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Acts of Worship New Muslims

The Prophet’s Tahajjud Prayer

How did Prophet Muhammad perform the Tahajjud (late night) prayer? How did he praise Allah? What du`aa’ did he say?

It is the middle of the night, or maybe a little before that time or a little thereafter. The Prophet wakes up. He sits in bed and wipes the sleep from his eyes. He picks up his tooth stick and brushes his teeth. He then turns his gaze to the heavens and avails himself of the peace and quiet at night to meditate on Allah’s greatness and how it manifests itself in the majesty of His creation. He recites a ten-verse passage from Surat Aal `Imran which begins with words:

Verily in the creation of the heavens and Earth, and in the alternation of night and day are signs for those who understand. (Aal `Imran 3:190)

He stands up and takes a water skin down from where it hangs on the wall. He opens it and pours out some water into a large cup. He uses this to perform ablution for prayer. He does not use much water for his ablution, though he completes them thoroughly.

Before he commences with the late night prayer (Tahajjud), he sometimes engages in the glorification of his Lord with the recitation of a number of remembrances. This prepares his mind for prayer. `A’ishah gives us an account of the things he says:

“When Allah’s Messenger got up at night to pray the Tahajjud, he used to extol Allah’s greatness ten times then praise him ten times. Then, he would say the words “Glory and praise be to Allah” ten times. Then, he would say “Glory be to the Holy King” ten times. Then, he would ask Allah for forgiveness ten times. Then, he would say “There is no God but Allah” ten times. He would conclude by saying:

“O Allah! I seek refuge with You from the tribulations of this worldly life and the tribulations of the Day of Resurrection.”

Then, he would commence his prayer.

He begins by offering two brief units of prayer. The prayer will become much longer. Though he prays quickly when he leads others in prayer, he is just the opposite when he prays alone. He prolongs every action in the Tahajjud prayer, form the opening recitations, to the recitation of the Qur’an, to the supplications. Tahajjud is the longest prayer he makes. He is following Allah’s specific command to him in the Qur’an:

Stand in prayer the night long, except for a little. (Al- Muzzammil 73:2)

If we consider the Prophet’s state of mind, we realize that he is totally immersed in prayer while offering Tahajjud. His every thought and feeling are engaged and his communion with his Lord is total. It is as if his spirit has ascended to heaven and is being bathed in divine light while looking upon the throne of his Lord. It is as if he is having a private audience with Allah, so he extols His praises in the most emphatic way and beseeches Him with the most perfect supplications. This is not surprising, since the Prophet really had such an experience on the night of his ascension above the seven heavens, where he was brought to a level where could hear the scraping of the pens as they wrote out the decrees.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) has greater knowledge of Allah and stronger faith than anyone else in creation. His faith is certain. He admits this to his Companions: “The most God-fearing and knowledgeable about Allah among you is none other than myself.” (Al-Bukhari)

He commences the Tahajjud prayer with a heart full of reverence, love and longing for his Lord. His words are full of invocations of awe and praise. Among the words he uses to commence his prayers are the following:

“O Allah! Lord of Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, Creator of the heavens and earth, Knower of the seen and unseen, You will judge between Your servants in what they used to differ. Guide me by Your Grace to the truth in what they differ about. Indeed, You guide whomever You please to a path that is straight.”

“O Allah! Our Lord, Yours is the praise. You are the light of the heavens and earth and all that they contain. Yours is the praise. You sustain the heavens and earth and all that they contain. You are the King of the heavens and earth and all they contain. Yours is the praise. You are the Truth. Your Promise is true. The meeting with You is true. Your Word is true. Paradise is true. Hell is true. The Prophets are true. Muhammad is true. The Final Hour is true. O Allah, to You I have submitted and in You I have believed, and upon You I rely. I repent my sins to You. For Your Sake I dispute and by Your Standards I judge, so forgive me for what I have done before and what I have left behind, for what I have committed secretly and what I have committed openly and what only You know that I have done. You are the One Who sends forth and You are the One Who delays. There is no God but You. There is no might or power except with You.”

“I turn my face to the Creator of the heavens and earth upon the pure faith, and I am not from among the polytheists. Indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my life, and my death are for Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, Who is without partner. This is as I was commanded, and I am of those who submit. O Allah! You are the King. There is no God but You. You are my Lord and I am Your servant. I have been unjust to myself and I confess my sins, so forgive me all of my sins, for indeed no one forgives sins but You. Guide me to the best conduct. No one guides to what is best except You. Keep me away from bad conduct, for no one can do this for me except You. Here I am. I heed Your Call, happy to serve You. All good is in Your Hands and no evil belongs to You. I exist by Your Will and shall return to You. You are Blessed and Sublime. I seek Your Forgiveness and repent unto You.”

 The Qur’an & the Tahajjud

Then, the Prophet begins to recite the Qur’an. He recites in a slow and melodious voice and is attentive to every word. When he recites a verse that speaks about Allah’s Mercy, he beseeches Allah. When he recites a verse that warns of Allah’s Wrath, he seeks refuge from it. When a verse of the Qur’an speaks of Allah’s Glory, he glorifies Allah.

He stands for a long time in recitation. Ibn Mas`ud tells us: “I prayed with Allah’s Messenger one night, and he stood for so long that I almost resolved to do a very bad thing.” When asked what that bad thing was, he says: “I considered sitting down and not continuing with the Prophet in prayer.”

Sometimes the Prophet prolongs his recitation and offers a few very long units of prayer. On other nights, he stands in recitation for a shorter time and offers more units of prayer.

When he bows, he remains bowing for a long time, almost as long as the time he spends standing in recitation. He says:

“O Allah! I bow to You. In You I believe, to You I submit, and upon You I rely. You are my Lord. My hearing, my sight, my flesh, my blood, my mind, my bones, my sinew, and what my feet bear up, all of them submit in humility to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. Glory be to the Possessor of Might, Pride, and Greatness, the Glorified and Holy, the Lord of the angels and of the Holy Spirit.”

Near the end of his life, he will often say while bowing and prostrating:

“Glory and praise be to Allah, our Lord. O Allah, forgive me.”

`A’ishah asked him about this, and he said: “My Lord has told me that I will see a sign in my community, and if I see that sign I should start saying: “Glory and praise be to Allah. I seek Allah’s forgiveness and repent to Him.” I have seen this sign (which is found in the following verses of the Qur’an):

When the help of Allah and the victory come, and you see the people entering into Islam in droves, then glorify the praises of your Lord and seek His forgiveness. Verily, He is ever ready to accept repentance. (An-Nasr 110:1-3)

The Prophet understands from this verse that the end of his life is near.

The Prophet prolongs his prostration in Tahajjud. He spends almost as much time prostrating as he in his bowing. It is here that he asks of Allah’s Grace and beseeches Him in many ways. The Prophet tells us:

“The nearest we are to our Lord is when we are in prostration, so beseech Him often at that time.”  (Muslim)

He also says while in prostration:

“O Allah, to You I prostrate myself and in You I believe. To You I have submitted. My face is prostrated to the One who created it, fashioned it, and gave it the faculties of hearing and sight. Blessed is Allah, the Best of Creators. O Allah! Forgive me all my sins, great and small, the first and the last of them, those that are apparent and those that are hidden. O Allah! I seek refuge in Your Pleasure from Your Anger, and in Your Forgiveness from Your Punishment. I seek refuge with You from You. I cannot count Your Praises. You are as You have praised Yourself.”

This is how the Prophet relates to his Lord in the depths of the night, in communion filled with worship, exaltation, reverence and submission. His spirit is raised up to great heights from his devotion and longing for his Lord. It is as if the world with all its vast mountains and starry skies recedes and regards him from a distance, bearing witness to his compliance with Allah’s command:

“Remember the name of your Lord and devote yourself to Him with full devotion. (Al- Muzzammil 73:8)

The Prophet remains in worship throughout the night, reciting the Qur’an with reverence, beseeching his Lord in humility and praising Allah’s holy name, until only one-sixth of the night remains. At this time, he pauses from his Tahajjud prayers and wakes up his wife so they can offer the Witr Prayer together. He performs the Witr Prayer as three consecutive units. In the first, he recites Surat Al-A`la (87th chapter of the Qur’an). In the second, he recites Al-Kafirun (the 109th). In the last, he recites Al-Ikhlas (the 112th). Sometimes, in the final unit of prayer, he also recites Surat Al-Falaq and Al-Nas (the 113th and 114th chapters of the Qur’an).

At the end of the Witr Prayer, he says:

“O Allah! I seek refuge in Your Pleasure from Your Anger, and in Your Forgiveness from Your Punishment. I seek refuge with You from You. I cannot count Your Praises. You are as You have praised Yourself.”

After completing the Witr Prayer, he says three times: “Glory be to the Holy King.” He holds the words longer on the final repetition.

The Prophet prays Tahajjud in his small one-room house that is free from luxuries and worldly effects. Sometimes he has a mat to pray on that is just big enough to accommodate him in prostration. At other times, he only has the bedding that he shares with his wife. He prays while she lies sleeping in front of him. There are no lamps in his house, so when he wants to prostrate in prayer, he makes a gentle indication to her so she can move her feet out of his way. When he stand up again, she stretches her legs back out.

On rare occasions, he goes to the mosque to pray Tahajjud. He does so when there are extenuating circumstances, like when his wife is in extra need of rest and he wants to avoid disturbing her. On one occasion, `A’ishah realizes he is not in the house, and she reaches out of the door leading into the mosque and finds his foot. He is engaged in worship there and saying:

“O Allah! I seek refuge in Your Pleasure from Your Anger, and in Your Forgiveness from Your Punishment. I seek refuge with You from You. I cannot count Your Praises. You are as You have praised Yourself.”

On another occasion, she finds him missing and fears he may be at the home of one of his other wives. She goes out searching for him and returns to find that he is deeply involved in prayer. She says to herself: “By my father and mother, O Messenger of Allah, my mind is on one thing and yours is on something else entirely.”

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The text is written by Sheikh Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Turayri

Source: islamtoday.net

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The Qur’an and Social Stability

The Qur'an and Social Stability

First of all, the Qur’an gives us the main objective of our existence.

 

When we talk about understanding the Qur’an, we talk about the Angels asking Allah in Surat Al-Baqarah: “Will You place upon it (the world) one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood… ?” (Al-Baqarah 2:30)

This is one of the jobs of the Qur’an: to make society civil. The opposite of spilling blood and oppression and sin is to live a civil life. So, one of the objectives of the Qur’an is a social-political reality of stability in society.

That’s why many of the great scholars, such as Ibn Taymiyah, Imam Ash-Shatibi, Sheikh `Abdullah ibn Bayyah, said that the entire Islamic legislative system came for the benefit of the servants of Allah; to make life good for us. That’s why Allah said in the Qur’an: “Those people who believe and do righteousness, We are going to give them a good life”. (An-Nahl 16:97)

Now specifically, we want to talk about how we should understand the Qur’an in the concept of our lives. What does the Qur’an do for us?

First of all, the Qur’an gives us the main objective of our existence. And those of you who studied philosophy and other similar disciplines, this is what people talk about all the time. Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah), I went to the library the other day and you can find countless books on the purpose of human beings. Why are we here? What’s our purpose? What’s our cause?

Allah is Al-`Alim (the All Knowing), Al-Hakeem (the Most Wise) and whenever Allah mentions these attributes, He emphasizes that He is the One Who is Knowledgeable and He has wisdom in His knowledge. In one verse of the Qur’an Allah identified the purpose of humanity; the reason that we’re here, the objective of life. Allah said:

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

Our purpose is `ibadah (worship); to worship Allah. In one verse! There’s no need for a long discourse on this. We have been created to worship.

Maybe in your classes, especially the classes that you’re taking in philosophy, you have some atheists and maybe someone would say to you: ‘Well, I don’t believe in this. I don’t believe that we’re here to be servants’.

Tell them: ‘Okay, don’t use the restroom. Don’t sleep. Don’t eat. Don’t get tired. Don’t pick your nose when nobody’s looking. Don’t blink your eyes’.

They’re going to tell you: ‘I can’t. I cannot do that’.

‘Yes, because you are the slave of something. You are enslaved’.

They’re going to say: ‘Oh, this is physics’.

’You can call it what you want to call it, man. We call it enslavement. Stephen Hawking calls it physics. But we call it `ibadah.’

Allah said everything is going to submit to Allah whether by choice or by force -force meaning in the physical realm of life, not in the intellectual realm:

And whoever is in the heavens and the earth makes obeisance to Allah only, willingly and unwillingly, and their shadows too at morn and eve. (Ar-Ra`d 13:15)

So the Qur’an identified the purpose of creation. And there are many logical arguments mentioned in the Qur’an as to why human beings have been created for this purpose.

We should know that in the Qur’an Allah made this `ibadah comprehensive when He said:

Say, ‘Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds’. (Al-An`am 6:162)

This is the purpose of our existence; to be the servants of Allah.

Why? Because if somebody is not the servant of Allah, what will they be? They will be the servant of something else.

I remember, subhan Allah, before I was Muslim I used to be a member of the Bloods and I came into a swap meet wearing all my red and stuff, with my boys. And we ran into these Muslim guys, you know with big turbans and beards, in Oklahoma of all places. So, I went to this brother and I said: ‘You, what’s up, man?’ (I don’t talk like that anymore, al-hamdulillah, thanks to Allah)

So, he responded to me and said: ‘Yeah, what’s up?’ And I was amazed, thinking, ‘This foreign cat can really speak English’. Little did I know that that guy was from Brooklyn, NY. He was an American. And subhan Allah he started giving me da`wah (call to Islam).

He said: ‘You see that money you have in your pocket from selling dime bags? You see that pager you have? You see that car you drive with the Dayton and the beats? You see these girls you’re trying to rap on? All of this is your ilah’.

I said to him: ’What’s an ilah?’

He said: ‘Your god’.

I said: ‘You’re right. You’re correct, this is my god’. At that time, if somebody scratched my car I’d put a cap in their…foot. If somebody tried to talk to my girl we were going to go outside. I said: ‘These are the emotions that should be attached to a deity’.

He said: ‘Exactly, and this is the message of Islam. To attach these emotions, as well as physical actions, to the one who deserves it. La ilaha illa Allah (there is no god but God)’.

So Islam identified this purpose in our lives for us. For thirteen years in Makkah, this was the message of the Qur’an: submission to and worship of the One Who deserves to be worshiped.

The other thing that we should know about the Qur’an is that it is comprehensive. And in university you’re going to be pounded with something called secularism, maybe directly or indirectly. But it will be implanted into your hard-drive. If you use anti-virus it will not work. You have to use the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

This is our anti-virus system. When something comes in to us, and it doesn’t fit our understanding of the world around us, we apply the anti-virus system of the Qur’an. But if we’re not reading the Qur’an, if we’re not studying the Qur’an, if we’re not thinking about the Qur’an, it’s the same as if you leave your computer open without ever using anti-virus on it. What’s going to happen to your computer after six months? So, subhan Allah, how many of us for many years have not used the anti-virus system of the Qur’an? How many? There are so many of us.

Do we have a day-to-day relationship with the Qur’an? Do we have a monthly relationship with the Qur’an? Do we have a yearly relationship with the Qur’an? If not, we are going to be infected cognitively and eventually it will affect al-jawarih (the limbs).

Look at the Qur’an. You’re going to find penal law in the Qur’an. For example, Allah mentioned in the Qur’an that if somebody kills someone you have the right to blood money, or that they should also be killed according to the government system: “O you who believe! The law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder”. (2:178)

We have in the Qur’an inheritance (4:11). We have in the Qur’an charity (zakah). We have in the Qur’an family issues: for example, for our brothers, how did Allah order us to live with women? He said to live with women in a nice, nice way (4:19).

Even bringing up children is mentioned in the Qur’an. One page of Surat Luqman is dedicated to raising children. Allah says: “Oh you who believe, protect yourselves and your families from the hellfire…” (66:6).

Even fun is mentioned in the Qur’an. Allah said: “In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice” (Yunus 10:58). Every aspect of life has been covered in the Qur’an, maybe not in specifics. Because the Qur’an does not deal with specifics, it deals with general principles.

Like, for example, the verse where Allah said to live with your wife nicely. Allah didn’t say: ’Buy her a Gucci handbag’. Allah didn’t say: ‘Bring her roses’. Allah didn’t say: ‘Bring her these clothes’. Why didn’t Allah specify?

Because not every woman is the same. Maybe some women don’t like roses (I haven’t met one yet!) Maybe some women don’t like Gucci (possibly). So Allah left it open with a general principle, ’Live with your families nicely’. Because niceness is wide, and everybody has their own things that they like. The Qur’an gave general principles, very rarely does it deal with specifics; it left the specifics to the Sunnah of the Prophet.

We see the Qur’an is comprehensive, it addresses the individual, it addresses the family, it addresses the social system (the society), it addresses the state, and it even addresses the nation. If you want to know how to build a nation, go to the story of Moses and you’ll find five periods in which a nation is built: that he took them from Egypt when they were nothing, then they went to the next phase. It’s interesting; Allah sent the older people to the desert for forty years to get them out of the way and then brought the youth in to bring out the nation. Then after a battle and struggle you had the birth of Bani Israel (Children of Israel).

Being a just leader is also mentioned in the Quran. Why do you think in the 18th chapter we see the story of Dhul Qarnayn (18:83-98)? Why, in many Muslim countries, do the presidents of those countries not want the quraa’ (those who recite Qur’an) to read these verses about Dhul Qarnayn?  Because it’s going to remind them about being just rulers.

Everything is addressed in the Qur’an. Allah says:

We have not neglected in the Book a thing. (Al-An`am 6:38)

Nothing has been left out of the Book of Allah. That’s why they used to say that the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet), even if they lost the string on their camel, they would go to the Qur’an for the answer. Us, we have to wait until our professor comes and says: ‘Well, you know Abdul it looks like you’re going to get a D’. This is our relationship with the Qur’an.

Whereas the Companions of the Prophet, for the most minute, insignificant problems they would refer to the Qur’an. As Allah mentioned in Surat An-Nisaa’: “…return back to Allah and His Messenger…” (An-Nisaa’4:83)

So how can you return back to Allah, now? It’s by going to the Qur’an.

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Source: suhaibwebb.com

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Thanksgiving: The Essence of Belief

How does thanksgiving contribute to one’s belief? Is it just a faith requirement or just moral development? How can we reach the state of thankfulness?

The hadith of Jibreel (Angel Gabriel) is considered by most Muslim scholars to be one of the fundamental texts of our religion. It presents, in a comprehensive way, the foundations of Islam.

the essence of Islam

The spiritual path is not a philosophical picnic. It requires action; the action of the heart, the tongue and the limbs.

This is made clear by the fact that the Prophet (blessings and peace upon him) mentions to `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) at the conclusion of the hadith: “’O `Umar! Do you know who the questioner was?’ Umar replied: ‘Allah and His Messenger know best’. The Prophet replied: ‘Verily, it was the Angel Gabriel. He came to teach you your religion’”. (Muslim)

This narration focuses on four things that are essential to our religion: Islam (Muslim practice), Iman (Muslim dogma), ihsan (states of inner excellence) and the Sa`ah (Doomsday).

To rephrase the focal points of this hadith, we can say that Islam is a religion that demands of its adherents that they do something, that they believe something, that they embody something and that they prepare for something. What we do involves the devotional acts that are enjoined by the religion. This is the essence of Islam, in this particular context.

What we believe involves the dogma that we affirm as agreed upon by the scholars who have mastered the prophetic message and distilled from it the essential beliefs whose affirmation is necessary if a person is to be considered a Muslim. This is the essence of iman, again, in the context of the hadith.

The states of being that a believer embodies are illustrated, in the immediate context of the hadith of Gabriel, by the saying of the Prophet: “…that you worship Allah as if you see Him. If you fail to see Him, be mindful that He observes you”. This is the essence of ihsan.

Finally, by living a life, which encompasses in a real way all of the aforementioned elements, we are preparing for the end of things in the world, or Doomsday.

To expound further on the idea of a Muslim embodying something, we can add that this is an aspect of our religion that many Muslims fail to adequately consider. Specifically, the idea that we are to embody the prophetic virtues is lost by many. Those virtues, which the Prophet embodied, are an articulation of the ontological stations he attained to.

In other words, his very being, for example, embodied the station of patience. This ontological reality then manifested itself in his character as he displayed unmatched patience in his dealings with others. This is what ihsan is about.

Imam al-Qushayri, in his Risala, mentions some of the states a believer should strive to embody: repentance or penitence (tawbah); sincere exertion in worship (mujahada); spiritual insularity (khalwah or `uzlah); God-consciousness (taqwa); religious scrupulousness (wara`); worldly detachment (zuhd); silence (samt); fear of God (khawf); hope for God’s Mercy (raja’); sobriety of heart (huzn); suppression of the appetite for food and drink (Ju`); humility (tawadu`); opposing the whims of one’s ego (mukhalafa an-nafs); avoiding envy (hasad); avoiding backbiting (ghaybah); contentment (qana`ah); trusting in Allah (tawakkul); thankfulness (shukr); being certain of divine truths (yaqeen); patience (sabr); being mindful of Allah’s observation of one (muraqabah); being pleased with Allah’s decree (rida); willing servitude to Allah (`ubudiyyah); strong conviction for truth and religion (iradah); consistency (istiqamah); sincerity in all of the relevant realms (ikhlas); honesty (sidq); shyness (haya’); freedom from the weight of worldly engagements (hurriyyah); constant remembrance of Allah (dhikr); concern for others (al-Futuwwa); viewing things in the light of truth (firasa); good character (khuluq); generosity (jud) and many others. (Abi Al-Qasim Al-Qushayri, Al-Risala)

Thanksgiving: How?

One of the loftiest of stations mentioned by Imam Al-Qushayri, and others, is that of thankfulness (shukr). To fully strive for the actualization of this station in our lives we must know its meaning. The linguistic meaning of shukr is from sha-ka-ra, which means an animal attaining to pasture and then fattening on it.

Thus, the Arabs say, sha-ka-tat al-ibilu, meaning the camels attained to pasture and became fat. The expression hisan shakur means a horse that is fattened up by very little fodder. In general, an animal that is shakur eats little but grows much.

This definition gives us insight into the nature of a thankful person. It does not take much to please them. We find that a person that is truly thankful is appreciative of very little. When we give them the smallest gift they are deeply grateful and seek to express their gratitude in the warmest terms and kindest actions. As for the ingrate, no matter how much they receive they desire more and fail to express any gratitude for what they have received.

Thus, the effect of a blessing, be it pasture or fodder, is seen on the animal who receives that blessing, in its increased size. Likewise, the effect of a blessing given by Allah to His servant manifests itself on the tongue, heart and limbs of a thankful person. Hence, in the technical usage of the religious scholars, as expressed by Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyya, thankfulness means ‘to manifest one’s appreciation for the blessings bestowed by Allah on the tongue, through praise and acknowledgment; in the heart by witnessing the giver of the blessing and loving Him; and on the limbs by willingly accepting His guidance and obeying Him’.

This definition helps us to understand that the spiritual path is not a philosophical picnic. It requires action; the action of the heart, the tongue and the limbs. Knowledge though, does play its part, in fact, as emphasized by Imam Al-Ghazali in the Ihya’, it is the foundation of the subsequent acts of thankfulness. He says:

‘You should know that thankfulness is among the stations of those journeying to Allah. It is also (like other stations) organized around the categories of knowledge (`ilm), state (hal) and action (`Amal). Knowledge is the foundation and it bequeaths the state, while the state (in turn) bequeaths action. As for knowledge it is the knowledge that the blessing is from the giver of blessings (Allah: Al-Mun`im).The ensuing state is the happiness resulting from His bestowing the blessing. The action is undertaking what is intended and loved by the giver of the blessing’. (Al Ghazali, Ihya’ `Ulum Ad-Deen)

Imam Al-Ghazali outlines a process whereby thankfulness can become actualized in our lives. The foundation of this process is the knowledge that every blessing we have ultimately comes from Allah. In our increasingly ’material’ world people are losing touch with this great reality. Many view their hard work, intellect or creativity as the source of the good they enjoy. They cannot conceive of the role played by the divine in their good fortune.

Hence, we witness the growing disinclination on the part of the wealthy to share their wealth with the less fortunate members of our society. In the face of appeals for greater charity we increasingly hear retorts such as, ’Poor people should work hard as I did…’ ‘Those people should pick themselves up by their bootstraps like we did…’ People uttering such statements may recognize the blessings they enjoy, but they fail to see the giver of those blessings, and because they do not see or acknowledge the giver of the blessing, they neither see nor acknowledge the rights He has established in their wealth.

The various sayings of the scholars we have considered let us know that to really be people of thankfulness we must be people who praise and worship our Lord. When the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah upon him, was asked why he was standing in prayer at night until his feet were swollen, he replied, as the tears flowed down his cheeks, ”Should I not then be a thankful servant?” (Al-Bukhari) His thankfulness was expressed in his worship. This should be our case.

A final way we can express our thankfulness in indicated by the name of Allah, Ash-Shakur. One of the meanings of this name is one who rewards a small amount of human effort with a great amount of grace. A vile criminal can enter into Islam one moment and then die the next. Having done only one righteous deed, uttering the Testimony of Faith, he is rewarded with eternal bliss in Paradise. How small was his action compared to the magnitude of Allah’s grace?

This should remind us that in all of our relations and dealings in the world we should try to give far more than we take. This is especially important when the dominant ethos is becoming ‘take as much as you can and give as little as possible’.

Let us take time to reflect on what it truly means to be thankful, and let us work to the extent of our capabilities to extend the blessings we enjoy to others, not just on one day, but every day.

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Source: newislamicdirections.com.

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