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Tariq Haashmi


Expressing gratitude to the Almighty is the foremost basis of our relation with Him. This expression pertains to the heart, the tongue and the deeds we do. Expression of gratitude by the heart means that it should be brimming with thankfulness to God for His innumerable bounties and favors. The heart, when filled with gratitude, impels the tongue to pour out words of gratitude for the Almighty whenever one comes across His favors and blessings or is reminded of them, just as a cup brimming with water overflows with the slightest of stirs.

A heart teeming with gratitude has a profound effect on the deeds of a person. He relishes every deed that satisfies his urge to be thankful. Similarly, he develops an aversion for deeds which reflect ingratitude to a visible or hidden favour of God. If a person has within him the true awareness of acknowledging a blessing, he is never willing to use this blessing against the liking of its bestower. Suppose, someone gives us a torch to save us from stumbling in the darkness or gives us a sword to protect ourselves from an enemy or gives us a vehicle to save us from the bother of walking, then only a very ungrateful and thankless person can use these very sources to break into the house of his well wisher and massacre his family. Likewise, a person, who is mindful of acknowledging favours, can never use the Almighty’s favours for the cause of Satan. Ā’ishah (rta), in a letter to Mu‘āwiyyah (rta), has referred to this reality in the following words: ‘The least obligation of a person who has been blessed with favorus in that he ought not use these favors in disobeying the bestower’.

To inculcate gratitude in our selves we need to observe the following.

First, we should always be mindful of all that God has blessed us with, tangible or intangible. This is a common trait of man that he wails when faced with the slightest of problems and blindly ignores the continuous favors befalling him as if they never existed. A man who doesn’t have an eye for blessings and their importance never appreciates the bestower nor cherishes thankfulness towards him. To eradicate this unresponsiveness, a man may portion out a section of his daily time to contemplate all the visible and hidden blessings of God scattered throughout the universe. He should imagine while meditating that there was all the probability that he would not have been blessed with those bounties. What if he had been deprived of sight, born dumb or with hands benumbed and feet paralyzed? Above all what would he be like without the gift of reasoning?

Second, we should realize that we are blessed with what we didn’t deserve. Neither did we earn anything nor can we. He, the Almighty can withdraw every favour from us. What could one do if he fell from the crown to the stillest doom? For this very reason we shouldn’t leave an unfortunate man unnoticed and must mind that God can replace him with us. It is only His grace that we are spared the plight.

Third, we should not only look towards those privileged rather we should compare ourselves with the less fortunate. A person who looks only to the more blessed is never satisfied and he is always complaining. He is denied happiness in life, no matter how richly blessed he is. He could not have been raised above all after all. So to keep meriting the kindness of the Almighty, everyman should notice the worth of those who lack a lot of what he enjoys.

One of Sheikh Sa‘dī’s narratives elucidates the matter cogently. During one of his journeys, he tells, his shoes wore out. He became aggrieved for he couldn’t buy a new pair. Hobbling along he came to a mosque where there was an amputee, who had no feet at all. Suddenly, an impulse of gratitude swelled his heart and he knelt down in order to offer thanks to the Almighty for the feet He had been blessed by him.

Sa‘dī’ has beautifully made us understand how to view the world in order to be grateful. People who see the world through Sa‘dī’s eyes find every now and then innumerable signs of His graciousness urging them to be thankful. On the other hand, there are those who in spite of having sound health, fret on not owning the most modern car. Such people can never be grateful in the real sense.

(Adapted from Islāhī’s ‘Tazkiyah i Nafs’)


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