Gratitude is the greatest way to live for those who possess high ranks of righteousness, and such people did not reach these lofty ranks except through their gratitude; this is because belief is comprised of two halves: one half is gratitude and the other is perseverance.
Gratitude is to acknowledge being treated well by Allah; it is also to praise the One who has done one many favours. It also entails displaying the effect of the favours of Allah upon a person by believing with one’s heart, uttering praise and glorifications of Allah by one’s tongue, and to use one’s limbs in the worship and obedience of Allah. If only a few favours are worthy of a great deal of gratitude, how would the case be when favours are abundant? People are either grateful or ungrateful.
Gratitude holds a high rank in Islam:
lAllah parallels it with His mention. He Says (what means): “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me”. [Qur’an 2: 152]
lAllah parallels it with belief. He Says (what means): “What would Allah do with [i.e., gain from] your punishment if you are grateful and believe?...” [Qur’an 4: 147] Meaning, if you fulfil the rights due to Allah and the reason for which He has created you by gratitude and belief, He will not punish you.
lThose who practise gratitude to Allah are those who are chosen to be granted His favours. He Says (what means): “And thus We have tried some of them through others that they [i.e., the disbelievers] might say, ‘Is it these whom Allah has favoured among us?’ Is not Allah most knowing of those who are grateful?” [Qur’an 6: 53]
lAllah has classified people into being either grateful or ungrateful; the worst matter in the scale of Allah is ingratitude whilst the dearest things to Him are gratitude and the grateful. Allah Says (what means): “Indeed, We guided him [i.e., man] to the way, be he grateful or ungrateful” [Qur’an 76: 3]
lAllah tests His slaves in order to see who will practise gratitude and who will not. Allah informs us about what Prophet Sulaymaan, ‘alaihi-s-salaam, said when He Says (what means): “…This is from the favour of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful – his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever is ungrateful – then indeed my Lord is Free of need and Generous.” [Qur’an 27: 40]
lAllah promises increased favours for those who are grateful. He Says (what means): “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]; but if you deny, indeed My punishment is severe.’” [Qur’an 14: 7]
lAllah loves gratitude and the deeds of the grateful. He Says (what means): “If you disbelieve – indeed, Allah is Free from need of you. And He does not approve for His servants disbelief. And if you are grateful, He approves [i.e., likes] it for you…” [Qur’an 39: 7]
The grateful people mentioned in the verse are those who remain steadfast upon belief during trials and who do not retreat or recant on their belief. Some people verbally thank Allah during times of ease, but during trials they give up their faith. The truly grateful are those who express the true condition of their hearts during trials by remaining steadfast and continuing to thank Allah by their tongues, hearts and limbs. Additionally, this verse clarifies that the pleasure of Allah is achieved by being grateful to Him.
lAllah did not make the reward for the grateful subject to any condition, as He did for other acts of worship, which He conditioned to His will; rather, Allah immediately mentions their reward; He Says (what means): “…And Allah will reward the grateful.” [Qur’an 3: 144] and also (what means): “…And We will reward the grateful.” [Qur’an 3: 145]
lAllah informs us that one of Satan’s primary objectives is to prevent humans from being grateful; He Says (what means): “[Satan said] ‘Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You [i.e., Allah] will not find most of them grateful [to You].” [Qur’an 7: 17]
lAllah describes His grateful slaves to be few in number; He Says (what means): “…And few of My servants are grateful.” [Qur’an 34: 13] The reason being that many people enjoy blessings and bounties from Allah, but fail to practice gratitude to Allah.
lAllah praised the first prophet sent to man on earth, Prophet Nooh, ‘alaihi-s-salaam, due to him being grateful. Allah Says (what means): “O descendants of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah. Indeed, he was a grateful servant.” [Qur’an 17: 3] This is as an indication that we should imitate him .
lGratitude is the first instruction given to man as soon as he begins to comprehend. Allah Says (what means): “And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination.” [Qur’an 31: 14]
lAllah specified it as one of the main qualities of a person who sets himself as a good example for others to follow. He says regarding Prophet, Ibraaheem ‘alaihi-s-salaam, (what means): “Indeed, Ibraaheem was a [comprehensive] leader, devoutly obedient to Allah, inclining toward truth, and he was not of those who associate others with Allah. [He was] grateful for His favours. He [i.e., Allah] chose him and guided him to a straight path.” [Qur’an 16: 120-121]
Therefore, gratitude is one of the objectives that man is commanded to accomplish.
Imaam ibn Al-Qayyim mentioned that gratitude is one of the ranks of belief, which can be extracted from the fifth verse of Surah Al-Faatihah, (what means): “It is You we worship and You we ask for help.” Then he mentioned the following additional points regarding gratitude:
n It is one of the highest ranks of belief.
n It is higher than the rank of contentment; and nobody can be content without being grateful.
n Allah praises the grateful.
nAllah promises the grateful the best of rewards.
nAllah makes gratitude a reason for attaining more of His bounties.
nIt is a means to preserve the favors of Allah upon a person.
nIt is one of the main objectives that a slave must accomplish.
nIt is extracted from Ash-Skakoor, which is one of the Names of Allah, and which implies gratitude.
nThose who are grateful are very few in number.
nGratitude results in more favours from Allah.
Gratitude is having one’s heart devoted to loving the One bestowing the favors, having the limbs continuously obedient to Him and having the tongue repeatedly mentioning Him, praising Him and glorifying Him. Gratitude entails the following three things:
1. One should realise the favours bestowed upon him and have it present in his mind constantly, because this leads him to remember the Bestower of favors and therefore being grateful to and loving Allah, who is of course the Bestower of favours. This would therefore make one exert more effort in worshipping Allah.
2. One should receive favours with humility and express his need to Allah, the Bestower of favours, and mention that he is unworthy of the favors bestowed upon him, and that it is only due to the Grace and Kindness of Allah that such favors were bestowed.
3. One should praise Allah, the Bestower of favours, and this is done in two ways:
1) Generally: To describe Allah as being generous and kind.
2) Specifically: To mention His favours upon one.
There are two points regarding the issue of mentioning and talking about favors from Allah:
1) To mention all that Allah Has bestowed upon one.
2) To utilise these favors in His obedience.
People fall into three categories with regards to the favours from Allah:
1. Those who are grateful and praise Allah for bestowing them upon them.
2. Those who are ungrateful and do not mention them.
3. Those who express that they are worthy of them, when in fact they certainly are not.
An-Nu’maan ibn Al-Basheer, radhiallah ‘anhu, said: “He who does not thank Allah for small favours will not thank Him for great ones; and he who does not express gratitude to people (for doing him favours) will not express gratitude towards Allah. Appreciating and mentioning the favour bestowed upon one from Allah is gratitude, and not doing so expresses ingratitude.” [Ahmad]
This should be done in front of people and between a person and himself (i.e., to himself) but if people are of the envious type, then one should conceal such favors, and he would not be ungrateful in this case, because he is simply concealing them in an attempt to prevent an evil from befalling him, such as an evil eye or an evil plot from the envious, and it must be known that to prevent harm from afflicting man is an objective set forth by the Islamic Shari’ah.
There is no way one can do anything to repay the favours bestowed upon him by Allah, except that he should continue to praise and thank Allah for having bestowed them upon him, as well as utilising these favors for the pleasure of Allah.
What is our duty towards Allah with regards to the favours He bestows upon us?
n Being submissive to Allah.
nAcknowledging that He is the Bestower of all favours.
nUtilising these favors in a way that pleases Him.
Does the way of expressing gratitude towards Allah differ, just like the favours themselves differ?
Yes; gratitude can be expressed by the heart, the tongue and the limbs.
Expressing gratitude by the heart: This is by knowing that Allah is the Bestower of these favours, and this is something that is very important when cultivating children, so that they know where favors come from, as Allah Says (what means): “O Mankind, remember the favour of Allah upon you. Is there any creator other than Allah who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? There is no deity except Him, so how are you deluded?” [Qur’an 35: 3]
Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/
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