As a child, I prayed for the ability to pass tests and exams at school, and for the most part I did.
I prayed for wonderful holidays and wonderful gifts, and I got them.
As a teen, I asked for good friends, a happy life, a path to follow…it was given to me.
As a young adult, I prayed for a husband who would be kind and generous, who would be respectful and loving, who would help me grow in Imaan, and be a good father. I have one!
As a wife, I prayed for a child, then for another, and this too was given to me.
I prayed for the opportunity to go for Hajj…another dream came true, or rather another dua fulfilled.
As a mother, during that Hajj, I prayed for the opportunity to return with my children whilst they were still young, and that too was granted.
As an adult, prayed for a stronger bond with my family, my parents, and Allah made this happen too.
As a muslim woman, I prayed for an avenue to increase my own faith, and to build a stronger relationship with my Creator…I was afforded the good fortune of being a madressa teacher.
In teaching my own children the importance of making dua, and having faith in Allahs infinite bounty to us, I came to the realisation that there has also been innumerable duaas that I have asked for, begged for, cried for…and they have been granted to me!
But have I stopped to express my eternal gratitude or did my list just change having acquired something, did I just replace it with another?
So often, too often, we feel more amazed that a dua was answered, that we forget to express true heartfelt gratitude to our Rabb. The words ‘Shukr Alhamdulillah’ are lip-service, but do we feel our hearts overcome with sincere thanks?
And then I think of the other things I never prayed for today, food, clothing, shelter, good health, safety, and yet Allah has granted these to me too…
When we learn the art of appreciation, then we master the ability of contentment too. The Quran stresses the importance of expressing Shukr (Appreciation and Gratitude) to Allah. This should be accompanied by a genuine contentment with ones fortunes. Those who are content with what they have are often the ones who find true happiness. The following verse asserts the importance of appreciation, and its great reward :
“Your Lord has decreed : “The more you thank Me, the more I give you. But if you turn unappreciative, then My retribution is severe.” 14:7
In the Quran we are told that Allah’s blessings are so numerous that the human being can never count them all.
“God has brought you out of your mother”s stomachs knowing nothing, then He blessed you with your hearing, your eyesight and your brains, that you may be appreciative.” 16:78
Comparison steals from contentment, and lack of contentment steals from happiness. A common phrase on social media these days highlights this ‘Don’t compare someone elses highlight reel with your behind-the-scenes’ The converse of this is just as true, sincere gratitude leads to happiness, which in turn lends itself to contentment.
“It is God who designed the night so you can rest in it, and the day lighted. God bestows many blessings on people, but most people are not thankful.” 40:61
Let us take heed of this, let us be a people thankful of the Mercies of the Most Merciful!