Being Thankful Every Day
By Mariam Abdulla and Sarah Faysal
What's better than kicking back in your favorite fuzzy socks? Many of us look forward to the crisp, cool air and warm drinks of autumn. Along with that comes Thanksgiving. For lots of people, it’s the dinner they can’t stop thinking of the entire year.
Many people cherish this holiday because it is the one weekend families come together and show gratitude for each and every blessing in their lives. However, if one thinks about it in an Islamic perspective, shouldn’t this be a day we come together and appreciate the things around us?
There are many aspects in our life that tend to go unnoticed. Allah (swt) constantly reminds us in the Quran to be thankful to Him for all of His creations. We are explicitly reminded in Surah Ibrahim when Allah (swt) tells us, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you” [Quran 14:7]. The more thankful you are, the more you are rewarded.
In Surah Ar-Rahman, Allah (swt), also asks the same question thirty-one times, “Which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?”. God created us and made this world for us. We benefits from all of His creations: the sun, moon, clouds, rain, air, animals, plants, rivers, oceans and numerous other bounties of the natural world. After realizing this, how can we as individuals be anything but thankful to Allah (swt)?
When we envision a beautiful scene of nature, our first emotions are delight and awe. However, we must always remind ourselves who we owe that emotion to.
This is important because Allah (swt) emphasizes that humans tend to be the most forgetful in showing their gratitude to Him. In the Quran, Allah says “The seven heavens and the earth and all who dwell in them give glory to Him. There is not a single thing that is not chanting His praise yet you cannot understand their praise. He is ever forbearing, forgiving” [Quran 17:44].
In order to please Allah (swt), it is important to remember to praise Him whenever we are reminded of His greatness. Allah swt’s greatness can be seen through the miracles He provides us and the lessons He teaches us.
We are often told to say thanks for the the tangible things in our life like food, water, and shelter, but are we giving thanks for the ability of getting through a hardship? In surah Baqarah Allah (swt) tells us, “We shall test you through fear, hunger, loss of life, property, and crops. [Muhammad], give glad news to the people who have patience” [Quran 2:155], and “[they are those who if affected with] difficulty say, ‘We are the servants of God and to Him we shall all return.”[Quran 2:156].
At times we are tested and must endure pain, but instead of mourning over these times we should think about what we can gain during these times as well. We are gaining sabr (forbearance) and knowledge that will help us in the future InShaAllah.
Our role model, Muhammad (saws) found the good in everything that happened in his life, so we should do the same. One of the biggest struggles that comes with this is the fact that we have to constantly remind ourselves to be thankful. We don’t receive reminders every moment of the day telling us to be grateful for the things around us, unlike during thanksgiving.
This is why one of the ways we as Muslims can strive to perfect our gratitude towards Allah (swt) is by incorporating the habit of remembering Him in our daily lives. With time and discipline, acknowledging His utmost power will come naturally.
Here are a few ways to remind ourselves to be thankful every day.
1. Focus on the little things, they add up. Think about the way your friends and family help you and make you smile.
2. Create a journal reminding you of the experiences in your life to be thankful for. Write down at least one thing you’re thankful for everyday.
3. Learn prayers of gratitude and recite them consistently daily. One common prayer that one must make the habit of reciting is:
4. Make it a habit to write letters or make calls of gratitude to those that do favors for you. Over time, you will gain the habit of appreciating the favors that not only others do for you, but the favors that Allah has provided for you in this world.
5. Change your use of language. Instead of feeling apologetic for what you do, appreciate others tolerating what you do. For example, Instead of saying “sorry for bothering you”, make it a habit to say “thank you for your time”.
Jazak Allahu Khayran for reading! We hope you gained new knowledge and insight about the importance of gratefulness in Islam through this article. Feel free to comment below and tell us what you thought InshaAllah.