Allah created man well. And placed every faculty, organ and body part in the best and most appropriate place.
ثُمَّ سَوَّاهُ وَنَفَخَ فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِهِ ۖ وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ ۚ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَشْكُرُونَ
Then He proportioned him and breathed into him from His [created] soul and made for you hearing and vision and hearts; little are you grateful. (Al-Sajdah:9)
Everything about the human body is so well proportioned and perfect. Allah has given us ears to hear, eyes to see and hearts that not only pump blood, but that also enable us to feel, reason and have emotions. Yet we are not truly grateful to Allah for these blessings.
In gratitude, all these sensory organs are involved. Shukr is to see the numerous blessings in your life, and then to acknowledge and accept them within your heart, whilst knowing that it is Allah who has bestowed them upon you. And this is followed by saying alhamdulillah with your tongue, and then using those blessings with your limbs, in a manner pleasing to Allah.
Gratitude is to recognize what you have and to value it, instead of looking at what you don’t have and start complaining. Gratitude is also not just to look at the big blessings in your life – like the car, the house or the children, but also at the small things, because it is the small things that we take for granted sometimes. Like a glass of water for example.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Allah is pleased with the slave who eats and praises Him for it or takes a drink and praises Him for it.” [Muslim]
But gratitude is not just for the good things in life. Gratitude needs to be expressed even in difficult situations. Because even in those moments, Allah has kept blessings, although it may not seem so obvious to you. For example, when you feel tired, or you have a headache, your body is telling you something – maybe drink more water or get some sleep. Many people begin to complain and lose hope when going through a difficulty, but perhaps Allah is teaching them something through that situation. Perhaps there is a blessing in disguise.
وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تَكْرَهُوا۟ شَيْـًۭٔا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌۭ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تُحِبُّوا۟ شَيْـًۭٔا وَهُوَ شَرٌّۭ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not. [al-Baqarah:216]
When the Prophet (saw) received something good, he would say, “Alhamdulillahil ladhee bi ni’matihi tatimmus saalihaat”, (good things are perfected) and when the opposite happened, he (saw) would say, “alhamdulillah ‘alaa kulli haal.” [Ibn Maajah]
Praise belongs to Allah in every situation, good and difficult times. Every action of Allah has some wisdom behind it. We may not see it immediately, but in due time a person may look back and say alhamdulillah for going through that situation.
Abu Bakrah (ra) said, “When the Prophet (saw) heard any news that made him glad, he would fall down prostrating to Allah, may He be exalted.”
And we should make du’a to Allah that we use our faculties for good and righteous work that benefits mankind. And we must also strive to be among the ‘few’ who are grateful.
اللَّهُمَّ مَتِّعْنِي بِسَمْعِي، وَبَصَرِي، وَاجْعَلْهُمَا الْوَارِثَ مِنِّي، وَانْصُرْنِي عَلَى مَنْ يَظْلِمُنِي، وَخُذْ مِنْهُ بِثَأْرِي
“O Allah, benefit me with my hearing and my sight, and make it the inheritor from me, and aid me against whoever oppresses me, and take vengeance from him for me.” [al-Tirmidhi]