FORMS OF GOD’S BLESSINGS
Who can ever count Allah’s blessings? And who can ever tell what shape or form they take? But this much we all know: they do include life and liberty and everything else that goes with them.
And the fact that God Almighty has put together a whole universe to sustain and make life and liberty possible for us seems among his very special favors on us.
Come to think of it, how is even a single human hair or breath possible without this most elaborate and infinite infrastructure, of what God Almighty calls in the Qur’an, of Assamaawaati wal ard?
Meaning heaven and earth.
Improving our careers, jobs and peace of mind – is that all part of Allah’s blessings on us?
Obtaining answers when we are happy or troubled – is that part of Allah’s love and blessings?
Easing traffic jams, when we most need them, and creating a way for us to slip through – is that from God?
Reducing the number and size of potholes – while the government may claim credit for that, when and if that happens, can it be a blessing from God?
Decreasing crime and road accidents and reducing the prices of essential commodities making life easier for people in Trinidad and everywhere else – when those things do happen, is that all part of God Almighty’s blessings on us?
Well, you get the idea.
Or why don’t you simply read the Qur’an: Wa in ta’uddoo ni’amatallahi laa tuhsoohaa?
Paraphrase: If you were to count Allah’s blessings, you will not be able to exhaust them?
ARE GOD’S BLESSINGS RELATED TO ANYTHING?
God’s love is boundless and God does not need a reason or justification why he should or should not bless us. And in what particular measure, form or format he should do so, if he chooses to do it.
The fact that he is God and he is our absolute owner and master, and we are his abject and wholly owned slaves, is reason and justification enough for any and every thing he does and how and when he does them.
But it is only reasonable to think that God’s mercy and blessings will somehow be related to our relationship with him and to the way we look at him and he looks at us.
The Qur’an says: Wa huwa ma’akum ainamaa kuntum.
Paraphrase: He, Allah, is with you wherever you are.
The Qur’an: Fa ainamaa tuwalloo fa thamma wajhullah.
Paraphrase: Wherever you turn, there you shall find him.
That means – as if we know anything God says or means – if we are serious and make an honest and diligent search for him, we will get closer to him.
We will get the answers we are looking for – the answers he wants to give us.
HOW ELSE TO GIVE THANKS
And then there was this caller who asked on Pasha Hour International if there were other gestures of thanks – other than saying thank you or God bless you – that Muslims can make to thank God or people?
I couldn’t understand what the caller meant by the word “gestures,” but here is part of what I said in reply.
Well, the point is Islam is all about making whatever ritual or token gestures we can make either to thank God or to thank people. But at the same time Islam is also not about gestures or empty rituals.
Islam is about going beyond gestures to the heart and soul of things.
Islam is about tapping into the real spirit that lies behind expressions of thanks. That means before saying thank you or God bless you, we have to think about these things deeply and make them a part of our souls and our personalities.
We have to find the bubbling fountain of love and respect and care and concern within us for our fellow human beings.
And for all of God’s creation.
It is out of that fountainhead of love, mercy, compassion and caring that we can really and truly thank people. Otherwise, an empty “Thank You!” may not mean all that much.
SOME OTHER “GESTURES” OF THANKS, MAYBE
Some other gestures, if that is what you want to call them, based on the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallaahu Alaihi wa Sallam, that can bring God’s blessings to you – and to God’s world in general – are these:
- If you see anything wrong or harmful being done by anyone to anyone – human or non-human – in this world, stop it!
But the question is how do you stop it?
- Stop it with your hand if you can, says the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
- But if you are incapable of stopping it with your hand, then stop it with your “mouth” – speak out against it, for example – he says.
- But if you cannot do even that, then at least resent it in your own heart and wish in some way that you can make God’s earth a better place for all people and for all things.
And Prophet Muhammad, Sallallaahu Alaihi wa Sallam, says, if you can’t even feel it in your heart, then that means you have absolutely not even an iota of belief inside you. You are no better than a pagan as it were, no matter how much you may claim to love, fear or worship God.
CIVIC SENSE IS US TOO
As Muslims, our middle name could have been “The Civic People.” For, civic engagement at the broadest as well as the most basic levels is what Islam is all about.
And here is the scale of civic engagement laid down by Prophet Muhammad, Sallallaahu Alaihi wa Sallam for the whole world: Removing a harmful object from the road is an act of charity.
How much simpler or more basic does it get?
For us, it should mean just another act of thanking God. At the same time, it should also count as a “gesture,” if you will, of showing gratefulness to people.
So, in this sense we invented civic engagement too.
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