If you fall, stay there for a bit

By Maryam Qadeer

End of school year. Teenage over-emphasized. New best friends. Birthday party in its complete glory. Suddenly, talk turns to the darker of subjects; term results. It is not that I was a bad student – far from it – but I had had my school changed recently, and I was still struggling to gain my balance. We did not have the greatest physics teacher, and the final exam had been a rocky ride.

I do not know how you see it, but my gut feeling is pretty trustworthy. In fact, if ever I dismiss it, that usually spells a harsh lesson. As everybody talked of their exams, I was suddenly gripped with a fear so acute, it nearly choked me speechless. I feared I’d fail physics and never make it to the next grade. Raised up by typical Asian parents, with good positions and laurels most of my academic life, the prospect was my ultimate nightmare.

How shall I ever face my family? What will my brothers say? How will I show my report to parents? Will I have to forge a signature? Oh Lord, I will not have to repeat the school year, will I? Am I worse than ruined? The intense fear, stupid as it seems now, clawed at my insides. Thankfully, it was time to leave soon.

All the way home, I chanted a fervent prayer to my Lord: Help, ya Allah! I cannot fail! You are the most Merciful, please grant my prayer and erase my sins. I won’t ever be lazy about ‘esha again (a resolve broken a thousand times over; goes to show the extent of my pathetic desperation)! (and the best one) I promise I shall not be lax about studies again ya Rabb!

Home, and no sooner had the ‘esha call to prayer gone up, that I rushed to make wudhu. The prayer mat found me soon after, praying the perfect prayer that I knew: performing the sunnahs, making a nice bow, long prostrations, careful recitation and finally, an intense du’a in order that I may pass. I cried, oh so hard! Tears streamed down my eyelids as I remembered question after horrible question and I beseeched Allah ta’ala for delivery. I only wanted to pass.

And then, I quieted down. The clouds had lifted and hope shone through. I somehow knew Allah had listened to me, and granted my prayer. I did not fear failure. I thanked Him. I already knew. Lo and behold, pass I did. Albeit with a measly 58% which indicated that 8 marks less and I would’ve been on the other side, but this was a lesson well learnt.

Humans are indeed ungrateful beasts who only remember their needs. Yet, we haven’t realised the need for remembering Allah often. Like a person whose thirst for water has been long overdue and only remembers very late, we have to be careful lest it is finally too late to remember Him.

Say, “Who can protect you at night or by day from the Most Merciful?” But they are, from the remembrance of their Lord, turning away. (Surah Al Anbiya: Verse 42)

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