Thanksgiving in Islam
By Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi
[Then do ye remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and reject not Faith.] (Al-Baqarah 2:152)
[And remember when your Lord proclaimed, “If ye are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you; but if ye show ingratitude, truly My torment is terrible indeed.”] (Ibrahim 14:7)
[We bestowed wisdom on Luqman: “Show (thy) gratitude to Allah.” Any who is (so) grateful does so to the profit of his own soul; but if any is ungrateful, verily Allah is free of all wants, worthy of all praise.] (Luqman 31:12)
The Qur’anic word for thanks is shukr. It is mentioned in the Qur’an many times. It is the quality of human beings and it is also the quality of Allah. According to scholars, shukr means the consideration of the favor and its acknowledgment. Shukr from the human means the recognition of the favor. Shukr from Allah means the reward and appreciation.
Shukr is a very important principle in Islam. It is a quality of the believers and it is a source of all goodness. Shukr is used in the Qur’an sometimes as equivalent to faith. The faithful are thankful people and the unfaithful are ungrateful people. Allah has described His prophets and messengers among those who were thankful people. Prophet Noah was a grateful servant of Allah (Al-Israa’ 17:3). Prophet Abraham used to thank Allah for His many blessings (Al-Nahl 16:121). Prophet David and his family were told to be grateful to Allah (Saba’ 34:13). Allah told His Prophet Muhammad: (Nay, but worship Allah, and be of those who give thanks) (Az-Zumar 39:66).
Allah also promised:
[Nor can a soul die except by Allah’s leave, the term being fixed as by writing. If any do desire a reward in this life, We shall give it to him; and if any do desire a reward in the Hereafter, We shall give it to him. And swiftly shall We reward those that who are thankful.] (Aal `Imran 3:145)
In Islam, thanksgiving is not only a particular religious act or service; it is the whole life. The whole life should be lived in obedience to our Ultimate Benefactor, Allah. He has been good to us and so in our thankfulness we should worship Him, obey His commands and orders. Our daily Prayers, our fasting during Ramadan, our zakah and Hajj are all our acts of thanksgiving. We should do them not only as duties that must be performed but as our gratitude to our Lord and Creator.
Furthermore, we should remind ourselves that we are constantly under Allah’s favors and blessings. There are many special prayers that the Prophet taught us to keep us on the path of gratitude and thankfulness.
When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) went to bed, he would say, “In Your name I die and I live.” And when he woke up, he would say, “Thanks be to Allah Who brought us to life after He made us to die, and to Him is the resurrection” (Al-Bukhari).
When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ate or drank, he would say, “Thanks be to Allah Who gave us food and drink and made us Muslims” (At-Tirmidhi).
Whenever the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) put on any new garment, he would say, “O Allah, thanks be to You; You gave me this to wear. I ask You to give me the good of this dress and the good for which it is made and I ask You to protect me from the evil of this dress and from the evil of that for which it is made” (At-Tirmidhi).
When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) mounted his camel to go on a journey he would to say “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest) three times and then he would say, “[Glory to Him Who has subjected these to our (use), for we could never have accomplished this (by ourselves). And to our Lord, surely, must we turn back!] [Az-Zukhruf 43:13]. O Allah, we ask You on this journey righteousness and piety and the deeds that are pleasing to You. O Allah, make this journey easy for us and shorten its distance. O Allah, You are the Companion in journey and You are the Guardian for the family (left behind). O Allah, we ask You to protect us from the exhaustion of journey, from bad scenes, and from bad return to our property and family.” When he returned he would say, “Returning, repenting, worshiping, and praising our Lord” (Muslim).
Islam does not only teach us to thank Allah, but we are also told to thank our parents, our spouses, our friends, our neighbors, and all those who do any good to us. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Those who do not thank people, they do not thank Allah” (At-Tirmidhi).
* Excerpted with some modifications from:
** Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi is the President of the Fiqh Council of North America.
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