!! One of us tried bring another reason up: “The driver didn’t come in time” That annoyed the supervisor and made her storm off the office in rage. We stared behind her and decided: “We just need stick to the truth, no false excuses, we made the mistake and we should accept it” (another lesson learnt- truth saves, not falsehood!)She returned a while later and looked at us again. We looked at her pleadingly giving her almost every possible excuse and the saddest expressions. A couple of the girls broke down crying “Butttt we’ll FAIL if we don’t get these 10 marks” and it looked like almost all the rest would start crying anytime. A true picture of being at the mercy of someone, a true picture of helplessness… After some reprimanding she did realize we were really in a situation that needed some help. She gave us a few options to help us compensate the 10 marks we lost while warning us. Nothing is sure “till I speak to the Dean”…hard words, so much uncertainity. “Pray to Allah to soften His heart” she added (Truly in Allah’s hands everything lies; our hearts too)
As we walked out of her office dazed, I was dazed. Confused. I couldn’t believe we just missed an exam by a few minutes. I couldn’t believe that 6 people can sleep past their alarms and miss an exam altogether. I couldn’t believe that an exam we could have all easily scored 10 we would have to be awating the mercy of the Dean and the staff to assure some of those marks. I would never want to be in such a situation again…
While we walked out, we decided that there’s no way we could meet the rest of the girls and answer their questions. The shock and embarrassment was enough for a day, so we walked in the empty corridors of the 1st floor waiting for some of the crowd to leave.It was then I started thinking over what happened. I started pondering how similar our situation was to the people on the Day of Judgement or just before death. Running in fright, begging, pleading but then only knowing it’s too late-there’s nothing that can be done. We’ll BEG to have another chance to live in this world but it will be rejected. Just like our supervisor told us it was IMPOSSIBLE for us to repeat the exam no matter what. This was 10 marks out of a 100 mark exam. That will be our whole life, honour and body at stake.Allah says: Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: “My Lord! Send me back, “So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!”No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected. (23:99-100)
And He also says: O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, then they are the losers.
And spend of that with which We have provided you, before death comes to one of you and he says: “My Lord! If only You would give me respite for a little while (i.e. return to the worldly life), then I should give of my wealth , and be among the righteous.”
And Allah grants respite to none when his appointed time comes. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.
As I realized the way we ran for a minor 10 marks in Dunya I felt ashamed that there were so many days I didn’t worry about what I was doing for my Akhirah. We were ready to give everything to make them allow us to re sit a little exam, how much are we ready to sacrifice for Allah’s Sake? For the one who Created us and nourishes us everyday?
I am still in surprise and shock that 6 people could all oversleep…and then a thought struck my mind. Aren’t there days that we slept past Fajr Salaah? Probably not just 6 of us, many many more from the same hostel. Aren’t there days when families miss Fajr Salah?
Families with so many adults all oversleep and wake up only way past time? Why then isn’t it a big deal? Why don’t we question or wonder how come no one out of the 6 people woke up in time to pray and wake the others to pray. Subhanallah it shows where our priorities are! When 6 people miss an exam its the funniest, most unbelievable thing that could ever happen. (We still find it hilarious) But when families and a load of people sleep through the Salaah time we are quick to remind ourselves of the Hadith: Anas ibn Maalik said: The Messenger of Allah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) said: ‘If one of you sleeps and misses a prayer, or forgets it, then let him pray it as soon as he remembers(Reported by Muslim, 1104).
It made me feel so awed and Grateful that our Creator was so Merciful towards us. He considers sleeping past the most important duty towards Him a valid excuse. Something that we humans in Dunya consider irresponsible and funny. But yet, we take it so lightly. How come we don’t get as upset when we miss a prayer? Don’t we realize that it is the key to our paradise and is the FIRST thing we will be questioned about on the Day of Judgement. How many prayers do we rush through not knowing what we are reading and how many people miss their prayers and hardly feel any remorse on waking up? Do we rush past our exam papers not concentrating at all and sleep past them so easily? Surely we have lost our focus on what we are really here for. SubhanAllah…
And then I thought of something else that made me and the other girls giggle. I remembered how I stopped to remove my glasses and wear my lenses in the middle of so much panic. At that time I still bothered about how people are seeing my for the first time with glasses in college and at how granny-ish I looked. The thought actually made me stop doing everything for a half a minute and put them on though I was so scared of what may happen. I was embarrassed that the people saw me in such a state so I tried my best to settle myself and look unruffled. In other words I was concerned how I looked to the people in front of me. That made me remember our physical condition on the Day of Judgement. Glasses? Grannyish look? Uncombed hair? Pyjamas and nighties under open abayas? NO!!! We will stand before our Lord in front of the WHOLE world NAKED, yes I said it right- naked
. And none of us will be concerned at all. How frightened would we be?Ibn Abbas said that the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) said:“You will be summoned on the Day of Resurrection bare-footed, naked and uncircumcised. The first person to be dressed on that day will be Prophet Abraham.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)Aishah, the Mother of the Believers, exclaimed: “Men and women both! Won’t they all look at each other?” The Prophet said: “The situation they are in is so grim that they would have no time for this!” (Saheeh Muslim)
On a day I thought I was most desperate and afraid of the consequences I was able to stop to wear my lenses and friends said they stopped to look at their faces in the mirror. Surely beyond frightening must be the day when we stand before Him naked and have no time to think at all about our physical appearance, neither would we be in any situation to look at anyone else!!!
The story of our exam is still under consideration. After the Mercy of Allah and relying on duas we hope that the staff will consider our situation and make an excuse for us….
But we really got to realize that our main aim being here is to pass this Dunya and work for the Akhirah. Somehow in this busy, crazy, fast life we’ve seemed to have lost our focus and forget our priorities. Allah out of His Divine Mercy has given us so many concessions and ease to worship Him. It doesn’t make sense why we always tend to lag behind. Shouldn’t we hurry and work to Please our Lord? So that we won’t be losers on the Day we stand frightened, humbled and naked at the total Mercy of our Lord? May we instead be of those whom Allah says to addtessing them “Peace be with you, I am Pleased with you” May Allah make us of His righteous Slaves and give us Success in Dunya and Akhirah! Aameen!