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ISLAM AND THE CONCEPT OF THANKING OTHERS


Thanking is a way of telling someone who has done us a favor that we are aware of the favor, and expressing our pleasure. In our language, we express thankfulness to favors that are done by humans with the word “Thank You”. Thankfulness is not bound to time, place or religion. Everyone says thank you in any language wherever he is and at any time. In Islam, gratitude is given much importance and emphasis.

 

Table of Contents

 

Most of us encounter difficulties in our lives; our challenge is to learn to remember God in all our states, the finest and the hardest, and to be always thankful in both our weakness and our strength. But one may ask: why should a poor person thank God for poor?!!

 

Indeed, poverty is considered among the hardest trials that God tests a poor person with, to see if he is thankful or not. His reward - if he is thankful - is as Prophet Muhammad said: "to enter Paradise five hundred years before the rich.'' Tirmidhi Vol. 4, Hadith 2351 and Riyad us Saliheen 487

 

Qur’an

Allah سبحانه و تعالىwill increase His favours upon us if we thank Him.

 

Allah سبحانه و تعالىsays, And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.' “Qur’an.Surah Ibrahim 14:7

 

Allah سبحانه و تعالىdoesn’t need our thanks and gratitude, to the contrary; it’s in our benefit to be thankful. Allah سبحانه و تعالىsays: And verily We gave Luqman wisdom: ‘Give thanks to God. Whoever gives thanks only for his own sake and whoever is ungrateful, then surely God is Independent, Praised Qur’an. Surah Luqman 31: 12

 

Allah سبحانه و تعالىrecommend believers to remember Him and thank Him for His bounties: So remember Me, I will remember you; and be thankful to Me, and be not ungrateful towards Me. Qur’an.Surah Baqarah 2: 152

 

Hadith

In a narration by Abu Said, the Messenger of Allah  Prophet Muhammad said: “One who does not thank peopledoesnot give thanks to Allah, either.” Tirmidhi 1955; Abu Dawud, 4811

 

There cannot be any other statement more eloquent than this to indicate the importance of thanking people according to Islam.

 

Narrated by Aisha رضي الله عنهProphet Muhammad used to recite long prayers at night, as Aisha رضي الله عنهreported: “Prophet Muhammad  used to offer prayer at night (for such a long time) that his feet used to crack. I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Why do you do it since Allah سبحانه و تعالى has forgiven you your faults of the past and those to follow?" He said: “Shouldn't I love to be a thankful slave (of Allah)?” Sahih Al Bukhari Vol 6:361 [1]

 

What Islam says about Thanking others

Islam appreciates not only giving thanks to Allahسبحانه و تعالىbecause of boons He endows upon us but also demands us to thank people for their favors and kindness. Just like “hamd” is a requirement of being a slave (to Allah), so too is thanking (tashakkur) a requirement of being a human. The religion of Islam orders people to praise (hamd) to Allahسبحانه و تعالىand also to give thanks to (tashakkur) to people who do us favors. 

 

Gratitude helps increase one’s blessings

Allah سبحانه و تعالىsays: “And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: ‘If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings); but if you are thankless, verily, My punishment is indeed severe’” Qur’an.Surah Ibraaheem 14:7 Let’s, therefore, make thanking Allah سبحانه و تعالى part of morning and evening remembrances (adhkars or zikr proven from Ahadith) to get more of Allah’s blessings in our lives.

 

Responding to the favour

Usama Ibnu Zaid رضي الله عنهreports: The Messenger of Allah Prophet Muhammad said: “Whoever says “Jazakallahu khayran (May Allah give you a good reward)” to anyone who has done him a favor, he has thanked in the best way.” Tirmidhi, 2036

 

However, we show our feeling of gratefulness for a favor done to us by thanking. In fact, responding to a favor by doing a favor in return is essential. Notwithstanding, it is impossible to respond to each favor with a favor of the same kind for humankind is important to do so. In this sense, we need to express our gratefulness verbally. Some people have said: “If your arm is too short to give a reward, keep your tongue long enough to thank”.  

 

The Messenger of Allah Prophet Muhammad  states that it is essential to respond to a favor with another favor of the same kind. Actually, the original word which we translate as “favor” is “ataa” which means donation. It is also spelled as “atiyya” in our language. If it is impossible to respond to a favor with a favor right away, that person should be praised done. That is to say, we must say something that expresses our pleasure and gratefulness and that pleases the one who has done the favor. This is done by thanking that person or praying for him. A hadith says: “One who praises has thanked.” 

 

Gratitude helps in warding off punishment from Allah

Not recognizing Allah’s blessings can prevent us from gaining His pleasure. We know that if Allah سبحانه و تعالىwere to punish us for our negligence, He would be justified for it. He says in the Quran: “If Allah سبحانه و تعالى took mankind to task by that which they deserve, He would not leave a living creature on the surface of the earth; but He grants them reprieve unto an appointed term, and when their term comes  then verily Allah سبحانه و تعالىis Ever All-Seer of His slaves”Qur’an.Surah Fatir 35:45].

 

At the same time though, Allah سبحانه و تعالىprovides us a way to escape that punishment by being thankful to Him. He says, “Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him. And Allahis Ever All-Appreciative (of good), All-KnowingQur’an.Surah Nisa 4:147. Gratitude, therefore, is not an option and we should clean our hearts to thank Allah for everything that He has provided us.

 

Conclusion

Gratitude’s importance was emphasized by the Prophet Muhammad when he took the hand of Mu’aadh ibn Jabal رضي الله عنهand said: O Mu’aadh , by Allah I love you, by Allah love you.” Then he said, “I advise you, O Mu’aadh, do not fail to say this after every prayer: The Arabic version of this Hadith is the following. Let’s ensure that we memorize it and recite it after every prayer.

 

 

Allahumma A’inni Ala zikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibadatika

 

O Allah! Assist me in remembering You, in thanking You, and in worshipping You in the best of manners. Musnad Ahmad 5:245, Sahih abu Dawud Vol 2:86 or 1301(NE) and Sunan Nasa'I 1286 [2]

 

References

[1] http://www.onislam.net/english/reading-islam/understanding-islam/ethics-and-values/450257-expressing-gratitude-the-muslim-norm.html?Va

[2] http://www.iqrasense.com/muslim-character/the-blessings-of-gratitude-and-shukr.html

 

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