…Gratitude in the Qur’ân…

13 06 2008

by Imâm Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah


Allâh tells us:

“Then remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject Me”

(al-Baqarah 2:152).

And He has told us that only those who are grateful to Him truly worship Him:

“… and be grateful to Allâh, if it is Him you worship”

(al-Baqarah 2:172)

Allâh has mentioned gratitude alongside îmân, and has made it clear that He gains nothing from punishing His people if they give thanks to Him and believe in Him:

“What can Allâh gain by your punishment, if you are grateful and you believe?…”

(an-Nisâ’ 4:147)

In other words: if you carry out the duties for which you were created, namely gratitude and îmân, why should Allâh punish you?

Allâh has divided people into two categories, the people of gratitude (shukr) and the people of ingratitude (kufr). The thing most disliked by Him is kufr and the people of kufr, the thing most liked by Him is gratitude and the people of gratitude:

“We showed him (i.e. man) the way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will).”

(al-Insân 76:3)

According to the Qur’ân, the Prophet Sulaymân (AS) said:

“… This is by the grace of my Lord! – to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And if any is grateful, truly his gratitude is (a gain) for his own soul; but if any is ungrateful, truly my Lord is free of all needs, Supreme in honour!”

(an-Naml 27: 40)

And Allâh said:

“And remember! your Lord caused to be declared (publicly): ‘If you are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you; but if you show ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed’”

(Ibrâhîm 14:7).

“If you reject (Allâh), truly Allâh has no need of you; but He likes not ingratitude from His slaves: if you are grateful, He is pleased with you…”

(az-Zumar 39:7).

There are many âyât in the Qur’ân where Allâh makes a contrast between gratitude (shukr) and ingratitude (kufr). For example:

“Muhammad is no more than a Messenger: many were the Messengers that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will you then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allâh, but Allâh (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude”

(Āl ‘Imrân 3:144).

The rewards of gratitude

The reward of gratitude is unlimited:

“ …If you are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you…”

(Ibrâhîm 14:7)

In contrast, other rewards and divine favours are conditional upon His will, for example, relief from poverty:

“… but if you fear poverty, soon will Allâh enrich you, if He wills…”

(at-Tawbah 9:28 )

Answering prayers:

“Nay – on Him would you call, and if it be His Will, He would remove (the distress) which occasioned your call upon Him…”

(al-An‘âm 6:41).

Rizq (sustenance, provision):

“… He gives Sustenance to whom He pleases”

(ash-Shura 42:19).

Forgiveness:

“… He forgives whom He wills, and He punishes whom He wills…”

(al-Fath 48:14).

Divine mercy:

“Again will Allâh, after this, turn (in mercy) to whom He will…”

(at-Tawbah 9:27).

But Allâh has made the reward for gratitude free from any conditions, as in:

“… And swiftly shall We reward those that (serve Us with) gratitude”

(Āl ‘Imrân 3:145).

“But Allâh will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude”

(Āl ‘Imrân 3:144).

Iblîs and gratitude

When the enemy of Allâh realized the virtue of gratitude, he made his main aim to keep people away from it:

“‘Then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: nor will You find, in most of them, gratitude (for Your mercies).’”

(al-Ā‘râf 7:17)

Allâh has described the people of gratitude as being very few:

“… But few of My slaves are grateful!”

(Sabâ’ 43:13).

Gratitude and ‘ibâdah

Allâh explained in the Qur’ân that the only people who truly worship Him are those who give thanks (gratitude) to Him, so those who are not among the people of gratitude are not among the people of ‘ibâdah:

“… and be grateful to Allâh, if it is Him you worship”

(al-Baqarah 2:172)

He instructed His slave Mûsâ (AS) to accept what He had bestowed upon him with gratitude:

“…O Mûsâ! I have chosen you above (other) men, by the mission I (have given you) and the words I (have spoken to you): take then the (revelation) which I give you, and be of those who give thanks.”

(al-Ā‘râf 7:144)

Allâh has told us that His pleasure may be attained through gratitude:

“… If you are grateful, He is pleased with you…”

(az-Zumar 39:7).

Allâh praised Ibrâhîm (AS) for being grateful for His favours:

“Ibrâhîm was indeed a model. Devoutly obedient to Allâh, (and) true in faith, and he joined not gods with Allah. He showed his gratitude for the favours of Allâh, Who chose him, and guided him to a straight way.”

(an Nahl 16:120 121)

Allâh mentioned that gratitude is the purpose of creation:

“It is He Who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when you knew nothing; and He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affection: that you may give thanks (to Allâh).”

(an-Nahl, 16:78 )

“Allâh had helped you at Badr, when you were a contemptible little force; then fear Allâh; thus may you show your gratitude.”

(Āl ‘Imrân 3:123).

As well as being the purpose of creation, gratitude was also the purpose of sending the Prophet ( ):

“Then remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject Me.”

(al Baqarah 2:152).

Patience and Gratitude. By Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah. An abridgement of his original work entitled, “Uddat as-Sâbireen wa Dhâkirat by TaHa Publications


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