Sabeena looks at her paper in shock. A horrendous red ‘F’ glares at her. She had failed. Suddenly, everything around her disappears. All that she could see was her disastrous paper and all that she could feel was her heart wrenching and tears trickling down her cheek. It took a few minutes for her to get back to her senses and acknowledge her surroundings again. She decides that she is incapable of doing anything right. She cries ‘Why me?’ and goes into a dark ditch of depression.
Fahima, her classmate, also gets an ‘F’. She too feels disappointed by her result. She heaves a sigh and reads through her paper. She realizes that she hadn’t prepared well and it was her overconfidence that was to blame. She thanks Allah. If it wasn’t for this eye-opener, she would’ve approached the rest of the tests also with the same overconfidence.
Even though both situations are exactly the same, the reactions to them have made all the difference. Expressing gratitude towards Allah is paramount for a Muslim. It is a part of worship. The trait of a person being ungrateful comes from Satan who puts a veil over our bounties to make it seem like worries are all we have. Being grateful conditions us to have a positive outlook towards life and hence paves the way to benefits.
Allah says in the Quran:
“Anyone who is grateful does so to the profit of his own soul” [31:12]
The ‘profit’ spoken about here, includes being gifted with more rewards along with purification of the soul.
Allah also warns us against being ungrateful.
“If you are grateful, I would certainly give you more; and if you are ungrateful, My punishment is truly severe” [14:7]
‘Alhamdulillah for everything’ shouldn’t be considered as a run-of-the-mill or something that is secluded to a mere social media status. In fact, it should be embraced and handled as an element that revolves around every step of life.
- In times of ease:
When our affairs are effortless and everything seems to be going our way, thanking Allah may easily slip off our minds. The times when we are lost in the mirage of joy and celebrations, we often forget that Allah tests us not just with trials but also with ease. What is required from us is to be thankful to Allah no matter how big or small the reason for happiness may be. When we remember Allah in times of ease, He will remember us in times of difficulty.
“Do not strain your eyes in longing for things that we have given to some groups of them to enjoy, the splendor of the life of this world through which we test them. The provision of your Lord is better and more lasting” [Quran, 20:131]
- In times of difficulty:
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are two main approaches that people take in difficult times. One of the approaches is where a person falls victim to the whisperings of Satan in order to make matters look worse. This person may even question Allah’s decision to inflict him with the ordeal. He surrounds himself with negativity and sorrow. His faith takes a fall and he prefers spending time alone.
The other approach would be to constantly remind ourselves that every turn of life, pleasant or ugly is from Allah and that there is great wisdom in whatever happens. We should also remember that no soul is burdened more than it can bear. Reacting to trials with patience and a strong faith not just garners rewards but also helps in the expiation of sins. Hence, Allah must be thanked.
Allah says in the Quran: “Do not despair of the mercy of Allah” [39:53]
- For every routine action:
Every single day is filled with countless reasons to say Alhamdulillah if we were to look with a positive and open mind. Say Alhamdulillah for being able to wake up. For being able to live another day that can be spent in Allah’s way. Say Alhamdulillah for the necessities that we have the convenience to enjoy. There are several people in the world who do not have a roof over their heads and who struggle to have even one square meal. Say Alhamdulillah for the food that satisfies and fills you everyday. Say Alhamdulillah for being able to quench your thirst with clean water whenever you wish. Say Alhamdulillah for every little moment of relief and joy.
We can draw inspiration from the Prophet’s (PBUH) life in order to drive us to be more grateful.
Aishah (RA) reported:
‘When the Prophet (PBUH) prayed during the night, he would stand until his feet swelled. I asked him why he continued doing so when Allah has already forgiven him? He replied, “Should I not be a grateful servant of Allah?”’ [Muslim]
Being grateful improves our relationship with people around us and with Allah. We win the pleasure of Allah and save ourselves from punishments. It inculcates in us the quality of humility and empathy. Aren’t these reasons enough to make gratitude a habitual attitude?