In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
"Anyone who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God..." (Nisaa 4:80)
RECENTLY I read with interest an education pamphlet; among others it noted:
The common questions after SPM are:
(a). What to study? Foundation studies, A-Level, STPM...(b). Where to study? Government schools/colleges, local private universities/colleges...(c). What options do I have? Study, work, take Kit-Kat (take a break), don't know...
After SPM, many students are in dilemma and do not know what to choose. This is the time when big decision is to be made in order to chart your next course of study that will eventually determine your next life cycle.
The common routes after SPM are; Foundation Program, Cambridge A Level, Diploma, Local Matriculation, STPM and others such as Australian Matriculation, American Degree Program and Canadian Pre-U.
In an education page of a local newspaper not long time ago, a writer wrote: "A total of 440,682 candidates sat the SPM last year. With the results out recently, it is time for SPM school-leavers to decide on their future — whether to pursue their studies or otherwise.
"And if it is the former, the choice of programme and education institution is not to be taken lightly as it will most likely determine the course of one’s life. Therefore, the decision must be an informed one, taking inclination, interests, abilities and the SPM results into account."
Well dear readers; SPM is 'the stepping stone' for almost all Malaysian students before they could purse their education in the fields they intended or dream off. Passing SPM (some with flying colours) is the first step before students are on the route to be drilled with more 'difficult examinations' in the future such as STPM and A-Level.
If students have to face examinations, then in life we too have to face 'examinations' set up by our Creator - Master of the Universe, Allah SWT. Dear readers, on Monday late afternoon over Radio IKIM I was so touched upon hearing a Chinese woman 'saudara kita' (Muslim convert) saying that everybody would be tested by Allah SWT and if we passed a test, Allah SWT would give us a much tougher one... she said after passing SPM, we had to faced more difficult examinations...well the route would be harder and harder until we leave the world (die).
The Chinese Muslim likened her 'SPM' to the day she was diagnosis of having cancer...Subhanallah, my throat became dry when I heard this! If her 'SPM' was cancer, then what would be her 'STPM', 'diploma' and so on. She continued her story by telling how once she was suspected of being contacted with the HIV virus...well dear readers, compared to her, perhaps our 'SPM' 'was nothing'!
The higher we are on the ladder of success, the trials (examinations) would be harder...remember the prophets were the ones who were tested with great trials followed by those close to them in terms of 'iman' (faith).
Subhanallah dear readers, this world is the place of trials and tribulations. It is not a place for us 'to only enjoy our life' - without facing up and down in life. Scholars had reminded us this world is the place of striving and the Hereafter is the place of reward or punishment, where the believers will be rewarded with Paradise and the disbelievers will be punished with Hell.
The scholars said Paradise is good and none but those who were good will enter it. Allah is Good and accepts nothing but that which is good. So the way of Allah with His slaves is to test them with calamities and tribulations, so that the believer may be known from the 'kaafir' and so that the truthful may be distinguished from the liar, as Allah says: “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested.
"And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test).” - al-‘Ankaboot 29:2-3
Victory and success cannot be achieved except after tests which will bring the good forth from the evil and tell the believer apart from the kaafir, as Allah says: “Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good. Nor will Allah disclose to you the secrets of the Ghayb (Unseen)." - Aal ‘Imraan 3:179
Among the trials with which Allah tests His slaves in order to distinguish the believers from the disbelievers is that which He mentions in the 'ayah' (verse): “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Saabiroon (the patient).
"Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.’ They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones.” - al-Baqarah 2:155-157
To all readers especially myself who was at 'the lowest level of imam' when tested with tribulations please remember what the Prophet s.a.w. had said: “No misfortune or disease befalls a Muslim, no worry or grief or harm or distress – not even a thorn that pricks him – but Allah will expiate for some of his sins because of that.” (Imam al-Bukhaari, 5641)
An 'ustaz' said trials just like examinations are to be faced. "Please don't run away from trials or examinations. Ask yourself if a SPM student could run away from sitting his/her examination. But one thing that differentiate a person from another person in facing trials is their relationship to the Almighty. It is also on how he/she look at the problem. At times we look at a trial is like 'a mountain that would be about to fall open us but others look it as a 'kacang putih' (easy to handle and solve) one. A great scholar once said 'if you 'have Allah SWT on your side' then your problem would be of no magnitude at all'."
The 'ustaz' said, only in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace! Allah says: “Those who believe and whose hearts find tranquility in the remembrance of Allah, verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find tranquility.” (Surah Ar-Radd: 28)
He also says: “Therefore remember me, I will remember you and be grateful to me and do not reject faith.” (Surah Al-Baqarah: 152)
And from the hadith, on the authority of Abu Hurairah (r.a.), the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said that Allah said: “Indeed I Am as My servant presumes Me to be. And I Am with him when he remembers Me, so if he remembers Me to himself then I remember him to Myself. And if he remembers Me amongst a company, I remember him amongst a company greater than it and if he draws close to Me a span of a hand I draw near to him the span of an arm. And if he draws near Me the span of an arm, I draw near him the span of two outstretched arms. And if he takes a step towards Me, I quickly step towards him.” (Imam Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
In another hadith on the authority of Abu Musa al-Ash’aree (r.a.), the Messenger of Allah said: “The comparison of the one who remembers Allah and the one who doesn’t is like that of the living and the dead.” (Imam Al-Bukhari)
To be calm in life (including facing His trials) the basic thing is to performed all orders from Allah SWT and refrain from doing all things forbidden by Him. For example, He orders us to 'solat' (prayers) just do it and He forbidden us from drinking liquor then leave it. If a student readies himself/herself for his/her SPM or STPM so that he/she would not panic, then what are we waiting for...be ready for our turn to be tested by Allah SWT!