Being grateful is a basic component of Islam. One cannot be Muslim without this feeling of gratitude to his Creator. Gratitude for the countless blessings that Allah has given us.
وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّـهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“And if you would count the favours of Allah, never could you be able to count them. Truly, Allah is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful” [16:18]
The greatest of all of Allah’s gifts of course is the gift of Islam, whereby we can gain salvation and eternal peace.
We give thanks to Allah verbally at least 17 times a day, and most of us follow this up by giving thanks verbally 33 times after every prayer. We do it so much verbally, but have we internalized it? Do we find ourselves complaining about our daily troubles? Do we complain about our parents? Our jobs? Our positions in life?
These tests in life are a means to elevate ourselves in the next life.
The Prophet PBUH said: “The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allaah loves a people He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2396) and Ibn Maajah (4031); classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
Rather than complain when the tests come, we should instead be patient and continue doing what is right and good. These tests aren’t actually bad for us if we are patient with them, but instead they can be a source of huge reward.
The Prophet PBUH said: “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him”. (Muslim)
The primary difference between an atheist and believer is gratitude. Many atheists are actually agnostics. They believe or are open to the idea of there being a God, but show ingratitude for all the blessings Allah has given them. Instead they focus on the tests and see them as evil things which Allah could have prevented. They are essentially ungrateful for what Allah has given them, and are questioning the wisdom of Allah the Creator and Maintainer of everything. But as Believers we recognize that rather than complain when trials come, if we show gratitude Allah will actually grant us more blessings.
لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ
If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ (14:7)
The ones who deny God’s gratitude are the disbelievers and their punishment is hell. Here you see the importance of being grateful for what Allah has given us. By denying Allah’s blessings we are in essence denying some of His names and attributes such as Ar-Razzaaq (the provider) and Ar-Rahman (the merciful), who by his mercy forgives us our shortcomings and provides us with countless gifts.
In Hadith Qudsi. The Prophet PBUH said, that Allah SWT said:
O My servants. If the first and the last among you, mankind and Jinns among you, had the heart of the most pious and righteous man among you, that will not increase my kingdom in the least. O My servants! If the first and the last among you, mankind and the Jinns among you, had the heart of the most wicked man among you, that will not decrease My kingdom in the least. O My servants! If the first and the last among you, the mankind and Jinns among you, stood in one flat area and each asked me (what they wish), and I gave each one of them what they asked, that will not decrease My kingdom except by that which the needle carries (of water) when inserted in the ocean.”) Verily, all praise and glory are due to Allah, the Rich ﴿free of need﴾, the Worthy of all praise.
True peace comes from understanding that Allah is in control of everything, and we as His slaves submit ourselves to His will. This grants us peace which is the ultimate goal of every human being. In another Hadith the Prophet PBUH said:
“Look at those who are beneath you and do not look at those who are above you, for it is more suitable that you should not consider as less the blessing of Allah.” (ibn majah vol.5 book 37 hadith 4142 sahih by darusalaam)
This essentially means be grateful for what Allah has given you. Recognize the blessings that Allah has given you. If we do this we will achieve peace and success. If we constantly look at those with more, then we take for granted what we ourselves have. So better to look at those with less, and be reminded of how much Allah has given us.
I pray that Allah grants us true and everlasting peace and contentment.