Gratitude

Summary


Allah SWT says:

“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed My punishment is severe’.”

– Surah Ibrahim, Verse 7


Today’s topic is about a concept central to the obedience of Allah SWT. And that is about gratitude, for gratitude underpins one of the reasons why we worship Allah SWT – that is, to be grateful and praise Him for all His blessings He has bestowed upon us, even if we will never be able to praise Him enough times.

For even being able to praise and thanks Him, warrants thanks to Him in and of itself as most of the Creation have not been favored with such a blessing. For Allah SWT says in Surah Saba, Verse 13, “And few of My servants are grateful.” So how can we begin developing this mindset of gratitude, God Willing?

Reflection

  • It is normal for us to forget that even performing the most simple of good deeds is only due to the will of Allah, that He allowed us to carry out such deeds. Such actions, although subconscious a lot of the time, may lead us to ingratitude if we do not realise that they are from The Almighty.
  • And so it is a good mental and spiritual exercise to constantly reflect whether we are actually grateful to Allah. Are we among those who regularly make an effort to thank Allah for the blessings that He has given us however simple, or not? And if not for a blessing he has favored with us, a harm He has protected us from.

Recognizing the Source

  • We can easily make the mistake of relating our successes to ourselves and the people around us and forget that in reality, everything that we had or have are blessings from Allah. In such cases, it is always important to reflect and remember that everything is from Allah, and just as easily as He has given it to us, it can be taken away.
  • Shaytaan may even fool us into thinking that by performing a good deed, we have attained a high level when in reality, the Sahaaba (companions of the Prophet SAW) who are known to be the best people – with their high statuses and caliber – didn’t think that they were special at all! They were walking examples of humility who continuously strove to do better for it was reported that Umar ibn al Khattab had asked one of the companions, Hudayfah ibn al Yamaam (who had a list of names of all the hypocrites), whether he was on the list or not!.
  • The action of performing good has been a blessing that Allah has allowed us and it should never been thought of a ticket which will grant you paradise. The Prophet Muhammad SAW was told to have said in an authentic narration, “Verily, none of you will enter Paradise because of his deeds alone.” They said, “Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet said, “Not even me, unless Allah grants me mercy from himself.” [Bukhari]

The Simplest Transaction…With No Condition!

  • The amazing thing about being grateful is that it’s rewards are instant and abundant, and it requires no condition, except simply being grateful! The more a person acknowledges the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon him/her, the more Allah grants him/her, as Allah says in Surat Ibrahim, Verse 7: “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed. ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’”.
  • Though this serves as a positive reinforcement to always be grateful, it should make us be fearful of the punishment of Allah. Just because a person may be a Muslim, that does not exempt them from the punishment of Allah. To evade such punishments (may Allah protect us from them), listed are some practical tips which we should try to make a habit.

Practical Tips

  • Thank Allah, keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah by saying:

    سُبْحَانَ اللهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ
    Subhaan Allaahi wa bi hamdihi
    Glory and praise be to Allah

    Aiming to say it at least 100 times. For whoever says it that number of times in one day will be forgiven for his [minor] sins even if they are like the foam of the sea [Bukhari]

  • Use the blessings He has given us in the correct way, in a manner which pleases Him and earns His happiness, something that will help you get closer to Him. Blessings can be trials in disguise if we are utilizing them in His displeasure (e.g. using the blessing of eyesight to look at inappropriate material).

Ending Reminder

And We had certainly given Luqman wisdom [and said], ‘Be grateful to Allah.’ And whoever is grateful is grateful for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever denies [His favor] – then indeed, Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy.”

– Surah Luqmaan, Verse 12