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How to Give Thanks 6 August 2007

Posted by MOZAFFAR in MOZAFFAR, Psychology, Spirituality.

How do you give thanks?

Every Muslim knows s/he should be grateful. Many Muslims know that ingratitude is the main doorway to disbelief. Shukr is the opposite of Kufr. Some Muslims even know that God promises us that if we are grateful, He will give us more (Surah Ibrahim 14:7)

What if you know you should be thankful, but you don’t know how. You know that internal feeling of “gratitude,” but you don’t know how to feel it. How do you do it?

What if you feel those pangs of resent, knowing that you should be grateful, but you are too full of resent.

Three steps. Some people need only the last step. Some need two. Some need all three.

1- The routine answer: Look at what you have. Look carefully at what you have. And be grateful for what you have, and be grateful for what you have that you don’t realize you should be grateful for. You know that there is cause for gratitude even in those things over which you feel resent.

The limitation of this step is that it you can intellectualize that you should be grateful for this and that, but you will have trouble moving that rational, intellectual understanding to an actual sentiment. But, you should still do it, and do it again and again and again. You need to do this repeatedly.

2- The beautiful answer: Look at people who have less than you. Visit people who are sick. Visit people who are dying. Visit people who have just suffered loss.

If you are healthy, then go to a hospital and meet some kids who are dying of cancer. If you can walk straight, then go to a rehabilitation clinic and meet some people who have trouble walking. If you are blind, then find someone who is not only blind, but also deaf.

The caution here is that if you are yourself ungrateful to God, meaning, if you are resentful about your life or experiences, you will not immediately feel gratitude. Rather, you will develop anger over the suffering of these people who have less than you. Again, you must do it again and again and again for this step to take effect.

3- The completing answer – You ask God. Here is the prayer:

رب اوزعني ان اشكر نعمتك التي انعمت علي وعلي والدي وان اعمل صالحا ترضاه واصلح لي في ذريتي اني تبت اليك واني من المسلمين

My Lord! grant me that I may give thanks for Thy favor which Thou hast bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do good which pleases Thee and do good to me in respect of my offspring; surely I turn to Thee, and surely I am of those who submit. (Surah al-Ahqaf 46:15, Shakir Translation)

There is a similar prayer in Surah an-Naml 27:19. You do the actions, and you ask the Turner of Hearts to turn your Heart.

And again, for many of us, this prayer is a prayer we need to keep reciting. Again. Again. Again.

Thus, what is the underlying thread: if you want to be grateful, you need to try again, and again, and again. You need to persevere.

Even if you feel the pangs of gratitude finally beginning to warm your heart, you have to continue.

Sabr. Jihad.

Interesting, is it not? Gratitude, for many of us, is something that requires struggle. It is earned.

May God bless you.



1. The Turk - 7 August 2007

” Rather, you will develop anger over the suffering of these people who have less than you. ”

Isn’t that a good thing? Work out the anger by helping people less fortunate then you?

2. dawud - 10 August 2007

The Turk, the implication is not that you learn to `work out your frustration,` but rather like some who suffer, they blame God rather than themselves (as the Qur’an says: “When good comes upon you, you are grateful, but when harm touches you, you say `Why has God done this to me?`”

Gratitude is realizing that the Hereafter is better than what came before, and even suffering in this world has an end, which is a mercy. wa Allahu alim

3. Irving - 10 August 2007

Without Thee, O Beloved, I cannot rest;
Thy goodness toward me I cannot reckon.
Though every hair on my body becomes a tongue,
A thousandth part of the thanks due to Thee I cannot tell.

– Pir Bishr Yasin

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