Written By: Ali Asad Chandia
In this fourth and penultimate part of Ali Asad Chandia’s Ramadan reflections, we are reminded of our duty to give thanks for the many blessings we have – some of which we may not even be aware of – to our Creator.
In the midst of a few hundred federal prisoners at the recreation yard, each one busy with his own routine, two Muslims were sitting on a bench chatting. A prisoner wearing dark sunglasses approached these two brothers and asked them if they had seen a particular individual. One of the brothers pointed at that individual, who was about 70 yards away, to inform the questioner where the individual was. Rather than facing that direction and looking at the individual, the questioner kept asking where precisely the individual was. One of the Muslims kept pointing towards the individual expecting the questioner to look that way. At that moment the other Muslim intervened and told the questioner verbally, without any hand signals, that the individual was about 70 yards away from them and was standing close to a softball field. The question thanked the Muslims and walked away to follow their directions. The Muslims had just realised that the questioner was blind.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mother while you know nothing. And he gave you hearing, sight and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allah). (The Qur’aan 16:78)
How many favours has our Lord bestowed upon us since the day we were conceived in the wombs of our mothers! How often do we thank Allah for these favours! Not only do we not only thank Allah for His countless blessings, we often use these blessings to further disobey Him. Despite this rebelliousness, the Most Merciful continues to grant us blessing after blessings, until we reach our graves and await our turn to be questioned concerning these blessings. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
Then, on that Day, you shall be asked about the blessings (you enjoyed in this world). (The Qur’aan 102:8)
The day will soon come when the grateful slaves will be separated from the ungrateful ones and everyone will be held accountable for what they did in this life. Prior to that final accountability, only we can hold ourselves accountable to see whether we are striving to be grateful slaves of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala or not. ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab radiAllahu ‘anhu said,
Hold yourself accountable before you are held accountable, weigh your own self before you are weighed, and beautify (your righteous deeds) for the major judgement. (Madarij-is-Salikeen pg. 136)
Let us not be like those who when faced with a trial forget all the blessings of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and become ungrateful by indulging in His disobedience. Doing so will only increase our sadness, despair, and will add to our hardship. Perhaps a hardship initiated as a result of our ungratefulness and increased due to our disobedience. One of the guaranteed solutions to increase in Allah’s blessings is to be always grateful to Him. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed, “If you give thanks, I will give you more (of my blessings), but if you are thankless, verily My punishment is indeed severe”. (The Qur’aan 14:7)
A person passing through a trial should also remember that there are numerous people in this world who are passing through even more severe trials. The fact that our trial is not as severe as others is in itself a blessing that we must be grateful for. One should also remember that none can be grateful to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala as He truly deserves, and He alone can help us in fulfilling this obligation. Even the best of the creation used to say,
O Allah! Help me in your remembrance, in being grateful to you, and in reaching excellence in worshipping you.
Ibn Al-Qayyim has stated five principles related to being grateful to Allah and neglecting any one of these principles will result in deficiency in this matter. These five principles are:
“Showing humility to Allah for his blessings;
Loving Him for these blessings;
Admitting that these blessings are from Him alone;
Praising Him for these blessings;
Not using these blessings in His disobedience.” (Madajir-is-Salikeen pg. 540)
(CC image courtesy of Marwa Morgan on Flickr)
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