الحَمْدُ للهِ، الحَمْدُ للهِ دائِمِ الفَضْلِ والإِحسان، الذي يستحِقُّ أن يُشكَرَ في القلبِ والجوارحِ وعلى اللِّسان، وأن يُحْمَدَ في وَقتِ الفَرَحِ وفي وقتِ الِامتِحان، نَحْمَدُهُ تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، مَنْ يَهْدِ اللهُ فلا مضل له، ومَنْ يُضلِلْ فَلاَ هَادِيَ لَهُ، ونَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ، له الملك وله الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشْهَدُ أَنَّ سَيِّدَنَا ومولانا مُحَمَّداً عَبْدُه وَرَسُولُهُ، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدّى الأمانة ونصح الأمّة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحقّ، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعَلَى آلِهِ وأَصْحابِهِ ومَنْ تَبِعَهم بإِحْسانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّيْنِ. أَمَّا بَعْدُ، فَيَا عِبَادَ اللهِ اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون، يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا، يُصْلِحْ لَكُم أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا، يا أيها المسلمون اتقوا الله فيما أوصى وأمر، وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر
Last week, we talked about the quality of ṣabr, a quality that is absolutely essential for the mumin. In a well-known hadith, narrated by Ibn Mas‘ūd, the Prophet said,
الصبر نصف الإيمان
“Ṣabr is one half of belief.” But if ṣabr is one half, what is the other half? What completes it? What makes iman whole? The answer is found in another similar hadith, narrated by Anas ibn Malik. The Messenger of Allah said,
الإِيمان نصفان فنصف في الصبر، ونصف في الشكر
“Iman is two halves, one half lying in ṣabr and the other half in shukr.” Shukr is the sister quality of ṣabr – the two are and should be inseparable. Indeed our Lord often pairs them together in His Book, referring to the believer as the ṣabbārun shakūr. For example, He says in Surat Ibrahim and in other places,
إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآَيَاتٍ لِكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ شَكُورٍ
the translation of which is, “Surely in that there are signs for every ṣabbārun shakūr.” Why are they paired together? Because it is only with a combination of these qualities that we can get through life and not be distracted by its ups and downs from the worship of our Lord. For ṣabr is the quality that allows the mumin to get through the tough times and benefit from them, and shukr is the quality that enables him to get through the good times and benefit from them. The Messenger of Allah said,
عَجَبًا لِأَمْرِ الْمُؤْمِنِ إِنَّ أَمْرَهُ كُلَّهُ خَيْرٌ وَلَيْسَ ذَاكَ لِأَحَدٍ إِلَّا لِلْمُؤْمِنِ إِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ سَرَّاءُ شَكَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ ضَرَّاءُ صَبَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ
“The state of the believer is truly an amazing one, for there is good in everything that happens to him, and that is true of no one but the believer. When something joyous befalls him, he is thankful, – thereby making it good for him; and when something distressing befalls him, he endures it with sabr, – thereby making it good for him.” This does not mean that shukr (or ṣabr) is a quality that is taken out and dusted off on certain occasions and then put back into storage until it is needed again. Neither one of these qualities should ever be absent from the heart – that is the implication of the the morphological form chosen by our Lord to describe the people of belief – ṣabbār and shakūr. There is never a moment when we do not have cause to be grateful nor any moment when we do not have to be wary and careful – there are just moments when one of these qualities outweighs the other. These two qualities are our constant companions and are what enable us to pass the tests that are thrown at us by this world, the abode of testing.
Shukr is the healthy response to ni‘am, to blessing. And if we were to honestly look at ourselves and the world around us, we would see that we are the recipients of extraordinary blessings in every single moment of our existence. From the very fact that we are alive, to the senses with which we have been endowed. From the beauty of the world around us, and the way it seems to serve us and service our every need, to the acuity of our minds and intellects. Non-stop blessing from a generous Lord. Allah says,
اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَأَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَكُمْ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ الْفُلْكَ لِتَجْرِيَ فِي الْبَحْرِ بِأَمْرِهِ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ الْأَنْهَارَ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ دَائِبَيْنِ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ وَآَتَاكُمْ مِنْ كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا
the translation of which is, “Allah is He who created the heavens and the earth and sends down water from the sky and by it brings forth fruits as provision for you. He has made the ships subservient to you to run upon the sea by His command, and He has made the rivers subservient to you, and He has made the sun and moon subservient to you holding steady to their courses, and He has made the night and day subservient to you. He has given you everything you have asked Him for. If you tried to number Allah’s blessings, you could never count them.”
He watches over us in every moment and sees to our constant welfare. What must we do in return? What huge fee must we pay? Nothing, except to acknowledge His generosity and show our thanks. Allah says,
وَاللَّهُ أَخْرَجَكُمْ مِنْ بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
the translation of which is, “Allah brought you out of your mothers’ wombs knowing nothing at all, and gave you hearing, sight and hearts so that perhaps you would show thanks.” One of the reasons we are here is to show thanks, for that is an inevitable consequence to knowing our Lord. And to know our Lord is the reason we were created. Allah says,
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالاِنسَ إِلاَّ لِيَعْبُدُونِ
the translation of which is, “I did not create jinn and men except to worship Me.” To know Me. Allah does not require this of us because He has any need of our knowledge or our thanks, nor because He wants to impose any hardship upon us. No, Allah is Rich, beyond need. Allah only wants the best for His slaves and He knows our fitra and what is required to keep us healthy and fulfilled, even when we have forgotten and do not know it ourselves. Allah says,
وَمَنْ شَكَرَ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ رَبِّي غَنِيٌّ كَرِيمٌ
the translation of which is, “Whoever gives thanks only does so to his own gain. Whoever is ungrateful, my Lord is Rich Beyond Need, Generous.” But that thanks is beyond the majority of mankind. Most are oblivious and ungrateful and think that whatever they get in life is due to them and their own efforts. “It was my own knowledge and expertise, my own skill and talents, my own strength and intelligence, that got me where I am today.” That is the delusion that most of mankind have fallen in to, failing to see their Lord’s hand in everything they have, failing to see His inexhaustible bounty. Allah says,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَشْكُرُونَ
the translation of which is, “Allah shows favour to all mankind but most of them are not thankful.” We are not like most of mankind, however, for we are the recipients of an even greater blessing from our Lord. We have been made part of the Umma of the Messenger of Allah, and granted access to the most recent of teachings, the last message sent down to mankind. We have been granted the blessing of Islam, a blessing that in itself is more than enough to warrant a constant state of thankfulness. We know where we come from and we know the source of every one of our blessings. And we know that everything that comes from our Lord is a blessing, no matter how great an affliction it may initially appear. We are confident that our Lord, whose compassion and mercy for us is more than any mother’s for her child, only has our best interests at heart and so we are thankful. We know that when we are ill, it is He who heals us, when we are hungry, it is He who feeds us and when we die, it is He who raises us up. So we say “alḥamdulillāh ‘alā kulli ḥāl”, “Praise belongs to Allah in every state.” We are content and satisfied with the Decree of Allah. That is the secret for getting the most out of this life, and the secret for getting the best stations in the Next. The Prophet said,
أوَّلُ ما يُدعَى إلى الجنَّةِ الذين يحمَدون اللهَ عزّ وجلّ في السَّرَّاءِ والضَّرَّاء
“The first ones to be invited into the Garden will be those who praise Allah in both times of joy and times of hardship.” We are thankful to Allah for the ṣabr that enables us to get the best out of times of hardship and the shukr that enables us to get the best out of times of joy. For even shukr is a great blessing for which we must be thankful. It is narrated that Dawud said,
يا ربِّ كيف أشكُرُك وشُكرِي نِعمةٌ عليَّ مِن عندِك تستَوْجِبُ بِها شُكرا؟
“My Lord, how can I be grateful to you, when my gratitude is itself a blessing from you that I must thank you for?” Allah replied,
الآنَ شَكَرتَنِي يَا دَاوُود
“Now, you have truly thanked Me, Dawud.” We ask Allah to give us a shukr like that of Dawud and make shukr and ṣabr our constant companions. We ask Him to place us amongst the ranks of the shakirin.
أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم
الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين كما ينبغي لجلالِ وجهِهِ وعظيمِ سُلطانِه، أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين. أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته
Now that we understand the degree to which Allah has blessed us and the gratitude that is due to Him, how do we go about showing our thanks? How do we demonstrate our gratitude/ our shukr? There are three levels at which we can show it, the tongue, the heart and the limbs.
Shukr of the tongue is expressed in two ways: the first way is by speaking about the blessings your Lord has given you. Allah says:
وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ
the translation of which is, “And as for the blessing of your Lord, speak out!” And the Prophet said,
التَحَدُّثُ بِنِعْمَةِ اللهِ شُكر
“Speaking about the blessings of Allah is shukr.” Speaking about Islam, speaking about the life and qualities of the Messenger of Allah, speaking of the awliya, speaking about the good things your Lord has granted you, all that is shukr. And if done correctly, it is not boasting, simply joy and delight.
The second way is by ḥamd – praising Allah. The basic formula for doing this is by saying al-ḥamdu lillāh and is the way that Allah Himself taught us to praise and thank Him, opening His Book with those very Words. There is no better way of expressing your thanks to Allah with your tongue, and simply by saying it, you bring further blessings upon yourself. The Prophet said,
ما أَنعمَ اللهُ عَلى عَبدٍ مِن نعمةٍ صغُرَتْ أَو كبُرتْ فقال الحمدُ لِلهِ إِلا كَان قد أُعطِيَ أفضلَ مِمَّا أَخَذَ
“There is no slave who says alḥamdulillāh upon receiving a blessing from Allah, large or small, except that Allah grants that slave another blessing better than the one he received.”
The second level of shukr, shukr of the heart is acknowledging in your heart that every blessing that comes your way is from Allah and from Allah alone, and knowing for certain that that is the case. It is narrated that Musa asked Allah, “How was Adam able to thank You for the incredible blessings You bestowed upon him, for You created him with Your own hands, blew the ruh into him directly, made the angels bow down to him and taught him the names of everything.” Allah replied,
علِمَ أنّ ذلك منّي، فكَانت معرفتُهُ بِذلك شُكرا
“He knew that those things were from Me. And the fact that he knew that was his shukr.” This knowledge of which we speak is a conscious awareness and implies a perfect tawhid – an awareness that Allah is One and that He is the only Actor – an awareness that nothing comes to pass except through His Power.
However, a word of warning. The fact that the ultimate source of every blessing we receive is Allah does not mean that we overlook the means by which it reaches us. The Prophet said,
لا يشكُرُ اللهَ مَن لا يشكُرُ الناسَ
“The one who has not thanked people has not thanked Allah.” In other words, Allah does not accept the shukr of the slave who does not thank the means, so make sure to always thank people, whoever they may be, when they do you a good turn.
The final level, shukr of the limbs is wearying out the limbs in the worship of Allah. It is doing actions for no reason other than because your Lord loves you to do them. It is obeying Allah not because you have to but because you need to. This aspect is best expressed by the famous hadith of ‘A’isha, in which she narrated that the Messenger of Allah used to stand in prayer during the night for so long that his feet would become swollen, so one night she asked him why he used to do that when Allah had already forgiven him everything he had ever done and everything he would ever do. He replied,
أفلا أكون عبدا شكورا
“Should I not be a grateful slave?” That is shukr. Indeed, every aspect of the life of the Messenger of Allah was shukr. And emulating his sunna and putting it into practice in all its aspects is one of the best ways to demonstrate our gratitude to our Lord. We ask Allah to give us the capacity to bring that sunna back to life and appreciate the tremendous blessing that it represents. We ask Allak to grant us tongues which are always wet with His praise and thanks, hearts which are always filled with gratitude and contentment, and limbs which move only out of obedience to Him. We ask Allah to enable us to see His hand in everything and grant us the shukr of the awliya and salihin.
إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَ لَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.
رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.
إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.