Reflection on the Effects of GCSE Results

Yousuf Saleh - 29th August 2014

All Praise is due to Allah (swt) who is the Sustainer of all the Universe. May the peace and blessings of Allah (swt) be upon Muhammad (saws), his family, his companions and all those who follow him in righteousness until the day of resurrection. Amma Bad. Respected brothers and sisters at home, today‘s Khutba is about ‘Reflection on the effects of GCSE results’

Recently millions of teenagers received their GCSE results. It is the time of the year when the worry and uncertainty comes to an end with the opening of an envelope. Some are very curious and interested to open the envelope and some cannot bear to open it. The envelope causes falling tears, some were delighted, some were disappointed, and there was gratitude and ingratitude.

No doubt, all of us have been through this or something similar in our lives. This is an important reminder, and a mercy from Allah. Why? It is because this entire life is an exam. The consequence and result of our deeds will be handed over to everyone, without any doubts. Allah (swt) and His Prophet (saw) informed us that this life is that of an examination, from your first breath to your last.

Allah (swt) said in the Quran ch-67 and verses-1-2“ Most Exalted is He who holds all control in His hands; who has power over all things; who created death and life to test which of you carry out the best acts. He is the Mighty, the Forgiving.” In ch-18, ve-8 Allah (swt) said, “Verily We have placed everything on earth with attractive things so that We may test people to find out which of them do best.”

The exams and tests that we experience during our lives, are minute versions of the real test we are going through right now, and the emotions we feel when we open that envelope, area small reminder of the intense joy, delight, relief, regret and sorrow (may Allah protect us), that people will feel on the Day of Judgment, where the Final Results will be given. Allah (swt) said in the Quran ch-69 and verse-19-32 “Anyone who is given his Record in his right hand- will say, ‘Here is my Record, read it. I knew I would meet my Reckoning,’------------------------ and so he will have a pleasant life in a lofty Garden, - it’s fruit are near at hand-. It will be said, ‘Eat and drink with all blessings as a reward for what you have done in days gone by.’-

But anyone who is given his Record in his left hand he will cry out and will say, ‘oh dear! If only I were not given my record’. -And knew nothing of my Reckoning.– How I wish death had been the end of me. -My wealth has not helped me and my power has vanished.’ ‘Take him, put a collar on him, lead him to burn in the blazing Fire, and [bind him] in a chain seventy meters long.”

In ch-84 and from verse 6 Allah (swt) said, “You humans, indeed you make great efforts in your journey towards your Rabb and will soon meet with your efforts’. whoever is given his record in his right hand, an easy reckoning will be taken from him, and he will return happily to his family,- but whoever is given his record from behind his back will cry out for destruction–– he will burn in the blazing Fire. He used to be happy among his family. He thought he would never return [to his Lord]–– indeed he will! His Lord was watching him.”

Respected brothers and sisters at home, these verses do not require much explanation. We probably all know how it feels when you get a good result; how you want to share it, show your loved ones. Likewise we probably all know how it feels to fail an exam or test in this life; how we try to hide it, and even wish we never received it.

But can you imagine failing an exam so badly that you wish you were destroyed? This is why these tests and exams are a blessing for those who reflect. The whole concept of examination and testing itself can also be used to draw many important reflections from.

I remember whenever we used to enter ‘exam season’, normal life used to turn completely upside-down. The entire daily routine changes, we sleep less, No socializing. No TV. No going out. We might even forget to eat and drink. What is most amazing, perhaps is that all of this happens, for something we probably don’t even like!

The lesson that immediately comes to mind when we consider this is that if I can transform my entire daily routine for something like an exam, which may determine what job I get or what university I go to, then I can know, I must—also transform my life for the real exam, which will determine where I remain for eternity. Therefore a successful person is one who is aware and continually reminding others of the nature of this life, and the need to work towards the Final Result. Making small changes in one’s routine, such as performing salah at prescribed times, to be aware about procrastinations, highlighting the importance of life, avoiding arrogances, obeying parents and teachers can have a monumental effect on one’s final grade.

Respected brothers and sisters at home, when we look to the spirit of exams. The main objectives of an examination, can be summarized as: one. To drive you to do better as a student; two. To prove yourself as worthy of being in that institution or receiving the honor of that qualification; and three. to distinguish between better and worse students.

And it is no surprise then that Allah says: in ch-29. Ve-1-3 “Alif Lam Mim. Do people think they will be left alone after saying ‘We believe’ without being put to the test? We tested those who went before them: Allah will certainly mark out which ones are truthful and which are lying.” Just as we do not expect any student as qualified that he deserves to belong to a high-ranking university without earning it, we similarly must not expect that the gates of Paradise will designate our names, just because we say, “we believe”, without going through some kind of effort to walk the pace. Rather we must strive and struggle, to manifest our sincerity and submission to Allah, and commitment to His lofty Cause.

Respected brothers and sisters at home, when asked to pay lip service, each and every one of us will probably agree that this life is a test, and the most important test we will ever face. However, actions speak louder than words. The intelligent person has no choice but to try his or her best to strive and struggle to get the highest mark possible, and to encourage others to do the same. They will not be satisfied with doing the bare minimum, but rather they will try continually to do better and better as they travel through this life.

That is the intelligent person, though. As for the heedless person (may Allah protect us), he is preoccupied with the comparatively unimportant smaller tests and trials, whilst ignoring the main test of life. As he reduces the quality of his slavery to Allah when he is revising for exams, instead of increasing it. Happiness and success lay beneath the struggle and patience. When we lack these two we can commit sins only.

May Allah (swt) give us the thawfeeq to take every moment of our life as an exam and to receive our records in our right hand on the day of resurrection.

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