In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Education is the backbone of Islam:

 Dear brother, education (including learning and educating) is the backbone of Islam; without it, Islam loses its essence and its prosperous future. In fact man is either an educated person who seeks salvation or a scholar who seeks more knowledge. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

((Scholars and learners are partners in righteousness, while there is no good in the rest of people.))

[Ibn Majah, from Abu Umamah]

 Learning the materialistic sciences achieves the development of Al-Ummah by extracting her natural recourses, investing its energies, overcoming the difficulties and fulfilling her needs. This fact is implied in Almighty Allah's Saying:

(( He brought you forth from the earth and settled you therein))

[Hud: 61]

 This means that Almighty Allah wants us to develop our country. Learning the materialistic sciences and excel at them should be the soft power used by Muslims to fight against their enemies; the enemies of the truth, of goodness and of peace. The proof is mentioned in Allah's Saying:

(( And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery, etc.) to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy))

[Al-Anfal: 60]

 Knowledge is the power of this modern age, and the weapons used in the contemporary war are not hands, swords or rifles, but rather they are minds. Hence, by getting rid of ignorance and delusion, adopting the scientific view and using the objective method we can defeat all the false claims of our enemies, the enemies of Islam who say false things to destroy our capabilities and ambitions. By adopting the scientific view, depending on our faith and acting upon Allah's Order from Whom we derive our strength, we can have a clear insight. Almighty Allah says:

(( If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in Allah (Alone) let believers put their trust.?

[Aal-'Imran: 160]

Facts Related to Studying and Exam:

 Dear believing brother, let me for once in the whole year and upon having the exams at the doors, devote this Khutbah to our dear male and female students. The topic of our lesson will be different from the other topics which the regular attendants of Masajid and those who are used to listen to the religious lessons are familiar with. Islam is life, and our children are the apple of our eyes in our lives and the most important thing we have in life. It is reported that:

"Man's best gain is his son."

 The greatest deed man does is raising up his child properly (according to the Islamic teachings). Our young men and women are the hope of our Ummah and our future. Hence, being well-educated and well-disciplined are some of the reasons of defeating the challenges that we face.

 Dear brother, I would like to mention some facts which are related to studying and exams. Study has rules: It has been scientifically proven that reading while lying on a comfortable seat, while sitting on a balcony where you can see the coming and the going people on streets or while sitting in the living room with all the members of the family including the little ones is useless. You can't remember any of the information you read, but the general idea. Unfortunately, the exam questions are still traditional so the answers depend on the information you memorize. Accordingly, understanding the course books and answering the exam questions can never be achieved by the shallow reading of books while sitting in the living room, lying on a cozy bed or sitting before the window out of which you can see people. The efforts exerted in such study are only 5% of the ones required for the exam. Therefore, this study is worthless.
 You may read a book in this way, but after a week you will forget everything except the general impression about it. This way of studying for the exam does not work, and you should forget about it, because it does not help you pass the exams. Unfortunately, most students study like this.

 When you sit at a desk away from noises and the scenes that distract you, you can study well. You can read your course book attentively with a highlighter pen in your hand to underline the primary ideas and a pencil to underline the secondary ones. After you finish every paragraph, it is a good idea to summarize it in the margin. Also, you can use a read pen to underline the words you would like to add to your vocabulary, and to underline the expressions you would like to memorize in order to enrich your composition skills. You can put a sign using a pen with a different color besides the ideas which you find unclear in order to ask your teacher about or your friend who is excellent at the subject you are studying. After you finish studying a chapter, write an outline of it with the main ideas it contains. Also, let one of people around you listen to you while revising this chapter or you can revise it yourself by writing what you memorize from it. Such a method of studying befits you, and in it you exert about 70 to 80% of the required efforts.

Problems the students face:

1- Forgetting the words while answering the exam questions:

 Dear brother, students have a big problem which I ask Allah, the Almighty, to help me explain it. Students listen to many lessons, and they read a lot of lessons, but when they want to recall the information they know during the exam, they can't, and so they stumble in writing. The reason is that man has a recognizing memory and a retrospective one. The words which are kept in the identifying memory will not be recalled unless they are seen, how does this happen? For instance, you may read an article in which the following clause is written: "There are close relations between these two men", and you know the word 'close' means the relation between them is strong. However, you will not be able to recall the word 'close' from your identifying memory while you are writing in the exam. Therefore, it should be kept in the retrospective memory.

 The identifying memory is filled with the information you give, while the retrospective memory is filled with information you are expected to be given when needed, and you will be able to recall whatever you store in it. Hence, if you want to memorize whatever you study, you should either write them down, or repeat them.

 Let me repeat what I've just said: If you want to (be given) recall the information you study, keep this information in the retrospective memory, but if you just want the information to be kept with no need to recall it, the identifying memory will be filled with it. When you study for the exam, the identifying memory does not benefit you, because the information, rules and the important details should be kept in the second memory which is improved by keeping the information in it to be recalled later on. You can fill it with information needed by revising orally what you study, writing down what you finish studying or writing a sample a compositional paragraph (so that you can recall it in the exam). Only the retrospective memory can be useful in the exam.

2- Depending on reading with no attempt to write:

 Dear brother, try to reauthor whatever you read to a member of your family. Give him the book and let him listen to you. Also, you can write down whatever you read. For example, after you finish reading a chapter in physics, close the book and write a summary of what you read. Revising what you read orally or by writing, strengthens the retrospective memory which will benefit you in the exam. Most of our students keep reading, but they never try to write down a sample of a compositional paragraph or a summary of the chapter they finish studying. Whenever you write, you use the second memory, which you are in dire need of in the exam.

3- Wasting time:

 There's another big problem the student face. It has to do with the time that is devoted to each subject. For instance, the student devotes two or three days to each subject. When he starts studying a subject- let us say physics- he will get bored after finishing a difficult chapter, so he will waste his time and will not continue studying this subject. He may sit with his family, listen to the news or go out, because he is fed up with the subject he has to finish in three successive days. This is a wrong way of studying. Start your day with studying the most difficult subject, then move to the less difficult and then to the easiest one. Try to study a chapter from each subject according to the order I've just mentioned; you can read a chapter of physics, a chapter of chemistry, a chapter of biology and a chapter of Islamic education.

 Let me clarify this point by giving you the following example: If you have a kilogram in your hand, and you lift it high 100 or even 50 times, you will exhaust your hand, but if you put it aside after a while and carry half of a kilo, you will be able to raise it 100 times. Furthermore, if you replace the half of a kilo with 100 grams, it will be easy for you to raise this weight for other 100 times. If you put this weight aside and carry fifty grams instead, you will raise them easily. Likewise, when you read a chapter from each book, starting with the most difficult one to the easiest, you will be able to study for ten hours with having a break for ten minutes after each hour. By doing this, you will not be exhausted. Hence, do not study one subject for many successive days, lest you get bored and fed up with it, and you will waste your time.
 Dear brother, this is the third problem which students have.

4- Writing improper, wrong and inconsistent answers:

 Writing acceptable answers which guarantee your success require answering the question properly, correctly and consistently, and this is all about the content of his answers. Regarding the form, the student should pay attention to the style of his writing which based on the abundance of vocabulary he knows and on choosing the suitable one. Moreover, the student is supposed to write well-structured and coherent sentences using beautiful figures of speech. Regardless of the fact that there are marks for the style or not, the teacher who is responsible for marking the papers will be impressed by the good style and will consciously or unconsciously give the student a high mark in spite of the precise marks for each question.

 Let us say that there is a student who does not know any other synonym for the verb ra'a (see). Unlike him, another student knows many other verbs such as ra'a and nathara. The verb ra'a gives the meaning of perceiving something with your heart, e.g. I see that education is useful. Another synonym is the verb shahada (witness) which gives a sense of responsibility. The verb haddaja means that someone looks at people affectionately; it was reported in the relic, "Talk to people as long as they haddajoka by their eyes showing their interest in what you say", and the verb ramaqa means glance furtively. The verb lamah (glance at-glimpse) means someone looks briefly or hastily at something, then he turns his head quickly, and the verb laha means that something appears for seconds, and then disappears.

 The verb Tawadhaha means someone looks at something to make sure that this is what he wants, the verb istashrafa means that someone looks at something while putting his hands on his eyebrows and the verb istashaffa means that he perceives something with his senses; he looks at and feels it at the same time. The verb hamlaqa means that someone looks at something showing the interior eyelid of his eyes, the verb shazara (leer at) means that someone looks at other people disrespectfully and with hostility and the verb shakhasa means that someone looks with horror and fear.

 Notice how there are more than 100synonyms; each synonym refer to a specific meaning and situation of an-nathar (looking) Thus, whoever knows many synonyms, his style of writing will be more impressive. Consider the example of a painter; if you ask him to paint beautiful natural scenery using only two colors, the painting will not be as wonderful as it will be if you let him use five colors. Also, it will be more fascinating if he uses 100 colors. Similarly, the more vocabulary you know the more effective your style will be.

 Once a tiny recorder was inserted in the chest of an 80 year old illiterate man, and the experimenter noticed that he used only 300 words in all of his speech, whereas the highly educated man could use 1.500 words If you enrich the vocabulary you know and keep beautiful expressions by heart, your style of writing will be better. Therefore, dear brother, you should move words, facts, and information you know from the identifying memory to the retrospective one in order to use them.

Important pieces of advice concerning the exam:

1- Write a timetable for studying:

 Dear brother, it's recommended to makes a timetable for studying, and let it be applicable. For example, you can spend 6 days studying certain subjects and have a break on the 7th day. Also, you can keep studying for 10 hours and have a 10 minute break every 2 hours. Set an accurate and applicable timetable for studying, and make sure that you can apply it in order to keep your self-confidence, lest you are distressed and frustrated.

2- Get some rest:

 Dear brother, get enough rest before the day of the exam. Thousands of students do not get enough sleep at the eve of the exam, which is a grave mistake, because physical exhaustion, the lack of sleep, and tiredness make you forget hundreds of information which you need badly in the exam. Thus, get enough rest before the days of the exam.

3- Eat suitable food:

 Many students do not eat well, because they become extremely stressed. In fact the well-balanced food is very necessary for the student who has an exam.

4- Read the questions attentively:

 Dear brother, it is important to read the questions attentively. The crucial fact is that when the student puts his pen on the table and reads the questions carefully does not waste the time of the exam, but rather he invests it. As a student, when you know what exactly is required from you, you get a higher mark. Therefore, read the questions carefully and slowly to be certain of the required answers. I remember that one of the exam questions of the secondary students was about social literature, so 90% of the students wrote about the national literature and they got zero for that question. The question was about the social literature, but the phrases 'between the two wars', 'before the war' and 'after the war' which were mentioned in the question, made the students think that the answer had to be about the national literature. As a result, most students were in trouble that year.

 If you don't know the full answer of one of the questions, write whatever information related to it in order to get some marks, but if it is about something you did not study, write whatever you know about it depending on your memory and the previous information you know, and surely you will get few marks.

5- Be committed to Allah's Method:

 Dear brother, if you expose a paper to sunlight, it will not burn, but if you get a magnifying glass and put the paper which is exposed to the sunlight under it, it will burn, do you know why? Because the sunrays gather at one point and cause the burning of the paper, what is the connection between this example and our topic? The connection between the two is that the believing steadfast student invests all his energy in studying, and so he succeeds, while the student who does not lower his gaze and has immoral thoughts and meetings that do not please Allah is confused. The more you are steadfast and connected with Allah, the more effective your energy.

 Once, a panel for the superior female students in the intermediate and secondary school was displayed, and oddly enough most of those students were wearing hijab. When the student is committed to Allah's Method, all his power is gathered at one point, and so he will be outstanding.

6- Get enough sleep and eat light and balanced foods:

 Dear brother, I'm sure that Napoleon had fought so many battles; he almost occupied Europe as a whole, and part of Russia, yet he used to be worried about the exams. Exams make students anxious and stressed, but such feelings should not exceed the reasonable limits. Being worried about not getting high marks is something acceptable and encouraging, whereas being depressed and nervous is rejected because these feelings affect your self-confidence negatively, frustrate you and make you lose marks in spite of the nights you spend and the efforts you exert for the exam. Thus, get enough sleep; the moderate and reasonable number of sleeping hours is not a waste of time. On the contrary, it helps you invest your time properly, but you just do not have to be stressed.

 You should eat light and balanced kinds of food and avoid fatty meals, because they may hinder your understanding of lessons.

 Also, you should change your status (from sitting to walking, for example) as movement eases stress. You should walk from time to time instead of sitting behind the table for long hours every day because this hinders the ability to comprehend.

Relaxing and trusting in Allah are the bases of success:

 What does make students confused? It is the expected questions which they receive one day before the exam. These questions make the student confused, nervous and anxious. You should not let this affect your study. Also it's better to keep the books at home the day you have an exam and do not meet any other student except in the hall of the exam.
You do not have to be worried at all; you will remember what you memorize since you study according to the timetable I suggested earlier. One more thing: I would like to reassure the students that the full mark is not given for all the information required in the answer, but for most of it. The full mark is given for 8% of the information. When the question paper is given to you, say: "In the name of Allah. O Allah, nothing can be easy, but what You make so". Before answering the questions, put your watch in front of you and divide the time you are given into parts, so that it will be enough for all questions to be answered. Moreover, start answering the easy question, because when you answer the questions you know and you know that you will get good mark for them, you will relax. As for the questions which you do not know, leave them till the end (after you finish answering all the other questions.) It's irritating when a student delivers his paper after half of the time passes and goes out. You may get the full mark if you stay till the end of the time, so do not pay attention to the student who goes out early. He may not succeed. This time is yours, so you should make use of every minute of it.

Important notes about the exam:

 Let me tell you something: if you are still stressed, repeat Ad-Du'a once again, because Allah is always with you, "O Allah, nothing can be easy, but what You make so."

 Dear students, the exam questions are always written by expert teachers, and these questions are often about the basic information in the book, so the student should concentrate on this information. There is one more thing about the exam questions; there are few questions which test the intelligence of the students. Students should read the questions of the previous years in order to have an idea about the way they are written, the way they are ordered and the way the marks are divided into them. You should rely on the information you get by reading the exam questions of the previous years.

 Dear students, pay attention to this precise fact: if you come across a multiple choice question which consists of two questions and you are required to answer one of them to get 10 marks, choose the question whose answer consists of two paragraphs. If you choose this question you may get the full mark, because the 10 marks are divided into 5 for each paragraph, while the mark is not divided for the answer which consists of one paragraph only.

 Some students arrive at the school where they are supposed to have their exam late, and they miss the whole academic year. Therefore, you should go to such school a day before the exam to know the address exactly. Also, you should leave your home an hour and a half before the time of the exam in order not to get there late in case there is a problem with the transportation. Do your best to arrive at the exact place in time, and avoid talking with your friends before the exam about the expected questions, because you will get extremely confused. All these points are important for the exam.

 Dear students, hundreds of students write everything in the exam paper, but they forget to wire their names and exam numbers which is a deadly mistake. Start with writing your name and your exam number. Regarding the answers, read all the questions first, then put a sign next to the easy questions to start with. Revise your answers before delivering the exam paper, because you may get many marks while revising. Make sure that you answer all the questions.

 Dear brother, our sons are our beloved ones, and we hope that they become pioneers in this Ummah. Since this month is the month of exams, I ask Allah to grant you all prosperity and success. I would like to mention some directions to the parents and neighbors in the 2nd Khutbah.

Finally..

 I say my words, and I ask the Forgiveness of Allah, the Most Great, for me and for you. Dear brother, ask His Forgiveness, so that you will be forgiven, as those who are forgiven will be the successful ones.

* * *

2nd Khutbah:

 Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah; the Protector of the righteous. And I bear witness that our Master Muhammad, peace be upon him, is His Servant and Messenger the one with noble morals. May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, his Folks and Companions.

Directions to parents and neighbors concerning the exam:

 Dear brother, with the highest degree of hope I address all citizens depending on their high sense of responsibility which they have for their children the young the old the male and the female and for their neighbors' children, to prepare a comfortable environment that helps their children and their neighbors' children study since education is essential for managing their affairs in the worldly life.

 Dear brother, I ask every noble brother of you to listen to the radio and television without raising the volume and annoying all the neighbors. Doing this is a big mistake and even a serious offence, particularly during the month of exams.

 Once a student said to me, "A concert took place in one of the neighborhoods of Damascus during the exam and the voice of singing and music continued until 2.00 a.m. All the students of this neighborhood were disturbed, and some of them went to other houses (in other neighborhoods)." Therefore, it's out of decorum, genteelness, politeness and respect to turn down the volumes during this month:

(( Verily! Those who call you from behind the dwellings, most of them have no sense.?

[Al-Hujuraat: 4]

 I am referring to loud voices in general; the voice of the radio, of the television and the horn of the car. You hear the horn of the car at 1.00 a.m, because someone is calling his wife who lives in the fifth floor. Cannot he see that the sleeping neighbors have right upon him?

 During the period of the exams, no social celebration should take place. They should all be postponed after this period. Also, parents should be merciful to their children and forget about having quarrels in this period. Children will be the first victim of these quarrels; some of them may be studying for the final exam of the third intermediate certificate, or the final exam of the third secondary certificate. If the parents have quarrels in which they shout or badmouth each other, the children will be affected negatively during the exams, which is a serious problem.

 Furthermore, avoid moving from your home to another one during this period. Let me now address the msh3er (who have jobs): I would like them to take days off and stay at home for their children. In many cases the student sleep alone at home, wake up late, miss the exam and fail in it. That is because the mother maybe invited to sleep in somewhere else other than her home. Therefore, msh3er should devote themselves to their children. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

((The one whose neighbor is not secure from his wrongful conduct will not enter paradise.))

[Ahmad, from Anas Ibn Malek]

 Someone may say, "I am not concerned with all of this, because my children have no exams!" Well, the children of your neighbors have exams, and you should take this into account. You are not living alone; you live in a society with other people. It is considered part of decorum, good conduct and faith to prepare suitable circumstances for studying, because this is the period of the exams.

Concluding invocation:

  O Allah, we beseech You to show us the way of righteousness together with those to whom You showed it; and to give us good health together with those whom You have healed; and to be our Protector, as You are of those whom You protect; and to bless what You have bestowed on us; and to save us from the affliction that You have decreed –for You rule with justice and You are never judged; and he whom You protect shall never be humiliated, and he whom You make Your enemy shall never be elevated, blessed and dignified are You. We thank You for what You have decreed, we ask You for Forgiveness for our sins, and we repent to You.

 

 O Allah, please lead us to the good deeds, for no one leads to them but You; please lead us to the good conduct, for no one leads to it but You; please make us do well in the Deen, which is our dignity, make us do well in our worldly life, in which we dwell and grant us safety on the Day of Judgment for it is our Final Destination. O Allah, please supply our life with all good things and make our death a rest from every evil.

 O our Master, the Lord of all Worlds, please make us desire what You have made lawful and reject what You have made unlawful, make us by Your benevolence independent of all sh3er and make our obedience to You turn us away from our disobedience.

 O Allah, by Your Mercy and Benevolence, raise high the word of truth and this Deen, grant triumph to Islam, dignify Muslims and grant triumph to Muslims all around the world. O Allah, show us Your Omnipotence against Your enemies, You are the Most Generous.

 

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Creations