Part 1 – Gratitude
The Messenger of Allah sullallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, "Strange is the affair of the mu'min (the believer), verily all his affairs are good for him. If something pleasing befalls him he thanks (Allah) and it becomes better for him. And if something harmful befalls him he is patient (sabir) and it becomes better for him. And this is only for the mu'min."
Gratitude (shukr) is about expressing thanks and appreciation to those who do any favour to us. Obviously, none can come close to our creator, Allah, who gave us everything. As the Quran states:“Who created you, fashioned you perfectly, and gave you due proportion?” [Infitar 82:7].
As humans, Allah has bestowed on us the nature to be grateful and we should thus express that gratitude not just to Allah but to the people whom we deal with as well. In many places in the Quran, Allah divides people as being grateful and as ungrateful to motivate us to join the camp of those who are grateful. In one such verse prophet Sulaiman said, as stated in the Quran, “. . . then when (Sulaiman (Solomon)) saw it placed before him, he said: “This is by the Grace of my Lord to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his own self, and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his own self). Certainly! My Lord is Rich (Free of all wants), Bountiful” [An-Naml: 40]
Virtues of Gratitude
Gratitude is knowing whatever we have is from Allah.
Allah says in the Quran: “And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah” [al-Nahl 16:53]. He also says, “And He found you poor and made you rich (self sufficient with self contentment)” [al-Duha 93:8]. Let’s therefore constantly remind ourselves of Allah’s bounties by expressing our gratitude to Him in prayers and at other times. It is best for our own selves that in times of hardships we remember the times of blessings and ease so to be patient and remain grateful. Such times are a test to see if the believer will be grateful all the time or only when he is receiving ease and benefits, such means brings the believer closer to his Lord while pushes the ungrateful further away distinguishing between the two.
Gratitude helps ward off the punishment of Allah
“Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him. And Allah is Ever All-Appreciative (of good), All-Knowing” [(An-Nisa, Verse #147)]. Not recognizing Allah’s blessings can prevent us from gaining His pleasure. Some may ask "How about those who are punished amongst the ungrateful in storms or natural disasters?" It is clear from surah Mursalat "Uthran aw Nuthrah" meaning for some it is a punishment but for others it is a reminder (bring them closer to Himself as they show patience and pray).
Gratitude helps us appreciate what we have
In a hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “…if the son of Adam has one valley, he will wish that he had a second, and if he had two valleys, he would wish that he had a third. The stomach of the son of Adam will be filled only with dust (i.e., he is never satisfied)…” (Reported by Ahmad, 5/219; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1781). So, let’s increase gratitude and count our blessings to learn to appreciate what we have rather than fretting over what we don’t, as there is always those who have far less
Gratitude helps us recognise others favours to us
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said as narrated by Abu Hurairah: “He who does not thank people, does not thank Allah” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi). He also said: “Whoever does you a favor, then reciprocate, and if you cannot find anything with which to reciprocate, then pray for him until you think that you have reciprocated him” Abu Dawood (1672).
Contributing towards our Da'wah projects supports the volunteers and makes some of their tasks a bit easier. This is a type of thanks to those who sacrifice and give more than others serving our Ummah.
Gratitude brings Allah’s Blessing upon us.
Allah says: “And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: ‘If you give thanks (by worshipping none but Allah and by counting His blesssings upon you), I will give you more (of My Blessings); but if you are thankless, verily, My punishment is indeed severe’” [Ibraaheem 14:7] Let’s, therefore, make thanking Allah part of our morning and evening remembrances (adhkar) to get more of Allah’s blessings in our lives. This is a great way to increase in wealth, redemption and pious offspring. When coupled with Tawbah & Sadaqa it is far more effective. This is for those who truly believe.
Gratitude’s importance was emphasized by the Prophet when he took the hand of Mu’aadh ibn Jabal and said: “O Mu’aadh, by Allah I love you, by Allah I love you.” Then he said, “I advise you, O Mu’aadh, do not fail to say this after every prayer:
O Allah help me to remember You, to thank You and to worship You properly.”
Allahumma A’inni Ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibadatika
After telling Mu'aadh that he loves him so dearly and then offers advice, try to empathise to better understand the sincerity and weight of the advice that follows. How deeply in his heart he hopes that Mu'aadh will adhere to that advice and how weighty the rewards must be.
Finally, remember that being grateful is not an option and that being grateful brings us closer to those whom we thank and appreciate.
(Received in an email from al Fitrah academy)