Assalamu alaykum and welcome.
Let me begin by indulging in an an anecdote. When I was younger and still a Christian I would go to church every Sunday. There was another church we would pass on the way that had a scrolling marquee. It would often list events going on, bible verses, and give inspirational messages. One time while driving by the sign was scrolling along and then stopped on the phrase “Count your blessing.” Singular. My mother and I had a good laugh about this. “Count your blessing?” we would say, “okay. One.” Of course the expression is “count your blessings” but the limitations of the marquee or perhaps the mistake of the programmer created this humorous alternative.
In trying times it’s easy to forget all our blessings or to take them for granted. It’s in our nature to always want more.
“If the son of Ādam had a valley full of gold, he would love to have two valleys, for nothing fills his mouth except dust. And Allāh forgives him who repents.” [Sahih Bukhāri, Volume 8 Book 76 Number 447]
So lets take a step back and take a look at all the blessing that we do have and remember to be grateful for those blessings.
Firstly, lets remind ourselves that we are blessed with more blessings than we realize. We are blessed with more blessings than we can count!
“And He gave you whatever you asked for. If you (try to) count the bounties of Allah, you cannot count them all. Indeed, man is highly unjust, very ungrateful.” (14:34)
“If you count the bounties of Allah, you cannot count them all. Surely, Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.” (16:18)
If you’re still a little stuck, Allah reminds us of some of these blessings.
“And among His signs is that He sends winds giving good news (of rain), and so that He gives you a taste of His mercy, and that the ships may sail with His command, and that you may search for His grace, and you may be grateful.” (30:46)
O you who believe, eat of the good things We have provided to you and be grateful to Allah, if it is He whom you worship (in real terms).” (2:172)
And this leads me into my next point. When we are reminded of these blessings we should also remember to be grateful. We cannot spend all day in prostration out of gratitude for all our blessings and thankfully we do not have to do this – yet another thing to be grateful for! So how do we show our gratitude? Firstly, we acknowledge where our blessings have come from:
“Whatever blessing you have is from Allah. Then, once you are touched by distress, to Him alone you cry for help. Then, as soon as He removes the distress from you, a group from among you starts ascribing partners to their Lord. Thus, they deny what We have given to them. Well, enjoy yourself (for some time), and soon you will come to know (the fate of your misdeeds).” (16: 53-55)
We save ourselves from punishment by remembering where our blessings have come from and we do not try to claim those blessing have come from any other than Allah.
We should also strive to act in accordance with Allah’s will to show our gratitude.
Narrated Aisha: The Prophet used to offer prayer at night (for such a long time) that his feet used to crack. I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Why do you do it since Allah has forgiven you your faults of the past and those to follow?” He said, “Shouldn’t I love to be a thankful slave (of Allah)?’ [Sahih Bukhāri, Volume 6 Book 60 Number 361]
While many of us may not be able to emulate the prophet (SAW) and stand in prayer all night out of gratitude until our legs and feet are swollen, we can do our best to use our bodies for good. If you can speak you can speak with good words and make dawah. If you are healthy enough and have the means, you can do hajj. A more articulate explanation of how to show our gratitude for our blessings can be found here
Of course we all know what happens when we act in accordance to Allah’s will (hint: paradise) so it’s always in our best interest to take a minute and remind ourselves of our blessing to help us along. So the next time you’re feeling down, take in a deep breath and thank Allah for that breath you just took by exhaling “ALLAH AKBAR!”