By: Kashif Naseem Dilkusha
Every morning when we rise from our sleep and open our eyes, we see the roof and walls of our room, we see our spouse and children (if we're married and/or have children), and I am sure that parents can not even begin to describe the coolness that they feel in their eyes upon seeing their children.
Yet, how many of us have ever reflected upon how great a blessing these eyes are? How many of us have felt a sense of gratitude for this tremendous favor of Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla)? Unfortunately, not many of us, as Allāh (SWT) mentions in Sūrat'l-Mulk, verse 23:
“Say it is He Who has created you, and endowed you with hearing (ears), seeing (eyes), and hearts. Little thanks you give.”
In Sūrat'l-A'rāf, our greatest enemy the 'Shayṭān' accuses Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla) saying:
“(Iblîs) said: 'Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path (16) Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You).'”
The Shayṭān, after mentioning his evil strategy to Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla), declares his ultimate objective, that he will cause most of mankind to be ungrateful to Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla). And in pursuit of his mission, he has injected a virus not only in the non-believers, but in most of the Muslims which is called the “If I only had…” virus.
This virus causes a person to always say, 'If I only had more money, I would be more pious'. 'If I only had my own house, I would spend more in the path of Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla)'. 'If I only had a better car, more sons, more wealth, etc.…' and the list goes on and on.
As a result of this virus, we are constantly focused on what we do not have instead of being thankful for the things which we do have.
This is why Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla) has constantly reminded us to be thankful to Him in the Holy Qurʾān, and has revealed approximately 70 verses mentioning the importance of 'shukr' (thankfulness or gratefulness) in the Qurʾān.
Our beloved Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) has guided us on how we can protect ourselves from becoming infected with this virus. Whenever such evil thoughts from the whispers of Shayṭān arise within us, we should not look towards those people who are more blessed than us in the worldly things which we crave; rather we should look towards those people who do not have the worldly possessions which Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla) has bestowed upon us.
Have you ever wondered how spacious the home of Rasūlullāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), the mercy to all mankind, was? It was so spacious that when our Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to go down into sujūd, our mother 'Ā'ishah used to have to fold her legs in order to give him space to place his head. Yet, in spite of all this, when Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to stand for “Qiyām ul layl”, he would stand for so long that his feet would become swollen. And when he was asked why he stands for so long, he replied,
“Should I not be a thankful slave?”
Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla) has divided people into two categories as revealed in Sūrat'l-Insān, verse 3:
“Verily, We showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful”
Furthermore, in Sūrah Ibrāhīm verse 7, Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla) declares that if we show gratefulness to Him, He will shower more blessings upon us; however, if we show ungratefulness, then we are deserving of severe punishment:
“And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: 'If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshiping none but Allāh), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe.'
So whenever Shayṭān attacks one of us with the “If I only had…” virus, we should always remember the above mentioned verses and seek refuge in Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla). Furthermore, we should also bring to mind the tremendous sacrifices and accomplishments of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) and our pious predecessors despite their severe lacking in worldly means.
Finally, I would request all our readers to think about all those blessings of Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla) which we may have forgotten about and share these with others. This will help us to become more thankful, grateful slaves of Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla).