22: To Give Thanks

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This Ramadan…

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This Ramadan… I will be grateful.

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Pick a day when you’ll try to be grateful to Allah.

Allah deserves our thanks all the time, and we shouldn’t limit our thanks in any way… but set aside one day when you’re more grateful than normal. A day when you wake up and go to sleep, and your whole goal is to be grateful to Allah, to thank Him, subhanahu wa ta’ala, as much as you possibly can.

When you rise from sleep, thank Allah with all your heart for the new day, the chance to start over. The chance to grow and get closer to Him. Thank Him for the air you’re taking in with your lungs, and for each breath He’s given you – without having to do anything on your part – since the day you were born.

When you stand up to pray, thank Him. Each time you recite the Fatiha – all seventeen plus times in your day – don’t pass over the phrase “Alhamdu-lillahi Rabb al-‘aalameen” without letting a feeling of gratefulness wash over. Gratefulness that you’re able to stand and bow down before your Lord, Most High.

And when your prayer is over, and you sit down to remember Allah… as you count “alhamdulillah” thirty-three times… reflect on all the things you’re grateful for. Thank Allah for your eyesight. Thank Him for your hearing. Thank Him for the fingers you’re counting on in that moment, then thank Him for your body and your health. Thank Him for the clothes you’re wearing, and the closet full of clothes at home. Thank him for the roof over your head and the family He’s blessed you with. With each “alhamdulillah” you utter, make sure you’re absolutely grateful in that instant for something. And don’t forget to thank Him for making you Muslim.

When you’re ready to break your fast, and you take that first bite out of your date, don’t forget that He’s just fed your hunger, and thank Him for it. As you let the first sip of water into your parched mouth and down your throat, drink in the gratefulness. Be grateful during iftar for each bite of food; be grateful for the comfort of going hungry during the day, all the while knowing you’ll have something to break your fast with at night. And thank Allah for the chance to have your du’aa answered that day while you were fasting.

And while you’re being grateful to Allah, don’t forget that part of being grateful to Him, subhanahu wa ta’ala, is also being grateful to people and taking the time to thank them. Thank them for being there for you. Thank them for helping you. Thank them for their assistance, big and small, and for doing things which make your existence easier and more pleasant.

Go through your whole day this way, trying your best to be grateful. Whenever you notice anything good in your life, be sure to attribute it back to Allah ‘azza wa jall. The more you try to count Allah’s blessings, the more you’ll realize the truth of Allah’s statement in the Qur’an,

And if you should count the favors of Allah, you would never be able to enumerate them. Truly! Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [16:18]

No matter how hard we try, we’ll never be grateful enough to Allah. But the harder we do try, the happier and more satisfied we’ll become with what we have, and the more Allah’s blessings will show in our lives:

And (remember) when your Lord declared, ‘If you are grateful, I will certainly increase you (in favor); but if you are thankless, indeed, My punishment is severe.'” [14:7]

Don’t let this Ramadan leave without becoming a more grateful person than when the month began!

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