Gratitude

An article by Aadilah Patel- Grade 8 student of Ummul Hasanaat Newcastle

Allah says: “Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, And be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me.” [Surah Baqarah/ 02, v:152]

Thank you Allah for every little thing you have given us today, yesterday and always. How fortunate are we? Fortunate to have eemaan (faith). Fortunate to be part of the GREATEST ummah of Nabi Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam). Fortunate to be in a country where we can practice our religion freely without being called terrorist. Then, theres gratitude for our near and dear ones, the fact that we can swallow and relieve ourselves.

These are just a very few but very important things that we do not thank Allah for. We often forget to do this because we are too caught up in our worldly affairs. We ask Allah for better things (like wealth, better job, bigger house, faster car) and yet forget to thank Allah for the things we do have.
In South Africa, we have masjids, madrasahs and many other islaamic schools, institutions, even radio stations. We sit in our lovely homes and we don’t even try to imagine the pain that many of our Muslim brothers and sisters go through in other countries like; Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, let alone other places where there is strife and discord. We should be so thankful to Allah for keeping us safe, and for always providing for us, no matter the quantity. How easy it is for us to just take even one minute out of our busy lives and thank Allah.

What does “Shukr” mean?
In Arabic, Gratitude is translated as “shukr” or to be thankful in plain and simple terms. According to scholars Shukr means: “It is the consideration of the favour and its acknowledgment. Shukr from the human means the recognition of the favour. Shukr from Allah means not just reward and appreciation but shukr can be realised in many different ways. Gratitude should be expressed to Allah as well as to our fellow man.
Shukr reminds us that we should not take “things“ for granted. These “things“ are actually bounties of Allah. Our desire to have whatever someone else has distorted our view of what true bounties of Allah are. “And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah” [Surah an-Nahl/16, v:53]. Sometimes we get carried away and think that our achievements or businesses are due to our intelligence or hard work and we totally leave Allah out of the equation. We should then not forget the fate of Qaroon who was sunk into the earth leaving behind all the keys to his many splendid treasures.

Iblees (Shaytaan) said: “Then I will certainly come to them from before them and from behind them, and from the right-hand side and from the left-hand side, and Thou (Allah) shall not find most of them thankful.” [Surah al-A’raaf/07, v:17] It is very easy to complain about anything and everything, but when you become grateful, you develop a contentment that no one can give. Being truly grateful is truly a great blessing from Allah.
When we let our minds look for problems, we see plenty of them. We also see many of these problems because we are always looking to those who have more. When we are reminded of the those less fortunate, we look for excuses instead of focus on our lives, looking for solutions, we drift away in a dream work of endless desire of the distant future.

Rasoolullaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) taught us how to be grateful not just by tongue but by worship and prayer in the dead of night when his feet would swell due to standing in lengthy rakaats. When asked he would simply answer: “Should I not be a gratefull slave?”
It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) said: “When the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) prayed, he would stand for so long that his feet would become swollen. She said: O Messenger of Allah, are you doing this when Allah has forgiven your past and future sins? He said: “O ‘Aa’ishah, should I not be a thankful slave?”. [Bukhaari (4557) and Muslim (2820)]

When the Prophet Rasoolullaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) used to eat or drink, he used to say, “Thanks be to Allah Who gave us food and drink and made us Muslims.” [Tirmidhi (3379)] When Rasoolullaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) used to wear new clothes, then he would say, “O Allah, Thanks be to You, You gave me this to wear. I ask You to give me the good of this dress and the good for which it is made and I ask You to protect me from the evil of this dress and from the evil of that for which it is made.” [Tirmidhi (1689)]

Thanking others
Abu Hurairah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Rasoolullaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “He who does not thank people, does not thank Allah.” [Ahmad, Tirmidhi] He also said: “Whoever does you a favour, then reciprocate, and if you cannot find anything with which to reciprocate, then pray for him until you think that you have reciprocated him”  [Abu Dawood (1672)]. In another hadeeth, Rasoolullaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Whoever has a favour done for him and says to the one who did it, ‘Jazaak Allahu khayrann,’ has done enough to thank him.” [Tirmidhi] You can also thank someone by returning the favour. However in today’s times, It is very difficult to so. We all cannot afford to buy each other extravagant gifts. As some people say: “If your arm is too short to give a reward, keep your tongue long enough to thank”.
All you have to say to others is, well, “Jazaakallahu khayrann”. This means, “May Allah Ta’ala reward you well”.

By saying ‘Jazakumullahu Khayrann’, (‘kum’ is for plural, ‘ka’ or ‘ki’ is for one person) one is appreciating someone’s favour, and praying for that person, and is also attaining rewards for oneself from Allah. It is better to add the words “Khayrann” which means ‘goodness’ after “Jazaakumullah” as we want the one who favoured us to receive a good return, not any form of a return.
There are numerous ways of responding to one who says ‘Jazakumullahu Khayrann’. The two most common terms used to respond are, either “Wa Iyyaakum (وإياكم)” meaning “And goodness to you or better is to reply” or “Wa antum fa Jazaakumullahu Khayrann” (وَأَنْتُمْ فَجَزَاكُمُ اللَّهُ خَيْرًا) meaning “And in fact to you, may Allah reward you (in) goodness also.” (See Kanz Al Ummaal)

Today, so many of us are on facebook, twitter, bbm. So go ahead and thank someone. What sometimes seems silly may be a great token of appreciation to another.

Rasoolullah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) took the hand of Mu‘aadh bin Jabal (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhu) and advised him thus: “O Mu‘aadh, by Allah I love you, by Allah I love you.” Then he said, “I advise you, O Mu‘aadh, do not fail to say this after every prayer: O Allah help me to remember You, to thank You and to worship You properly.” These are the words Allaahumma a’innee ‘alaa dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibaadatika

We can only gain by being grateful slaves of Allah as Allah mentions in the Qur-aan: “Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him. And Allah is Ever All-Appreciative (of good), All-Knowing.” [Surah an-Nisaa/04, v:147]

Aadilah Patel- Grade 8 student of Ummul Hasanaat Newcastle

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