A boss fired his employee of several years. When asked the reason, he remarked: “This ungrateful fellow simply cannot appreciate anything. Besides his salary I also pay the school fees for his children. I paid the hospital bill when his wife was sick. Often he is given some groceries to take home. Yet after all this he defies my instructions and does not complete the work that is given to him. How can I ever tolerate such ingratitude.”

Subhanallah! Ingratitude is never tolerated. Almost everyone at some time has become extremely annoyed when a person upon whom he has showered his favours disobeyed or defied him. Yet, all the favours that we can confer on a person, all the hospital bills and school fees that we can pay and all the grocery hampers that we may give are nothing compared to the favours and bounties that Allah Ta’ala has showered upon us. Thus the question we need to ask ourselves is: Are we grateful to Allah Ta’ala for His innumerable favours and bounties? 

Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was a complete embodiment of shukr. One night he spent many hours standing in Salaah. This resulted in his feet swelling up. When asked as to why he subjected himself to such difficulty whereas Allah Ta’ala had made him sinless, he replied: “Should I not be a grateful servant.”



At every occasion we have been taught to remember the favours of Allah Ta’ala and express our gratitude to Him. In this regard the practical lesson of our beloved Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is a great eye-opener. After leaving the toilet Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) would recite the following dua: “(O Allah) I seek Your forgiveness. All praise is due to Allah Who has removed from me what was harmful and granted me relief.” What a wonderful dua! Every word is soaked in expressing shukr (gratitude) to Allah Ta’ala. Imagine what would be the condition if one does not manage to relieve oneself? Have we ever expressed shukr to Allah Ta’ala for this favour?



While expressing shukr  verbally is also necessary, the most important aspect of shukr is to be practically grateful to Allah Ta’ala. How? Simply by refraining from His disobedience and by fulfilling His instructions. If we cannot tolerate that the one who we have favoured should disobey us despite the insignificance of our favours, how can we boldly disobey Allah Ta’ala, Who has blessed us with countless blessings, and yet have hope in His Mercy? Hence Allah Ta’ala declares in the Glorious Qur’an: “If you are grateful I will increase for you (my bounties) and if you are ungrateful, verily my punishment is severe” (14:7).



The reason for the present pitiable condition of the Ummah can be easily gleaned from this aayah. Throughout the world Muslims are being brutally battered. Various plots are being hatched to exterminate the Muslims. Locally Muslims are gripped with fear due to the mayhem, murder and rampant crime wave that is sweeping through the country. The economic situation is becoming gloomier due to which even many wealthy people are staring at poverty in the face. This is indeed the punishment of Allah Ta’ala as a result our extreme ingratitude for His favours.



Consider just some of the priceless physical bounties of Allah Ta’ala and to what extent we use these very bounties to disobey Him. The forehead which should have been in sajda at the time of Fajar is still snugly under the blanket. The hands that should have been tied in humility before Allah Ta’ala in Salaah at the time of Zuhar and Asr are busy counting rands and cents. The feet that should have been walking towards the Musjid during Maghrib and Esha are perched in front of Shaitaan’s tool - the television. Is this gratitude? Can we expect this to be tolerated?

Also, the tongue is forever engaged in gheebat (backbiting), the eyes are engaged in zina (whether on the streets, in workplaces, on the T.V. or anywhere else), the ears in listening to music. How many hands have taken bribes, handled stolen goods, taken and given interest, taken intoxicants, etc? How often hearts have plotted and planned various schemes to disobey the very Creator of the heart? The list of our ingratitude is endless. This is not the case of disobeying someone who paid a mere hundered thousand rands in hospital bills on our behalf for a heart operation. It is disobedience of the Maker and Bestower of that heart - the heart which the entire world cannot pay for.

What about the wealth that Allah Ta’ala has granted us? Are we grateful for it? Is not the squandering of this wealth on haraam activities, haraam commodities, wasteful wedding customs, etc., the height of ingratitude? The above aspects are merely some examples of our ingratitude. These examples make it absolutely clear that we have by our actions invited the Divine wrath upon ourselves. Allah Ta’ala has already explained this to us in the following parable:

“And Allah Ta’ala gives you the parable of a city that was peaceful and content. It’s sustenance came to it abundantly from everywhere. Alas! They then showed ingratitude to the favours of Allah Ta’ala. Hence Allah Ta’ala clad them in clothing of hunger (poverty) and fear” (16:112).



The solution is obvious — BE GRATEFUL TO ALLAH TA’ALA. We eat the food that He provided. We drink the water that He rained down. We breathe the air that He provided. How then can we dare be disobedient and ungrateful to Him? Again, mere lip service will not be sufficient. Practical gratitude is necessary. At least bow down in front of our Creator five times daily (the five fardh Salaah). Fulfil our responsibilities to Him and to His creation. Abandon all sins. This will draw the Mercy of Allah Ta’ala.

May Allah Ta’ala make us His truly grateful servants. Aameen.

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