Ustadha Sarah Sultan: Being Grateful to Allah
I recently read something profound: “There are people who would love to have your bad days.” Consider the fact that for many, your worst day would be their best day. In Surah ar-Rahman, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) asks us 31 times, “Then which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?”This verse demands us to be continuously aware of and grateful for the blessings we have been granted. Yet, it is so easy to lose sight of all the blessings that surround us in our daily lives. Opening a refrigerator packed with food, walking into an air-conditioned home on a hot day, or picking up your children from school are all daily rituals that we often don’t give a second thought.
- Every morning, make a point to consider three things you are grateful to wake up to each day. This can be as simple as gratitude for the warmth of your comfortable bed or for the laughter of your children. In doing this, we are following in the footsteps of the Prophet (saw) who, upon rising in the morning, would say, “Praise be to Allah Who has brought us back to life after causing us to die, and unto Him is the resurrection.” (Sahih al-Bukhari) This starts your morning off on a bright note, which sets the tone for a positive day.
- Every night before you sleep, consider three things you appreciate that happened during the day. This promotes relaxation and helps to alleviate any stress that may have accumulated that day.
- On bad days, reflect on the things you are grateful for. Your mood will brighten substantially when you focus on the good in your life rather than ruminating on the things going wrong. Even the difficulties you are facing can be something to be grateful for as the Prophet (saw) said, “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” (al-Bukhari & Muslim)
- Avoid envy by following the advice of the Prophet (saw), “Look at those below you (less fortunate than you), and don’t look at those above you, for this is better.” (Muslim) Be thankful for all that you have rather than wishing for what others have. There will always be people around you who have more but there are also people who have less. In the end, the amount that we have does not determine our level of happiness so work toward being grateful for what you have.
Honing a grateful mindset is something that can be learned and worked on. Take small daily steps toward incorporating gratitude into your life and thought process. Make the pleasure of Allah (saw) your primary goal in this and you will be amazed at the benefits that await you in this life and in the Hereafter insha’Allah.
Ustadha Sarah Sultan teaches the course ‘Psychology and Counseling” at Mishkah University and is a licensed Mental Health Counselor.