Gratitude has been something that I struggle with from time to time and it is even more apparent in times of crisis. It’s difficult to be thankful for when whatever we’re facing feels like there is no way out. Previously when I hit a setback or face some difficult situation, I’ve always felt like what is there to be grateful for? I didn’t know any better then and I certainly couldn’t see the wisdom behind it.
While watching the lecture by Ust Nouman Ali Khan, I was gifted a new perspective of things and I invite you to listen to the following lecture as well:
The Story of Prophet Musa (a.s) and Pharoah
The verse is in context of this particular story of Prophet Musa (a.s.) and Pharoah. To put briefly, it was a difficult time for the Bani Israil. The Pharoah as we all know was a tyrant and life was difficult under his rule. The Bani Israil was often oppressed and male babies were ordered to be killed. Prophet Musa (a.s) made du’a and brought the Bani Israil to escape from the Pharoah. Allah told Prophet Musa (a.s) to strike the sea with his staff and Allah parted the sea for them to pass through. Upon passing through, they realized that they had nothing (to start life over with). Prophet Musa (a.s.) gave a sermon that Allah wants to remind them that if they are grateful, Allah will surely give them more. After all, Allah did see them through to safety from the oppressor.
Shift your Focus
Ust Nouman says to shift your focus on something that you are grateful for when times are hard.
“And ˹remember˺ when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will certainly give you more.”
Allah says that if we are grateful, He will increase us. Increase us in what exactly? Well, it can be anything – rizq, peace, blessings but only at His time. It takes a lot to find things to be grateful for when facing hardships, but when we practice it we can be sure that Allah will reward us. Shifting your focus also helps you to deal with your hardship better.
A believer thinking positive is to be grateful to Allah. The more I think about it, the more it made sense! When you shift your focus to be grateful for something, even if it’s for past hardships that Allah took you out of you are already moving towards positive thinking. When you are grateful for what Allah has blessed you with despite the situation, you will feel some sort of peace and calm flooding into your heart and mind. And truly, when you are grateful, Allah will give you more, because you know He will bring you through whatever hardships that you are facing again and again. When we don’t have a sense of gratitude, the only harm we do is to ourselves and we may even start to feel vengeful.
I remember listening to a lecture (I apologize, I cannot remember from where) that Allah’s mercy comes in layers and what we are experiencing right now is jut 1/100 of the mercy that Allah has. Subhanallah! I cannot imagine the rest, and even now the thought of Allah’s infinite mercy could make me tear up. How loving Allah is, how nice Allah is.
Ustaz Nouman mentioned we should also take note of the language used here. Allah used “if” and “then” which means if we are grateful, the direct consequence is an increase (in blessings).
“But if you are ungrateful, surely My punishment is severe.”
In the second sentence, it serves as a warning or a reminder that the punishment for being ungrateful is severe. Allah wants to only remind us to not go down that path towards your own destruction. He is saying that the punishment severe but He does not want that to happen to us.
Subhanallah. How loving Allah is towards us.
Gratitude has to be constant. It has to be a way of life and not something you say once in a while just for the sake of. Gratitude isn’t just lip service. Gratitude comes from your heart and you need to feel it sincerely. I intend to start practicing gratitude by first remembering all those times that I didn’t have what I have now, and the countless times that Allah rescued me from my own crisis/bad days/hardships/unsavory situations in ways that I couldn’t imagine. He made it all better and that was His favour to me. Having gratitude shapes our attitude and actions. When we live in a state of gratitude, we will start to see the blessings of Allah.
Gratitude Journal (Action Plan)
Several weeks ago, I tuned in to Sumi’s seerah sharing and she mentioned gratitude journal. I decided to try it for myself and this is also one of the things that changed my perspective and made me more grateful for even the littlest things daily. I bought a notebook with gratitude prompts and made sure I wrote at least one thing I was grateful for daily. I remember writing down about being able to buy bubble tea even, because this rizq is indeed from Allah! I recommend you try it too. 🙂
Alhamdulillah ala kulli haal.