In Islam thanksgiving is not only a particular religious act or service; it is the whole life. The whole life should be lived in obedience to our Ultimate Benefactor, Allah. God has been good to us and so in our thankfulness, we should worship Him, obey His commands and orders. Shukr is a very important principle in Islam. We should fall in prostrate (Sajdah) when we receive any kind of blessings from Almighty Allah. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) also used to prostrate when He receives something pleasant to thanks. Allah says:
فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ
“So remember Me, I will remember you and be grateful to Me and (do) not (be) ungrateful to Me.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:152)
Surely Allah gives us so many favours (blessings) that we are not able to count them all, He provides us with good health, and intellect with which to think; eyes with which to see; ears with which to hear. He also supplies us with food and drink. It is through His favour that we may be healed when we are ill. We should always feel thankful for the blessings of Allah and praise and thank Him. Allah says:
وَاللَّهُ أَخْرَجَكُم مِّن بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
“And Allah brought you forth from the wombs (of) your mothers, not knowing anything, and made for you the hearing and the sight and the hearts so that you may give thanks.” (Surah An-Nahl, 16:78)
Everything that happens to us – even events that we may consider to be personal afflictions or natural disasters-are from Allah. Reflect upon your own life and you will find innumerable occasions when Allah’s `hand’ has been holding you and helping you. So often, believers and even atheists subconsciously use the expression ‘Thank God’, without realizing the full implications of our words.
Some of the benefits of Gratitude are listed below that we should know so that if anyone is there who is not thanking Allah should start Shukr:
- Appreciating the Little Thing Other People do
- Most people subconsciously thank God
- Gratitude is the purpose of our creation
- We can never count Allah’s Blessings
- Crediting Allah for every little thing
- Not Talking Bad About that People
- Shukr leads to Allah’s pleasure
- By Saying Thank You Directly
- We thank Allah for our benefit
- Becoming His Friend
- Allah’s Mercy is for all
- Increasing the Faith in Allah
- Remembering Allah all the time
- Never cross the line Allah Created
- Shukr leads to abundance in Allah’s favours
- Being grateful and patient in times of difficulty
- True worship means sincere thankfulness to Allah
- Shukr is a quality of success in this life and the Hereafter
- Shaytan’s primary mission is to make human beings ungrateful
Shukr is a quality of the believers and it is a source of all goodness. Shukr is used in the Quran sometimes as equivalent to faith. The faithful are thankful people and the unfaithful are ungrateful people. Allah says:
فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ
“Then remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject Me.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:152)
Always admire those who are below you means who don’t have enough like you and instead of comparing oneself with others always Shukr to Allah for what you have. We should be thankful to Allah for all His blessings because many people don’t have that much. Allah says:
وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا لُقْمَانَ الْحِكْمَةَ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِلَّهِ وَمَن يَشْكُرْ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ
“And verily, We gave Luqman the wisdom that, “Be grateful to Allah.” And whoever (is) grateful then only he is grateful for himself. And whoever (is) ungrateful, then indeed, Allah (is) Free of need, Praiseworthy.” (Surah Luqman 31:12)
Gratitude is the best way to please Allah and thanks, Allah. If we are that thankful for and want to give thanks to Him, let’s increase our faith in Him. By showing to Allah that we have increased our faith in Him that Allah knows we are thankful. Allah says:
ثُمَّ تَوَلَّيْتُم مِّن بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَكُنتُم مِّنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
“Then you turned away from after that. So if not (for the) Grace (of) Allah upon you and His Mercy, surely you would have been of the losers.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:64)
Thanks are one of the most powerful things in the world. Giving thanks means we are reciprocating the kindness from other people, as well as our God the Almighty Allah. Even when we are living within society, we need to show gratitude and give thanks to everyone. It is even considered important in Islam. Allah says:
تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ السَّمَاوَاتُ السَّبْعُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلَّا يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِ وَلَٰكِن لَّا تَفْقَهُونَ تَسْبِيحَهُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًا
“Glorify [to] Him the seven heavens and the earth and whatever (is) in them. And (there is) not anything except glorifies His Praise, but not you understand their glorification. Indeed, He is Ever-Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving.” (Surah Al Isra 17:44)
As we all know, the first word of the Holy Quran is Alhamdulillah, showing the gratitude of Allah. Not only for the good things, but we must say Alhamdulillah during difficult times as well.
How to Express Gratefulness
In Islam, there are three ways to fully express gratefulness to Allah SWT:
- By the Heart. Doing good deeds and always having good intentions for all of Allah’s creation
- By the Tongue. Praising Allah SWT through words, saying Alhamdulillah many times, and expressing gratitude through the tongue.
- By the Limbs. Using all the senses in doing good deeds and staying away from everything Allah hates.
Our beloved Prophet (SAW) said: “Look at those people who have less than you and never look at those who have more grants than you, this will ensure that you will not depreciate Allah’s favours” (Muslim).
Gratitude is one of the most beloved characteristics of Allah Almighty. Being thankful is the best way to get closer to Allah (SWT). By Shukr we invoke His mercy and love upon us. Gratitude is the key to Allah’s reward and pleasure. When we are thankful to Him we try to get better our relationship with Allah Almighty. Allah says:
Benefits of Gratitude (Shukr)
Gratitude cultivates happiness and wellbeing.
- Better Relationship with Allah:
- Prosperity in Life: Allah says: “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]…” (Quran, 14:7).
- Prevents Punishment from Allah: Allah says: “If Allah took mankind to task by that which they deserve, He would not leave a living creature on the surface of the earth; but He grants them reprieve unto an appointed term, and when their term comes – then verily Allah is Ever All-Seer of His slaves.”(Quran, 35:45).
- Seeking Pleasure of Allah:
- Reduce Materialism and Boosts Sympathy:
Ultimate happiness does not rely upon worldly possessions. Gratitude has been shown to reduce feelings of materialism and its consequential negative effects. Greater expressions of gratitude were associated with lower materialism and higher life satisfaction. If you want a satisfying life then always be thankful to Allah Almighty.
Ways to Practice Gratitude in Islam
There are some ways of following which we should gratitude Allah Almighty.
- Say Al-Hamdulillah Regularly: Our beloved Prophet (SAW) said: “Allah is pleased with His servant if when he eats something he thanks Allah for it, and when he drinks something he thanks Allah for it”(Muslim).
- Be Patient and Thankful for Difficult Time:
- “How wonderful is the case of a Believer! It is good for him in whatever happens to him -and none, apart from him, enjoys this blessing.”(Muslim). This means after every difficulty there comes ease and those who stay patient and thankful to Allah in difficult times will get a great reward.
- Fall in Prostration when receiving blessings from Allah:
- Keep your Expectations Below:
- Don’t be too picky and entertain others: Be comfortable in every situation and you will become grateful.
The Quran reminds people to be thankful on numerous occasions, oftentimes highlighting reasons as to why we should be as well. Below are just three verses about this very important virtue Muslims try to ingrain in themselves every day in our lives. Allah says:
وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ
“And when proclaimed your Lord, “If you are thankful, surely I will increase you; but if you are ungrateful indeed, My punishment (is) surely severe.” (Surah Ibrahim 14:7)
A constant assertion of this phrase reminds us of the source of all blessings and happiness in this life. This practice of attributing all good actions to Allah keeps us humble. We (Muslims) spend all our lives to get the pleasure of Allah and gratitude is one way to do so not only in this life but also in the hereafter when we will express it to Him for His blessings. Shukr is the best means to attain the pleasure of Allah. Allah says:
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ خَرَجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِمْ وَهُمْ أُلُوفٌ حَذَرَ الْمَوْتِ فَقَالَ لَهُمُ اللَّهُ مُوتُوا ثُمَّ أَحْيَاهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَشْكُرُونَ
“Did not you see [to] those who went out from their homes and they (were in) thousands (in) fear (of) [the] death? Then said to them Allah, “Die;” then He restored them to life. Indeed, Allah (is) surely Possessor (of) bounty for [the] mankind [and] but most (of) the people (are) not grateful.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 243)
Allah will grant us blessings when we Gratitude Him and also He is justified to punish us for our negligence. So from gratitude, we can get His blessings and if we don’t do it then He will punish us. Gratitude (Shukr), or thankfulness, is a quality that will lead to success both in this life and in the next that will never be going to an end. Allah (SWT) promises us mercy and an increase in His favours upon us if we are grateful. So we should always be thankful to Allah Almighty by saying Al-Hamdulillah.