Showing Gratitude and being thankful in Islam – Part One

Al-Hajj Khalil Champsi (Toronto, Canada)

According to Islam, one of our foremost duties is to be grateful to God for all of His blessings. We can describe three levels of thankfulness:

  • To realize and appreciate all blessings by and within the heart.
  • To say thanks with the tongue.
  • To express gratitude by doing righteous deeds.

In other words, the first level is the appreciativeness and gratefulness that we feel in our hearts. Then we fortify that thankfulness through our speech. And the third level is when we prove by our deeds that we are truly thankful to God. 

In the Holy Quran Chapter 2 verse 152, God has provided us with a concept of remembering him.

Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me.

If you remember Allah, avoiding other than He, you are in the midst of reality. Allah, reality, will reflect the remembrance – if the sincere seeker remembers Allah, Allah remembers him.

Forgetfulness can never be attributed to the all-perfect. His remembrance refers to His special favours and bounties bestowed on those who remember Him.

To be grateful {shukr) is the key to the fulfilment and application of remembrance which neutralizes desires and generates joy of inner contentment – deep and peaceful.

The opposite of this condition is Kufr- the falling over hurdles on the road of disobedience.

In the Holy Quran Chapter 14, verse 7, further elaborates the gratitude and increase in his mercy verses being ingratiate towards one’s creator

And when your Lord made it known: If you are grateful, I would certainly give to you more, and if you are ungrateful, My chastisement is truly severe.

One can consider a beautiful story of Luqman as a self -motivator and being grateful and thankful to God and appreciate everything he has provided to us. In fact, one study and reflect the chapter by the name of Luqman in the Holy Quran which offers some beautiful advises for the time to come which can be applied in the contexts of the subject matters in discussions

And certainly We gave wisdom to Luqman, saying: Be grateful to Allah. And whoever is grateful, he is on!y grateful for his own soul; and whoever is ungrateful, then surely Allah is Self-sufficient, Praised.

Luqman, it is said, was not a prophet of Allah but was blessed with wisdom. He was the nephew of Prophet Ayyub. He lived for one thousand years, from the time of Dawud to the time of Yunus. Once, when he was asleep, angels came and asked if he would like to be Allah’s deputy on the earth. To this, he replied that if it was a command from Allah, he would accept it, however, if Allah had asked his desire he would like to be excused because it was a great responsibility to dispense justice among men, and he could not bear the burden.

Another saying about Luqman is that he was an Ethiopian carpenter whom the Greek called Aesop. He was a very obedient servant of the Lord, extremely pious and modest who mostly remained silent, engrossed in higher thoughts. His fear of sins was such that he never rejoiced over any gain nor grieved over any loss, even at the death of his children.

It is said that whenever he passed over any vegetation they used to disclose their respective properties latent in them. He used to visit Dawud and discuss with him complicated issues to find out their solution.. The basis of the divine laws is man’s own good, and not any benefit to Allah who is above all needs. When we obey His will, we bring our position into conformity with our own nature as made by Him.

Further one can see the argument presented by God of reward of being thankful and grateful to God as explained in chapter 4 verse 147 of the Holy Quran

Why should Allah chastise you if you are grateful and believe? And Allah is the Multiplier of rewards, Knowing

Mercy, compassion and loving kindness are part and parcel of His essence, while His retributive justice is only called forth by the handiwork of the rebellious creatures who follow the accursed Shaytan. He is responsive to gratitude.

The Messenger of Allah (s) said:

“Surely the faithful who is satisfied with food and drink; and then thanks Allah, is given the same reward as a fasting man. Allah is Gracious and appreciates gratitude.”

We are aware of Allah’s blessings upon us when we see all these happenings.

Indeed, from the hadith of the Prophet of Allah (s) we know that our Prophet said: “Whoever is satisfied with food and drink and praises Allah for His blessings, Allah will certainly reward him for his thanks as surely as He gives the fasting man a reward for his fasting, because Allah appreciates the good deeds of His servants and He loves them to show their gratitude.”

One of the companions of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a)  reported the following incident, when he was travelling with the Imam on the road towards Madina. On the way, he saw the Imam get down and began prostrating to Allah, which greatly surprised him. After completing his prostration the Imam said to his companion:

“It seems that you are astonished to see me prostrating”

His companion answered: “Yes,” and the Imam said:

“Remembering one of Allah’s blessings to me, I could not continue until I had given thanks to Him.”

Thus the infallible Imams of Ahlul-Bait (a) instruct us to thank Almighty Allah for each of His blessings.

As we see, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a), remembering one of Allah’s blessings on his way, stopped and prostrated to Allah to give thanks for His blessings.

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About the author

Al-hajj Khalil Champsi was born in Zanzibar ,Tanzania. His father Al-Hajj Hassan A P Champsi was a well known reciter of Duas and Ziyarats and mother Hajiani Maryam Champsi (Dr.Gulamhussein) was a Reciter and served her community in Zanzibar selflessly and her love of ahlulbayt was imprinted in herself and her family. His Great grand father Marhum Gulhussein M W Dharsi started a Gujarati monthly magazine and his pen name was Salsabil and his brother Marhum Kassamali Mammu Walli Dharsi (Bha Kassamali) who was an ardent Azadar and personally spent his fortune and establish Taziyakhana (Husssainiya ). Al-Hajj Khalil Champsi would frequently attend and visit Masjid and Mehfil/Hussainiya around the neighborhood.

Al-Hajj Khalil Champsi has taken keen interest in learning Islamic studies especially in exegesis of Quran by renowned Scholar like Allama Hussein Tabatabai. He has interacted with Many scholars to learn of various aspects of Religion. He also has been attending Fiqh and Jurisprudence classes under the esteem Scholar Hujjatil–Islam Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi.

Al-Hajj Khalil Champsi has been lecturing, teaching in Madrassah and participating in TV Shows as well .Tabligh is one the areas he always re-emphasis and participates actively .He has paid several visits to Khatmul Anbiya, a school which teaches National camp; Islamic curriculum and serves the Masai communities in the outskirts of Arusha located Tanzania in of support the great work done by Al-Hajj Ghulamhussein Mukhtar in area.

Al-Hajj Khalil Champsi is Professional Project Manager and Mechanical Engineer with several years of experiences in different countries. He has always found time to give back by participating in community projects especially in Building; Renovation of Masjids and Imam Hussainiya earlier in Dubai and now in Toronto.
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