The virtue of being grateful
TO be grateful to Allah, the sublime for his bestowed bounties is one of the most loved virtues of a true believer. Allah loves those who remain grateful to him under all circumstances.
On contrary, most of us lack this noble virtue and always resort to moaning for our temporary temporal deprivations that is against the very spirit of Islamic teachings. To acknowledge being treated well by Allah is what is termed as “Gratitude”.
It entails displaying the effect of the favours of Allah upon a person by believing, with one’s heart, uttering praise and glorifications of Allah by ones tongue, and to use one’s limbs in the worship and obedience of Allah.
Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim while highlighting the value of gratitude in Islam, said: “The religion consists of two halves; one half is represented by gratitude and the other half is by perseverance.”
Gratitude enjoys high rank in Islam. Allah parallels it with His mention. He Says: “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to me and do not deny me”. (Quran 2: 152).
At another place Allah parallels it with belief, He Says: “What would Allah do with [i.e., gain from] your punishment if you are grateful and believe…”
(Quran 4: 147) Meaning, if you fulfil the rights due to Allah and the reason for which He has created you by gratitude and belief, He will not punish you.
Moreover, those who are steadfast in practising gratitude to Allah are those who are chosen to be granted His favours.
He Says: “And thus we have tried some of them through others that they [i.e., the disbelievers] might say, ‘Is it these whom Allah has favoured among us?’ Is not Allah most knowing of those who are grateful?” (Quran 6: 53) Allah has classified people into being either grateful or ungrateful; the worst matter in the scale of Allah is ingratitude while the dearest things to Him are gratitude and the grateful.
Allah Says: “Indeed, We guided him (i.e., man) to the way, be he grateful or ungrateful”
(Quran 76: 3) Allah tests His slaves in order to see who will practice gratitude and who will not.
Allah informs us about what Prophet Sulayman (A.S) said when He says: “…This is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful.
And whoever is grateful – his gratitude is only for (the benefit of) himself. And whoever is ungrateful – then indeed my Lord is free of need and generous.”
(Quran 27: 40) Apart from this, Allah promises increased favours for those who are grateful. He Says: “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you (in favour); but if you deny, indeed my punishment is severe.’”
(Quran 14: 7). The grateful people mentioned in the verse are those who remain steadfast upon belief during trials and who do not retreat or recant on their belief.
Some people verbally thank Allah during times of ease, but during times of troubles and trials, they give up their faith.
The truly grateful are those who express the true condition of their hearts during trials by remaining steadfast and continuing to thank Allah by their tongues, hearts and limbs.
Additionally, this verse clarifies that the pleasure of Allah is achieved by being grateful to Him.
Allah, the supreme, informs us that one of Satan’s primary objectives is to prevent humans from being grateful; He says: “[Satan said] ‘then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and you (ie, Allah) will not find most of them grateful to you.”
(Quran 7: 17) Additionally, Gratitude is the first instruction given to man as soon as he begins to comprehend. Allah Says: “And we have enjoined upon man care for his parents.
His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to me and to your parents; to me is the final destination.”
(Quran 31: 14) Inter alia, Allah repeatedly reminds us in different parts of the Quran of His favours upon us. He says: “…And [He] subjected for you the ships to sail for you through the sea by His command and subjected for you the rivers.
And He subjected for you the sun and the moon, continuous [in orbit], and subjected for you the night and the day. And He gave you from all you asked of Him.
And if you should count the favour (ie, blessings) of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is generally most unjust and ungrateful.”
(Quran 14: 32-34) There are many other verses in the Quran in which Allah reminds us of the favours that He has bestowed upon us.
One way of calling people towards Allah is to remind them of the favours of Allah upon them, so that they may be grateful and not to be amongst those about whom Allah says: “…And Allah is full of bounty to the people, but most of the people do not show gratitude.”
(Quran 2: 243). To encapsulate, some people attribute favours to other than the actual source, like Qaaroon, who said when he was reminded of the favours of Allah upon him, he said : “…I was only given it because of the knowledge I have’…” [Quran 28: 78] It is arrogance that leads to such a reaction, which results in misery for such people, because Allah says: “And whatever you have of favour – it is from Allah…” (Quran 16: 53)
— The writer, an Advcate, is based in Quetta Balochistan.