What does it truly mean to be thankful to Allah for the blessings He has given us?
Ibn al-Qayyim explains, “To be thankful to Allah (shukr) implies manifesting the effects of Allah’s blessings on you. So the heart witnesses these blessings and loves Him for it; the tongue acknowledges these blessings and praises Him for it; and the body submits and obeys Him because of it.”
Sadly, most people are not truly thankful to Allah, as He Himself reminds us: “And few of My Servants give thanks (shakūr) to me” [Sura Saba: 13].
May Allah make us of the thankful!
The great scholar Ibn al-Qayyim RA gave some amazing and life-changing advice for the believer:
Practising patience is as important in the good times as it is in the tough times. And we will only have patience in the tough times – when we so desperately will need it – if we’ve established it during times of ease, or at least reflected over it, or indeed lived it with others in *their* time of need – something which is truly the sign of a blessed individual.
We should all prepare a place in our hearts and minds where we can accommodate all the tragedies which will sooner or later come to our lives, but this is an economy that few people care to practice.
I’m not trying to be pessimistic. Our Prophet ﷺ was not seeking forgiveness all the time because he was a sinner, and neither did His Lord command him regularly to patience because his entire life was a tragedy. It wasn’t. But it would be a real tragedy for us if we were only to think that to be in a blessed state of humbling ourselves before Allah, or to be told to be patient, is only applicable when we are in a bad moment, or a rut in life, or a mid-life crisis.
Patience is realism. It is understanding that whatever we are experiencing at the moment – whether we perceive it to be good or bad – is all ultimately a test on whether you stay *real* or not, whether you attribute your blessing correctly to the One who gave it to you.
That’s why being patient and worshipping your Lord in a consistent, deep, quality manner during your good times is far more difficult than in the bad times. You can’t see the problem. You can’t feel the grief you need to be patient with. The heart doesn’t feel enough pain to kick in the patience reflex. You don’t feel the need to thank Allah because things are so good “without Him”.
That’s why Ibn Taymiyyah termed this type of patience the more challenging and the more rewarding. Think about it: the majority of the world’s population have failed in this type of patience. And worse, Allah tells us that He continues to bless them with the dunya and good times and that they’ll continue in their heedlessness and leave this life whilst actually being content with their disbelief.
That is why when we see those who have been blessed with so much in this life and yet they still preserve their values, their Deen, their thanks to their Creator, and their thanks and connection to the normal folks around them, then we still call this “patience” even though it may not seem so. And what do we say about this person? “He still keeps it *real*.” That’s why patience is a permanent state we must incorporate in our lives, and we must create that space where we are always alert and aware. As I said, patience is realism.
This is thus the development of patience. This is why anyone who truly understands patience, has truly understood Islam, reality, and life itself.
~Ustadh Abu Easa
Bismillah Walhamdulillah Wassalatu Wassalamu ala Rasulillah
Imam Ash-Shafi’ee (rahimahumAllah)
Imam Ash-Shafi’ee was born in Gaza and moved to Mecca when he was two years old. He went to Madeenah and was as a student of Imam Malik who was very impressed with this young student.
Some quotes by him
“When my heart was hardened, and my courses constrained; I made my hope a stairway to Your forgiveness. My sins burdened me heavily, but when I measured it by Your forgiveness, Lord, Your forgiveness was the greater.”
“Whoever slanders to you about others, will slander about you. And whoever reports to you, will soon report about you.”
“Knowledge is that which benefits, not that which is memorized.”
“Let not your tongue mention the shame of another For you yourself are covered in shame and all men have tongues. If your eye falls upon the sins of your brother Shield them and say: “O my eye! All men have eyes!””
“I wish that people learnt this knowledge from me without ascribing one letter of it to me.”
“Whoever wishes that Allah will illuminate him, let him leave that which doesn’t concern him.”
“When the foolish one speaks, do not reply to him, for better than a response (to him) is silence, and if you speak to him you have aided him, and if you left him (with no reply) in extreme sadness he dies.”
“To admonish your brother in private is to advise him and improve him. But to admonish him publicly is to disgrace and shame him.”
“Three things will increase your intellect: sitting with the scholars, sitting with righteous people, and leaving off speech that doesn’t concern you.”
“Intercession is only sought by one of a lower status before a superior and no one is superior to Allah.”
“All humans are dead except those who have knowledge. And all those who have knowledge are asleep, except those who do good deeds. And those who do good deeds are deceived, except those who are sincere. And those who are sincere are always in a state of worry.”
“I have never debated with a knowledgeable person, except that I won the debate, and I have never debated with an ignorant person, except that I lost.”
“I never once argued with anyone hoping to win the debate; rather I always wished that the truth would come from his side.”
“The foolish one addresses me with words of disgrace, but I hate to respond to him in a similar manner. The more ignorant he proves, the more patient I become. Just like the incense; the more it’s burnt, the more it releases its fragrance.”
“O my soul! It is not, except a few days of patience; As if the extent were but a few dreams. O my soul! Pass quickly on through this world; And leave it, for indeed life lies ahead of it.”
“I complained to Imam Waqee’ of my weak memory; he advised me to abstain from sins; for, verily, knowledge is a light from Allah; and this light of Allah is not awarded to sinners.”
“When I see a man from the Adherents of Hadith, it is as if I have seen the Prophet – Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – alive.”
“Be aware of your tongue, its dangerous! It’s like a snake and so many people have been killed by their tongues.”
“I heard Ash-Shafi’ee say, “A man does not become complete in this life except when he has four [qualities]: religiousness (al-diyanah), trustworthiness (al-amanah), safeguarding [from sin] (al-siyanah) and sobriety (al-razanah).” – Imam Al-Buwayti (rahimahumAllah)
“Be hard on yourself, easy on others.”
“Do you mock the supplication and belittle it? While you do not know what it has the power to do! The arrows of the night (du’a) do not miss target But they have a set limit, which shall come to end. So if my Lord wishes, He holds it back. And if the decree is to be fulfilled, He sets it forth.”
“Were this world to be sold on the market, I would not buy it for a loaf of bread, for all the troubles it contains.”
“Knowledge without action is arrogance.”
(1) Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen:
“It is fitting that a person always asks Allaah to purify his heart. He should devote his attention to the actions of the heart. The care a person gives to the actions of the heart must be more than the care he gives to the actions of the body–because everyone performs bodily actions, the believer and the hypocrite.”
(Tafseer Surah al-Maa’idah, vol. 1, p. 410.)
(2) ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab said to Mu’aawiyah bin Abi Sufyan:
“If I slept during the day I would have neglected the people, and if I slept during the night I would have neglected myself. How can I sleep when I have these two concerns, O Mu’aawiyah?
[Futooh Misr Wa Al-Maghrib, p.105]
(3) Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim:
“Grief weakens the heart and determination, & hurts the will; and nothing is more beloved to Shaytan than a sad believer”
(4) Ali (ra):
“All that you expect to come will soon come.’ For this reason, be optimistic!”
(All that you fear may very well end up happening to you if you keep thinking about it. Think positively. Expect good from Allah. And work towards this).
(5) Ibn Rajab al Hambali (may Allah have mercy on him):
“Whoever is mindful of Allah when he is young and strong, Allah will take care of him when he is old and has become weak, and will bless him with good hearing, eyesight, strength and intellect. One of the scholars who lived beyond the age of one hundred years and enjoyed good strength and reasoning jumped up in a lively manner one day, and was asked about that. He said: ‘I kept these physical faculties from sin when i was young, and Allah has preserved them for me now that I am old.’ The opposite also applies. One of the Salaf saw an old man begging from people and said: ‘ This is a weak man who ignored Allah when he was young. So, Allah is ignoring him now that he has grown old.’”
(Jami’ al-ulum wal Hikam)
(6) Imam Al-Hasan Al-Basree:
“To endure short-lived difficulties that are followed by long lasting ease, is better than hurrying for a short-lived ease that is followed by ever-lasting hardship.”
(7) Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Masud (radia Allahu anhu):
“It befits the bearer of the Qur’an to be known by his night when the people are asleep; by his day when the people are feasting; by his caution when the people mix [the lawful and the unlawful]; by his humility when the people are proud; by his grief when the people are happy; by his weeping when the people are laughing; and by his silence when the people chatter.”
(8) Imam Abu’l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi:
“Knowledge and action are twins whose mother is high motivation.”
(al-Yawaqit al-Jawziyyah, p. 95)
Hasan al Basri -Allah have mercy on him- said:
“The good of this world is knowledge and worship, and the good of the hereafter is Paradise.”
“You will not meet a believer except he is evaluating himself.”
“What is this world but a dream that a sleeper sees, he delights in it for a few moments, and then wakes up to face reality.”
“In this world the believer is like a stranger, he does not despair when it humiliates him and neither does he covet its grandeur. The people are in one state, and he is in a totally different state.”
“Stay away from the busying aspects of life, and surely, life has abundant busying aspects. Every man who indulges in an aspect of life that fills his time, then the door he opened will open ten more doors of busying aspects for him.”
“The intelligent person’s tongue is behind his heart: when he wants to speak, he first thinks. If [his words] will be in his favor, he says them, and if they will be against him, he does not speak. And the ignorant person’s heart is behind his tongue: when he merely thinks of saying something, he says it, whether it is for or against him.”
-[Abû Bakr Al-Daynûrî, Al-Mujâlasah wa Jawâhir Al-’Ilm article 2049]
•”Do not detest the misfortunes that befall you, for what you detest may be the cause of your salvation and what you like may be the cause of your ruin.”
It is reported from Al-Hasan Al-Basri – Allah have mercy on him – that he said:
“The life of this world is made up of three days: yesterday has
gone with all that was done; tomorrow, you may never reach;
but today is for you so do what you should do today.”
-[Al-Bayhaqî, Al-Zuhd Al-Kabîr p197]
•Faith is firm belief and good actions
Al-Hasan Al-Basri – Allah have mercy on him – said:
Faith (iman) is not by embellishment or wishful thinking, but it is what settles in the heart and is verified through your works. Whoever says good but does not do good will have his words compared to his deeds by Allah. Whoever says good and does good will have his words raised by his deeds.
This is because Allah ‘azza wa jalla said:
To Him ascends the good word, and the righteous deed
raises it. [Sûrah Fâtir: 10]
•”Those who were before you used to often consider the nearness of death. One of them would often take water for purity, fulfill the call of nature and perform ablution, fearing that Allaah’s Command (death) might come to him while he is not in a state of purity.”
~ Az-Zuhd, by ‘Abdullaah bin Al-Mubarak, p99