Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, Allahuakbar.
It takes quite sometime to write this letter to everyone. I've been trying to ask myself, what is the right way to express how thankful I am towards everyone who's supporting, congratulating and making prayer for my journey that is just started. I kept thinking, how to tell everyone what are there in my mind.
Oxford and Sheffield
When I first shared my ambition towards reaching Oxford, never at once I ever forget the mission. Never. It's something which I hold most and I will never giving it up. The journey of how I am here, in Sheffield, UK was really a long story and have lot to tell. It begins when my DPhil application to Oxford University being rejected due to the fact that I didn't have enough competency to do a Phd. Oxford has suggested me to take one year MSc programme on the course which I applied in order to be more competent in doing a Phd project with them. So that's the beginning.
The night when I received an answer letter from Oxford, was a moment that I couldn't even forget until this day. A heavy rain and my heart was so calm but my eyes flowed with tears. Why I am cried? Certainly, everyone would think that I must be sad and frustrated for being rejected. The flowing tears really served no purpose of being frustrated but rather, it flowed the moment I uttered to Allah
"O Allah please give me strength and show me what is best. I serve no one except You, I am your slave and please Allah, I beg to only You, guide me to what is best. I am doing all of this because of You"
and I started to cry without knowing why, eventually it soothes my heart and give me strength in a way which is hard to explain. After that one night onward, I am sending almost 15 Master applications to many other Universities around UK, Holland, German, Sweden, New Zealand, Turkey, Japan, Korea and Switzerland. For a about two month I didn't received any responses from any Universities, until I decided to make my 16th and the last application to the University of Sheffield. A week after, Sheffield was the first to call me and offer me a place despite the other 15 applications which I had made 2 month earlier.
For about two months and a half I become jobless. There's a time I really felt, whether or not am I suppose to give up and looking for job. One day, because I couldn't bear the insecurity of kept waiting I called Abby asking for advise. I told her:
"I feel like my dream is running far away from me and I couldn't catch it up"
Upon hearing this, she told me:
"Maybe this is not what Allah meant for you. Maybe Allah has another plan, sometime we may like a thing which is no good for us"
I remain silent. Not knowing what to say, I ended up the conversation. I asked myself then, do I have to give up all of these? To be honest, I felt like my day was dark and numb, and my future seems to be abandoned me. After all, Allah is all knowing "O Allah, why it is hard to let go all of these? make ease to my heart to accept what You meant best for me, though it's something which I may not like" that the prayer I made before fell asleep on that day. The day after my conversation with Abby, was the day I received an offer letter from the University of Sheffield. Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah.
The Struggle For Funding
I have so many regrets in my life. Regret for always have to rely on Umi, and regret for not be able to support her financially. I am 25 years old, knowing the fact that Umi was the only breadwinner of her family when she was 21 years old really makes me feel more abash and useless.
Umi and I, we were both very happy to receive the offer letter. Then again, a joyous day can only be celebrated within a day. What stuck on our mind that day was, where can we find the fund to go there? This is where the struggle of spiritual, mental and physical gets even harder than I could imagine.
I searched almost any possible scholarships that were available in time.It is mid of August, and to a certain extent I was late in making this process. Most of available scholarships were closed about couple of month before. Then again it is really a struggle that I will never forget. I've been to Yayasan Khazanah, JPA, Zakat Center, Yayasan Pahang, Hong Leong and also Mara. I've called Bank Rakyat, Agro Bank, KWSP and every possible banks just to ask do they provide any education loan for master student in overseas. I will do whatever it takes, because to giving up this early really is not my type.
I guessed what made me even strong is to believe that tawakkal (the reliance upon Allah) requires efforts on the first place. There are times where I felt tired and thought to give a full stop with all the things I did. Tired of waiting the scholarship results to be out. When you failed in an interview, one to another. The bad news really sucked out the energy that still remain in you. However in this unique experienced I ever ventured, I must say that Allah really grant me calmness and strength to keep on going. I felt tired the day I received a failure email notice, but not even at once the news caused me to stop looking for the others fund that could really help me to further my study.
Along this difficulties I always remember Rasulullah saw. I always talked to myself "If he (saw) is here with me, will he be happy to see me giving up? Rasulullah saw really is the driving forces that kept me move forward. I remember how hard the journey of Salman Al Farisi had just to met with Rasulullah saw, the struggle and tribulation he faced just to be united with the prophet saw at Madinah. So Salman was the one of the sahaba of the prophet that I look after in this journey.
It was on Wednesday 2nd October 2013 that I received a green light news to fly. Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, Allahuakbar. Everything was so quick, and until now I still can't believed that I am actually here in this bless land of Sheffield, UK. If I have to describe what were really on my mind, I have to say that it is not me who did all these, instead, it is by Allah mercy and strength that were granted on me. Subhanallah. It is because of Allah has giving me the strength that I am able to move forward though facing difficulties at the same time. Allah granted me the essence of not giving up.
What more that a slave like me could say. Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, Allahuakbar.
To be continued in part 2.
I am just a slave
Nurul Damia Mohamad Sofian