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5 beneficial ways Muslims can spend the holidays

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So it’s that time of year again. When the days are short, the nights long and you have large amounts of time off from your school/ college/ workplace for Christmas/ New Year etc… We may take advantage of being able to lie in till later than usual, laze around the house in our pajamas well past Zuhr and slowly catching up with TV shows, chores or career related assignments.

Essentially, this will be a few days off like any other few days off in the years before. We’ll trudge back to our normal lives with little to show apart from a slightly expanded waistline and the reduced bags under our eyes. But it could all be so different. How? Well, for starters – we could use this time (one of the most precious commodities that Allāh has given us) to kick start something new… something life changing. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Read an Islamic book

Whilst most of us will almost certainly be stocking up on nourishment for our stomachs during the break, many will be neglecting intellectual and spiritual nourishment that comes from gaining Islamic knowledge. We all have a book or two that we wish we could read but we just can’t find the time. Well, this is that time. Want to know exactly why Khālid b. Walīd raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was one of the greatest generals of all time? Interested in learning all about the fiqh of raising children? Looking for Islamic inspiration at a low point in your life? There’s a book for all of that and more.

2. Aḥadīth at home



Winter break is a time where everyone is at home with schools and offices being shut across the country. This quality family time could be spent going to multiple dinner parties and flicking through Christmas specials on TV. But it could also be spent a bit more constructively with the family briefly sitting down together to go through a ḥadīth. Get the kids interested by involving them in debate on the meaning or application of the ḥadīth, or even getting them to prepare some ḥadīth themselves, will reap rewards for decades to come. The family that prays together stays together.

3. Attend an Islamic event

Here in the West, we are very lucky that there are a variety of Islamic events organized for the winter break. Many of these are family friendly and there is usually something for every taste around. Whether it is fiqh, tafsīr, sīrah, or comparative religion – you’ll find a talk or course organized somewhere for you and your friends or family. All you need is the desire to learn and the willingness to travel. Grab your younger brother or sister, that friend who just needs a push in the right direction, or even your parents and make the journey. The trip there and back could be a real chance to open up about where you (and they) are going Islamically and what could be done about it.

4. Inspire children at your Mosque

There are mosques in which the children are inspired and entertained by their elders in a way that makes them keep coming back for more. Sadly, these mosques are very few and far between. We could just sit at home and complain that the mosque isn’t welcoming enough, or we could try and do something about it. This winter, why not put on a talk for children around a subject they may find vaguely interesting? All it needs is the willingness to share a story, some nifty advertising, and a desire to inspire rather than bore. You can talk about literally anything, from the real story behind Christmas and ‘Īsa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), to what parents are looking for in prospective son-in-laws. If you do it right, the cool feeling of seeing someone get closer to the faith through you sharing knowledge with them will keep you coming back for more week after week.

5. Organize a fundraiser

Unfortunately there is no shortage of Muslims in the world who are in desperate need. Whether it be in Burma, Gaza, Syria, or in many African nations – a relatively small amount of money could be the difference between life and death. This winter, why not organize a fundraiser at your home or mosque where people come together for an evening of ḥalāl entertainment, food, and social activism? Show them pictures of the suffering people, share some stories, and then encourage donations. Not only will you have a chance to spend a pleasant evening with friends and interesting strangers, but you’ll be doing your part to make the world a better place. Once you start, you’ll be so filled with an indescribable sense of purpose and peace that it’ll be difficult to wait till your next one.

The only limits to the amount of good and perpetually beneficial things that can be done during your current break are your desire to make a practical change and the spark to get you going in the first place. Get off the sofa, turn off the computer and open the door. A world of possibility awaits.

 

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Dr. Muhammad Wajid Akhter - Doctor, Medical Tutor (Social Media, History & Medicine) - Islamic Historian - Founder of, and current board member to Charity Week for Orphans and needy children. www.charityweek.com - Council member, British Islamic Medical Association

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Avatar

    anisafatima

    December 17, 2012 at 6:33 AM

    This is your nice post.This is a beautiful way to share the knowledge and provide the update to people.Children are a great blessing from Allah and teach them Good deeds.slam is the latest divine religion chosen by Allah Almighty for the human beings. Muslims can avail the services of an online quran teacher who can assist them in taking themselvs into account daily in holidays.

  2. Avatar

    Yasmin

    December 17, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Jazakallah khair for these helpful tips!

    • Avatar

      Mahmud

      December 17, 2012 at 11:37 PM

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      You always give positive thanks on articles…….

      so JazzakAllahu khairan Yasmin! May Allah make you a grateful slave and grant you Jannatul Firdaus!

  3. Avatar

    yazid

    December 19, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    thank u 4 what u have asisted with muslim ummah.

  4. Avatar

    Johnny Blaze

    December 20, 2012 at 7:00 AM

    JazakAllahu Khairun brother Muhammad, insha’Allah this will inspire many to spend their time wisely during this season. I see far too many doing things that are not in a muslim’s best interests when this time of year comes around :( May Allah guide us all.

    If anyone’s strapped for titles, I HIGHLY recommend “Kitab At-Tauhid” by Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Wahhab for anyone who hasn’t read it yet. Usool al Thalatha (same author) is also a good read. You will find them for free by googling if ebooks are your thing.

    And of course, there’s the Quran! If you’ve not read that yet, there’s no better time than the present :D If you’d like an English copy, I have a few spares lying around (will post within Australia for free).

    Fee Amanillah

  5. WAJiD

    WAJiD

    December 20, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    JazakAllah khairun to you all for your kind comments.
    Any ideas on how we could get more people to take up some of these ideas?

    • Avatar

      Johnny Blaze

      December 21, 2012 at 9:31 AM

      Community challanges!

      Set a goal for the week/day/period and maybe provide a nice little set of questions to test our knowledge afterwards.

      Something like
      GOAL – Memorise and Understand Surah An Nasr
      TIME – 3 Days
      SELF TEST QUESTIONS

      1. When was this surah revealed?
      2. Explain each line in your own words.
      3. What are some of the virtues of Surah An Nasr?
      4. What was the purpose of this surah i.e. What did it signal? (with daleel)

      • Avatar

        Johnny Blaze

        December 21, 2012 at 9:32 AM

        It could be something simpler of course, if you so wished, but for me something like that would really influence me to get studying!

      • Avatar

        Mahmud

        December 21, 2012 at 11:04 PM

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        As for surah Nasr, Tafsir Ibnu Kathir is online and so is Nouman Ali Khans explanation.

  6. Avatar

    Johnny Blaze

    December 21, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    with study materials! Tafseer Ibn Katheer for all:

    http://www.freequraan.org.uk/resources/QuraanDownloads/13%20TafsiribnKathir.pdf

    http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3000&Itemid=731

    [Sorry to keep posting but this idea is exciting me :P…. and you can’t edit comments :( ]

    • Avatar

      Mahmud

      December 21, 2012 at 11:10 PM

      Assalamaulaaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      Remember your salams Johnny Blaze! We are talking to other Muslims on the internet!

  7. WAJiD

    WAJiD

    December 22, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Asalaam alaikum,

    Good to see the enthusiasm. Perhaps we can take it a step further (that is what I’m trying to get at.) Start a circle amongst your friends / acquaintances today, plan it out, think it through then carry out the plan so that noble intentions can become beautiful actions inshaAllah.

    • Avatar

      Abdulazim

      December 29, 2012 at 10:19 AM

      Assalamu alekum wr.wb.
      Dear Brother Muhammad Wajid, can you please share with me the titles of books related to the fiqh of raising children? Could you also advice where can I buy them online? I am from Asia and thanks for you post!

  8. Avatar

    Abdulazim

    December 24, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    Assalamu alekum wr.wb.
    Dear Brother Muhammad Wajid, can you please share with me books related to the fiqh of raising children? Could you also advice where can I buy them online? I am from Asia and thanks for you post!

  9. WAJiD

    WAJiD

    December 29, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Walaikum asalaam,

    JazakAllah khairun for your kind words. The books I would recommend are mainly in English language and I suppose different books may appeal to different age groups:

    The late Khurram Murad wrote many books for children that are excellent quality. Classics such as “The Desert Chief”, “The Longing Heart” and “The wise poet” are a brilliant replacement for Aesops fables and Grimms Fairy Tales…
    http://goo.gl/Vkjoh

    Also, this website has some good books including “My first Quran” which we’re reading to my 2 year old at the moment.
    http://www.goodwordbooks.com

    I’ll do some more research and get back to you – may even write an article about it inshaAllah

  10. Avatar

    tha

    January 9, 2013 at 2:49 AM

    mashallah…jazakallah khair for the very moderate challenge to all muslims..

  11. Pingback: WAJiD (wajid) | Pearltrees

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He Catches Me When I Fall: A Journey To Tawakkul

Tawakkul- a leaf falling
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While discussing an emotionally-heavy issue, my therapist brought up the point that in life we can reach a point of acceptance in regards to our difficult issues: “It sounds cliche, but there’s no other way to say it: it is what it is.”

Okay, I thought, as I listened. Acceptance. Yes, I can do this eventually. She went on to add: “It is what it is, and I know that everything will be okay.””

Tears had already been flowing, but by this point, full-blown sobs started. “I…can’t….seem…to ever…believe that.” There. I had said it. I had faked being confident and accepting, even to myself. I had faked the whole, “I have these health problems, but I am so together” type of vibe that I had been putting out for years.

Maybe it was the hormones of a third pregnancy, confronting the realities of life with multiple chronic diseases, family problems, or perhaps a midlife crisis: but at that moment, I did not feel deep in my heart with true conviction that everything would be okay.

That conversation led me to reflect on the concept of tawakkul in the following weeks and months. What did it mean to have true trust in Allah? And why was it that for years I smiled and said, “Alhamdulillah, I’m coping just fine!” when in reality, the harsh truth was that I felt like I had not an ounce of tawakkul?

I had led myself to believe that denying my grief and slapping a smile on was tawakkul. I was being outwardly cheerful — I even made jokes about my life with Multiple Sclerosis — and I liked to think I was functioning all right. Until I wasn’t.

You see, the body doesn’t lie. You can tell all the lies you want to with your tongue, but after some time, the body will let you know that it’s holding oceans of grief, unshed tears, and unhealed traumas. And that period of my life is a tale for another time.

The short story is that things came to a head and I suddenly felt utterly overwhelmed and terrified daily about my future with a potentially disabling disease, while being diagnosed with a second major chronic illness, all while caring for a newborn along with my other children. Panic attacks and severe anxiety ensued. When I realized that I didn’t have true tawakkul, I had to reflect and find my way again.

I thought about Yaqub (Jacob). I thought long and hard about his grief: “Yaa asafaa ‘alaa Yusuf!” “Oh, how great is my grief for Joseph!”

He wept until he was blind. And yet, he constantly asserted, “Wallahul-Musta’aan”: “Allah is the one whose help is sought.” And he believed.

Oh, how did he believe. His sons laughed and called him an old fool for grieving over a son lost for decades. He then lost another dear son, Binyamin. And yet he said, “Perhaps it will be that my Lord will bring them to me altogether.”

There is no sin in grief Click To Tweet

So my first realization was that there was no sin in the grief. I could indeed trust Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) while feeling a sorrow so profound that it ripped me apart at times. “The heart grieves and the eyes weep, but the tongue does not say that except which pleases its Lord. Oh, Ibrahim, we are gravely saddened by your passing.” These are the words of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) for a lost infant son, said with tears pouring down his blessed face, ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

I thought of the Year of Grief, Aamul-Huzn, when he, Allah’s peace be upon him, lost the woman who was the love of his life and the mother of his children; as well as an uncle who was like a father. The year was named after his grief! And here I was denying myself this human emotion because it somehow felt like a betrayal of true sabr?

Tawakkul, tawakkul, where are you? I searched for how I could feel it, truly feel it.Click To Tweet

Through years of introspection and then therapy, I realized that I had a personality that centered around control. I expressed this in various ways from trying to manage my siblings (curse of the firstborn), to trying to manage my childbirth and health. If I only did the “right” things, then I could have the perfect, “natural” birth and the perfect picture of health.

When I was diagnosed with a chronic disease, these illusions started to crack. And yet even then, I thought that if I did the right things, took the right supplements and alternative remedies and medications, that I wouldn’t have trouble with my MS.

See, when you think you control things and you attempt to micromanage everything, you’ve already lost tawakkul. You’ve taken the role of controlling the outcome upon yourself when in reality, your Lord is in control. It took a difficult time when I felt I was spiraling out of control for me to truly realize that I was not the master of my outcomes. Certainly, I would “tie my camel” and take my precautions, but then it was a matter of letting go.

At some point, I envisioned my experience of tawakkul as a free-fall. You know those trust exercises that you do at summer camps or company retreats? You fall back into the arms of someone and relinquish any control over your muscles. You are supposed to be limp and fully trust your partner to catch you.

I did this once with a youth group. After they fell–some gracefully and trusting, some not — I told them: “This is the example of tawakkul. Some of you didn’t trust and you tried to break your fall but some of you completely let go and let your partner catch you. Life will throw you down, it will hit you over and over, and you will fall–but He, subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), will be there to break your fall.”

I am falling. There is a degree of terror and sadness in the fall. But that point when through the pain and tears I can say, “It is what it is, and no matter what, everything will be okay”, that right there is the tranquility that comes from tawakkul.

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The Day I Die | Imam Omar Suleiman

Janazah, funeral, legacy, Omar Suleiman, Edhi
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Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (may Allah be pleased with him) in the midst of the torture he endured at the hands of his oppressors used to say: baynana wa baynahum aljanaa’iz, which means, “the difference between us and them will show in our funerals.” The man who instigated the ideological deviation that led to his torture was an appointed judge named Ahmad Ibn Abi Du’ad.

At the moment of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal making those remarks, it appeared Imam Ahmad would die disgraced in a dungeon but Ahmad Ibn Abi Du’ad would have a state funeral with thousands of mourners. Instead, Imam Ahmad persevered through his struggle, was embraced by the people, and honored by Allah with the biggest Janazah ever known to the Arabs with millions of people pouring in from all over. Ahmad Ibn Abu Du’ad was cast aside and buried without anyone attending his janazah out of revulsion.

Now sometimes righteous people do die in isolation, and wicked people are given grand exits. There are people like Uthman Ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) who was murdered by the people of fitnah, then buried at night far away from the people out of fear of the large numbers that would’ve poured out to his janazah and potentially mobilized against his oppressors. But it may be that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) inspired Imam Ahmad with the vision to see his victory in this life before the next. To elaborate a bit on his statement though, allow me to reflect:

A wise man once said to me,

“Always put your funeral in front of you, and work backwards in constructing your life accordingly.” 

With the deaths of righteous people, that advice always advances to the front of my thoughts. When a person passes away, typically only good things will be said of them. But it’s important to pay attention to 2 aspects about those good things being said:

1. Is there congruence in the particular good quality being attested to about the deceased.

2. Are those good qualities being attested to actually truly of the deceased. 

The first one deals with consistency of character, the second one with sincerity of intention which is only known by the Creator and His servant. In regards to the first one, take our sister Hodan Nalayeh (may Allah have mercy on her) who was murdered tragically last week in a terrorist attack in Somalia. Everyone that spoke of her said practically the same thing about how she interacted with them and/or benefitted them. There is complete harmony with all of the testimonies about her. And in that case we all become the witnesses of our sister on the day of judgment, testifying to her good character.

For many that pass away, neither the deceased nor the community fully appreciates the way they benefitted others until that day. It was narrated that when Zainul Abideen Ali Ibn Al Husayn (may Allah be pleased with them), the great grandson of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) passed away, he had marks on his shoulders from the bags he used to carry to the doorsteps of the poor at night when no one else was watching. The narrations state that the people of Madinah used to live off his charity not knowing the source of it until his death.

How many people will miss you when you die because of the joy you brought to their lives? How many of those that you comforted when they were abandoned by others? That you spent on when they were deprived by others? That you advocated for when they were oppressed by others? 

Will your family miss you because of an empty bed in the home or a deep void in their hearts? Will it be the loss of your spending only that grieves them, or the loss of your smile? Will it be the loss of the stability you provided them only, or the loss of your service and sacrifices for them?

But Zainul Abideen didn’t care for the recipients of his charity to know that he was the source of it, because He was fully in tune with it’s true Divine source. He didn’t want to be thanked in this world, but in the next. He didn’t want the eulogy, he wanted Eternity. 

He understood that if you become distracted by the allure of this world, you may merely become of it. Focus on bettering the future which you cannot escape, rather than the present that you cannot dictate. Focus on the interview with the One who needs no resume, rather than the judgments of those who are just as disposable as you. 

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ خَيْرَ زَمَانِيْ آخِرَهُ، وَخَيْرَ عَمَلِيْ خَوَاتِمَهُ، وَخَيْرَ أَيَّامِيْ يِوْمَ أَلقَاكَ

“O Allah, let the best of my lifetime be its ending, and my best deed be that which I seal [my life with], and the best of my days the day I meet You.”

Which brings us to the second aspect of your funeral, the sincerity of the good you’re being praised for. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “increase your remembrance of the destroyer of pleasures.” Death only destroys the temporary pleasures of this world, not the pleasure of the Most Merciful in the next. Keeping that in perspective will help you work towards that without being distracted. If it is the praise of the people you seek, that is as temporary as the world that occupies both your worldly vehicle ie. your body, and your companions in this world who shall perish soon after you.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned the one who passes away with the people lavishing praise on him that he is unworthy of. In a narration in Al Tirmidhi, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “No one dies and they stand over him crying and saying: ‘Oh what a great man he was! Oh how honored he was!’ except that two angels are appointed for him to poke him and say: Is that really you?”

But if it is Allah’s praise that you sought all along, the deeds that you put forth shall await you in your grave in the form of heavenly ornaments. Those that were known to the community, those that were known to only a select few, and those that were known by no one but Allah and you.

May Allah give us all a good ending, and an even better eternity.

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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The Spirituality Of Gratitude

Gratitude
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The Quran tells the reader of the importance of gratitude in two ways. First, worship, which is the essence of the relationship between man and the Creator, is conditional to gratitude “and be grateful to Allah if it is [indeed] Him that you worship” (2:172). The verse suggests that in order for an individual to truly worship Allah then they must express gratitude to Allah and that an ungrateful individual cannot be a worshiper of Allah. The second verse states the following “And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me” (2:152). The Arabic word used, translated here as ‘deny,’ is kufr which linguistically means to cover up. The word was adopted by the Quran to refer to someone who rejects Allah after learning of Him. Both the linguistic and Quranic definitions are possibly meant in this verse and both arrive at the same conclusion. That is, the absence of gratitude is an indicator of one’s rejection of Allah; the question is how and why?

What Does Shukr Mean?

Understanding a Quranic concept begins with understanding the word chosen by the Quran. The word shukr is used throughout the Quran and is commonly translated as gratitude. From a purely linguistic definition, shukr is “the effect food has on the body of an animal” (Ibn Qayyim v. 2 p. 200). What is meant here is that when an animal eats food it becomes heavier which has a clear and visible effect on the animal. Therefore, shukr is the manifestation of a blessing or blessings on the entirety of a person. From here, spiritualists understood the goal of shukr and added an extra element to the definition and that is the acknowledgment that those blessings are from Allah. Thus, the definition of shukr as an Islamic spiritual concept is “the manifestation of Allah’s blessings verbally through praise and acknowledgment; emotionally on the heart through witnessing the blessings and loving Allah; and physically through submission and servitude” (Ibid).

Based on this definition, the goal of shukr can be broken into five categories. First, gratitude that brings about the submission of the individual to his benefactor. In order for an act to be worthy of gratitude, the beneficiary must conclude that the benefactor’s action was done for the sake of the beneficiary – thus making the benefactor benevolent. In other words, the benefactor is not benefiting in the least (Emmons et al 2004 p. 62). When the individual recognizes his benefactor, Allah, as being completely independent of the individual and perfect in of himself, one concludes that the actions of the benefactor are purely in the best interest of the beneficiary resulting in the building of trust in Allah. The Quran utilizes this point multiple times explicitly stating that Allah has nothing to gain from the creations servitude nor does he lose anything from because of their disobedience (Q 2:255, 4:133, 35:15, 47:38). Through shukr, a person’s spirituality increases by recognizing Allah’s perfection and their own imperfection thus building the feeling of need for Allah and trust in him (Emmons et al 2002 p. 463).

Gratitude in Knowing That Allah Loves Us

The second category is love for the benefactor. Similar to the previous category, by identifying the motive of the benefactor one can better appreciate their favors. “Gratitude is fundamentally a moral affect with empathy at its foundation: In order to acknowledge the cost of the gift, the recipient must identity with the psychological state of the one who has provided it” (Emmons 2002 p. 461).[1] That is, by recognizing Allah’s perfection one concludes that his blessings are entirely in the best interest of the beneficiary despite not bringing any return to Him. Thus, the Quran utilizes this concept repeatedly and to list a few, the Quran reminds the human reader that he created the human species directly with his two hands (38:75), he created them in the best physical and mental form (95:4), gave him nobility (17:70), commanded the angels to prostrate to him out of reverence (38:72-3), made him unique by giving him knowledge and language (2:31), exiled Satan who refused to revere him (7:13), allowed him into Paradise (7:19), forgave his mistake (2:37), designated angels to protect each individual (13:11) and supplicate Allah to forgive the believers (40:7-9), created an entire world that caters to his needs (2:29), among plenty of other blessings which express Allah’s love, care, and compassion of the human.

The remaining three categories revolve around the individual acting upon their gratitude by acknowledging them, praising Allah for them and using them in a manner acceptable to Allah. In order for gratitude to play a role in spirituality the blessings one enjoys must be utilized in a manner that connects them with Allah. Initially, one must acknowledge that all blessings are from him thus establishing a connection between the self and Allah. This is then elevated to where the individual views these blessings as more than inanimate objects but entities that serve a purpose. By doing this one begins to see and appreciate the wisdoms behind these created entities enlightening the individual to the Creators abilities and qualities. Finally, after recognizing the general and specific wisdoms behind each creation, one feels a greater sense of purpose, responsibility, and loyalty. That is, engaging the previous five categories establishes love for the benefactor (Ibn Qayyim v. 2 p. 203). Observing the care and compassion of the benefactor for his creation establishes the feeling of loyalty towards the one who has cared for us as well as responsibility since He created everything with purpose.

Blessings Even in Hardship

One may interject by referring to the many individuals and societies that are plagued with hardships and do not have blessings to appreciate. No doubt this is a reality and the Quran address this indirectly. Upon analysis, one finds that the blessings which the Quran references and encourages the reader to appreciate are not wealth or health; rather, it is the sun, the moon, trees, and the natural world in general. Perhaps the reason for this is what shukr seeks to drive us towards. There are two things all these objects have in common (1) they are gifts given by Allah to all humans and all individuals enjoy them and (2) humans are dependent upon them. Everyone has access to the sun, no one can take it away, and we are critically dependent upon it. When the Quran draws our attention to these blessings, the reader should begin to appreciate the natural world at a different level and Surah an Nahl does precisely that. This chapter was likely revealed during the time of hijrah (immigration); a time when the companions lost everything – their homes, wealth, and tribes. The chapter works to counsel them by teaching them that the true blessings a person enjoys is all around them and no matter how much was taken from them, no one can take away the greater blessings of Allah.

In sum, these verses bring light to the crucial role shukr plays in faith. It serves as a means to better know Allah which can be achieved through a series of phases. First, the individual must search for the blessings which then leads to a shift in perspective from focusing on the wants to focusing on what is available. This leads to greater appreciation and recognition of the positives in one’s life allowing the person more optimism. Second, the person must link those blessings to the benefactor – Allah – which reveals many elements of who He is and His concern for His creation. Once this is internalized in the person’s hearts, its benefits begin to manifest itself on the person’s heart, mind, and body; it manifests itself in the form of love for Allah and submission to him. Shukr ultimately reveals the extent of Allah’s love and concern for the individual which therein strengthens the trust and love of the individual for Allah and ultimately their submission to Him.

Allah knows best.

Emmons, Robert A., and Charles M. Shelton. “Gratitude and the science of positive psychology.” Handbook of positive psychology 18 (2002): 459-471.

Emmons, Robert A., and Michael E. McCullough, eds. The psychology of gratitude. Oxford University Press, 2004.

Jawziyyah, Ibn Qayyim. madārij al-sālikīn bayn manāzil iyyāka naʿbud wa iyyāka nastaʿīn مدارج السالكين بين منازل إياك نعبد وإياك نستعين [The Levels of Spirituality between the Dynamics of “It is You Alone we Worship and it is You Alone we Seek Help From]. Cario: Hadith Publications, 2005.

[1] Islamically speaking, it is not befitting to claim that Allah has a psyche or that he can be analyzed psychologically.

Download a longer version of this article here: The Sprituality of Gratitude

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