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  1. Salam everyone, As some of you know I teach in a college. For the past three years I have been taking the introductory classes. Like every year, this year too, right at the start I told the students about the rigorous coursework, the books they are required to study, why is it important for them to not miss any lectures etc.I also told them they will have tests from time to time and if they hoped to pass in the finals they better perform well in those tests. I gave them a reminder about the test schedule again, right after they had their first one and warned them that while the first one was set at a relatively easy level to help them adapt, the next one will be more difficult. So their next test is going to be on coming Monday. Three days back a group of students walked into my office, 'Too many topics to be covered for the test, can you please take away a few?' followed by 'Workload is getting too much, we don't know how to handle, infact it isn't possible to cover that much in the time you gave us' , followed by 'we are crumbling under the pressure of studies, unless you lighten our load it would be impossible to manage' and ended with on a desperate pleading note 'Please Ma'am, more than half the class flunked the biochem test last week and if you don't show some leniency we will fail this one too and this would be a disaster' One of them asked me if there is any 'quick fix' book available that will help them bypass the lengthier more tedious text book. I kept repeating in what I hope was a pleasant but firm tone that the syllabus cannot change and they left the office with varying expressions on their faces, most looked disappointed or depressed, a couple of them looked annoyed but one boy just one out of the group said in a positive upbeat voice,'we will give it our best shot'. It made me think of the verse 2:286 from Qur'an and our behaviour when faced with tests of dunya. Too often we complain about the trials and tribulations of this dunya. Lots of us, me included, have said on various occasions that hardships are becoming too difficult to bear, and 'what is Allah thinking burdening us with one test after another', 'doesn't He know I can't take anymore and I have reached the absolute limit of my patience?' And then few of us then get on the prayer mat begging Allah to take away some of hardships. Others will start going through dua books(or threads on ShiaChat :p) looking for some quick fix duas or Amaals. Some will give it their best shot and do sabr, some will commit suicide. What the humans overlook is that we we were told and repeatedly reminded that we will be tested. (2:155) We shall certainly test you by afflicting you with fear, hunger, loss of properties and lives and fruits. Give glad tidings, then, to those who remain patient. (29:2) Do people think that they will be let go merely by saying: “We believe,” and that they will not be tested, We have been told which book to study and follow.Just like college we need to sit through some classes if want to pass the test. These classes are life lessons which are given to us every single day, several times a day - when we face little inconveniences going about our day, when we interact with humans different than us, when someone hurts us, when someone turns to us with a need, when we someone wrongs us, when we have to put someone else's need before ours, when we have to exercise self control over something halal. Nothing in life is random, everything,even the smallest incident that happens to us has some significance. All these things happen to give our souls opportunities to prepare for an upcoming test.Those who have the baseerah and self discipline will use these experiences to train their souls for the upcoming tests. Passing these tests in dunya paves the way for getting through the finals- Akhirah. What do we do? Just like some will miss the classes in college, others will come and sit not paying attention and hence leave without taking anything away, other will listen to half of the time and rest of the time they will skim through their social media, we humans too in our ignorance fail to take advantage of and learn from those daily situations and problems sent our way to help us prepare for the tests of life. Then when the test comes they will cry out that Allah is burdening our souls with more than it can bear. Unless we keep referring to the Book of Allah, reflecting on it and develop a connection with our teachers- the Ahlul Bayt(عليه السلام), we will never be able to get a grasp on the skills needed to train our souls. We will continue living our lives in a haze until a test comes then we will start complaining and succumbing to pressure unaware of the fact that all the preparation material and answers were available if only we had paid attention.
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