Earlier this week, my end of semester exam results had come out. I had the fortunate experience of failing a core subject that would definitely create many drastic changes in my pathway in pursuing the rest of my degree.
I was on the train home as I checked my results and with that, my mind just wandered off into an array of different emotions, reflections and basically overdrive mode. To be honest, I couldn’t really pinpoint what it was that I was feeling or what it was that I was thinking after seeing the big block words, ‘FAIL’.
What really stuck me was the question, ‘why did this actually bother me?’
Was this a sign? Was it a metaphor of the current state of my life? Am I a really a failure? Was it a sin I had committed? We are all familiar with the harsh and dark questions, which cause us to doubt ourselves, essentially become self-destructive. What was I going to do?!
However, if there were any answers that I could possible muster up to the overflowing questions, it was one.
I was going to take a deep breath and say Alhamdulillah – all praise and gratitude belongs to Allah.
Whilst failure and success seem to be two separate concepts that may appear to contradict each other, they are actually be seen as two sides of the same coin and thus complimenting each other. They say that you will never really taste the sweetness of success until you’ve tasted the bitterness of failure – to a great extent, I definitely agree with this.
In any obstacle or hardship you may face, it is your reaction and your attitude that determines how the situation will play out. In the grand scheme of things, I was making a big deal out of something relatively small.
It was all in the past. There was nothing I could to change it now. There is only so long that one can dwell on to the past, if you genuinely wish to live in the present in hopes of making a better future for yourself. Take the lesson and move on. This will lead you to success.
After much contemplation, reflection and supplication, here are ways we can turn our moment’s failures into a moments of successes:
1. Remembering the importance of patience and Tawaqul during times of uncertainty and challenging obstacles. In doing so, we are also being rewarded!
“And whoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him.” (Quran 65:3)
Every obstacle and challenge is a test from Allah and He only tests us with something that which we can bare. Every test is a means of purification for us: mentally, physically and most importantly, spiritually. Allah is giving us the opportunity to rise to the occasion because we have that capability and strength within us to do so. Have faith in yourself!
2. We can plan but Allah’s plan is always better, He is the Best of Planners and He is the All Wise.
There is always a hikmah (wisdom) or a silver lining in everything Allah has planned for us. Looking back at our rich Islamic history, we see that many victories came after defeats such as the Battle of Uhud and the conquest of Makkah!
Always try to reflect on the positive aspects of the situation and taking lesson from the negative – failure is one of life’s greatest teachers! There is ALWAYS a lesson to be learnt.
3. Accept failure as something you will definitely have to experience at some point in your life.
Compare the progress in your life with something as simple as walking. As a baby, if were to sit and cry for every time for time we tried to stand, you wouldn’t have learn the balance needed in walking.
4. Failure can determine you as person ONLY as much as you allow it to.
Failure gives shape to your character and personality. However, it does NOT determine your situation. Accept that you are human and that you were made weak, so get to know yourself by facing your fears and always try to challenge yourself, because this is what builds you.
5. It is always important to remind ourselves that the world we live in now will come to an end.
Our life and our time on this earth is limited and we should not burden ourselves down with overbearing thoughts of the ‘failures’ and ‘success’ of the world. Our goal is the hereafter, and thus, if we should to be worried over anything, it should be our success in the hereafter, ie the entrance to Paradise.
Lastly, a reminder that greatly helped me turn my moment of failure into a success was a quote by Sufyan ibn Thawri.
He says, ‘Whoever fixes his secret affairs (at night), Allah will fix his public affairs. Whoever fixes that which is between him and Allah, Allah will fix what is between him and people. Whoever works for his akhirah, Allah will be enough for his dunya.’
How beautiful is that?
And Allah knows best.