The Final Graduation

He was stunned.

Adam was finally hit by the realization of what had happened. How he had been advised, during high school, to consider it a training period for college. How he had been warned that every assignment and exam would impact him in a big way after joining a university. How he’d heard that there would be stricter requirements and a bigger workload, but that it would be manageable if he learned to balance all of this with his social life. And how he had dismissed all of this, thinking that he’d be fine since he knew the dean of the college he would go to, so none of it was a big deal.

Adam recalled the time when he’d dropped his first class, and failed another one. “It’s okay,” he’d thought, “I’ll just retake them later.” He started getting more relaxed with each semester that went by, taking less required courses and easier optional ones, as his friends’ circle grew and his extracurricular activities took up more of his time. Eventually, he took only one optional course during an entire semester, with no other classes, and failed that. He’d received a notice in the mail, informing him of his expulsion from the university. He still remembered feeling the knot in the pit of his stomach, and his heart skipping a beat.

Horrified, Adam went straight to the dean’s office to meet with him. He demanded to know what had happened, since he was under the impression that this was a no-pressure situation. After all, this man had known him since he was in diapers. But the dean told him, with a heavy heart and a solemn expression, that Adam had been given chance after chance to mend his ways and take things more seriously, but now the protocol had to be followed. The grave news was final; Adam had been expelled.

If Adam had expected to graduate after passing only 10% of his required courses and 30% of his optional ones, he was mistaken. If he had thought he could do whatever he wanted and “enjoy life to the fullest” while blowing off his responsibilities, he was clearly proven wrong. Just like Adam didn’t realize that he needed to take school seriously in order to graduate, sometimes we forget that we need to take this life seriously in order to go to Paradise. While it’s not wrong to enjoy ourselves and have a good time, we shouldn’t forget that as Muslims, in order to “graduate” from this life into Jannah, we need to fulfill all of our religious obligations to the very best of our abilities. We have to focus on the things things that are required of us instead of wasting our time on things that won’t get us anywhere in this life or the next, and even before doing optional good deeds.

While it’s not wrong to enjoy ourselves and have a good time, we shouldn’t forget that as Muslims, in order to “graduate” from this life into Jannah, we need to fulfill all of our religious obligations to the very best of our abilities.

Allah gives us countless chances to improve ourselves- after all, every day that we wake up from our sleep is a form of mercy from Him, and an opportunity to turn back to Him. The rest is up to us. He (swt) wants us to do well and end up somewhere much better than where we are now, but we need to do our part as well. We can’t just belittle the reality of our situation and assume that everything will be okay no matter what we do. And if we just hang in there and do our part, the reward is unimaginable.

“O believers! Bow down, prostrate yourselves, worship your Master, and do good deeds, so that you may attain success. Strive in the Way of Allah as you ought to strive (with sincerity and discipline); He has chosen you and hasn’t laid upon you any hardship in the observance of faith- the faith of your father, Ibraheem. He named you Muslims before (in prior scriptures) and in this (Qur’an), so that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you yourselves may be a witness over the rest of mankind. Therefore, establish salah, pray zakah, and hold fast to Allah, Who is your Protector- an excellent Protector, and an excellent Supporter.” (Qur’an 22:77-78)

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