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April 2006
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In the Silence of the Night
By M. Hanif Lakdawala

The “Examination Fever” spares no one. It is said that the best time to study is the last part of the night that precedes the Fajr prayer.

“APRIL,” The poet, T.S. Eliot wrote, “is the most cruel month.” Ask any student appearing for examinations and he will, probably, say that January, February and March are no less cruel.

The “Examination Fever” spares no one: not the students who blissfully snored through months of lectures with their heads gently rested on a pile of notes, nor the ones who swaggered through the year brandishing more hair gel than textbooks. Not even the bookworms who divided the year between books and libraries.

A student under undue stress and tension finds himself unable to study properly. Psychologists say that a child under stress exhibits one or more of the following symptoms: Sleeplessness, loss of appetite, listlessness, being gloomy, quick to get frustrated or break into tears, aggressive behaviour, recurrent headaches and body fatigue. In extreme cases, children can also develop suicidal tendencies. Psychologists warn that it will be foolish on the part of parents to ignore such signs of stress in children. It is the responsibility of the parents to guide their children on how to manage the examination stress.

The best way is to pray to Almighty Allah and ask for his help. In Surah Al- Anfal, verse 62, it is stated, “surely Allah is sufficient for you, He it is who strengthened you with His help”. The best time to prepare is the last part of the night that precedes the Fajr prayer, or the early morning hours that follow it. At this time, the body is rested and fresh, the mind is clear and sound, the worldly attractions are few and remote, and the blessings abundant.

Ahmed Patel, a medical student and topper in his division, wakes up at 5 am in the morning. He believes this point of time is the best time to study. Early morning is when he is focused and learns faster, he says. Also, there is no disturbance and he is fresh from a good night’s sleep.

As for the last part of the night, the Prophet (Pbuh), said: “Our Lord, Glory be to Him, descends to the lowest heaven in the last one third of the night and He says, “Who would call Me so that I may answer him? Who would ask Me so that I give him? Who would seek My forgiveness so that I forgive him? He continues to say this until dawn arrives.”

And Prophet (Pbuh) also said: “The closest that the Lord is to the servant is in the last depth of the night. If you can be among those who remember Allah at that hour, do so.” And as for the early morning, Allah, the Most High, said : And the Qur’an (recital) of dawn, is witnessed by the angels.

Thus, one should take advantage of this part of the night to prepare for the examination instead of wasting it in excessive sleep. Obaid Khan, a Management student and topper in his class, prefers to study in an isolated corner of his house in the early hours. For him, waking up early was very difficult in the initial stages. “It was very difficult for me to wake early in the morning. But gradually it became a habit. Fajr prayer act as a stress reliever”, he said.

How To Get Through Exams Smoothly
By M. Hanif Lakdawala

Here are 10 tips by educational psychologists:

• Get help: ask a teacher or tutor about how to revise the lessons.

• Take short rests during your time of work and revision. If your mind is tired, it will not remember well. The best rest is Namaz.

• Plan your work: revise at times when you know you will work at your best.

• Stay healthy: get enough sleep, eat sensibly. If possible offer Tahajjud prayer.

• Exercise: you need exercise to work well. Walk, run, play sport - whatever you enjoy.

• Be positive: stop thinking about the future and failing. Always remember that Allah is always with you.

• Do your best: no-one can do more than this.

• Be alert: if you feel ill, talk to someone about your worries.

• But do not be too relaxed. Some stress over exams makes you work hard for them.

• Be sensible: if it upsets you to talk to your friends about an exam when it is finished, do not do it. In fact, don’t even think about the exam you have finished. What is done is done. You cannot change what you have written! All this will definitely help if one remembers Allah.

(The writer can be reached at [email protected])