Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Grateful Head

My mother often recounted the following rags-to-riches story while we were growing up, especially when one of us was experiencing a rather thankless moment.

A relative of hers, she would say, grew up in a modest household and married into one of similar means. Yet, whenever she got something she liked--no matter how small or seemingly insignificant--she would fall into prostration to God, sincerely thanking Him for his favors.

The punchline: Eventually, God blessed her and her family with so much it exceeded their wildest dreams.

Indeed, God has promised: ''If you are thankful I will surely give you more, but if you are ungrateful my punishment is terrible indeed." (Quran 14: 7)

Being grateful to God is an important duty that must be expressed through our heart (awe, humility, love), tongue (praise, glorification) and body parts (obedience). A truly thankful person (shakir in Arabic) is one who recognizes the blessings of God and uses these bounties for the purposes intended by Him.

God is especially pleased when His servants thank Him in the prostrating position, with humility, tears and their foreheads pressed to the earth. It is highly encouraged to perform a prostration of thanksgiving after every mandatory prayer, thanking God for the opportunity to complete the prayers as well as for all His other bounties.

To the angels witnessing such a prostrating soul God says: "I too must thank him as he has done, grant him prosperity by My grace and treat him with My great mercy on the Day of Judgment."

Ali, the husband of Fatima (one of the four perfect women) was among those most often seen prostrating in gratitude to God. The best of worship, he said, is "worship out of thanksgiving to Him."

Shy at first, Ali asked his cousin Prophet Muhammad (S) for Fatima's hand in marriage and his request was accepted. On the day of the wedding, Ali again proposed in front of witnesses but not before praising God and thanking Him profusely. As soon as the ceremony was complete, the first thing he and the Prophet (S) did was prostrate in gratitude to their Lord.

"God blesses us with blessings throughout our life," says scholar Hamza Sodagar. "The way we treat these blessings makes a difference whether [they] will persist or God will take them away from us. If we are thankful practically--not just in words--then God gives us more."

Thank God, we are finally witnessing a global awakening and movement to correct the injustices being committed around the world. In order to sustain this blessing, everyone must do their part to fight oppression and corruption wherever they live and in whichever form they find it.

Thirty years ago, Imam Khomeini, leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, said:

"It is hoped that women in the other Islamic countries will take lesson from the miraculous change that has occurred  in the Iranian women as a result of the great Islamic revolution, and will strive to reform their society and bring freedom and independence to their countries."

That time has surely arrived. Let's use it before we lose it.


The Perfectionistas #1 Fan said...

You are so right about the part that if we don't thank Allah then God can take our whole life away.So we should always thank Allah.

Salina Khan said...

Salam and long time no see, thePerfectionistas #1 Fan! Insha Allah, we can start with the sajda after prayers saying Shukran Lillah 3x and build on that....

Aminaq said...

Great reminder!

Salina Khan said...

Thanks, that I am reading a little about Islamic concepts I am amazed at how little I really understood things I've heard all my life....

Hooma said...

Great Blog post Salina! I really enjoyed the story that you shared as well.

I agree that being thankful is so important in one's life. Each day we are blessed in so many little ways and yet we are completely unaware of it. I think in order to be able to appreciate the great blessings that are bestowed upon us, we must start acknowledging the little blessings that Allah SWT bestows upon us each day.

If one stops to think about it, there a bunch of amazing little things that happen to us each day. We just need a moment to reflect on it!

Salina Khan said...

Salam, Hooma! Thank you!
There are some people I know and admire who always manage to "make lemonade" if they get lemons. They literally turn all events in their lives into postives and are thankful to God. Insha Allah, I hope we can all be like that.