Adila Tahniyat Ansari
Does gratitude mean saying thank you? Does it mean something more? Let us explore…
Gratitude (shukr) is something which has the power to change the lives of people as a whole. Gratitude can be divided into two major parts: verbal and based on actions. Verbal expression of gratitude can be with the use of words such as “thanks!”, “I appreciate your presence” etc., whereas, expression of gratitude through actions can prove to be more burdensome. In expression through gratitude, one has to take care of his actions as the actions may decide if you are grateful or not.
Let’s understand this with an example, someone does good to you and you never get the opportunity to thank them, you express your gratitude to them by returning the good to them. It may also add the gratitude and gratefulness you have in your heart for your peers and those around you, the way you treat them, and just having that thought of yourself being special that you have them in your life.
When we start having love for them, our gratefulness towards Allah for bringing them into our lives increases even more.
It is easy for Shaytan to mislead us into Kufr by making a believer ungrateful towards his creator.
It is well said that “acknowledging the good you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” (Eckhart Tolle)
If people begin applying this to their lives, tears will turn into patience, and hardships will turn into an opportunity to thank the Creator. The Qur’an has a lot to say about gratefulness. It says in one place: “If you give thanks, I will give more” (14:7)
What should be looked upon here is that the whole world is too busy focusing on the negative phases of their lives that they completely forget to rejoice in what life offers them. This kind of mindset and habits may lead to a severely disturbed life. People often commit suicide not knowing how merciful Allah is, and what ease, and comfort Allah gave them. They neglect all the glad tidings given to the believer by Allah. On bearing everything with patience, Allah himself says “Indeed Allah is with the Patient” (2:153)
The point where problems arise is where one begins to start seeing life as miserable and pointless. This makes Shaytan happy and being ungrateful and hopeless makes it easier for him to mislead Allah’s slaves into Kufr. But one should never forget what eternal life Allah has promised for them and the happiness and the contentment in it. We should always look at the broader concept and what lies after continuous despair and dismay.
Now gratitude towards Allah has a different method, a loving way and unique from others.
The step is to utter the word “Alhamdulillah” with a clean heart. The second is to be content with
His decree, for what he blessed us with, for the food on our tables, for the clothes in our
closets and the blessings one can’t even count.
The examples of people who never let go of their gratitude in ancient times and even the present should be observed and imbibed. Women who used to lose their children in front of them never uttered unfavourable words; instead, they said when sobbing “O Allah, these tears are not in my control, but we are grateful towards you and we are content with what you decreed.” Prophet Yusuf (A.S) after being held for a sin he didn’t commit, after spending years away from his father, after being falsely accused, never gave up on being obedient towards Allah swt. History has uncovered many personalities by their patience and gratefulness turned stones and taught the generations to come, lessons of gratitude.
One should never let go of gratitude from the heart. As gratitude departs from the heart, joy seems to become sorrow, opportunities seem to become hardships and blessings and graciousness seem to lessen. Allah doesn’t like his slaves to be ungrateful because the more a believer tends to be ungrateful to his Lord, it gets Shaytan to trick him, which can lead to a disturbed life. Life has its tests, like huge storms, but by being strong and continuous in the journey of faith and having the hope to cross it, we can see the blooms and the happy endings the storm concealed the whole time. It’s just about being mature enough to understand the teachings of life and the art of living it.
Now, being grateful to Allah has a greater meaning, it means to utter the words of gratefulness like
“Alhamdulillah” even when we are in great pain. It would unleash many blessings in our lives, as
Allah promised us to give more whenever we show gratitude. One can see magical turns in their lives, their desires being fulfilled, their duas being answered and many miracles taking place in their lives.
The Qur’an also states “O you who believe! Eat of the good things we have provided for you and give thanks to Allah, if it is him that you serve” (2:172). Here being grateful is connected to Allah’s worship!
That means if we serve Allah and if we truly do worship Him, we have to show gratitude towards Him.
And Allah knows that there are very less people who are truly grateful towards Him so He said
“And few of my servants are truly grateful.”
Some show gratitude through their tongues but, as mentioned above, gratitude during calamities, disturbed lives, wrath and loss of wealth or children. Losing something beloved is like finding a needle in a haystack. We may not be completely grateful throughout our lives, but at some point or other, we also look at ourselves as being stubborn, complaining and saddened by our fates. But taking a moment to count the blessings we do have and saying “Alhamdulillah” in that situation is something which can never be regretted. Additionally, expressing a feeling of guilt when not being able to stay grateful may also help. When you develop a habit of feeling guilty over not being able to do something good actually helps to make that good act a habit so that every time you miss it, you strive harder to do it again properly.
So, let’s make it a habit of always being grateful towards the one who created us, to have faith in Him, who is the best of planners, and to have hope in Him in despair. May Allah make us among the
Shakireen (the grateful ones) and increase us in our blessings. Aameen.