I’m sorry for the last weeks inactivity, it does tie in with the content of todays post. On a personal level my Exam re-sit results came back Monday three weeks ago, unfortunately they were exactly the same as the last time. 25 IB points enough to pass just, but with only 11 points in the highers, Maths, Chem and English. A failure. I failed. I kind of felt like a failure at that point, having failed a second time. I told myself that I wouldn’t care about the results, I put a lot of work into it, I gave my best. The rest is in Allah swt. hand, to do with what he wills. I guess I didn’t put enough effort in it, I know now for certain that I need to change the way I revise.
That being said, is there a purpose to what we perceive as failure? An incentive to change something for the better? I think so, and this post is more a reminder to myself than anyhting else. Failure, is something that grounds us, from the hot air inside the bubble we call head. In my example, I have always said that Maths is my favourite subject, but did I actually spend time with it outside of school? Not really, not since entering secondary school.
In the same way if we say, that real success in this and the next world only comes from Allah swt., do we actually spend time outside of the obligatory prayers to remember Allah swt.? If we do actually pray regularly, aside from Jumah. Failures and realisations like these, especially if you have been on the other side, in Jahilliyya, actually do bring you back to earth. Stronger than before, ready to stand against failures similar to the ones you went through.
The greatest lesson about failure and success in Islamic Hstory can be be learnt from the Battle of Uhud. A battle where the Muslims were defeated, although they were superior in numbers and supplies, and that by an army that was forced to retreat. The Prophet saw. did not even reprimand the Archers that moved from their assigned position. In fact in a discussion about how to approach the battle he saw. was against the way that most members of the community wanted to do it, but agreed with it anyway.
When things did not go as planned, and the sahabah wanted to go back on the decision, but he refused to do so. There is no room for hesitation in a war. It was the Prophet saw. that kept a cool head directing the sahabah to safety, when the sahabah were confused, some even thinking that he saw. had been killed.
He demonstrated true leadership, letting the sahabah learn out of their mistakes and not rebuking them for making one. He consoled and encouraged them saying that “They shall never have a similar advantage over us until we enter the Kabah.” Allah swt. says in the Quran about his behaviour: “It was by God’s grace that you (Prophet) dealt gently with your followers: for if you had been harsh and hard of heart, they would indeed have broken away from you. Pardon them, then, and pray that they be forgiven. Take counsel with them in matters of public concern; then, when you have decided upon a course of action, place your trust in God; God loves those who place their trust in Him.” (Qur’an 3:159)
So let us take similar lessons from this battle, in face of hardships and failures, we ourslves should not act harsh towards ourselves, Allah swt. or others. We should encourage others and ourselves to do better, and ask others about how to do that. Ultimately Allah swt. controls everything, so trust Him, as Allah swt. says He loves those who trust him.
To conclude, it all comes back to Balance.
“And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed.” (Qur’an, 62:10)
First thing to note is that Allah swt. comes first, before anyhting else, He swt. is Akbar, the greatest. A conversation with him is not to be missed, even if I’m frantically revising for an exam, the night before it.
Second, achieving or wanting to achieve success in this world is not a bad thing in fact we ask Allah swt. for it in the dua’:
رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
“Rabbana Atina fidunya hasana wa fil Akhirati Hasana wa kina adhaban nar
“Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire” (Qur’an, 2:201)
A note to me, to increase my dua’s.
However, trying to attain success in this life should not be everything in the life of a Muslim, the hereafter is what we yearn for and really should work for. Not forgetting that balance is the key in this, Zuhd (ascetism) “is to have this world in your hand and not in your hand”. A rich man or women can therefore attain zuhd ad there is nothing wrong with being rich.
Third, take lessons out of your failures and mistakes, they ground you, you get better because of them. Making the same identified mistakes multiple times and not learning out of them, is beyond stupid.
Lastly, don’t forget your prayers, like ever kids! 🙂