Ustadha Sarah Sultan: Being Thankful
Ensuring that gratitude has a strong and constant place in our lives is essential for our spiritual, mental and physical health. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says, “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me” (2:152). Here, a lack of gratitude is equated with denying the favors of Allah (swt), which is nearly equivalent to denying Him as our Lord. How can we truly believe in Allah when we don’t acknowledge the fact that everything in our lives has been bestowed upon us by Him?
Gratitude is such an essential and integral component to our faith that the best amongst us have asked Allah (swt) for this blessing. The Prophet Sulayman (a.s) asked Allah for this when he said, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to do righteousness of which You approve. And admit me by Your mercy into [the ranks of] Your righteous servants” (27:19). Being appreciative of the blessings that surround us is a gift, in-and-of-itself.
Among the benefits of being grateful to Allah is that it brings us closer to Him as He tells us, “O son of Adam! If you mention Me to yourself, I will mention you to Myself. If you mention Me in a gathering, I will mention you in a better gathering. If you draw closer to Me by a hand span, I will draw closer to you by forearm’s length. If you draw closer to Me by a forearm’s length, I will draw closer to you by an arm’s length. And if you come to Me walking, I will come to you running.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
When we think about thankfulness, we typically think about how it makes the other person feel.
However, in reality we are the ones who benefit the most, “This is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful – his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever is ungrateful – then indeed, my Lord is Free of need and Generous” (27:40). Gratitude to Allah (swt) will grant us reward in the Hereafter but it also enhances our quality of life through mental, emotional and physical benefits. Studies have found that gratitude can help us to cope better with daily problems and manage stress, can boost the immune system and has been found to improve cardiac health in people with heart failure.
To give thanks for blessings is itself a blessing in every possible way so never cease to give thanks.
This excerpt is from a longer article by Ustadha Sarah Sultan that we originally published in 2018.