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Home » Columns » Let Us Be Thankful

Let Us Be Thankful

Publishing Date : 01 August, 2017

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM



Many of us go through our daily lives without even stopping to think of the countless daily blessings that we have, so much so that we even take them for granted. In this ‘must have’ world many of us wrongly think that money and worldly possessions are the only things to be considered and we ignore the other daily blessings such as hearing, sight, sanity, living in peace and yes, we are alive.


In addition, have we ever stopped to think, of the countless other everyday things and blessings, to name but a few, our health, the roof over our heads, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the car that we own, etc. "And if you were to count the blessings of Allah, you will never be able to count them." {14: 34}. ‘Truly man is a most ungrateful creature (Quran 22: 66)
We may not get or have everything that we desire, want, wish or hope for. But for all those blessings that we have we should be very grateful to our Creator for He expects nothing from us except our gratitude and gratefulness by worshipping and glorifying Him. ‘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)


If we were to look around just to witness the war, killings, destruction, hunger and suffering that we see elsewhere. We are so fortunate that we do not have a fraction of the problems that people suffer from elsewhere, so much so, that we take our peace for granted. Across the world, millions of people do not have such blessings. Just think about it, most of us are fortunate that we can see, walk, hear and talk; but there are other people in our own communities who are unfortunate in that they are blind, cannot walk, are deaf or cannot even talk.


It is only when a calamity strikes us that we are jogged into realising how blessed and fortunate we are. We may not realise it or maybe reluctant to admit it but these are gifts and favours that our Creator has graced us with. But we have to admit the Almighty has given us so many blessings that we take for granted. ‘….your Lord is full of Grace to mankind; yet most of them are ungrateful’ (Quran 27: 73)


So what is thankfulness? We have to first recognise and acknowledge those Blessings, it is only then that we can be grateful and show appreciation, gratitude, and to admit those blessings that we have been given. In our daily living and in our religious perspective, it is to acknowledge that Allah, has blessed us and our submission to Him is part of that acknowledgment. The favours that we receive are countless and come in many forms. The Quran says: "And whatever blessings and good you have, it is from Allah..." (Quran 16: 53}.


This sincere admittance and realisation of our bounties will kick start us to change our mind set and this will be reflected in our actual behaviour and conduct. We have to learn that if we live with an attitude of gratitude for our blessings, we will then be able to lay the foundations of harmony between the heart and the soul but importantly it will be a sign that we are grateful to Allah for the whole spectrum of our blessings. This gratefulness will be acknowledged by our Creator. ’And remember with gratitude Allah’s favours upon you.’ (Qur’an 3: 103). ‘If you are grateful, I will add more favours unto you, but if show ingratitude…. My punishment is terrible indeed’ (Qur’an 14: 7)


We need to get closer to our Lord and Creator, He asks us Muslims to express our thankfulness to Him by offering the five-time prayers: “…..and celebrate constantly the praises of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before it’s setting and glorify Him during some hours of the night and at two ends of the day.” (Quran 20:130). These five-time prayers assume a new meaning to our lives if we keep in mind that each time we pray, we fulfil our obligation to thank Allah for having given us these blessings.



We should seriously think about the disobedient behaviour and lifestyle that go against our moral and religious teachings. We should start our reformation with those ‘small’ things that lead us astray. If we do so with sincerity we will be able to conquer them and climb to up to the phase of our reformation. We have to start at the bottom of the ladder if we are to ascend to greater heights. I read the following very interesting piece recently that covers and conveys the message in a manner that I cannot ever hope to do: It shows us the importance of the ‘small’ things in life that make such a difference to and in our lives.


“On an average: Buffalos kill around 7 people a year: Lions kill about 100 people every year: Hippos kill about 120 people every year: Spiders kill about 5000 people every year: Scorpions kill about 7000 people every year: Snakes kill about 1000 people every year: And then, surprisingly, mosquitoes kill 2.7 million people every year. Yes the smallest are the deadliest! So what is the message? Yes and so it is, It’s the small ones that are the deadliest. The ‘small sins’ in our lives, hardly noticed by many, that are the most deadly to your spiritual life


Avoid excuses for not praying and allotting a few moments of your day to your Creator. Sins of omission are just as deadly as sins of commission. Gossiping and small lies are committed more frequently and are deadly. Mind those little compromises that you do daily. They are the ones that will bring your downfall. Successful people have two things on their lips, smile and silence. A smile can solve problems, while silence can avoid problems. Sugar and salt may be mixed together, but ants will reject the salt and carry away only the sugar.


Select the right people in life and make your life better and sweeter. If you failed to achieve your dreams, change your ways not your Creator. Remember trees change their leaves not their roots. You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks at you. Haters will see you walking on water and say it’s because you can’t swim. Even if you dance on water, your enemies will accuse you of raising dust. Make your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands. If you must miss any place, don’t miss paradise.” (End quote)


There is a verse in the Quran that gives us the road: “The Believers must eventually win through - Those who humble themselves in prayers; who avoid vain talk; who are active in deeds of charity; who abstain from sexual relations, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond;…..those who faithfully observe their trusts and their covenants; and who strictly guard their prayers – these will be the heirs who will inherit Paradise; they will dwell therein forever. (Quran 23: 1 – 11)


Let us change our outlook in life and appreciate what has been bestowed upon us then only can we lead a life of contentment and happiness for our daily blessings. In a Quranic verse that shows the various Blessings and favours that the Almighty has endowed mankind with, in it Allah frequently asks this question: ‘Which of the favours of your Lord will you deny?’ (Quran: 55: 1- 78)

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