Thanksgiving: The Essence of Belief


How does thanksgiving contribute to at least one’s perception? Is it only a religion requirement or simply ethical growth? How can we attain the state of thankfulness?

The hadith of Jibreel (Angel Gabriel) is taken into account by most Muslim students to be one of many elementary texts of our faith. It presents, in a complete method, the foundations of Islam.

The religious path isn’t a philosophical picnic. It requires motion; the motion of the guts, the tongue and the limbs.

This is made clear by the truth that the Prophet (blessings and peace upon him) mentions to `Umar (might Allah be happy with him) on 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 4 issues which might be important to our faith: Islam (Muslim follow), Iman (Muslim dogma), ihsan (states of inside excellence) and the Sa`ah (Doomsday).

To rephrase the focal factors of this hadith, we will say that Islam is a faith that calls for of its adherents that they do one thing, that they consider one thing, that they embody one thing and that they put together for one thing. What we do includes the devotional acts which might be enjoined by the faith. This is the essence of Islam, on this specific context.

What we consider includes the dogma that we affirm as agreed upon by the students who’ve mastered the prophetic message and distilled from it the important beliefs whose affirmation is important if an individual is to be thought-about a Muslim. This is the essence of iman, once more, within the context of the hadith.

The states of being {that a} believer embodies are illustrated, within the rapid 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 dwelling a life, which encompasses in an actual method all the aforementioned components, we’re getting ready for the tip of issues on this planet, or Doomsday.

To expound additional on the concept of a Muslim embodying one thing, we will add that that is a facet of our faith that many Muslims fail to adequately think about. Specifically, the concept we’re to embody the prophetic virtues is misplaced by many. Those virtues, which the Prophet embodied, are an articulation of the ontological stations he attained to.

In different phrases, his very being, for instance, embodied the station of persistence. This ontological actuality then manifested itself in his character as he displayed unmatched persistence in his dealings with others. This is what ihsan is about.

Imam al-Qushayri, in his Risala, mentions a number of the states a believer ought to attempt to embody: repentance or penitence (tawbah); honest exertion in worship (mujahada); religious insularity (khalwah or `uzlah); God-consciousness (taqwa); spiritual scrupulousness (wara`); worldly detachment (zuhd); silence (samt); concern of God (khawf); hope for God’s Mercy (raja’); sobriety of coronary heart (huzn); suppression of the urge for food for foods and drinks (Ju`); humility (tawadu`); opposing the whims of 1’s ego (mukhalafa an-nafs); avoiding envy (hasad); avoiding backbiting (ghaybah); contentment (qana`ah); trusting in Allah (tawakkul); thankfulness (shukr); being sure of divine truths (yaqeen); persistence (sabr); being aware of Allah’s remark of 1 (muraqabah); being happy with Allah’s decree (rida); keen servitude to Allah (`ubudiyyah); robust conviction for reality and faith (iradah); consistency (istiqamah); sincerity in all the related realms (ikhlas); honesty (sidq); shyness (haya’); freedom from the load of worldly engagements (hurriyyah); fixed remembrance of Allah (dhikr); concern for others (al-Futuwwa); viewing issues within the mild of reality (firasa); good character (khuluq); generosity (jud) and lots of others. (Abi Al-Qasim Al-Qushayri, Al-Risala)

Thanksgiving: How?

One of the loftiest of stations talked about by Imam Al-Qushayri, and others, is that of thankfulness (shukr). To totally attempt for the actualization of this station in our lives we should know its which means. The linguistic which means of shukr is from sha-ka-ra, which suggests an animal attaining to pasture after which fattening on it.

Thus, the Arabs say, sha-ka-tat al-ibilu, which means the camels attained to pasture and have become fats. The expression hisan shakur means a horse that’s fattened up by little or no fodder. In common, an animal that’s shakur eats little however grows a lot.

This definition provides us perception into the character of a grateful individual. It doesn’t take a lot to please them. We discover that an individual that’s really grateful is appreciative of little or no. When we give them the smallest present they’re deeply grateful and search to precise their gratitude within the warmest phrases and kindest actions. As for the ingrate, irrespective of how a lot they obtain they want extra and fail to precise any gratitude for what they’ve obtained.

Thus, the impact of a blessing, be it pasture or fodder, is seen on the animal who receives that blessing, in its elevated measurement. Likewise, the impact of a blessing given by Allah to His servant manifests itself on the tongue, coronary heart and limbs of a grateful individual. Hence, within the technical utilization of the spiritual students, as expressed by Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyya, thankfulness means ‘to manifest one’s appreciation for the blessings bestowed by Allah on the tongue, by means of reward and acknowledgment; within the coronary heart by witnessing the giver of the blessing and loving Him; and on the limbs by willingly accepting His steering and obeying Him’.

This definition helps us to know that the religious path isn’t a philosophical picnic. It requires motion; the motion of the guts, the tongue and the limbs. Knowledge although, does play its half, in reality, as emphasised by Imam Al-Ghazali within the Ihya’, it’s the basis of the next 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 course of whereby thankfulness can develop into actualized in our lives. The basis of this course of is the data that each blessing we’ve finally comes from Allah. In our more and more ’materials’ world individuals are shedding contact with this nice actuality. Many view their exhausting work, mind or creativity because the supply of the great they take pleasure in. They can’t conceive of the position performed by the divine of their luck.

Hence, we witness the rising disinclination on the a part of the rich to share their wealth with the much less lucky members of our society. In the face of appeals for higher charity we more and more hear retorts corresponding to, ’Poor individuals ought to work exhausting as I did…’ ‘Those people should pick themselves up by their bootstraps like we did…’ People uttering such statements might acknowledge the blessings they take pleasure in, however they overlook the giver of these blessings, and since they don’t see or acknowledge the giver of the blessing, they neither see nor acknowledge the rights He has established of their wealth.

The varied sayings of the students we’ve thought-about tell us that to actually be individuals of thankfulness we have to be individuals who reward and worship our Lord. When the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah upon him, was requested why he was standing in prayer at evening till his ft have been swollen, he replied, because the tears flowed down his cheeks, ”Should I not then be a grateful servant?” (Al-Bukhari) His thankfulness was expressed in his worship. This ought to be our case.

A remaining method we will categorical our thankfulness in indicated by the identify of Allah, Ash-Shakur. One of the meanings of this identify is one who rewards a small quantity of human effort with a large amount of grace. A vile felony can enter into Islam one second after which die the subsequent. Having finished just one righteous deed, uttering the Testimony of Faith, he’s rewarded with everlasting bliss in Paradise. How small was his motion in comparison with the magnitude of Allah’s grace?

This ought to remind us that in all of our relationships and dealings on this planet we must always attempt to give excess of we take. This is very necessary when the dominant ethos is turning into ‘take as much as you can and give as little as possible’.

Let us take time to replicate on what it really means to be grateful, and allow us to work to the extent of our capabilities to increase the blessings we take pleasure in to others, not simply on someday, however day-after-day.



Imam Zaid Shakir is likely one of the most revered and influential Islamic students within the West. Born in Berkeley, California, he accepted Islam in 1977 whereas serving within the United States Air Force. He is co-founder of America’s first Islamic school; Zaytuna Institute in Hayward, California, the place he serves now as a scholar-in-residence and lecturer, instructing programs on Arabic, Islamic legislation, historical past, and Islamic spirituality.


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