Shukur – Thankfulness

As-salámu ‘alaikum wa rahmatul láhi wa barakátuh!”
“A-úthu billáhi minash shaytánir rajeem. Bismilláhir rahmánir raheem.
Al hamdu lillahi nahmaduhu wanasta’eenahu, wanastagh-firuhu, wanatoobu ilayhi, wana’oothu Billaahi min shuroori an-fusinaa, wamin sayyi aati a’maalinaa. May- Yahdillahu fa huwal muhtad, wa may- yudlill falan tajidaa lahu waliyan murshida. Wa ash-hadu an Laa ilaaha ill-Alláh, wahdahoo laa shareeka lah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhoo warasooluh”

In the name of Allah most merciful, most compassionate

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

For this week, the topic of our khutba is shukur – thankfulness. In one of his hadiths, our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) asserts the point that: “There are five things that people do not realise the value/importance of until it is taken away from them: health before sickness; youth before old age; life before death; wealth before poverty and the value of free time.” (Bukhari)

We have so much to be grateful for. “Do you not see that God has made serviceable unto you whatsoever is in the skies and whatsoever is in the earth, and has loaded you with His bounties seen or unseen?” (31:20)

Allah has thousands of different species of creatures and has placed the human being in the centre as the most valuable and the most cherished of creation. Then He has created everything under its command. And amongst all His bounties He has placed food (rizq) in the centre as the most valuable bounty. And He has created it in abundance in different flavours, colours, shapes and textures to exhibit His art. He has also endowed us with the tool through which we can benefit from these blessings, the tongue, which has the ability to detect and taste hundreds and thousands of different flavours.

Shukur (gratefulness) for the sustenance (rizq) we have been given makes that blessing become eternal. When one is thankful for what he has eaten, a light is produced and it becomes a fruit of paradise ready for us to consume in the hereafter. Otherwise without thanksgiving this material pleasure will disappear and become nothing more than waste matter. If the tongue is used for gratitude and praise then perishable consumed blessings will become eternal fruits waiting to be picked. Otherwise the tongue will be no more than a mere gateway leading to one’s stomach.

However, ungratefulness is to deny the bounties sent by Allah. In surah Ar-Rahman which mentions the various blessing bestowed upon humans, each verse is followed by,

(Arabic of verse and transliteration)
Then which of your Lord’s bounties do you deny?” which is repeated no less than 31 times!
He gives you all that you ask Him; and if you reckon the bounties of God, you can never count them”. (14:34)

It is important to know where the blessings have come from and to show gratitude to the One to whom it is due. Do not thank the waiter for the spread, or the postman for the letter but rather the one who has prepared the meal and the one who has written the letter.

In fact shukur is so important that it is considered to be half of one’s faith, the other half being patience.

Verses on Thankfullness

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the Holy Qur’an, Allah (swt) repeatedly commands thankfulness from His servants:

Mention me so that I will mention you, and give thanks to Me and do not be ungrateful to Me” (2:152)

Despite the fact that it is our duty to be grateful for the bounties that are bestowed upon us, it is from Allah’s infinite mercy that He will reward those who acknowledge this virtue. “We shall reward those who are thankful” (3:144)

If you are grateful I will increase my bounties upon you.” (14:7)

Allah makes increasing His blessings and bounties conditional upon gratitude. Not upon worship, prayer or charity. And there is no limit to the increase in His blessings. Therefore gratitude is the key to unlocking the treasures of Allah’s generosity. Umar bin Abdul Aziz (ra) said, “Join Allah’s generosity towards you with your gratitude towards Him.

Hz Ali (ra) said, “Allah’s generosity is linked to gratitude, and gratitude is linked to increase in His generosity. The generosity of Allah will not stop increasing unless the gratitude of His servants ceases.

How to Be Thankful

Allah (swt) has linked gratitude with belief. He says: “What has Allah to do with punishing you, if you are grateful and believe?” (4:147) But its interesting to see that gratefulness is mentioned before belief.

Gratitude is thanking the One who grants blessings for His generosity. The gratitude of a servant should have 3 qualities: inner recognition and appreciation of the blessing, speaking about it openly, and using it as a means of worshipping Allah.

Shukur is a matter of the heart, the tongue and the limbs. The heart is for the knowledge and recognition of bounties and expressing love for the All-Bountiful; the tongue is for thanking and praising him; and the limbs are to be used in obeying the One being thanked. Therefore, we use our body and faculties for the purpose for which they were intended/ created – by performing our duties of servanthood.

Hz Hasan (ra) said “speak about His generosity frequently, for even speaking about it is a form of gratitude.” This is confirmed with the verse which states, “As for the favour of your Lord, proclaim it (speak about it)” (93:11)

Virtue of the Prophets

Being thankful is also a virtue of the prophets (PBUT). The Qur’an states: “(Ibrahim) was thankful for His bounties” (16:121) and “Assuredly Noah was a grateful servant” (17:3)

The messenger (saw) said “Prophet David (as) asked God Almighty ‘O Lord, how can I be thankful to You, since thanking You is another favour that requires thankfulness?’ (Meaning, we have not been able to thank You as thanking You requires).The Almighty responded: ‘Just now you have done so.’ ”

The best of creation, Allah’s Messenger (saw) was the matchless example of thankfulness whereby His feet would become swollen from standing all night performing supererogatory prayers to Allah (swt). On one occasion, Aisha (ra) asked. “Why do you do this when Allah has already forgiven you for all your past and future wrong actions?” In reply he said, “Should I not still be a grateful servant?” (Bukhari)

He always thanked Allah, recommended his companions to be thankful to Allah and prayed every morning and evening by saying, “O God. Help me mention You, thank You and worship You in the best possible way.” (Nasa’i)

One who is not thankful for little is not thankful for abundance” (Ibn hanbal)

One who does not thank people does not thank God” (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)

When the enemy of Allah (Satan) learnt of the value of gratitude (that it is one of the highest and most exalted states), he directed his efforts in distancing people from it. “Then I will approach them from their front, their back and their left sides and their right sides; and you will find that most of them are not grateful.” (7:17)

Unfortunately, this fact is recognised within the Qur’an, for Allah (swt) states that: “Few of My servants are thankful” (34:13)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May Allah protect us from the evil arrows of the Shaytan and allow us to be among those who are grateful to our Merciful Creator Allah (swt).

Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘Aalameen. Was-salaatu was-salaamu alaa Khayril mursaleen. Muhammadin-nabeey-yil Ummiy-yee, wa-‘alaa aalihee, wa sahbihee, aj-ma’een.
Ammaa ba’ad:
Innalláha wa malaaikata yusallúna alan nabi. Yá ay yuhal latheena ámanu sallú alayhi wasalli mú tas leema. Allahumma salli alá Muhammad, wa ala áli Muhammad, kama salayta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali Ibrahim. Allahumma barik ala Muhammad, wa alaa áli Muhammad, kama barakta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali ibrahim. Fil ála meen, innaka hameedun majeed.”

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