Reflections on Exams

SubhanAllah, yesterday I had an exam for which I was freaking out. I’ve never been this scared for an exam. My stomach was clenched so hard it hurt. Hands were tight from nervousness. My heart was beating. I felt nauseous. SubhanAllah, I can’t explain the fear. I don’t know why but I was scared out of my mind.

Alhamdulillah, a friend told me to make du’aa and pray – I did that multiple times before the exam. Alhamdulillah, felt better and another friend and I made our way to the exam. It was the usual chaos – everyone standing outside, frantically repeating concepts to each other so as not to forget. We go inside to write the exam. Half an hour into it, the fire alarm starts ringing. We stayed put (someone obviously pulled it) but the firetrucks arrived and police had us leave. SubhanAllah, lol, I can’t explain the joy now. I didn’t want to write this exam and now we were outside being the immature children we are: laughing, joking, talking about the exam. 20 minutes of standing outside led us back inside to our seats. What? We thought we’d be done. The fire alarms were still ringing – we were told to stay put till they were turned off. Another 20 minutes of sitting there with our hands on our ears led to our Prof coming out and telling us we’d be writing it on a make up day.

SubahnAllah, the joy now was unbelievable. I just felt so happy and giggly. Everyone rushed out and ran away as fast as they could (duh) except for the few who were almost done (subhanAllah, some kid behind me finished the exam in the time I had done 2 pages. Wow.)

Last night as I was attempting to fall asleep early for once, I was just thinking about my day. And it hit me – this was one exam I was scared about out of the 40 I will have for my undergrad. Can you imagine the exam of the akhirah? How will it be standing on Yawm alQiyaamah? Can you imagine how your stomach will clench, your throat will get dry, your palms will sweat, and the need to be sick will be? Can you imagine getting your book of deeds in your left hand? That exam will be the worst of your life. That pain, those feelings, will never go away. How about your right hand? Alhamdulillah, the absolute joy inshaAllah, and relief, pure, beautiful relief.

Those feelings of my whirlwind Saturday – I can’t even imagine them being multiplied to an unbearable intensity. What have we prepared for this ultimate exam? Will we get what we want in the end or have to deal with an eternity of pain?

Surah Haaqah:

That Day shall you be brought to Judgement, not a secret of you will be hidden. (18) Then as for him who will be given his Record in his right hand will say: “Here! read my Record! (19) “Surely, I did believe that I shall meet my Account!” (20) So he shall be in a life, well-pleasing. (21) In a lofty Paradise, (22) The fruits in bunches whereof will be low and near at hand. (23) Eat and drink at ease for that which you have sent on before you in days past! (24)

But as for him who will be given his Record in his left hand, will say: “I wish that I had not been given my Record! (25) “And that I had never known, how my Account is! (26) “Would that it had been my end (death)! (27) “My wealth has not availed me; (28) “My power (and arguments to defend myself) have gone from me!” (29) (It will be said): “Seize him and fetter him; (30) Then throw him in the blazing Fire. (31) “Then fasten him with a chain whereof the length is seventy cubits!” (32) Verily, He used not to believe in Allâh, the Most Great, (33) And urged not on the feeding of Al¬Miskîn (the poor),[] (34) So no friend has he here this Day, (35) Nor any food except filth from the washing of wounds, (36) None will eat it except the Khâti’ûn (sinners, disbelievers, polytheists). (37)