Connect with us

#Islam

Al-Shakur: Appreciation And Love In Ramadan

Published

Have you ever done good for someone that has gone unnoticed or unappreciated? Or worse yet, it is returned with evil or a questioning of your intentions. Or you might have worked really hard on something, only to have the end result not be reflective of your sincere efforts. These experiences can be disheartening and may discourage us from even trying.

But what if every single good you did was appreciated? And not only appreciated in a symbolic way, but rewarded disproportionately in relation to the original action. What if your sincere intention was acknowledged, your difficulties recognized, and your striving valued, regardless of the results? How would you feel about the One who truly sees you and your efforts, and loves you for them?

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells us He is al-Shakūr, the Appreciative. At first glance, it may not immediately make sense for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to be appreciative – or indeed, the Appreciative. When we think of the concepts of appreciation and gratitude, we would naturally reflect upon how much He has given us, and that we should be grateful; thanking Him both in word and in deed. Indeed, when a human being gives us something, we feel obliged to thank them verbally and/or do something for them in return. With Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) though, this conventional equation is turned on its head, because,

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

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.

[He is] Creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you from yourselves, mates, and among the cattle, mates; He multiplies you thereby. There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. [Surat Ash-Shūraá:11]

Though Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is the One created us, blessed us, and gave (and continues to give) us from His bounty, if we express gratitude for what He has given and do good with it, He increases us. When we fulfill our obligations, we are rewarded. Despite the fact that everything that we have is from Him, when we do what He loves with what we have been given, He gives us more. The meaning of His name al-Shakūr, is that He appreciates even the smallest good deed, and multiplies the reward. He tells us,

What would Allah do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allah Appreciative and Knowing.[Surah An-Nisā’:147]. This reminds us that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows our outward deeds and our efforts, and He rewards and appreciates what people may overlook because He knows the state of our hearts. Indeed, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told us, “Whoever intends to perform a good deed but does not do it, then Allah will record it as a complete good deed. If he intends to do it and does so, then Allah the Exalted will record it as ten good deeds up to seven hundred times as much or even more. If he intends to do a bad deed and does not do it, then Allah will record for him one complete good deed. If he does it then Allah will record for him a single bad deed.” [Sahih Bukhari 6126]

Whatever good we do, no matter how small, is appreciated and rewarded manifold. Simply intending sincerely to do good is beloved to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)! Yet, there is no equal overreaction to a bad deed; it is recorded as a single bad deed.

We might still doubt. We know ourselves, and know that we commit many bad deeds, and are not always fully sincere. Is our good still appreciated, or is that appreciation reserved for the pure and righteous? Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) reminds in the Qur’an:

“That He may give them in full their rewards and increase for them of His bounty. Indeed, He is Forgiving and Appreciative.” [Surat Fāţir:30]

Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) not only appreciates the good, He forgives the bad when we return to Him. These two concepts are not mutually exclusive. Knowledge of this name, then, counteracts the notion that God is “out to get us”, as some imagine that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) accounts for our evil in a disproportionate way, while belittling the good that we do. Nothing is farther from the truth. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is al-Shakūr, and He loves and appreciates the small that we do, inflating its magnitude, while overlooking and forgiving our faults, if we return to Him and seek His forgiveness.

Appreciation For What is Underappreciated

An essential component of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) being al-Shakūr is that He loves even the small that we do, and gives back much. For example, the Prophet ﷺ said, “None gives charity from what is good, for Allah only accepts what is good, but that the Merciful takes it with His right hand. Even if it is a date, it is nurtured in the hand of the Merciful until it becomes greater than a mountain, just as one of you nurtures his young horse or camel.” [Sahih Muslim]

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) grows your good deed for you. Those things that people may scoff at, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) loves and nurtures for you Himself. You might be confused to find mountains of good on the Day of Judgment, but those mountains are the result of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) nurturing your good deed. The Prophet ﷺ told us that, While a man was walking on a road, he found a thorny branch and he moved it aside. Allah appreciated his deed and forgave him.” [Bukhārī] It is likely that no one saw him, and if someone did, they would not have thought much about what he did. But this man removed harm from people’s way, not seeking any reward from them. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) appreciated this so much that He forgave the man.

For this reason, the Prophet ﷺ urged us to do good deeds no matter how small; giving even half a date in charity can protect us from the Fire [Bukhārī], and even smiling at others is rewarded [Sunan al-Tirmidhī]. Al-Shakūr appreciates you not for the result of any one thing you do, but the effort, whether you achieve the result or not. And if we are struggling with a sin, and sincerely try to return to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), people might still associate us with that sin. But Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) compensates those who leave something for His sake with that which is better than what they left. If Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) loves and appreciates the little that we do, then what about when we do more?

And what does Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) appreciation look like? The Prophetﷺ  tells us:

“Whosoever relieves from a believer some grief pertaining to this world, Allah will relieve from him some grief pertaining to the Hereafter. Whosoever alleviates the difficulties of a needy person who cannot pay his debt, Allah will alleviate his difficulties in both this world and the Hereafter. Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and the Hereafter. Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother.” [Muslim]

Al-Shakūr appreciates, loves, and rewards every good action you do. Indeed, He reminds us:

 

 

Is the reward for good [anything] but good?’  [Surat Ar-Raĥmān:60]

This is a name of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that we should be acquainted with all year round, but especially during Ramadan, when appreciation and rewards are multiplied.

Ramadan and Al-Shakūr

Ramadan is the perfect time to get reacquainted with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Many of us are excited for this time and try to make the most of it. However, we may also experience guilt, due to not being able to do as much as others or what we used to do before. Or perhaps we are just not excited, and our hearts are numb. Shaytan plants these seeds of doubt before Ramadan in order to take away the sweetness of this month from us, and so that we are distracted from how magnanimous Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is, particularly during Ramadan.

Fasting is obligatory upon us this month, unless we are exempt for various reasons (illness, travel, pregnancy/nursing if it would harm the mother/baby, menstruation, the elderly, etc). The Prophet ﷺ  informed us that, “Every deed of the son of Adam is multiplied from ten to seven hundred times. Allah the Exalted says: Except for fasting, for it is done for my sake and I will reward it.” [Sahih Muslim] If a generous, wealthy person told you that they would reward you personally, and that would be a surprise, you would understandably be giddy with excitement, as you know how much this person possesses and how giving they are. Now ponder upon the fact that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), the Most Generous, the Most Rich, the Most Appreciative, is saying He will reward you for your fasting. Anything you can possibly imagine as a reward is likely to be nothing compared to what Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) can give.

But what if you cannot fast? If you would have fasted but for your circumstances, then Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) rewards you for your intention to fast; you are rewarded as though you fasted! Moreover, the Prophet ﷺ  taught us that, “Whoever feeds a person breaking his fast will earn the same reward as him, without anything being lessened from the reward of the fasting person.” [Tirmidhi]

Ramadan is also the month of the Qur’an. We are encouraged to recite it and reflect upon it. Even though Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) sent down His book for us a reminder and so we that we can reflect on its words for our own benefit, He appreciates our recitation. The Prophet ﷺ  taught us that, “Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will receive one good deed as ten good deeds like it. I do not say that Alif Lām Mīm is one letter, but rather Alif is a letter, Lām is a letter, and Mīm is a letter.” [Tirmidhī] Every letter is appreciated by al-Shakūr. Still, many of us find it difficult to recite the Qur’an, and might be unenthusiastic when we compare ourselves to others, who can complete the Qur’an not once, but many times. Again, the Prophet ﷺ encourages us gently, reminding us that “the example of one who recites the Qur’an with great difficulty is that of one who receives a double reward.” [Bukhārī] Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) loves your effort so much He doubles your reward.

This Ramadan, instead of focusing on what you cannot do, find comfort in knowing that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) loves your effort and appreciates what you are doing and can do. Maybe you cannot read a chapter a day because of taking care of children or elderly parents, but find solace in the fact that that one page a day that you are reading is loved by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and rewarded by Him. Take comfort in knowing that by feeding others, He is pouring down blessings on you. Know that your kindness to your family is raising your station with Him.

Of course, this does not mean that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) only rewards what is seemingly little, and does not look at what is grand. He rewards us according to our efforts and intentions. If you needed the encouragement to push yourself to do more, then remember that He is al-Shakūr: if you are able to read and reflect on more than a chapter of the Qur’an, then do that. If you are able to pray for an extra hour every night, then do that. It is your sincere striving that is loved by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), as He tells us,

 

 

“And that there is not for man except that [good] for which he strives” [Surah An-Najm:39].

This Ramadan, give what you can, from yourself and from what you have. If you can do a ‘little’ then do a little. If you can do even more, then do even more. Al-Shakūr appreciates and rewards all.

 

Related reading:

Al-Wahhab And The Gift Of Ramadan

MM Treasures- Ma’arifah: Being Acquainted with Allah

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

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.

inan Yousef has been an author for over a decade, and most recently published the book, "Reflecting on the Names of Allah" (Al-Buruj Press, 2020). She has been a student of Sheikh Akram Nadwi for many years, and currently studies tafsir at Al-Salam Institute. Jinan teaches classes on the names of Allah for SWISS online. She is passionate about helping Muslims connect to Allah through knowing Him by His names.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Umm Zaynab

    April 16, 2022 at 4:38 PM

    SubhanAllah this is so incredibly beautiful! Jazakallah Khair Ustadha Jinan for writing this so beautifully.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Trending