Shukr (Thankfulness) to Allah should lead to his Obedience
What is it to be Thankful?
Muslims in Canada have endured a difficult year considering the lockdown measures imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After facing several restrictions on movement, Muslims in Canada are able to experience the blessings of normal life once more.
Whether it be the ability to attend the Masjids, socialize with family and friends, or going out to permissible attractions, these blessings were something overlooked by most prior to the pandemic.
Though it has been embedded in our Deen that being Thankful to Allah (swt) is something that should be something constant in the heart and tongue of every believer, the question is what does it mean to be truly a Thankful servant of Allah (swt)?
As Muslims living under the system of Capitalism, the man-made ideology which removes Allah (swt) from legislation, we are subject to adopting the thinking, emotions, and attitudes that the system presents. One of that being not thanking and recognizing the Creator of the universe, Allah (swt) as the source of all Blessings the human being experiences on earth.
Hence, we may sometimes say Alhamdulillah (All Praises due to Allah) on our tongues; however, not fully appreciate its meaning and the effect should have on our perspective on reality. We still look at our achievements in life as things we earned and deserve due to our efforts exclusively and do not see Allah (swt) as the bestower of such bounties and hence we see no one to payback with appreciation with what we have.
Reality of the Problem
An example of thanking other than Allah (swt) for his successes is the modern-day Qaroon; Jeff Bezos the richest man on earth, founder of Amazon. After successfully making a space flight with his company Blue Origin; he took stage to show appreciation. He said, “I also want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this”. In order words he thanked the mechanisms required in Capitalism for his achievement of flying into space, customers and capital (employees).
This should lead us to question the Capitalist system where Allah (swt) is taken out of the picture for being the source of all the resources and blessing that give humans their happiness. That includes even space travel which does not occur except with his permission (swt); wherein He mentions in Surah ar-Rahman,
“O assembly of jinn and men! If you have power to pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, then pass beyond (them)! But you will never be able to pass them, except with authority (from Allah)!” [55:33 TMQ]
We as Muslims must realize firstly that Allah (swt) is the source and cause of all good things we have.
Allah (swt) says “And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Verily, man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, a disbeliever” [14:34 TMQ]
Indeed Allah -the one who is as-Samad -the one everything depends on for its existence; and He Depends on none, is the source of blessings and bounties we have. This includes the physical material benefits like oxygen, water, food, our parents, our children, our ability to earn Rizq (sustenance), our spouses and the material possessions we own.
Also, we need to be Thankful to Allah (swt) for His guidance i.e., Islam that He has given us as Muslims.
“All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has guided us to this, and never could we have found Guidance, were it not that Allah had guided us! Indeed, the Messengers of our Lord did come with the truth.”[7:43 TMQ]
And from the definition standpoint the meaning of Shukr in Arabic means “to recognize the blessings of the bestower in a way the one who receives it shows humility”.
Ibn al-Qayyim (rh) adds “al-Shukr is to make apparent the signs of the blessings of Allah(swt) on the tongue of the slave by statements and recognition and in terms of his Heart with love and witnessing, and upon his limbs with following his command and Obeying him”
Also, we need to appreciate an amazing fact that from the Characteristics of Allah (swt) is He is Al-Shakoor; the one who appreciates the Good Deeds His servant does! Being the Creator and Lord of Man; Allah (swt) appreciates whenever the believers put forth sincere efforts in His obedience.
“And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it, with the necessary effort due for it while he is a Mu’min- then such are the ones whose striving shall be appreciated, (thanked and rewarded by Allah).” [17:19 TMQ]
Thanking Allah (swt) in Action
We must realize that Thanking Allah (swt) is not merely a statement on the tongue or just the realization of His bounty over us in the heart. Rather it must also manifest in actions of Obedience to Him. This is best demonstrated by the Master of the Creation and Final Messenger Muhammad (saw).
In a narration in Sahih Muslim; Mughira bin Shu’ba (ra) reported that Allah’s Messenger (saw) worshipped so much that his feet were swollen. It was said to him:
“Why do you undergo so much hardship despite the fact that Allah has pardoned for you your earlier and later sins? Thereupon he said: Shall I not be a grateful servant (of Allah)?
Hence, we see that RasoolAllah (saw) recognized that the bounties of Allah (swt) must be repaid back with increase of Obedience and observance of His commands.
Also, we see Allah (swt) connects action directly with making Shukr apparent; wherein He says to Dawud (as)
“Work you, O family of Dâwûd (David), with thanks!” But few of My slaves are grateful.” [34;13 TMQ]
The meaning of the verse being do things that will show gratitude to Allah (swt) for what He has given you, and that is through following His commands.
So, looking at the examples of the Messengers (as); and that of the Final Messenger Muhammad (saw); we must realize that it is through righteous actions we can manifest true Thankfulness to Allah (swt).
After appreciating the bounties of Allah (swt) this past Eid with our family, friends and visiting our Masjids; we as Muslims have realized truly the blessings of Allah (swt) in the things we see as ordinary. This must lead us to further finding ways to manifest the Shukr to Allah (swt)in our actions of Obedience.
Understanding that today we as Muslims are the only true people on earth who give Allah (swt) His right due as the possessor and giver of Bounties; we must strive against the global Capitalist system built on secularism which seeks to make Man and his efforts the exclusive source of all Bounties.
This can only be done by engaging in the work to bring back the Islamic way of life via the Khilafah; the system of Islam that the master of Thankfulness RasoolAllah (saw) brought through establishing the first Islamic state in Madinah and then turning it into a beacon of light for the rest of mankind.
Let us show Allah (swt) indeed we are from the few; the one who He describes as Thankful ” But few of My slaves are grateful.” By establishing his Law on earth and removing the corrupt system of Capitalism from the Muslim lands which is built on ingratitude.