Gratitude and thanks are the best description of the Muslim believer. Indeed, in Islam, the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon us cannot even be counted. As Allah said in the Quran:
And if you would count the graces of Allah, never could you be able to count them. Truly! Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (16:18)
We cannot count all the blessings from Allah upon us.
Some of these blessings we can think of what we know, but there are yet many blessings that we are not even aware of. In other words, many blessings of Allah we cannot even imagine them. Consequently. We cannot even know that they are blessings. As Allah said in the Quran,
He amply bestowed upon you His favors, [both] apparent and unapparent? (31:20)
Thus, in the light of these blessings, what is our Waajib? What is required of us? Many of the things are required, but today’s post will concentrate on one of the believer’s most important characteristics. One of the most important manifestations of appreciating Allah’s blessings on us is being thankful to Allah. The concept of Shukr, the concept of being thankful to Allah SWT.
Indeed, the fact that you have been created by Allah SWT, one of the purposes of our being here, one of the divine wisdom of our existence is to thank Allah SWT. Allah says in the Qur’an:
Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture that We may try him; and We made him hearing and seeing. (76:2)
Then Allah says:
Indeed, We guided him to the way, be he grateful, or be he ungrateful. (76:3)
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Gratitude is the opposite of rejection.
There are only 2 options: ever he shows gratitude or he show reject being Kafuur. And this will be a theme of our khutba. Thank – Shukr and Kufr are actually opposite in the Quran and the Arabic language.
Ever you are thankful to Allah, or you reject Allah SWT by being ungrateful.
Why Shukr is the opposite of Kufr? Because the greatest ingratitude is to deny the worship of the existence of Allah. The greatest ingratitude is to turn away from submitting to Allah, and that is the kufr. To be not a Muslim is Kufr. So, the greatest ungratefulness is not to accept the religion of Islam. And hence, Shukr and Kufr are antinomies. They are opposites. Ever you are thankful, or you reject Allah, and therefore you are a Kaafir. And Therefore, Kufr is also translated as ingratitude, ungrateful. Why? The high to be ungrateful is to reject Allah’s worship, which is rejecting being a Muslim.
One of the very first commandments that Allah has ordered in Surah al Baqarah,
So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.
Once again, Kufr and Shukr are made opposites of one another. In fact, for every blessing that Allah has given us, one of the main purposes of that blessing is that we thank Allah SWT. Think about that and let that sink in. We are blessed, and we continue to be blessed, and Allah continues to shower us with blessings to see if we are thankful for those blessings.
Gratitude and faith are synonymous.
Therefore, Shukr and Eeman (faith) are synonymous in many ways. If you believe in Allah automatically, there is an element of Shukr. Automatically you acknowledge that Allah has blessed you. And the more you believe in Allah, the more you will thank him, and the more you will thank Allah, the more you will believe in him.
Now we understand from the Quran and logically that Allah deserves to be thanked. The question that now aroused us is: how the Shukr has to be done? What is Shukr?
Shukr is to humble yourself in front of the One who has given you all those blessings. You know, we feel this among us human being as well, if somebody does for us a big favor; how do we feel when a person gives you a big favor? We acknowledge and appreciate it.
So, what about the One who has given each of these favors? Even the people who help us, Allah has given them those favors to help us. Thus, Shukr requires humility and gratitude. You cannot be Shakir and be arrogant. You have to be humble in front of Allah SWT. This is of the requirement of Shukr.
Among the manifestation of Shukr is to feel that blessings. It is not arrogance. Because arrogance is to deny and negate the One who has blessed you. To appreciate the blessing, to feel blessed is a part of being thankful.
The gratitude is to act in a manner that is pleasing Allah.
Among the manifestation of Shukr is to act in a manner that is pleasing to Allah SWT. In other words, imagine that somebody gives you a car, a gift. Would you then use that car to crash it into his house and damage his property intentionally? What type of thankfulness be those? So, a part of Shukr is to use the blessing that Allah has given you to please Allah. And not to displease Allah.
Among the manifestation of Shukr is that inappropriate circumstance, in the right attitude with humility, with the right audience, is to mention the blessing that Allah has given you, with 2 conditions; the right audience which means that you don’t open the door to jealousy and with the right attitude with humility, no arrogance. Allah says:
But as for the favor of your Lord, report [it]. (93:11)
So, to mention the blessing of Allah upon us, in the right audience and the right intention, is a part of being thankful and have gratitude.
The rewards for being thankful are numerous.
Thus, they are many rewards for the thankful one:
- When you show shukr to Allah, Allah SWT’s pleasure, Allah’s please is on the thankful one.
And if you are grateful, He approves it for you; (39:7)
- When you show shukr to Allah, Allah will lift the punishment from you. Allah says explicitly in the Qur’an that punishment and Shukr cannot coexist together. If you are thankful, there will be no punishment. But if you are not thankful the purpose of punishment is to remind you. Allah says:
What would Allah do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allah Appreciative and Knowing. (4:147)
- When you show shurk to Allah, Allah gives you more.
If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor] (14:7)
Be grateful for the biggest blessing of Islam
Before concluding our article, let us remind some blessings that Allah gave us, and the biggest is the blessing of Islam and the blessing Qur’an. No doubt, this is the biggest blessing. There is no blessing compared to that blessing. We need to appreciate and show Shukr to Allah for having guidance to Islam.
“Praise to Allah, who has guided us to this; and we would never have been guided if Allah had not guided us. Certainly, the messengers of our Lord had come with the truth. (7:43)
And from the blessing that we have to be thankful for is our consciousness, intelligence, our knowledge, our senses, our perception, in other words, our faculties, our brain, our hears, our seeing. We are not like animals. Indeed, we are better than animals. We are the best creation of Allah in this world. Allah mentioned in the Qur’an that:
And Allah has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and intellect that perhaps you would be grateful. (16:78)
We should be thankful to Allah for the convenience he created for us; our food. Look at the animal that you ride, some of them you eat, and other blessings added in our time the technologies that Allah has blessed us with. We have air-conditioned rooms. We have the convenience of our cars, our cell phones, all of these blessings the previous generation did not have. This requires thankfulness on our part.
Being grateful for the blessing of health
Of the blessing that Allah has given us is the blessing of health. How fortunate we are. We can breathe in peace. Imagine those who cannot even breathe when you are testing with some diseases. Thanks to Allah, it is not even worse. So, we thank Allah for whatever level of health we have.
Prophet pbuh said, two of the blessings that people don’t appreciate them, number one is good health, and number two is free time.
Most of us do not spend 24 hours a day having to earn our food and drinks. Alhamdulillah, we have to produce something productive, work, and come back home and have some free hours. There are so many people in the world who have to labor maybe 20 hours a day to get food for themselves and their children, they have no time except to eat, drink and go to work, and that’s it. Thanks, Allah, that many of us have this luxury.
One of Allah SWT’s blessings and the blessing to appreciate in this land and many lands of the world is the blessing of peace and security. How many people do not have this blessing? Because one of the biggest blessings is to be stress-free when it comes to the world’s chaos and troubles.
Who has fed them, [saving them] from hunger and made them safe, [saving them] from fear? (106:4)
This is a blessing that many of us take for granted. We have gratitude for all the blessings that Allah gives to us.