By Noor Amira Md Akhir
“As a Muslim, we need to do everything in our life with jiddiyyah,” said Nurul Iffah Binti M A Zaabaa, one of the excellent students from the Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge And Human Sciences (KIRKHS), who was majoring in Fiqh and Usul Fiqh at International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).
The twenty-four year old beautiful and excellent woman is an ex-IIUM student who constantly received the Dean’s List every semester since joining the university in 2012 and graduating in 2015. She graduated with first class honours getting high and excellent GPA of 3.534 and CGPA of 3.624.
Nurul Iffah, from Kuala Lumpur who was born on 25 June 1992, had been one of the excellent students since her primary and secondary schools. “In what you do, do it perfectly as you can,” said Nurul Iffah. This is her motto, which is very sentimental and important that has encouraged her to study and work successfully and with excellence.
She is very particular in whatever she does, because for her, “As a Muslim, we need to do everything in our life with jiddiyyah (struggle) to prove to others that a Muslim is strong and excellent.” This has always motivated her to struggle and study hard until success in her study. According to her, a strong and excellent Muslim is a person who is excellent in her or his life by using every legal (halal) and ethical ways which is in line based on our Syari’ah, not the wrong way which is unethical and haram. Being on the Dean’s list, students must not just obtain high GPA and CGPA, but they must have good ethics and moral as well, including holding on to Islamic values in life.
Nurul Iffah, more known as Iffah, loves reading, cleaning and surfing the Internet. According to Iffah, to be successful in academic, does not only mean getting straight ‘As’ in our result, but more than that, it means dividing your time with your family, friends and getting involved in co-curricular activities.
Apart from being excellent academically by getting on the Dean’s List every semester, she was also active in her co-curricular by getting 545 total points and 3.63 as co-curricular cumulative point which remarks as excellent. Iffah has been active in extracurricular activities like being the second vice president of Journalism Club, IIUM at year 2014/2015, joined the kulliyyah and mahallah activities and became part of committee of Taaruf Weeks. With all her participation and involvement, her main focus is to gain experiences and knowledge.
It clearly shows that besides focusing on academic, we need to involve and socialise. Our study and our activities must be balanced and we need to manage our time properly.
Successful students know how to succeed because they have made their studies their top priority. Though it is important to make time for friends, family, extra-curricular activities, and even some solo down time, we should never neglect the time we need to spend studying. If we have a big exam coming up and do not feel prepared, then we should probably skip the big party or so at least two days before to prepare for the exam or quiz. Be a smart student with smart plan and work hard to achieve our goal.
Besides that, Iffah believes that the true definition of excellent and successful student is getting mardhatillah (blessing from God) in everything what we do. Besides that, she is very concerned with her relationship with Allah SWT and also towards human being. To become a successful person, these two aspects need to be taken care of and to be noted.
In Islamic teaching, we need to be concerned of two elements which is “hablun minanallah wa hablun minannas” which mean that, whereby we fulfil our obligations towards Allah, we also need to fulfil and be responsible to take care of relationship with people such as our parents, friends and lecturers.
Iffah said, “We cannot disobey what Allah has decreed on us what to do and do not forget Allah and always remember the main purpose of why He created us in this world.” As a Muslim, if we pay no attention to our relationship with Allah, then all our efforts will be wasted.
She also shared that we need to respect others in our life and the most important respect is asking for blessings from your parents. To become a great student, Iffah said, “Do not forget to do all assignments and do not delay any task. What need to be finished must be finished on time.” She further explained, “Be an honest student by avoiding plagiarism, go early to class and listen attentively to lectures.”
One of the factors why she can perform very well in her studies is because of the full attention that she gives during the lecture conducted in the class. She will make sure that she understands the topic during class time. If she does not, she will directly ask and meet with the lecturer or ask her friends. “Actually, I do not study much and do not study hard in exam, but what I did is to listen attentively and pay attention by focusing 100% towards the lecturer in class,” said Iffah.
In facing exams, she said she only did some revisions by revising twice or three times what she have learned in class and also rewrite the note in every exam. She further described, “When you understand the topic in the class, you can relax once you get back to your room.”
Successful students know how to focus on their studies when it matters while also taking breaks when they need them. They can manage their time wisely, stick to meaningful study schedules, and make the most of their time in the classroom. In the process, successful students also know how to have a good time, and love gaining knowledge as much as they enjoy getting good grades.
According to Iffah, students need to know the right ways for them in order to control and manage their time and emotion. Most students will become ‘crazy’ and stressful with examination. Examination is a part of the means to measure our understanding. She said, “Exam is a normal thing in education nowadays, so I don’t feel nervous in facing exams. Just revising smartly and sufficiently and then put tawakkal to Allah SWT.” These ways really made her feel peaceful and relax.
Then Iffah continued her sharing in order to overcome and manage stress during revision. She said, “In managing stress, doing fun activities such as window shopping and eating outside IIUM, these are best therapy that de-stress me a lot and during revision.” According to her experience, when she felt stressed and bored during study and revision period, she will stop immediately and after gaining her spirit, she will continue and start her revision and study again.
“A normal student will always face a problem called laziness, so that’s why we need a true friend who can help us by giving advice and motivate us,” said Iffah.
Therefore, by having good friends is part of factors that will help us to struggle in our study. A best friend is someone who when we see him or her, it will make us remember Allah SWT, when we speak to him or her, it will increase our knowledge and lastly, and what she or he does, it will remind us of the Hereafter. A friend is like our mirror, one hadith from our Prophet, Muhammad SAW said: “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look who your best friend is”. (Reported by Abu Dawood and Tirmidzi)
Regarding the best experience during her time at IIUM, she said that the best experience was when she got to know many friends and lecturers in various Kulliyyah at IIUM and also from that she got to know herself better and improved her communication and interpersonal skills. Have fun in IIUM, because this is one of the best places to study, not only about our subject but everything.
Lastly, Iffah shared and pointed out ten tips and advice for the younger generation of IIUMs’ students who will graduate with excellence and be successful, which are; first, perform obligatory solah and make pray (doa) to Allah SWT always; second is respect and obey your parents; third is always be courteous and respect lecturers and take care our attitude (adab) to them in order to gain knowledge; and fourth is be punctual and go early to class before the lecturer arrives and enters the class.
Next, her fifth’s tip is to focus and listen attentively to lectures in class and also try to remember it; sixth is to do consultation with lecturers when needed and do not be shy to ask questions if we do not understand and unclear; seventh is do your assignment properly, submit on time and the most important thing is avoid plagiarism; eighth is do revision early and have your own notes; ninth is choose a good friend and be a good friend to others; and lastly, take opportunity in co-curricular activities at IIUM. As we know very well, IIUM is a place that has plenty of knowledge, so take the opportunity to explore.
Iffah hoped that all these tips would help and encourage students to study and to get excellent result in their exams and also in their life. Remember that we have many chances and opportunities, so grab them now and always be grateful.
May Allah SWT give us strength and the chance to be successful in our life and let’s study hard and study smart. Do not give up!***