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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gratefulness/Shukr





If only we could count the blessings that we have been given, we could then truly see the extent of the blessings that we are showered in. Yet, we are so oblivious to the blessings that we are in. 

Allah (the Exalted) has given us so much and keeps on giving without us realising the extent of the blessings that are in; then another blessing is added, then another, then another, then another, it’s an endless chain! The weak links occur when we do not give thanks. 

فاذكروني أذكركم واشكروا لي ولا تكفرون

"Remember me, I will remember you, be grateful to me and do not be ungrateful." Quran: Al-Baqarah 2:152

One of the definitions of Kufr is ingratitude and the other disbelief. Here it is ungratefulness because that gives us an idea of how bad ingratitude is. 

The common mistake that translators make on the Quranic passage is that it is disbelief; no its ingratitude, that’s the problem here. 


قال ابن عباس : اذكروني بطاعتي أذكركم بمغفرتي

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said about the verse above, "Remember me by obeying me (Him), I will remember you by forgiving you."


قال سعيد بن جبير اذكروني في النعمة والرخاء أذكركم في الشدة والبلاء 

Sa'eed Ibn Jubayr (may Allah show him mercy) said, "Remember me in blessing and ease, then I will remember you in hardship and tribulation."

Even if we are do not pray we are blessed with good health and even if we are sick it’s not as bad as it could be. Even if it is as bad as it could be, you are Muslim and in that case it is nothing but purfication for previous sins or increasing your rank!


How good is that? In the litany of the sea/Hizb Al-Bahr, one of the lines reads, “A Blessed Lord; is my Lord/Na’imu Rabu Rabi.”


Try to innumerate the blessings of a working immune system; it’s almost impossible! It works for you at a level that you cannot understand or comprehend! When a foreign body enters your body the immune system, the white blood cells, work on antibodies then other white blood cells devour the foreign body. How can you give thanks for something that you do not even realise!



Food


Food is one of the easiest things that we can be grateful for. How many people have a choice in what we have, in terms of food? We have a large selection of foods and all we do is fill our bellies without realising the blessings that we have been given. Most of the world eats for a full day on less than a dollar. We spend that much and more on drinks!

 

Anas (may Allah be pleased with narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “Allah is pleased when a servant eats food and praises him for it; and he drinks and praises him for it.” (Muslim 24/140).


Realisation

 

The Prophet Dawood (upon him peace) said, “My Lord, how can I thank you for all the blessings from you?” Allah revealed to him, “Now, you have thanked me.” (Risala Qusharariyyah by Abu Qasim p.212).
 

Musa (upon him peace) said to his Lord, “O’ Lord, how is Adam (son of Adam) able to give gratitude for what you have done for him; you created him; you blew a spirit into him; gave him Paradise to dwell in; ordered the angels to prostrate to him?” He said, “O’ Musa, Adams knowledge that it is from me and he praised me for it; this is gratefulness for what we did for him.” (Abu Laith As-Samarqandi Informing the Heedless p.253).

Imam Junaid Al-Baghdadi said, “Gratefulness is to see yourself unworthy of the blessing.” (Risala Qushariyyah p.211).

 







General and specific

 

“It was stated that gratitude has two aspects: General gratitude and specific gratitude. The general gratitude is the praise of the tongue upon the realisation of the blessings of Allah (the Exalted) upon you. The specific gratitude is praise on the tongue, knowledge in the heart, service of the pillars, restraining the tongue and the rest of the limbs from that which is not permitted. “(Abu Laith As-Samarqandi Informing the Heedless p.256)

Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said to a man from the tribe of Hamazan, “Allah’s generosity is connected to gratitude; gratitude is linked to increase in his generosity. The generosity of Allah will not stop increasing unless the gratitude of His servant ceases.” (Purification of the Heart p. 101 Various).



Being Grateful for what you have


A person can be grateful for whatever they receive this person is called Shakir (a grateful person) in Arabic but true Shukr (gratefulness) is the person who is grateful for what he did not get, not just for what he got.

 

“How few of my servants are grateful!” (Quran: Saba 34:13). We can now see the example of someone who is grateful, see the following. Sheikh Saad used to say that the Prophet (may Allah bestow upon him peace and blessings is the Mu'allim Al-Shukr/teacher of gratitude and the following clarifies:
 

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) used to see the Prophet (may Allah bestow upon him peace and blessings) pray in the night until his feet became swollen and then she asked, “O’ Messenger of Allah, why do you cry? When Allah has forgiven your previous and forthcoming errors?” He replied, “Should I not be a grateful slave?” (Bukhari, Muslim At-Tirmidhi, Nisa’i, Ibn Majah and Imam Ahmed).


Do what you should be doing – religious person


One of the other definitions that I remember hearing my teachers say was that a person is showing gratitude to Allah by performing the actions that are necessary for him to perform at that time. That is gratefulness. 


For example a religious person should not spend their time wasting it watching television or on the internet, they should use it constructively.
 

Ibn Ajiba (may Allah be pleased with him) describes three stations of gratitude, “Gratitude of the tongue; it is the realisation of the blessing through its tranquil description, gratitude of the body; is description of servitude and gratitude of the heart, is witness the giver of blessing when the blessings arrives.” (p.12 Mariaj At-Tashwif).
The above quote explains what gratitude entails and the three areas that gratitude can manifest.




Thank people


The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow upon him peace and blessings) said, “Whoever does not thank people does not thank Allah.” (Imam Ahmed).

Meaning, that the good that you receive from people is from Allah, so thanking them is showing gratitude. How many of us go into shops and do not say thank you? Some of us just grunt but is this the way of the Sunna?

 


Increase

 
"If you are grateful, surely I will increase you." (Quran: Ibrahim 14:7).


You can try this out by being grateful to Allah (the Exalted) when you receive a blessing and know that it will be increased. Tie your gifts with the ropes of gratitude as one of the spiritual masters once said. Then you can keep them otherwise you could lose them and become sorrowful. Often, we do not realise what we have until its gone.

 




Conclusion

 
So be among the few who show gratitude with their tongues, limbs and hearts. You do not have anything to lose in fact you are promised more if you do. So what are you waiting for? When you feel overwhelmed with blessings then perform the grateful prostration. Stay in the prostration position for as long as you like! The longer, the better! The more you admit that you are unworthy of the blessing, the more you will be increased. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.



O Allah, we are grateful for all the blessings you have shown us, the ones we are aware and the ones we are unaware of. All praise belongs to Allah (the Exalted).



1 comment:

  1. Shaykh I'm looking for a hadith and do not know how sound it is. It is where Musa (as) spoke to Allah (aza wa jal) and said "How can I be grateful when gratefulness is bestowed from you."

    Do you know if there is such an hadith or a similar one?

    Jzk

    Asalamu Alaikum WRB

    ReplyDelete