Gratitude In Islam: An Exposition

First Khutbah – Main Points

الله الذي خلق السموت والأرض وأنزل من السماء ماء فأخرج به من الثمرت رزقا لكم – وسخرلكم الفلك لتجرى في البحر بأمره – و سخرلكم الأنهر
وسخر لكم الشمس والقمر دائبين – وسخرلكم الليل والنهار
وءاتكم من كل ما سألتموه – وإن تعدوا نعمت الله لاتحصوها – إن الإنسن لظلوم كفار

“God is the one Who created the heavens and the earth and sent down rain from the sky, bringing forth from it fruits as a provision. And He has made subservient to you the ships so that you may sail on the open sea by His command. He has also made subservient to you the rivers. He has also made the sun and moon subservient to you, holding steady on two courses. And He has made subservient to you the night as well as the day.

He has given to you everything you have asked for – if you were to count the blessings that God has bestowed, you could never do so. Truly man is wrongdoing, ungrateful.” [Q: 14:32-34]

Let’s open today’s discussion on gratitude by looking at the Majesty of God.

Thankfulness leads to perpetuation of favors already received and also fosters the hope of obtaining what is desired:

وإذ تأذن ربكم لئن شكرتم لأزيدنكم

“And when your Lord proclaimed: ‘if you are give thanks, I will increase you in it!” [Q: 14:7]

وما بكم من نعمة فمن الله

“What ever good you have if from God.” [Q: 16:53]

Thankfulness in the broader social real:

God is too Generous to take away a favor from someone who is thanking Him:

ذلك بأن الله لم يك مغيرا نعمة انعمها على قوم حتى يغيروا ما بأنفسهم وإن الله سميع عليم

“That is because Allah would never change a blessing he has conferred on a people unless they have changed something within themselves.  And God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing .” [Q: 8:53]

If we find ourselves absent in something that was conferred up us from before, then we have to look at ourselves critically – perhaps we are the culprit. Gratitude exists both in the individual level, as well as the social level for Muslims.

عن سالم بن أبي الجعد: قال عليه الصلاة والسلام: ليتخذ أحدكم لسانا ذاكرا, وقلبا شاكرا

“On the authority of Sālim Bin Abi al-Ja’d: the Prophet said [s]: ‘Let each one of you have an invoking tongue and a thankful heart.”

عن أنس بن مالك, قال النبي: ألإيمان نصفان نصف صبر ونصف شكر

“On the authority of Anas Bin Mālik, the Prophet [s] said: ‘Imān has two halves: one half perseverance, one half gratitude’.”

وفي رواية: ألإيمان نصفان: فنصف في الصبر ونصف في الشكر

Second Khutbah – Main Points

Last part of Part I.

In light of the conversation from last week, we said that imān comes from a-m-n: to be safe/secure.  So let us look closer at this hadith:

  1. Perseverance: to be able to face hardship and loss and still be able to say الحمد لله to show gratitude in the face of adversity is one half of imān. This produces its own form of security.
  2. Thanks/gratitude: to be grateful and show thanks also develops security as one knows where one’s rizq, sustenance, hardships and ease come from.

Is this the “fair weather friend” syndrome?

فأما الإنسان إذا ما ابتلاه ربه فأكرمه ونعمه فيقول ربي أكرمن
وأما إذا ما ابتلاه فقدر عليه رزقه فيقول ربي أهانن

“And when mankind is tested by his lord, He ennobles him and blesses him and thus he says, ‘My Lord has ennobled me’. But when he is tested by having his sustenance [rizq] measured and thus he says, ‘My Lord has forsaken me!’” [Q: 89:15-16]

حدثنا في كتاب الترمذي البر: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم:
من لم يشكر الناس لم يشكر الله

“al-Tirmidhi collects for us that the Messenger of Allah said: ‘He who does not thank people does not thank God’.” [al-Tirmidhi: Kitab al-Birr]

Perspectives on Gratitude

Perpetuates favors Allah has bestowed الشكر سبب الإبقاء النعم الموجودة

Fosters behavior [a state] to garner further favors: وهو وسيلة إلى حصول النعم المفقودة

وإذ تأذن ربكم لئن شكرتم لأزيدنكم

“And when your Lord proclaimed: ‘if you are give thanks, I will increase you in it!” [Q: 14:7]

الكيس من دان نفسه وعمل لما بعد الموت والإحمق من اتبع هواه وتمنى على الله تعالى الأماني

“The astute one is he who castes judgment on himself and works for what comes after death, while the fool is the one who follows his passion and still expects God the Exalted to pull him out!”

اللهم اجعلني من أئمة المتقين

“O’ Allah, make me from amongst the people of Taqwā!”

“Allahumma, ij’alniy min u’immatil mu’taqiyn!”

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