Gratitude

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“Be grateful to Allah for whoso is grateful is grateful for the good of his own soul”
(Holy Qur’an Chapter 31, verse 3)

Let us render thanks to Almighty God for the innumerable blessings He has bestowed upon us in this world. Expression of gratitude is one of the secrets of happiness while ingratitude is one of the causes of worry, depression and misery. A grateful person is always praising God whatever may be his lot for he realises that there are many far worse off than himself.

“Count your blessings, Name them one by one; Count your blessings
See what God hath done.”
(J. Oatman).

True knowledge and experience of God is the greatest of all blessings. All else is of no real and permanent value. It is for this reason that the person who has really found God is not overcome by adverse circumstances for resting in the lap of God he has found a happiness which no power on earth can destroy. He constantly expresses gratitude to God for His spiritual bounties:

“Exalt Allah for having guided you and that you may be grateful.”
(Holy Qur’an Chapter 2, verse 186)

A Muslim is exhorted to praise and thank God for the blessings of divine guidance above all else. This is what he most cherishes. Worldly comforts many be denied to him but still he constantly offers his gratitude to God. I would like to relate an instance in my life when my circumstances were somewhat wretched while stationed on the island of Antigua in the West Indies perhaps in 1955. One hot afternoon when the pressure of my problem weighed heavily upon me I suddenly realised the great blessing of my humble relationship with God and began reciting over and over again Alhamdulillah (All praise be to God). As I recited these words a refreshing and delightful sense of peace cooled my troubled mind. I felt wonderfully content. I realised that the trials of this world are more often than not blessings in disguise and that attachment to God is what really counts:

“O my people, this life of the world is but a temporary provision,
and the Hereafter is certainly the home for the permanent abode.”
(The Holy Qur’an Chapter 40, verse 40)

The forces of the world may be able to destroy the body but never are they able to destroy the soul. Adversities can make or break us according to our attitude of mind towards them:

“I am thankful for the adversities which have passed my pathway,
for they have taught me tolerance sympathy, self-control, perseverance
and some other qualities which I might never have known.”
(Laws of Success by Napoleon Hill).

In every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit which we can help to grow and nourish with the right mental attitude. Let us therefore show gratitude for adversities as well as for all the good fortune we enjoy:

“Yet not for these alone our hearts go out in grateful prayer,
We thank Him also for hardships, disappointments, pain and care;
For all out tears and all our wounds our humble thanks we give,
for these are blessings in disguise – they teach us how to live.”

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has declared that for a true Muslim life is full of good all the time:

“For a Muslim, life is full of good and nobody but a true believer finds himself in that position,
for if he meets with success he is grateful to God and becomes the recipient of greater favours
from Him. On the other hand, if he suffers pain and tribulation he endures it with patience
and thus again makes himself deserving of God’s favours.”

“Thus so we require every ungrateful person”
(The Holy Qur’an Chapter 35, verse 37)

“The ungrateful never prosper”
(The Holy Qur’an Chapter 28, verse 83)

We are inclined to overlook and take as a matter of fact the multifarious blessings which adorn our lives in this world and to complain and grieve over those things which we consider to be misfortunes and adversities. The Holy Qur’an warns us against this negative and wrong attitude:

“And truly thy Lord is gracious to mankind, but most of them are not grateful”
(The Holy Qur’an Chapter 27, verse 74)

Let us adopt a positive attitude towards life and concentrate on all the blessings in our lives:

“If I sit down and start to count the worries I have got,
I’ll never smile again because of ills I’ve such a lot;
But goodness me, I’ve blessings too – I count them by the score,
I have indeed no end of things to thank the good Lord for!”

Also with child-like simplicity let us express our gratitude to God:

“Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything.”

How beautifully has William Shakespeare expressed his sentiments on the virtue of gratitude:

“O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”

Gratitude has been described as the memory of the heart. God has not only expressed his love for those who are grateful but has also promised reward for them:

“And Allah will certainly reward the grateful”
(The Holy Qur’an Chapter 3, verse 145)

Some people sour and embitter their lives by complaining and finding fault with everything and everybody. There is little sunshine in their lives. No wonder they make few friends because nobody enjoys the company of a grouser except perhaps another grouser. Archbishop William Temple truly stated:

“It is probable that in most of us the spiritual life is impoverished
and stunted because we give so little place to gratitude.”

The Holy Bible advises us:

“Give thanks whatever happens”
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

The Holy Qur’an also directs:

“Be grateful to Allah”
(Holy Qur’an Chapter 31, verse 3)

The grateful person is always a happy person. He spends more time thanking God for, His favours than he does in asking for them.

Alhamdulillahi Rabbil ‘alameen – All perfect praise is due to Allah – Lord of all the worlds.

 

– By Bashir Ahmad Orchard
Taken from the book ‘Guide Posts’

 

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