OnIslam.net

Expressing Gratitude: The Muslim Norm

Understanding Islamic Ethics
By Fouzia Hakkou
Editor at Reading Islam
love you Allah
When a Muslim receives a bounty or is rescued from a trial, he gets down on his knees, puts his forehead on the ground thanking God for His Favors
Thank you

Thankfulness is a blessed attitude expressed towards others. It is an expression of love and appreciation of others.

Thankfulness is not bound to time, place or religion. Everyone says thank you in any language wherever he is and at any time.

In Islam, gratitude is given much importance and emphasis.

Whenever you ask a Muslim: how are you? The person automatically replies with one Arabic word: “Alhamdulillah” meaning "Praise be to God".

Maybe it is just a habit among most Muslims to thank God for His blessings and bounties, but it is a good habit expected from a true Muslim, a believer who never complains about what he suffers in front of others.

He makes it a habit to thank God whether he is wealthy or not, whether he has a good position in life or not, whether he is rich or poor, healthy or ill. He makes sure that he is thankful to God, Who will certainly grant provision and increase it more and more. For God promised:

{If you are thankful, I will grant you increase} (Ibrahim 14:7)

Most of us encounter difficulties in our lives; our challenge is to learn to remember God in all our states, the finest and the hardest, and to be always thankful in both our weakness and our strength. But one may ask: why should a poor person thank God for poor?!!

Indeed, poverty is considered among the hardest trials that God tests a poor person with, to see if he is thankful or not. His reward - if he is thankful - is as Prophet Muhammad said:

"to enter Paradise five hundred years before the rich.'' (At-Tirmidhi)

A true believer, either poor or rich, should always be thankful to God whatever his state is; he should express his certainty that God is loving and kind, and cares for all His creatures; he should be thankful for the great bounties that God has provided him, because: 

{It is he who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when you knew nothing, and he gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affection so that you may give thanks (to God)} (An-Nahl 16: 78)

God doesn’t need our thanks and gratitude, to the contrary; it’s our benefit to be thankful. God says: {And verily We gave Luqman wisdom: ‘Give thanks to God. Whoever gives thanks only for his own sake and whoever is ungrateful, then surely God is Independent, Praised} (Luqman 31: 12)

Many verses in the Quran emphasize the notion of gratitude to God. The Quran sheds light on the story of Prophet Hud (peace be upon him) who constantly advised his people to thank God for His blessings:  

{Do you build on every height a monument for vain delight! And you make fine buildings as if you will last forever! And when you strike, you strike mercilessly! Rather fear Allah and obey me. Fear Him Who has provided you with what you know. He provided you with livestock and children. And gardens and springs. Truly I fear for you the retribution of a Great Day.} (Al-Shu’araa 26: 128-35)

Satan promised, in a dialogue with God, to do his best to prevent people from being thankful to God.

The same story in the Quran, Prophet Hud kept convincing and reminding his people to thank God for His blessings and also warning them against being unthankful:

{Is it too astonishing that Allah guides you through a man from your people who came to warn you of the bad end that will befall you as a result of your infidelity? Don’t you remember that Allah made you the inheritors of the earth after the people of Noah who were destroyed by their bad deeds, and that He granted you strength in your bodies and in your power? These blessings should make you believe in Allah and thank Him, not to make you infidels.} (Al-A'raf 7: 69)

God urges believers to remember Him and thank Him for His bounties:  

{So remember Me, I will remember you; and be thankful to Me, and be not ungrateful towards Me.} (Al-Baqarah 2: 152)

Satan promised, in a dialogue with God, to do his best to prevent people from being thankful to God:

{I will lie in wait for them (human beings) on your straight way. Then I shall come upon them from before them and from behind them and from their right and from their left. And You will not find most of them thankful} ( Al-A'raf 7:16-7)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to recite long prayers at night, as Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported: “The Prophet used to offer prayer at night (for such a long time) that his feet used to crack. I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Why do you do it since Allah has forgiven you your faults of the past and those to follow?" He said:

“Shouldn't I love to be a thankful slave (of Allah)?” (Al-Bukhari)

Also the Prophet draws our attention to an important issue. He advised us to appreciate others by thanking them. He said:

“Anyone who doesn’t thank people has not thanked Allah.” (Abu-Dawud & Tirmidhi)

Prostration of thankfulness is another way to thank God for His bounties. When a Muslim receives a bounty, hears good news or is rescued from a trial, he gets down on his knees, puts his forehead on the ground thanking God for His favor.

To conclude, one of the most interesting attributes of God is Ash-Shakur meaning that God is the most appreciative. So we should be grateful to the one who endows us with health, family, wealth, peace and security, a nurturing environment etc. By recognizing God’s bounties, our hearts will find contentment and peace.

Related Links:
God Increases His Blessings on Those Who Are Grateful
Expressing Gratitude to Almighty Allah
Show Your Gratitude Through Worship
Are We Really Inspired by Prophet Muhammad?
If Muhammad Were to Live in Europe

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