As a student, I noticed that the teacher used to give us multiple choice questions in exams and quizzes, wherein he used to write the question with 4 choices to select from. Three of the choices used to be wrong with one correct answer. We used to solve them without asking the teacher if he wanted us to be more ‘wrong’ then ‘right’ as we were given three wrong answers to the question asked.
Now since I started teaching, I am doing the same without giving a second thought to this practice being followed since ages. I never wondered why on earth, I was giving multiple choice questions (with three wrong answers and one right choice) to my students while conducting quizzes and exams until recently.
Only a few days back I was listening to a sermon on youtube and came to know the uniqueness of this activity. I think there is a hidden message for all of us to ponder.
We as teachers do not want the students to be more ‘wrong’ by giving them three wrong answers to the question asked. We want the students to be more strong in their understanding of the concept given in the question by selecting one right answer from the given 4 choices including three wrong answers.
We are obligated to prepare the students to face the challenges (which are more negative then positive) of their practical life after completion of their studies. The option to choose one right from among the four choices is meant to let them have a thorough understanding of the right answer.
I have been emphasizing upon my students to learn to connect the dots which are 180 degrees out of proportion. Let’s try making an analogy with one of the rituals practiced during Hajj on 11th, 12th and 13th of Zilhujja.
“Pilgrims are obligated to stone the ‘three’ satans called the ‘Rami Jamarat‘. The ritual of Rami is a symbolic reenactment of the actions of Hazrat Ibrahim عليه السلام when he was faced with the trial of having to sacrifice his son, Hazrat Ismail عليه السلام (other narrations mention it was Hazrat Ishaq عليه السلام). In a dream, Hazrat Ibrahim was commanded to perform the sacrifice to which he responded with unwavering reliance and trust in the will of Allah.
On the way to carry out the commandment, Satan repeatedly sought to tempt Hazrat Ibrahim عليه السلام into ignoring the command. As Hazrat Ibrahim عليه السلام reached Jamarah al-Aqaba (i.e. the location where Jamarah al-Aqaba is today), Satan attempted to dissuade him. Hazrat Ibrahim عليه السلام, who was accompanied by Hazrat Jibril عليه السلام, was instructed by the archangel to throw seven stones at Satan. He obliged and Satan fled immediately. Hazrat Ibrahim عليه السلام then went to Jamarah al-Wusta and Satan appeared again. Hazrat Ibrahim عليه السلام once again threw stones at him and Satan fled. He then went to Jamarah al-Ula and Satan appeared. Hazrat Ibrahim عليه السلام threw stones at him once more and Satan fled.
Each time, Hazrat Ibrahim عليه السلام resisted temptation, remaining steadfast in his intention to do as he was commanded. As Hazrat Ibrahim عليه السلام was preparing to sacrifice his son, he was spared from having to carry out the command at the last moment and was provided with a sacrificial animal as a substitute.”
An amazing analogy of ritual of ‘Rami Jamarat‘ during Hajj is for understanding one of the names of Almighty Allah (Al Muzil meaning humiliating). He did not want to degrade His followers by creating Satan, (who tried to dissuade Hazrat Ibrahim عليه السلام from sacrificing Hazrat Ismail عليه السلام) but to make them (His followers) more strong in their belief.