The Benefits in Being Grateful

thankGratitude (Shukr) is an important characteristic; and the one who instills it, is endowed with great blessings.

Allah (swt) says, “And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allah).” (An-Nahl 16:78)

Also, it is mentioned, “Allah, it is He Who has made the night for you that you may rest therein and the day for you to see. Truly, Allah is full of Bounty to mankind, yet most of mankind give no thanks.” (Ghafir 40:61)

Gratitude infiltrates a person with happiness, and evicts pressure and anxiety. It teaches one to be content and happy in whatever state he is. Also Allah (swt) has made mankind grateful by nature; thus, we should express gratitude- not just to Allah (swt), but also to the people we deal with.

Many a times in the Quran, Allah (swt) divides people as being grateful and ungrateful in order to motivate us to join the camp of those who are grateful. In one of such verses, Prophet Sulaiman (as) said, “One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: “I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!” then when (Sulaiman (Solomon)) saw it placed before him, he said: “This is by the Grace of my Lord to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his ownself, and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his ownself). Certainly! My Lord is Rich (Free of all wants), Bountiful.”(An-Naml 27:40)

Gratitude is escorted with many blessings. Some are discussed below:

Gratitude- A blissful attitude

We, today, are busy like robots; having full plate and swamped by work the whole day- we tend to forget the countless blessings around us. Being grateful to Allah (swt) helps us to focus on the gifts gifted to us by our Most Generous Lord Allah (swt); and hence, it reminds us that everything is decreed by Allah (swt), and whatever happens with us is by the will of Allah (swt).

As He says in the Quran, And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah. Then, when harm touches you, unto Him you cry aloud for help.” (An-Nahl 16:53)

He also says, “And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah. Then, when harm touches you, unto Him you cry aloud for help.” (Ad-Duha 93:8)

Let’s therefore, constantly remind ourselves of Allah’s (swt) bounties by expressing our gratitude to Him in prayers and at other times.

Gratitude- The best mind craftBy paying gratitude for our blessings, prevents us from focusing on other peoples’ lives and blessings. When we allow our minds to look into other peoples’ lives, we welcome a lot of different problems and negativity along with it to enter our brains. Let’s therefore, use gratitude to motivate ourselves to look for solutions and possibilities, and not the negativity associated with the problem.

Gratitude- Wards off Allah’s wrath

Allah (swt) is happy with His slaves if they are thankful to Him. Such people are protected from all evil- hidden or evident. If you are not grateful, then one deserves wrath and resentment of Allah (swt). We know that if Allah (swt) were to punish us for our negligence, He would be justified for it.

He says in the Quran, And if Allah were to punish men for that which they earned, He would not leave a moving (living) creature on the surface of the earth, but He gives them respite to an appointed term, and when their term comes, then verily, Allah is Ever All-Seer of His slaves. (Fatir 35:45)

At the same time though, Allah (swt) provides us a way to escape His punishment by being thankful to Him. He says, Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him. And Allah is Ever All-Appreciative (of good), All-Knowing.” (An-Nisa 4:147)

Gratitude, therefore, is not an option; and we should clean our hearts to thank Allah (swt) for everything that He has provided us, for not doing so would bring the displeasure of Allah (swt).

It teaches us to slow down, rather than always waiting for our next wish to come true. It trains our minds to be happy and content with our blessings, today and always

Gratitude- A self-guide

It teaches us to slow down, rather than always waiting for our next wish to come true. It trains our minds to be happy and content with our blessings, today and always. It also shows us that if we are not happy with our life today, then we will never be happy with the blessings to come tomorrow. It helps in controlling the unnecessary wants and desires by restraining our Nafs; and recognizing that we have what many people are yearning for. Gratitude is a sense of fulfillment that comes not from wanting more, but rather from a sense of knowing that Allah (swt) has already blessed us with what we need. In one of the Ahadeeth reported by Ahmad, the Prophet (sa) said: “…if the son of Adam has one valley, he will wish that he had a second, and if he had two valleys, he would wish that he had a third. The stomach of the son of Adam will be filled only with dust (i.e. he is never satisfied)…” (Saheeh Al-Jaami’). So, let’s use gratitude to enjoy what we have today, rather than fretting over it and losing it tomorrow.


With restraining our Nafs, comes the lesson of patience as well. As per Ibn Qayyim, “Patience in resisting desires is easier than patience in dealing with the consequences that result from desires. It is because consequences either lead to pain and punishment; or they prevent a more complete pleasure; or it deprives one of a blessing which would be more pleasurable and better than the fulfillment of desires; or they cut off an oncoming blessing; or they have a life-long negative impact on one’s character – because deeds have a great impact on one’s character and behaviour.” (Al-Fawaa’id) Exercising patience against the forbidden commands prevents us from harmful results coming thereafter.

Good attitude, Good life

Gratitude makes us less demanding and teaches us to remain happy in all states. Thus, personal desires fulfillment can be easily sought with less. As a result, we can be happy with others easily by having fewer expectations, which thereby, withdraws burden from our close relationships. This trait makes our company more pleasing instead of making us unhappy, demanding and burdensome for other people.

Gratitude says go to ego

Holy prophet (sa) made it quite evident via his sayings that thanking Allah (swt) also comprises of thanking people who have done any favour on us. To be grateful to people is also an important factor. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) said, as narrated by Abu Hurairah (ra): “He who does not thank people, does not thank Allah (swt)” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi) He also said: “Whoever does you a favour, then reciprocate, and if you cannot find anything with which to reciprocate, then pray for him until you think that you have reciprocated him.” (Abu Dawood )In another Hadeeth, he said: “Whoever has a favour done for him, and says to the one who did it,‘Jazak’Allah u Khairun,’ has done enough to thank him.” (Tirmidhi) Let’s therefore, ensure that we do our part to sincerely thank our families and those who have done good to us.

 Actions speak louder than words

The prophet (sa)  continued to strive for His pleasure, although his sins were forgiven. It was narrated that A’isha (ra) said: “When the Messenger of Allah (sa) prayed, he would stand for so long that his feet would become swollen. ‘A’isha said: O Messenger of Allah (sa), why are you doing this when Allah (swt) has forgiven your past and future sins? He said: “O ‘A’ishah, should I not be a thankful slave?” (Bukhari, Muslim). Let’s, therefore, pray the Nawafil to thank Allah (swt) for His blessings.

Gratitude augments one’s blessings

Allah (swt) says, “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 (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe.” (Ibrahim 14:7)

Let’s, therefore, make thanking Allah (swt) an integral part of our morning and evening remembrances (Adhkar) to get Barakah in our blessings.

Gratitude- Allah’s (swt) pleasure here and hereafter

The People of Paradise will say, “You (Allah) have given to us what You have not given to anyone among Your creation,” Allah (swt) will say to them, “Shall I not give you something better than that?” They will say, “What is it? Have You not brightened our faces, and admitted us to Paradise and saved us from Hell?” Allah (swt) will say, “I bestow My pleasure upon you, and I will never be angry with you after that.” (Muslim)

What better reward can we expect? So, why not be grateful to Him for what He has blessed us with?

Finally, remember that being grateful is not an option, but an obligation; and being one brings us closer to those whom we thank and appreciate.


Gratitude’s importance was emphasized by the Prophet (sa) when he took the hand of Mu’aadh Ibn Jabal and said: “O Mu’adh, by Allah (swt) I love you, by Allah (swt) I love you.” Then he said: “I advise you, O Mu’adh, do not fail to say this after every prayer: O Allah (swt) help me to remember You, to thank You and to worship You properly.” The Arabic version of this Hadeeth is the following. Let’s ensure that we memorize it and recite it after every prayer.

Finally, remember that being grateful is not an option, but an obligation; and being one brings us closer to those whom we thank and appreciate.

We can be grateful to Allah (swt) by utilizing our blessings, the way Allah (swt) has ordered. For example- if we have enough money, we should give a lot of Sadaqah and the prescribed amount of Zakat. This way Allah (swt) will increase our blessings. Similarly, if someone has adequate knowledge in any subject, the best way to be grateful is to spread that knowledge and expect its reward from Allah (swt) solely. This way gratitude helps us to seek Allah’s (swt) pleasure; and aids in transmitting positive energy around us by carrying an optimistic dynamism.

In a nutshell, gratitude is very essential for building strong relationship with the people in this Dunya;  and of course, our association with Allah (swt) will also have an impact, consequently affecting our Akhirah.


Sabr and Shukr- Formula for a happy life

inna lillahThis world is full of trials and tests, and there comes a time when Sabr and Shukr is the need of the hour. As it is said in the Quran, that everyone will be tested in life- some will be tested with property and some with off springs.

Recently, I was tested by Allah (swt).  He blessed me with a beautiful daughter on 17th of June 2014 and she died the next day. It was a very hard day for me and my family. I felt that my whole world has shattered. I couldn’t imagine my life without her. As soon as a girl comes to know that she is expecting, she starts imagining about the baby being formed inside her. It was a big shock for all of us, but being Muslims we have to bow our heads in front of Allah (swt).

It is said in the Holy Quran that get patience through Salah. The thought that helped me observe Sabr was that my daughter is at a better place- in the arms of her Creator Who loves her more than me. She will be there waiting for me and my husband, and she won’t enter paradise until we have entered.

Secondly, Durud Sharif and ninety-nine names of Allah (swt) also helped me in observing Sabr. After every Salah, I thank Allah (swt) for all His blessings upon me. Also, reciting Quran daily and making Duas regularly have boosted my Sabr to a higher level. One more thing that has given me Sabr is the recitation of Inna lillahi wa inna iliahi rajioon (we all belong to Allah and to him shall we return) and that He will provide me with something better as the reward is so good.

Legendary Muslimah Success Secrets (Unveiled) – Umm Ayyub Ansaria (ra)- 1



She was the daughter of Qais ibn Saad, and the wife of Abu Ayyub Ansari (ra). Both the husband and the wife are among those blessed people about whom Allah (swt) said,

“And the first to embrace Islam of the Muhajirun (those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah) and the Ansar (the citizens of Al-Madinah who helped and gave aid to the Muhajirun) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” (At-Taubah 9:100)

Conversion to Islam

Umm Ayyub (ra) woke up one morning and saw her husband all dressed to set out on a journey. When she asked him where he was going, he replied that he was off to Makkah to witness the Prophet who had brought a new religion to the people.

Umm Ayyub (ra) said farewell to her husband, and secretly desired in her heart that this Prophet would bring peace between the tribes of Aws and Khazraj. She prayed that he turns out to be an ambassador of goodness and a source of reformation. And that he could pull out the seed of hatred and enmity from the hearts of the two tribes, and put an end to the treachery of the Madinian Jews. She also prayed for her husband’s well-being and that he returns safely.

The long separation from her husband made her anxious. She worried about him and waited impatiently for his arrival. After several days, she heard a knock on her door. She knew it was her husband because she identified his knock. She was delighted to see Abu Ayyub (ra), but also wanted him to rest before she could shower him with her questions and anxiety. Abu Ayyub (ra), on the other hand, desired narrating to his wife all the events of his journey. He did not find it appropriate to hold the news about the beloved Prophet (sa) from her.

When the people in a house or an organisation are respectful to each other, and desire one another’s well-being- Allah (swt) blesses such a house or organisation.

He informed her how the Prophet (sa) captivated their hearts by his mannerism and speech. He explained to them the Shari commandments of Allah (swt), and gained their confidence through his way of talking. Witnessing all this, they could not help but accept him as the Messenger of Allah (swt), and embraced Islam.

Abu Ayyub (ra) had not completed narrating his experience that Umm Ayyub (ra) instantly recited the Shahadah. She had lived many moments of joy and happiness with Abu Ayyub (ra). She valued his opinion and trusted his intellect. She knew the path that her husband had chosen was the best.

Lessons to draw: We see a loving relationship between the husband and wife. Both of them wished well for the other spouse. When the people in a house or an organisation are respectful to each other, and desire one another’s well-being- Allah (swt) blesses such a house or organisation. On the other hand, when people are busy maligning one another or in a cut throat competition against each other, Allah (swt) withdraws His mercy from them.  We see that when Abu Ayyub (ra) leaves for Makkah, Umm Ayyub (ra) does not try to stop him, cry or think bad. Rather, she bids him farewell and makes a supplication for her husband’s success and the well-being of her people. She does not act selfishly. She did not think only about herself or her loneliness, but for the community at large. Usually at home, families are fighting among one another- either over the relatives or financial matters. If everyone looks at the situation positively, our home environments can improve considerably, Insha’Allah.

Another important point to improve our lives is to reflect on what we have and not what we lack. For example, it might be that a child is raised in a toxic environment. Her parents are always fighting and are neglectful of their duties towards their children. Allah (swt) rewards this girl with a caring husband. Similarly, it could be that a husband is harsh and non-cooperative, but the children are extremely peaceful and supportive. In comparing our lives with other people, their parents or their husbands, we forget what Allah (swt) has blessed us with. May Allah (swt) grant us the ability to do Shukr- Ameen.

The Four Orange Rinds

Orange Rinds

Suleman loved fruit, and there was plenty of it to enjoy in Pakistan. Living in Karachi, he enjoyed mangoes, oranges, pomegranates, pears, peaches, grapes, melons… such a wide variety of fruit, which came one after the other throughout the year from all parts of Pakistan. Today, after a heavy dinner at home, he had an orange. It was so sweet and juicy that Suleman, not a very religious person, spontaneously uttered ‘Alhumdulillah’ with pleasure. Suleman then forgot all about it. His career, work and entertainments kept him very busy and happy with his life.

Zaheeruddin Niazi was very grateful to Allah (swt). His orange orchard had 742 trees on his 20-acres farm. He loved each tree like his own child. His oranges with sticker “Shireen Sweet – Niazi Farm” were the best oranges in the entire Attock Mianwali area. They fetched the best price and were sold out in advance well before season.

FSC113 was the angel responsible for fruit supply to Suleman. There were hundreds of angels with all types of duties for fulfilling the needs of each individual on earth. Some angels were providing the exact Rizq appointed each year for a person; some were protecting the body, ears or eyes, while others were responsible for all types of food supply. FSC was an easy designation for the angel in charge of ‘fruit supply chain’. Since there were hundreds of fruit varieties, there were over 150 angels for bringing different fruits to Suleman. Allah’s (swt) vast network worked day and night for bringing Rizq and sustenance to His creation. All was planned to perfection and ran like clockwork.

Currently, FSC113 had the single duty by his supervisor to supply the best oranges available in Pakistan to Suleman. He had to supply 240 oranges in that particular season, which was not a bad bargain for offering Shukr for one orange! Suleman had shown gratitude, and Allah (swt) never forgets such things. FSC113’s job was not easy. He targeted Zaheer’s farm, since it was the best. Next, he targeted trees number 303, 304 and 305, which were in the best location and produced the most succulent sweet oranges in the entire orchard.

FSC113 settled next to these trees, in order to oversee their production for the next four months. He was dozing, when the hot sunrays jolted him awake; too much sun, he noted. The oranges will dehydrate and lose some glucose content and sweetness! FSC113 rushed skywards and instantly arranged for a cloud cover from his fellow cloud angel, which cut down the sunrays to just the right amount for providing sunlight, but not too harshly. FSC113 sighed with relief. He was well in control. He handled numerous daily challenges, such as ensuring the right amount of water supply, fertile soil conditions, absence of disease, and pest control when needed. He either brought the matter to the attention of Zaheer through intuition or whisperings or took help from his fellow angels, like he had done just now.

Finally, the oranges ripened and were packed and ready to be sent to Peshawar. But, at the last moment, the wholesaler called Zaheer that he had lots of stock, so if he wished, he could send it elsewhere. Zaheer had bookings from everywhere, so he directed the fruit to Quetta. Suddenly, it started to rain heavily in Quetta valley and the truck driver was instructed to change the route to Karachi. The Shireen Sweet were meant for a Gulshan fruit vendor. The truck driver, however, was obliged to grant a favour to his friend in the DHA fruit market. He promised the Gulshan vendor to bring his oranges on the next trip.

One day, Suleman got out of his office, intending to head straight home. But, as he approached the high street, he remembered that they were out of fruit. At the last moment, he turned his car, parked in front of his fruit vendor, and called him through the car’s window:

“Oranges hain (Do you have oranges)?”

“Jee Sahib; abhi taza aye hain. ‘Sweet Shireen’ bohot aala aur meetha hai. (Yes sir. Fresh oranges are here. ‘Sweet Shireen’ are very high quality and sweet.)”

“Theek hai, theek hai bhai, do dozen do – aur jaldi. (Alright, alright, brother. Give me two dozen and hurry!)”

He pays and drives home.

After dinner, Suleman asks his wife for an orange, but she is busy enjoying her banana. He tells his daughter, Sharmeen, to bring one for him. She picks one up, her phone rings, and she puts it down again. Suleman grunts and picks one up for himself. He cuts it in his usual four slices and eats it. No doubt, it was absolutely delicious. Suleman gets up to wash his hands, when he hears the Adhan and suddenly remembers Mufti Sahib’s talk of last Friday on Shukr. He sits down again, brings his hand together and says: “Alhumdulillah”.

More than 150 angels, who had worked hard to bring these oranges to Suleman’s plate, were all standing by the table, waiting to see the effect of their handwork. Suddenly, all of them broke out in a thunderous applause and bowed down to Allah (swt) saying what they said, when they bowed in front of Adam: “Allah Almighty, yes, You know what we know not!”

Allah (swt) then signals to His Archangel, who then just for a moment lifts the veils of ignorance from Suleman’s mind, giving him the gift of understanding and perception. In a flash, Suleman sees where his oranges were grown, how they were protected from sun, rain, disease, and pests and how they were switched from going to Peshawar to Quetta to Karachi and then from Gulshan to DHA. He saw how, by the greatest of miracles all the way from Mianwali traveling over a thousand miles in a period of four months, the oranges landed on his plate!

The veil lifted, and he was back in the world, sobbing like a child. He could barely make it to his bedroom, where he fell on his prayer mat, his body racking with sobs of Shukr, Shukr, Shukr – Alhumdulliah. “Oh Allah (swt), in my slumber, I did not know, but now I know how Rahim how Karim and how Rahman You are. Oh, the Mighty One! Oh, the Great One! Accept my thanks and also accept my repentance for not being grateful for my daily blessing. I know now, and I will be your true and grateful servant for the rest of my life.”

Suleman then collected the four rinds of the orange. After drying them in the sun for a few days, he had them carefully placed in two jars. One jar sits on his plush office desk and the other in his study at home. They serve as constant reminders to be grateful and not to forget his great enlightening experience, which changed his life forever!

Formula for Peace

By Alia Ahmed

Once, there was a king, who offered a prize to any artist that would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried their luck. The king looked at all the representations, and only two fascinated him. Ultimately, he had to choose between them.

The first depiction was that of a placid lake with mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. It seemed a perfect picture of peace.

The other image had mountains too, but these were rugged and bare. Above was an enraged sky, from which rain fell and lightening flashed. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a furious, foaming waterfall. Apparently, this was not all, for when the king looked closely behind the waterfall, he saw a tiny bush growing in the crack of a rock. In that bush, a mother bird had built her peewee nest. In the midst of the rush of angry water, the mother bird sat on her nest in perfect peace.

Guess, which one turned out to be the award-winning illustration? Yes, the second one. Why? “Because,” explained the king, “peace does not mean being in a quiet place void of trouble or hard work. Peace means being in the midst of it all and still remaining cool, calm, and composed in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”

This narration compels one to ponder and cogitate. Since the basic unit of the human kind is an individual human, it is evident that in order to achieve peace in the outer world, it must first be attained within the heart of that individual. Consequently, outer peace, or world peace, is a by-product of personal tranquility and mental satisfaction of individuals that inhabit it. Thomas Kempis said: “First keep the peace within yourself, then you can bring peace to others.”

Some people are of the opinion that peace will only be achieved, when they control every single element in their lives. Maybe they are just oblivious to the fact that this is not possible. One must understand the difference between things that are within our control and things that are beyond. The concept of predestination (Qadar) is central to this understanding. Religious scholars and intellectuals are of the view that tribulation and distress in today’s world may have a perspicuous cause-we have lost the path that leads to salvation, because we are missing out on Allah’s (swt) cardinal instructions.

Inner peace is a feeling of calmness and satisfaction within our hearts. But the delicate question is: how can that be attained? ‘Iman’ – the true faith in Allah (swt) and the beliefs, on which the Islamic faith is based – is the only real fountain for one’s inner calmness and rapture. This Arabic word is derived from the root word ‘Amn’, pointing towards peace and tranquility that a believer enjoys in his heart as a result of practising and bolstering these beliefs. There must be no half-hearted consents but total submission to God’s commands. Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “Truly, in remembering Allah (swt) do hearts find rest” (Ra’d 13:28). Dhikr, the remembrance of Allah (swt), leads to Allah (swt) consciousness, which persuasively brings forth total submission to His commands. Thereupon, it is imperative that in order to bring tranquility into our lives, we must live according to His commandments.

Another significant factor that massively contributes towards acquiring a complacent soul is ‘Shukr’ – thankfulness to Allah (swt). ‘Shukr’ is derived from the root word, ‘sh-k-r,’ and it literally refers to ‘when a cow feeds on less fodder but gives more milk’. Conspicuously, it indicates, how we as believers should be. We should be grateful to Allah (swt) under all circumstances. We must learn to develop a sense of gratitude within ourselves for all the blessings we have received. Most of us have a great deal in our lives to make us blissfully content, but, unfortunately, we lack the ability to acknowledge and appreciate it. A lot is taken for granted and this ingratitude prevents us from attaining tranquility within our hearts. As Melody Beattie says: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Gratitude (Shukr) is considered to be the best and the highest of all the stations of faith (Iman). Gratitude also includes in itself the virtue of patience (Sabr). When we look at the life of Prophet Muhammad (sa), we find that there is nothing greater than his patience and gratitude. He was ‘Saboor’ and ‘Shakoor’. The reality is that as servants of Allah (swt), we can be in one of the two states during our lifetime. Either we enjoy a bounty, for which we should be thankful for, or we may be suffering a calamity that we should meet with patience and forbearance. Muslim states the Hadeeth: “Amazing is the believer, for whatever Allah (swt) decrees for him! If he is tested with a bounty, he is grateful for it, and this is better for him; and if he is afflicted with hardship, he is patient with it, and this is better for him.”

Patience has three main forms:

(a) patience for avoiding the prohibitions and sins,

(b) patience for acts of worship and obedience,

(c) patience required in the face of afflictions and hardships.

The Quran explicitly mentions the finest tools that may be applied to help ease the effects of suffering and hardship: patience (Sabr) and prayer (Dhikr). It is stated in Surat-al-Baqarah, verse 152-153: “Therefore, remember Me (by praying, glorifying (Dhikr)). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for my countless favors on you) and never be ungrateful to Me. O you, who believe! Seek help in patience and Salah (the prayer). Truly, Allah (swt) is with the As-Sabireen (the patient).” One may conclude that ‘Sakina’ – peace and tranquility within the heart – is a gift from Allah (swt), and the most essential ingredients that contribute to a serene and placid heart are: remembrance of Allah (swt), gratitude and patience. Consequently, a heart that remains thankful and patient, while in constant remembrance of its Creator, can never lose peace of mind.