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Live with an attitude of gratitude

Publishing Date : 05 November, 2019

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

Each and every one of us has many things that we should be thankful for, to use a simple example, if you are reading this it is more than likely that you had money in your pocket to buy this newspaper. But think about those millions of others who don’t even have the price of this paper in their pockets to buy food for the day nor do they know where their next meal will be coming from.



The Almighty is our creator and has given us all the various things in our life including our life itself, every day we wake up in the morning to live another day due to His grace. This life on Earth is precious as it is the only region where spiritual practice can be done to attain the ultimate purpose of life. When any person does something for us we feel gratitude. However most of us are not used to expressing gratitude to God for all the things He has given us. Expressing gratefulness to God for all the various things He does for us is called gratitude in spiritual practice. The ability to live in this feeling of gratitude is an important and intrinsic part of a seeker’s spiritual journey.


We may not have everything that we wish for but Almighty Allah has given us so many blessings that we sometimes forget and take them for granted. We go from ‘womb to tomb’ but how many of us ever stop to say ‘Thank You Lord for the Blessings that you have favoured me with’? The best way of Glorifying our Creator is to be grateful to Him, and this attitude of gratitude will enable us to develop spiritually.


‘If you are grateful, I will add more favours unto you, but if show ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed’ (Qur’an 14 : 7).’And remember with gratitude Allah’s favours upon you.’ (Qur’an 3 : 103) .The Bible also has verses: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you…..” - 1 Thessalonians 5:16. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” - 1 Chronicles 16:34
 

There are countless everyday things that most of us regard as mundane and take for granted, those that we should be grateful to our Lord for; to name but a few, our health, the roof over our heads, the food that we eat, the clothes that we wear, the car that we own, the safe drinking water from our taps, the peaceful life that we enjoy and not the war and strife seen elsewhere, our access to health care, education and many other services that millions of people across the world do not have.  We may not realise it or maybe reluctant to admit it but these are gifts and favours that our Creator has graced us with.


We may not have the best or get everything that we desire, but without doubt there are many in our communities who do not enjoy the same level of blessings in life that some of us enjoy and take for granted. Having travelled to many parts of the world, I have seen the everyday suffering and struggles that people across the world endure believe me, ours pale in comparison. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘Do not compare yourself against nor envy those who have more than you, but rather compare yourselves to those who are less fortunate or have less than you, in that way you will appreciate the favours of your Lord’.


For all these we should be ever grateful to the Almighty Allah, He expects nothing in return from us except our gratitude and gratefulness by Glorifying and Worshipping Him alone. Showing gratitude and gratefulness is to acknowledge the favours and the good that our Benefactor has sent our way, this leads to a state of contentment and happiness. Contentment is a great virtue in a human being because it brings about that inner peace of heart and mind and that is essential for leading a happy life; this in turn saves us from the unnecessary stress, worries and troubles that one gets from discontentment. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘wealth is not in vast riches but wealth is in self-contentment’.


Just to tease you, think about this: Did you get up feeling grumpy and grotty when the alarm clock went off this morning? Be thankful, for it means that you can hear and that your hearing is not impaired, more importantly that you are alive – maybe not feeling on top of the world, but alive. As we approach the summer season many of us face the prospect of facing hot temperatures of 40 degrees C and more.


Wherever I go there are people moaning about the heat; in my wry sense of wit and humour I like to tell them; “This heat is just a message from our Lord and Creator for us to take as a warning. We should take it as a reminder when we complain about the hot temperatures nowadays – think about the burning fires of Hell which will be even ‘hotter’ than what we are witnessing today. So our Lord is sending us a message that we should change our daily lifestyles and turn to our religious beliefs and practices.


We tend to moan and groan about everything, think about some of these examples quoted; some wives will comment about the husband who sits in front of the TV watching sport all day – but think about it, be thankful that at least he’s at home with you instead of running around out with friends or even at the bar for those who drink. You are hungry and  the wife says ‘We will only have soup made for dinner tonight’ – be thankful she’s cooked for you and is at home with you and not with someone else. Are your clothes fitting rather too snugly round the waist?  Be thankful because it may be because you have more than enough to eat hence your ‘swollen’ waist.


Complaining about not finding a good parking spot? Be thankful that you can afford to have a car. Tired and bored of walking and hanging around the malls? Be thankful you can walk and you are not confined to a wheelchair. Complaining of the sun being too bright for your eyes because you forgot your Versace sunglasses at home? Be thankful you have sight and are not blind.


These are just a few examples of the countless blessings in the ordinary everyday things that we take for granted without any thought on how blessed we are as compared to others. It is only when a calamity strikes us that we are jogged into realising how blessed and fortunate we actually are.Let us think and ponder over the great gift that Allah Almighty has gifted us with; the power of thought – the main difference between man and animal.


‘Show thy gratitude to Allah. Any who is grateful does so to the profit of his own soul, but if any is ungrateful, verily Allah is free from all wants, worthy of all praise’. (Qur’an 31: 12). Indeed, to live with an attitude of gratitude is to bring harmony between the heart and the soul.

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