If we were to count the blessings of Allah, we would never be able to do it. Yet, we take most of the blessings for granted and do little to be thankful for those blessings. However, being a thankful servant of Allah is a fundamental thing in our religion. In this article, we’ll explore five undeniable rewards for being a thankful servant.
A few years back, I saw a documentary that depicted people’s struggle to get water. These people would spend one-third of their waking hours searching for water! And most of the time, a family of four members have as little as 5 litres of water to utilise for the entire day!
Imagine this; you expend more water while flushing the toilet!
I live in a country where the tap water is equally good or better than bottled water. For most of my life, I took that blessing of cool, clean water from the tap for granted!
However, my attitude dramatically changed when I came across an excellent book by Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahumullah). In his book, Excellence of Patience & Gratefulness, he states that showing gratitude for the blessings of Allah subuhanawuta’ala is half of our faith.
He further argues that the purpose of our creation is that we give thanks to Allah subuhanawuta’ala.
“And Allah has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and intellect that perhaps you would be grateful.” (Al-Quran, 16:78)
Shaytan, our biggest enemy, knows the position of gratitude in Islam very well and that’s why he took it upon himself to turn people from this highest and loftiest act. His encounter with Allah subuhanawuta’ala is recorded in the Quran:
“Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful (to You).” (Al-Quran, 7:17)
Virtues of Being Thankful
“A person who eats and is thankful is like the person who fasts and is patient” (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi)
Being a thankful servant of Allah brings us immense virtues both in this and the next world. In this article, I want to share five remarkable rewards I’ve extracted from the fantastic book of Imam Ibn Al-Qayyum. I hope this article is a reminder for you and me to be a more thankful servant of Allah subuhanawuta’ala.
#1. Allah Increases Our Sustenance
We spend most of our waking hours looking for ways to increase our sustenance. However, we mostly forget that there is also one simple but effective way to increase our sustenance, i.e. by thanking Allah for His endless blessings.
Allah says, “Your Lord proclaimed: If you give thanks, I will give you an increase” (Al-Quran, 14:7)
The essence of this beautiful ayah is captured by Ali bin Abu Talib’s (RA) advice to a man. He said, “bounty is attached to the giving of thanks, and being thankful is linked with an increase; they are bound together. Therefore, the increase from Allah will not cease unless the gratitude of the servant stops.”
So, let us strive to say “Alhamdulillah” from our heart for each and every tiny blessing of Allah.
We know from the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), that he would say, ‘Al-hamdu Lillaahi ‘ala kulli haal (praise be to Allah in all circumstances)’ even if he came across something he disliked. (Saheeh Ibn Maajah, classed as hasan by al-Albaani)
#2. Being Singled out for Allah’s Favour
Out of His infinite mercy, Allah subuhanawuta’ala singles out His favour upon those who are thankful to him.
“And thus We have tried some of them through others that the disbelievers might say, “Is it these whom Allah has favoured among us?” Is not Allah most knowing of those who are grateful?” (Al-Quran, 6:53)
This high status belongs to those who are thankful to his Lord. I mean, what a greater blessing is out there than to be singled out as a receiver of His favour?
#3. Showing Gratitude Protects Your Existing Blessings
Al-Hasan al-Basri said, “Surely Allah grants favours as He wishes, but if it is not acknowledged by giving thanks, He returns it into torment.”
So, your best “insurance policy” is to give thanks to Allah. Every time you acknowledge and thank Allah for His blessings, you are also protecting your existing blessings He has bestowed upon you.
Umar bin Abd al-‘Aziz (rahimahumullah) put this succinctly:
“Tie the favour of Allah by giving thanks to Allah”.
#4. Gratitude Gets Rewarded Without Any Conditions
Allah subuhanawuta’ala made many of His rewards conditional to His will. For example, He says “…Allah will enrich you from His bounty if He wills.” (Al-Quran, 9:28)
When mentioning about the provision, He says, “Allah provides for whom He wills without account” (Al-Quran, 3:37) and in the same Surah, when He talks about forgiveness and punishment, He says, “He forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills.” (Al-Quran, 3:129)
Likewise in many other instances, He mentions His rewards are conditional to His will. However, when it comes to gratitude, He says He will reward the thankful ones, without any conditions, “And we will reward the grateful.” (Al-Quran, 3:145)
Subhanallah, what a blessing is that!
#5. Allah Is Pleased with a Person Who Shows Gratitude
Allah is pleased with a man who eats food and praises Him for it, and takes a drink and praises Him for it. (Sahih Muslim, No. 6932)
Look at the eternal mercy of Allah subuhanawuta’ala. He provides us with food and drink out of His mercy, and when we thank Him for that blessing, although He is no need of our gratitude, He is pleased with us. Subhanallah!
What greater reward can we wish for then receiving His pleasure? After all, it’s His pleasure that causes us to enter into the eternal Jannah.
So, let us strive to be of those who are grateful for all of Allah’s blessings. May Allah subuhanawuta’ala make us among those few who are thankful to Him. Allah warns us, “And few of My servants are grateful.” (Al-Quran, 34:13)
In part 2 of this article, we’ll explore what the latest science has to say about gratitude and the simple ways we can be more grateful to Allah subuhanawuta’ala and the people around us.