You know when you’re grateful? When you get something you didn’t deserve. Please remember that.
In order for you and I to be grateful, we have to internalize something always (every day, every moment) that whatever it is we have: the clothes that we are wearing, the devices that we have, the cars we’re driving, the homes that we have, the schools that we go to, none of them are actually things we deserve. These are given to us despite the fact that we don’t deserve it.
As a matter of fact there is a young man or woman your age, if not as intelligent but more intelligent than you that’s sitting under a tree or bridge somewhere homeless. S/he has not had something to eat not because they are fasting or watching their diet but because they have no real food to eat.
There is no logical explanation why you deserve to live in a comfortable home and get to change the air conditioning in your house including all sorts of luxuries you don’t appreciate and they don’t. There is none, except you and I certainly don’t deserve the things we have.
The problem though is when you constantly keep getting something, you know what you start thinking at the back of your mind? You deserve it. You deserve it. Then it gets to a point where you start to think you deserve more than whatever it is you are given.
Now if you didn’t pay or work for something that was given to you/ you did absolutely nothing to get or earn it knowing you are undeserving of it, you then fail to be grateful is it not okay for the person who gave you the thing to collect/take it back? Logically speaking now isn’t it?
Let me paint an example. I have a brother who is a die hard Chelsea fan (this is true by the way), I school in London so I’m away from home. Whilst I’m there he doesn’t ask me to get or bring back anything for him, he has a wardrobe full of clothes (therefore he is not in need) but cause I love him and want to make him happy I put some money out and let’s say I get him a Chelsea jersey. I return home and hand over this jersey to him and what does he say? Oh you got the home jersey it would have been better if you got the away one its a lot more nicer…thanks though.
He thanks me probably cause something in his head tells him he has to. But then what does he do with it? He abandons it in his wardrobe because I bought it for the wardrobe to have an extra touch of blue and not once did he even wear it, it simply became an extra item.
Seeing that he wasn’t making use of it that could only mean he didn’t need or want it, I could as well collect it back and give it to someone else I know that is in actual need or would appreciate it a lot better.
Do I not have that right being the person that got it for him? Some of you may see it as wrong and I understand why taking the view that since I bought it for him it’s his which is true, I can’t take it back and he can do whatever he wishes with it but that’s being ungrateful. Fine forget me; I’m just a human being. Or maybe I should have used someone else , someone that exercises a lot more power over him such as a parent, but they are still human beings.
With our creator its definitely different. In a case where someone looses something, who dares to say Allah can’t take back what He has given them?
One remember you are undeserving of everything you own and have. Two you have no idea why that thing was taken from you, it could have been a form of mercy. You do not know if taking away that thing is better for you or maybe you were just simply ungrateful and just because one leaf falls of the tree, you will fail to acknowledge the million others that are left?
Allah In suratul Luqman (31:14) said “And we have enjoined upon man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother carried him (increasing her) in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the final destination.”
Allah (swt) mentioned being grateful to Him first before our parents why? Because it is He who protected, fed and gave us all that we need to survive. Our mothers carried us in their bellies and gave birth to us, but they weren’t the ones directly feeding or making sure the food they ate got to us. Allah did all these things for us through our parents, it’s befitting that He mentioned Himself first.
How can we show gratefulness? Classical Muslim scholars have indicated Shukr (gratefulness) can be shown in 3 ways:
- Shukr of the heart (qalb), which is achieved by harbouring and intending good for all of Allah’s creation.
- Shukr of the tongue (lisan), which involves celebrating the praises of Allah, such as utterance of alhamdulilah and expressing gratefulness to Allah with our tongue.
- Shukr of the limbs (jawarih), everytime Allah gives us a blessing, we must use it in a way that benefits humanity and pleases Allah.
Allah reminds us in suratul Luqman (31:12) “and whoever is grateful, he is only grateful for the benefit of his own self and whoever is ungrateful, then verily, Allah is rich (free of all wants) and worthy of all praise”.