Friday, November 27, 2009

Sharing on Thanksgiving | Guest Blog

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His Name. " - Psalm

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice." - Meister Eckhart

"A true Muslim is thankful to Allah in prosperity, and resigned to His will in adversity." - Sacred Tradition of Islam, Muslim

"If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily." - Gerald Good

Guest Post by AV

It is Thanksgiving Day morning in America. God bless America from sea to shinning sea with Liberty and Justice for All. Amin. (Do Liberty and Justice apply to Americans of Islamic Faith too? Yes, it does!). As I finished my Fajr and Ishraq prayers this morning and began to reflect on the whole idea of thanks giving because I had earlier read an article titled “Why giving thanks is good for your health”. As I was preparing for my daily meditation session on thanksgiving and gratitude, I opened the Quran to Surah Rahman (55). In the commentary to the last verse of the Surah Rahman (55:78), Yusuf Ali, may God be pleased with him, wrote, “…the Duty of man to make himself worthy of nearness to Allah”.

This question came to my mind: How can one make himself/herself worthy of nearness to Allah? The immediate response was: By Gratitude. Being thankful and grateful. Much thanksgiving and gratitude.

In Surah Rahman, the verse “Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?” is repeated 31 times.

“Allah tells us, “Then remember Me, I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject Me”. (al-Baqarah 2: 152).

“And He has told us that only those who are grateful to Him truly worship Him: “…and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him you worship”. (al-Baqarah 2:172).

“Allah has mentioned gratitude alongside iman. Allah has divided people into two categories, the people of gratitude (shukr) and the people of ingratitude (kufr). The thing most disliked by Him is kufr and the people of kufr; the thing most likeed by Him is gratitude and the people of gratitude: “We showed him (i.e. man) the way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will).” (al Insan 76:3).

“The reward of gratitude is unlimited: “…If you are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you…” (Ibrahim 14:7).

“But Allah has made the reward for gratitude free from any conditions, as in: “…And swiftly shall We reward those that (serve Us with) gratitude” (Al Imran 3:145).

“Allah has described the people of gratitude as being very few: “…But few of My slaves are grateful!” (Saba 43:13).

“Allah explained in the Quran that the only people who truly worship Him are those who give thanks (gratitude) to Him, so those who are not among the people of gratitude are not among the people of ibadah: “…and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him you worship”. (al-Baqarah 2:172).

Allah has told us that His pleasure may be attained through gratitude: “If you are grateful, He is pleased with you…” (az-Zumar 39:7).

“Allah praised Ibrahim (AS) for being grateful for His favours: “Ibrahim was indeed a model. Devoutly obedient to Allah, (and) true in faith, and he joined not gods with Allah. He showed his gratitude for the favours of Allah, Who chose him, and guided him to a straight way.” (an-Nahl 16:120:121).

“Allah mentioned that gratitude is the purpose of creation: “It is He Who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when you knew nothing; and He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affection: that you may give thanks (to Allah).” (an-Nahl 16:78).

“Allah had helped you at Badr, when you were contemptible little force, then fear Allah; thus may you show your gratitude.” (Al Imran 3:123).

“As well as being the purpose of creation gratitude was also the purpose of sending the Prophet (SAAS): “Then remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject Me.” (al Baqarah 2:152).

“Patience is an important milestone on the Path, but a person who has reached the station of gratitude (shukr) is already blessed by divine grace. There is no doubt that gratitude is superior to patience;…”

“Happy are they indeed whose Friend is God, Who, giving thanks, say ever, “He is God!”; Happy are they who always are at prayer, Eternal Heaven is their just reward”.

Izaak Walton (1593-1683) said, “God has two dwellings-one in heaven and the other in a thankful heart”.

# References:
. The Meaning of The Holy Quran, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, New Edition with Revised Translation and Commentary, Published by Amana Corporation.

. Patience and Gratitude: An Abridged translation of Uddat as-sabirin wa dhakhirat ash-shakirin by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292-1350 CE). Translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab.

. Mystical Dimensions of Islam by Annemarie Schimmel

. A Fool of God: The Mystical Verse of Baba Tahir, Persian text with translation by E. Heron-Allen Pin It Now!