True thankfulness in one’s heart is manifested through the conviction that all bounties come from God.
Shukr, that is gratitude, is an integral part of Islamic discipline and philosophy. Prophet Muhammad said, ‘One who has not thanked people has not thanked God’. Gratitude is expressed by the tongue, heart and by righteous behavior.
True thankfulness in one’s heart is manifested through the conviction that all bounties come from God. The Quran repeatedly says, ‘so that you may give thanks’, and ‘God will reward the thankful’. It speaks of the countless blessings that come in all forms, those we can see and those we cannot see. We cannot count them, but are required to be constantly thankful for them. Living in a state of thankfulness is being in a state of God consciousness.
The Quran often says that God measures out good and mercy to test people’s faith. Trials from God do not just involve pain and suffering, but benefits and pleasure are also trails. When a person is wealthy, the trail is whether he will be be generous with what God has given him or will he act in a miserly way. For one who has financial problems, the test lies in whether he will be exercise patience and hope, or will be despair of God’s bounties, become bitter and loose faith?
The faithful show gratitude for blessings and practice patience during tribulations. Faith is but a form of gratitude, and gratitude is a form of faith. When we are not grateful, we are actually concealing God’s blessings.
Rabia of Basra, the famous woman mystic of the eighth century always spoke of remembering God through tribulation and joy. Once Rabia noticed a man wearing a bandage round his head and enquired of his health. He told her that he had a severe headache. She asked, ‘ How old are you’. “ Thirty’, he replied. Rabia then questioned if he had ever endured suffering in his life. On hearing him reply in the negative, Rabia said, ‘ For thirty years you have enjoyed good health and never once worn the bandage of gratefulness. But as soon as your head hurts, you put the bandage of complaint’.
To take things for granted is one of the biggest human failings. Be or health or wealth, we usually appreciate something more after we have lost it. Mulla Nasruddin once announced a reward to anyone who found his lost donkey. The reward was the donkey. The people of the town thought Mulla to be crazy, but he said, ‘You cannot understand. The joy of recovering what was lost is more than the joy of possessing it’.