A reminder to be thankful


In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

One of the most important aspects of our faith is to be thankful to our Creator, Allah (SWT), for everything He has given us. The ayat about thankfulness are too numerous to mention, but if you read any chapters of the Qur’an you will realize that one of the qualities of the prophets and righteous people that Allah describes them with is thankfulness (shukr). Allah reminds us in the Qur’an:

“And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah.” (16:53)

How often we (including myself) really take the time to reflect on the blessings (ni’mah) that Allah (SWT) has bestowed upon us? Living in the West, in metropolitan cities like New York or LA can sometimes desensitize us, and we become oblivious to the countless blessings and favors of Allah in our lives. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) gave us a formula for achieving contentment.  He (SAW) said:

“Look at those who are lower than you and do not look at those who are higher than you. That is more likely to prevent you underestimating the blessing of Allah on you.” [Agreed upon] 

In another variant, he (SAW) said:

“When one of you sees someone who has been given more bounty in respect of wealth or physical strength, he should then look at someone who has less than him.”

Don’t always look at the rich people who are above you.  Don’t look at how much money, how many houses, cars, etc. they have, (although in reality they have their own challenges!). Don’t compare yourself with those above you in wealth and dunya. Rather look at the people who have less than you. Think about the more than 840 million people around the world who continue to struggle with hunger every day!

Now take a moment to reflect on the meal(s) that you had today. Did you say “Alhamdulillah!” and wholeheartedly thank your Lord who gave you food to eat today? Did you follow up your verbal utterance of “Alhamdulillah” with actions that are pleasing to your Lord?  Indeed one of our Shuyukh reminded us once while lecturing on the topic of shukr that, “being thankful to Allah means to use the blessings that Allah gave you in a manner which is pleasing to Him.” If Allah gave you wealth, then spend some of it in the cause of Allah. Support the deen, needy people, and build masajids, schools, hospitals, etc. If Allah gave you health, then worship him while you are healthy and have full strength in your body. Pray your salah/namaz regularly, read the Qur’an, fast voluntarily, and wake up for tahajjud (the night vigil prayer). There is a beautiful saying that I once read,

“The graves are full of people who thought that they would practice Islam when they became old. Old age is not promised to anyone.”

So take a moment to reflect on what I’m reminding us of my dear brothers and sisters.

In At-Tirmidhi there is a beautiful hadith, which I think we should all write down somewhere in our room and reflect on before going to sleep and after waking up. The hadith is as follows:

“It was narrated from Ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The son of Adam will not be dismissed from before his Lord on the Day of Resurrection until he has been questioned about five things: his life and how he spent it, his youth and how he used it, his wealth and how he earned it and how he disposed of it, and how he acted upon what he acquired of knowledge.”

No matter what your age is, think about how you’ve spent your life so far. Was it in obedience to Allah? In doing good deeds and fulfilling your duties/obligations towards your Lord? Or did you spend it in sin and disobedience?

Ask yourself – how did I spend my youth? Islamically speaking, according to Imam Ibn Al-Jawzi (rahimahullah), our youth starts the day we reach puberty until we turn 35 years old. Other scholars have said our youth ends at age 40. Now ask yourself, did you spend/are you spending your youth in obedience – praying regularly, seeking sacred knowledge, doing all that Allah asked you to do and abstaining from that which he asked you to abstain from? Or are you involved in acts of disobedience to Allah and spending your youth seeking worldly pleasure and in total transgression?  

Ask yourself about your wealth – how did you acquire it/how are you acquiring it? Was it from that which is Halal or from that which is Haram? So many Muslims nowadays earn their income from Haram means – from working in banks and dealing with interest/riba to cheating in business. And at the end of the day, they buy “Halal meat”: with that income. How ironic! Dear brothers/sisters, know that the haram money that you earn and use it towards to buy halal food or clothes becomes haram on you to consume/wear!

Ask yourself how am I really spending my wealth? Did you give zakat? Did you fulfill the rights of others – your family, the needy, and the orphans? Or did you squander it all on yourself in enjoyment of this temporal worldly life?

Ask yourself about your knowledge – did you acquire religious knowledge? Did you learn your fard-ul-ayn? — That which is a personal obligation on you, such as, knowing your Lord and his messenger (your Aqeedah), your Fiqh – from taharah (purification) to (mu’amalaat) business transactions, and your Qur’an recitation – to properly recite it with the rules of Tajweed.

Ask yourself – what kind of knowledge am I acquiring? How am I acquiring it? How much of it am I acting upon?

Did you acquire knowledge to please Allah or to show off?  Or did you spend your life seeking only knowledge of this dunya while neglecting your akhira? Turn to your lord repentance and thankfulness before it’s too late, and you become a number in the grave!

Be thankful!

“O Allah, there is no life but the life of the Next World.”

وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم
وآخر دعوانا أن الحمد لله رب العالمين

Article submitted by an Anonymous Brother


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