Being Thankful to Allah

From the very beginning of Man’s creation, the issue of gratefulness and thankfulness to Allah has been debated. After refusing to bow to Adam, Satan said, “Then I will certainly come to them from before them and from behind them, and from the right-hand side and from the left-hand side, and Thou (Allah) shall not find most of them thankful.” [Surah Al A’raf 7:17] This statement from the worst of liars has proven to be true, not only among the disbelievers, but also among the Muslims.

Unfortunately, we Muslims have fallen into the trap of Satan, and have gotten so caught up in our comings and goings, that we very rarely take the time to reflect on the favours of Allah, and to thank Him with the thanks that is due Him. We are so busy conducting our daily lives that we forget who is really in­charge, and from where our sustenance comes. This is not the way, for Allah says, “Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me.” [Surah Al Baqarah 2:152]

The problem that most of us face is what I call the, “if I only…” syndrome. If I only had a better wife, I would be grateful. If I only had sons instead of daughters, I would be grateful. If I only had a bigger house, a better car, more money, a better job, and the list goes on and on. We are constantly focused on the things we don’t have, instead of being grateful to Allah for the things we do have.

This is a very serious illness, for which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), has given the cure. He, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), admonished us, in terms of worldly things to always look to those beneath us, to those less fortunate than us, for this will keep us thankful. Allah says about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), that in him we have the best of examples. In terms of showing us how to be thankful to Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, he is as Allah says.

It is narrated by Al-Mughira that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to stand (in the prayer) or pray until both his feet or legs swelled. He was asked why (he offered such an unbearable Salah) he said, “Should I not be a thankful slave.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book #21, Hadith #230)

As the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised us, the best way to stay thankful to Allah is to count His favours in our lives everyday For Allah says, “And He gives you all that you ask for. But if you count the favours of Allah, never will you be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude.” [Surah Ibrahim 14:34] This statement of Allah is so true, yet we put so little value on it, and do not take heed.

The very fact that we got up this morning, that we can offer the salah, that we had breakfast, that we have clothes to wear, water to bathe ourselves, that we have homes to shelter us from the elements, that we have our health, our families, etc., etc., are all favour from Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. We should take none of it for granted, or become arrogant enough to believe that we attained any of it because of our own efforts alone.

Thankfulness frees the heart from greed, jealousy and envy. When we are thankful to Allah, we remain mindful of Him and His continues Mercy toward us, and this in return humbles us and improves our characters. The very fact that Allah has guided us to Islam and the sunnah of His Prophet (peace be upon him), in itself should be a source of continual praise. Allah says, “Surely We have shown him the way: he may be thankful or unthankful.” [Surah Al Insan 76:3]

Allah also says that only few of His servants thank Him. Let us then strive to be among these few by keeping our tongues wet with His remembrance and hearts soft with His praise.

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