When a favour is conferred upon a person, his/her heart is inclined toward showing affection and gratitude to the person who conveyed that favour upon them. The gratitude should increase with the amount of favours and the magnitude of such favours. Why is it we are ungrateful to the blessings showered upon us by our Lord?
The favours of Allah are perpetual and they cannot be valued or enumerated; “And if you should count the favor of Allah , you could not enumerate them.” (14:34) How could a person even attempt to try and count the blessings that Allah has given to us in a single day let alone our entire lives? It is impossible. You are indebted to Allah, and if you are a true believer then you would extol his generosity.
If you want to be grateful to Allah then this task is burdensome, however Allah’s kindness is such that we do not need if we show gratefulness for our bounties He increase them, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.” (14:7) Look at our Creator’s promise He gives to us even though we are unworthy. So the least we should do is thank Allah.
If you wish to see the epitome of being grateful to Allah then look no further than the Prophet; his pure wife Aisha reports that, “He would engage in such lengthy tahajjud salah, that his feet would swell. When she said to him, ‘You are exerting yourself so much, even though Allah has forgiven all your past and future sins [if you were to commit any]? The Prophet replied, ‘Should I not be a grateful servant then?'” (Muslim) Who are we that we should not show gratefulness to Allah, when the greatest of creation was so particular in doing so? Have we become so degenerate? If only we understood the status of our noble Messenger we would not sleep at night, busying ourselves in prayer.
We have a chance to become among the chosen Friends of Allah, and we can distinguish ourselves through this characteristic of gratefulness. As Allah states: “And few of My servants are grateful.” (34:13) This verse indicates that these close people to Allah are scarce. We should exert our utmost to ensure we become like them.
Showing gratitude is not confined to only Allah, as we should be grateful to those who favour us among his servants. The Prophet has stated, “He has not expressed gratitude to Allah who does not express gratitude people [For favours received from them]. ” (Abu Dawud) It is essential to be grateful to people for the favours of Allah, which one receives through them. One cannot be regarded as grateful to Allah, if one fails to observe gratitude to people. This also prompts people to spend upon others who are more in need, as they will be enticed with the prospect of another person being grateful towards them. This is human nature. This is also an incentive to create fervour in the hearts of others to assist their fellow brothers. Gratitude in addition to all these things will create love in both the giver and receiver of the bounty.
Now the question arises, how do we create gratitude in our hearts? the greatest of teachers has counselled us; ” Look at those who are less fortunate than you, not at those who are better off than you, as this will make you consider the bounties of Allah upon you to be insignificant”. (Muslim) Look at the proficiency the Prophet has in identifying the spiritual maladies in the hearts of men. Here, we can learn many things, chief among them is that craving the world will have adverse effects upon our spirituality. This can be seen in many people today, who are living lavish lifestyles, but are not content as they are looking at people who are living even more hedonistic lifestyles than themselves. The only way this can be remedied is if they turn their gaze toward those who have less than them. It is because many of us do not do this that we are discontent with our situations, whereas we have colossal favours which we overlook.
There are many supplications through which person can express gratitude one has been mentioned by the Prophet:
Allahumma A’inni Ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibadatika
“Oh Allah, assist me in remembering you, in expressing gratitude to you, and in worshipping you in the best manner.” (Abu Dawud)
May Allah allow us to show gratitude to Him. May He increase His bounties upon us and forgive any deficiencies within us. Ameen.