IT is He who has given you sense of hearing, sight and understanding but little SHUKR you render’ [23:78] Every morning at the ring of the alarm we huddle in our beds, struggling to get out of bed, all grouchy and grumbling. We crib over the fact that we have a long day ahead, we wake up and yell at the maid for not ironing the shirt properly, we get bugged by the kid crying early in the morning, we lose our temper at the burnt toast or the bland tasting coffee, we start cursing when the car is not starting, for the tonnes of work load in the day ahead. We moan over climbing up the flight of 5 floors if the lift is not working. Moan & Groan, Protest & Complain is all that we do all the time. Students whine over the assignments and studies they have to do. The laborious lectures they have to attend. Women complain about what pests the domestic help is turning out to be. We snitch about our friends and loved ones as to how interfering and nosy they can get.
Have we even for a split second stopped and realized that we human beings are pathological cribbers. Why cant we instead be grateful for the fact that we can hear the alarm clock ring, ask those who are deprived of the power of hearing, why cant we be grateful to the Lord for giving us the strength to rise from our beds, why cant we be grateful to Him for having food on our table instead of snapping on a brunt toast or a bland coffee. Why can’t we acknowledge the mercifulness of Allah on having blessed us with family and children instead of getting edgy over crying kids.
Why cant we thank Allah for allowing us to see what a beautiful morning he made and how pretty does the sunshine look when it falls on the flowers around us; there are those who cannot even see the beautiful scenery around them, there are those who yearn to hear the sound of a child crying in their house but are not blessed with children. Why can’t express our gratitude to Allah for gracing us with the luxury of a car, there are those who walk for miles in the heat to get to their destination. Instead of being obliged for the ability to climb up the stairs and to have work the whole day we crib over it when there are those who long to walk but are unable to and there are thousands of jobless people longing to get tired after a meaningful day’s work and here we are the most ungrateful of species, blessed with all the possible bounties of Allah and yet we are not happy and exhibit no sense of gratitude. ”Show (thy) gratitude to Allah.” ”Anyone who is (so) grateful does so to the profit of his own soul: but if any is ungrateful, verily Allah is free of all wants, Worthy of all praise.” [Surah Luqman; 31:12] “..If ye are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you; But if ye show ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed.” [Surah Ibrahim; 14:7]
Expressing gratitude is so important and this quality of a beliver has been emphasized at various places through various ayats. Allah, the Exalted says: “Therefore, remember Me (by praying, glorifying). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for my countless Favours on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:152) “If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of my Blessings).” [Surah Ibraheem, 14:7] “And say: ‘All the praises and thanks be to Allah.’” [Surah Al-Isra, 17:111]
“And the close of their request will be ‘Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil-‘alamin [All the praise is due to Allah, the Rubb of ‘Alamin (mankind, jiin and all that exists)].’” [Surah Yunus, 10:10] Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Any matter of importance which is not begun with Al-hamdu lillah (praise be to Allah) remains defective.” On another hadith, Anas bin Malik (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Allah is pleased with His slave who says: ‘Al-hamdu-lillah (praise be to Allah’) when he takes a morsel of food and drinks draught of water.” [Muslim] On being grateful, Allah has mentioned gratitude alongside faith (iman) and has made it clear that He gains nothing from punishing His people if they give thanks to Him and believe in Him: “What can Allah gain by punishment if you are grateful and you believe? ….” (Qur’an 4:147)
Allah has divided people into two categories: the people of gratitude (shukr) and the people of ingratitude (kufr). The thing most disliked by Allah is kufr and the thing most liked by Allah is gratitude and the people of gratitude: “We showed him (ie man) the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rest on his will).” (Qur’an 76:3) The reward of gratitude is unlimited and Allah has made the reward free from any conditions: “…If you are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you …” (Qur’an 14:7) “But Allah will swiftly reward those who serve Him with gratitude.” (Qur’an 3:144)
‘Speak to My servants who have believed, that they may establish regular prayers, and spend (in charity) out of the Sustenance We have given them, secretly and openly, before the coming of a Day in which there will be neither mutual bargaining nor befriending. It is Allah Who hath created the heavens and the earth and sendeth down rain from the skies, and with it bringeth out fruits wherewith to feed you: it is He Who hath made the ships subject to you, that they may sail through the sea by His Command; and the rivers (also) hath He made subject to you. And He hath made subject to you the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses: and the Night and the Day hath He (also) made subject to you. And He giveth you of all that ye ask for. But if ye count the favors of Allah, never will ye be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude.’ (Ibrahim 14:31-34)
Allah has given us many things. His blessings are countless. We should be thankful to Him all the time. We should also show our gratitude by doing good to others, by helping the poor and by spending in His cause. Mere expression of shukr with the tongue unaccompanied by the true state of shukr of the heart is only a formality. It is essential that along with verbal expression of shukr, the heart should value and honour the Naymat of The Benefactor. The soul and essence of shukr is that the honour and appreciation of the Benefactor and the Naymat are embedded in the heart. Shukr is acquired by contemplating the bounties of Allah Ta’ala. Every Naymat is to be related to Him. By degrees such meditation will imbue the Love of Allah in the heart, the result of which will be the attainment of the perfect stage of Shukr.
— The writer is a senior banker with interest in Religion.