hen I left the examination hall today after taking my last exam of the semester, one of BY HIRRA SHEIKH the last exams of my undergraduate career, I could not contain my happiness. The past few weeks have been rough and there is nothing more I would like than a break from all this studying and stress. My friends walking alongside me could attest to my excitement and were probably a little annoyed by my constant excited exclamation, “I’m done, guys. I’m actually done!” This meant first and foremost a Facebook status update (obviously) and then accepting the fact that I would finally be able to rest and be completely stress-free. No exam anxiety, studying, or assignments to worry about. I could finally take a break from it all. Outside that exam hall, my happiness knew no bounds. However, I soon realized that the tranquility I felt in that moment would not be everlasting. Inevitably, life hurls its challenges at us, even if those challenges are not always academic. We are never completely free of stress and worry. There is always something for which to strive – something we think still needs to be done. There is never a state of absolute rest and comfort. We know challenges are on their way, regardless of whether or not we know what form they will take. We need to move from achieving one goal to the next. Then I thought about these past few weeks when I had pressed the pause button to my life. Everything was held up just so I could get through this exam period. I realized, though, this life itself is supposed to be a test. The reason why we never find complete rest is because this life is not exactly meant for that. We exert ourselves and get tired, but we do not stop and give up because we know exams are only for a limited amount of time. Then comes the amount of happiness that hits us once we realize we made it, we succeeded in our efforts, and we can finally rest. It is an unparalleled experience! I could not help but think about passing the exam of this life. I pray that I may pass the exam Allah has set for me, and if I do (God willing), how would I feel? Knowing that there are no more hurdles to overcome, I would have an eternity of happiness, peace and rest as a reward for passing the limited time exam of this life. In this context, how much am I willing to exert myself? How willing am I to put myself, my desires, my life, my enjoyment, my rest and my sleep on hold for the ultimate and lasting exam – the exam that will determine my final and eternal abode?
10 | THE MUSLIM VOICE | OCTOBER 2013
PHOTO // MOUNA BEN HADJ TAHAR