The servant’s life is a fluctuation between afflictions which he patiently endures and blessings for which he is grateful to His Lord. This is the reason why many of our predecessors used to say, “Faith is divided into two: gratitude and endurance. ” The Prophet ﷺ said,
| “The condition of a believer is a wonder, it is all good. Only the believer enjoys this situation. When he enjoys good fortune, he thanks Allah and this benefits him. When he undergoes afflictions, he patiently endures it and this is also good for him.”|
‘Umar bin Al-Khattab once said, “If gratitude and endurance were two camels, I would not mind which of the two I mounted. “Both gratitude and endurance are provisions for the Muslim on his journey towards his Lord. This was why the following verse has been repeated many times in the Qur’an,
|“Surely, therein are signs for ever patient [and] thankful person. “|
Furthermore, the Qur’an has divided people into two groups. The first denied Allah’s benevolence and the second recognised it and thanked Him for it. Allah (SWT) says (which means):
|“Verily, We showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful. “|
Gratitude is the reason for which Allah (SWT) has created man. The Qur’an says (which means):
|“It is Allah who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers while you knew nothing; and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that you may give thanks [to Him]. “|
If the Muslim Jama’ah seeks to achieve the pleasure of its Lord, its members must be among the grateful. It is its duty to teach them how to thank Allah for His benevolence and caution them against ungratefulness to their Lord, for such ingratitude will only bring His wrath upon them.
The firmness and perseverance of the Muslim Jama’ah in its adherence to the truth greatly depends on the gratitude of its members to Allah,
|“Muhammad is no more than a Messenger, and [indeed] many Messengers have passed away before him. If he died or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels [as disbelievers]? And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah, and Allah will give reward to those who are grateful. “|
Allah (SWT) had instructed Moses (AS) to take the religion with firmness and be grateful,
|“O Moses, I have chosen you above men by My Messages and by My speaking [to you], so hold that which I have given you and be of the grateful-“|
The Muslim Jama’ah, therefore, should pass on the same instruction to all its members. It should also teach them that Allah (SWT) tests His servants with good fortunes as well as with afflictions,
|“And we shall make a trial of you with evil and with good. “|
Allah (SWT) can readily open the flood gates of good fortune and wealth and inundate a servant with them. The servant will then either be helped by Allah (SWT) to remain steadfast. This will enable him to be of those who are grateful, who give what is legally due from them and acknowledge His benevolence. Alternatively he will rejoice in the world and its fleeting pleasures, forgetting the source of his good fortune, only to destroy himself by turning the blessing into a curse. He has indeed spoken the truth the one who said, “If you continue to enjoy His benevolence while persisting in disobeying Him, then be careful because you are going to be punished gradually from directions which you do not perceive.”
Therefore, the Muslim Jama ‘ah should thank Allah (SWT) for His benevolence; otherwise, they will either lose it or it will continue in the form of a veiled affliction and.a testing enticement. If the Jama’ah sees its supporters growing in number and its Da ‘wah spreading and its knowledge increasing, it is gratitude which will perpetuate these blessings and help it receive more of them,
|“And [remember] when you Lord proclaimed: ‘If you give thanks [by accepting faith and worshipping none but Allah], I will give you more [of My bounty], but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My punishment is indeed severe. “|
This was why the Ulama called gratitude Al-Hafidh (the maintainer) and Al-Jalib (the bringer) because it maintains the favours that one already has and brings others that are missing.
‘Umar bin ‘Abdul-‘Aziz once said, “Secure Allah’s blessings by expressing gratitude [to Allah]. ”
Hassan Al-Basri said, “When Allah bestows His favours upon a people, He asks for their gratitude. If they offer their thanks [to Him], He is able to increase their good fortune, but if they deny His favours, He is able to turn these favours of His into torment and affliction.”
Someone however may ask, “What do we mean by gratitude?” Is it a few words that one utters with one’s tongue when one receives some of Allah’s favours or does it mean something else?
The answer to this question is that the type of gratitude we are talking about is wider in meaning and more complete and comprehensive than this. It expands to include all the actions, utterances and conditions of the servant. The gratitude that we seek as a provision for us consists primarily of three things:
a. Gratitude of the tongue:
This means that the servant constantly praises Allah ﷺ with his tongue, thanks Him and recounts His blessings, favours and his own failure to express sufficient gratitude for them. Sulaiman said,
|“Remembering Allah’s blessings with one’s tongue increases one’s love for Him. ”|
b. Gratitude of the heart:
This manifests itself in the heart’s constant recognition of Allah’s blessings, its constant witnessing of His favours and its admitting of its own shortcomings in expressing gratitude for them.
c. Gratitude of the deeds:
This means making use of every blessing in a manner pleasing to Allah is alone,
|“Work you, O family of David, with thanks.”|
Abu Haazim said, “Every blessings that does not bring a servant closer to his Lord is in fact an affliction.”
The Muslim Jama’ah, therefore, should teach its members to thank Allah ﷺ for His favours by the tongue, the heart and the limbs. The Qur’an tells us about the Messenger Sulaiman (AS) who said,
|“This is by the grace of my Lord! – To test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for [the good of] his ownself, and whoever is ungrateful, [he is ungrateful only for the loss of his ownself]. Certainly! My Lord is free of all wants, Bountiful. “|
We warn them strongly against allowing the continuous favours of their Lord from distracting them from their path, or from causing them to neglect saying the truth or carrying out Jihad in the way of Allah under the pretext of fear of losing these blessings, be they money or any other worldly gains, for blessings survive through gratitude and vanish by ingratitude.
2 Surah Ibrahim (14), Ayah 5.
3 Surah Al-Insan (76), Ayah 3.
4 Surah An-Nahl (16), Ayah 78.
5 Surah Ale-Imran (3). Ayah 144.
6 Surah Al-A’raaf C), Ayah 144.
7 Surah Al-Anbiyaa (21), Ayah 35.
8 Surah Ibrahim (14), Ayah 7.
9 Surah Saba (34), Ayah 13.
10 Surah An-Naml (27), Ayah 40.