Non-Fiction / Story with a Hadith quote / Under 600 words

Gratitude

moon at nightLet’s go back in time. Back to Madīnah, through the masjid and to the Prophet’s (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) home. We see him there, in the darkness of the night, praying to his Lord. He is crying as he reads the Ayat of the Qur’an. He has been standing for so long, and you see that his blessed feet have swelled and the skin is cracking.

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Many of us would think what A’ishah, his beloved wife, (radi Allahu anha) asked him afterward. She said, “O Prophet of Allāh, why do you undergo so much hardship despite the fact that Allāh has pardoned for you your earlier and later sins?” He (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) responded, “Afala akuna abdan shakura? Should I not prove myself to be a thankful servant?”

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We learn from this hadith that gratitude is shown through deeds. Shukr is by action. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was not commanded to worship to this degree but rather it was a complete act of devotion and thankfulness to Allāh (azza wa jall).

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tahajjud When we want to thank someone, we go the extra mile to make them happy, especially when they are beloved to us. We go to great lengths to show our parents, spouse or friend that we appreciate them. We offer our help without their asking. We plan time to spend together. We give them gifts without expecting one in return. We do whatever will make them happy. We show our love and appreciate through our actions.

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Yet, how can we claim that we love Allāh when we do not even act this way with Him? We do not abide by His Rulings. We hardly go past the bare minimum of worship. We do not honor His Book. We swear by His Name in vain. We are not shy to sin in front of Him while we are shy when others are watching. We delay our daily conversations with Him, and when we finally do go to pray, we do it as fast as we can – rushing back to what we think is more important than Him.

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moon lit skyWould we ever claim to love our mother, spouse, or friend if we treated them this way? Would they feel that we love them and appreciate them if we treated them this way?

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Aren’t we ashamed that we treat our family and friends better than we do our own Creator? Surely for Allāh is the Highest Example.

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Allāh (azza wa jall) does not need us or our worship at all. We are not harming Him or benefiting Him in any way by worshiping Him or disobeying Him. He does not need anyone or anything, rather He is Self-Sufficient and always deserving of praise. This parable is to show how we contradict ourselves – we say that we love Allāh, that we are thankful to Him, yet our actions show the complete opposite. Our actions show that we are careless, ungrateful and that we are very good at saying what we don’t mean.

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Brief meanings:

    • Allah = The Almighty God

    • Shukr = Gratitude, gratefulness to Allah

    • Allah Azza wa Jal = The Almighty God,

              • Glorified and Sublime be He.

              • Mighty and the Majestic.

              • May His Majesty Be Exalted.

(The phrase appears after the name of Allah in Islamic texts such as the Qur’an and the Hadith. Saying this phrase is seen as an act of reverence and devotion towards Allah among Muslims. )

    • sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam = Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him

    • radi Allahu anha = May Allah be pleased with her

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(This has been reproduced from http://muslimmatters.org/2011/07/15/shall-i-not-be-a-thankful-servant-a-brief-guide-to-understanding-shukr/ )

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Other resources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azza_wa_jal
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Image Credits: http://salafiyunpad.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/dahsyatnya-tahajjud/ , http://islam.ru/en/content/story/three-stages-tahajjud , thoughtsofallah.blogspot.com –
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