Fast With Your Heart – Lesson Eleven

Foodie Lesson 11 –  Special Ramadhan Series –  ‘Fast with your heart’

In the name of Allah the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

My apologies for the lack of lessons the past week.

Today I want to talk about shukr. Shukr has many meanings; gratitude, loyalty, thankfulness, devotion etc.

For a lot of us the past few days have been tough. The emotions, the sorrow, the fear for our brothers and sisters in Palestine. You might have found yourself putting yourself in the shoes of the Palestinians and it makes our hearts ache at the oppression they have to endure?

It is only through the mercy of Allah that we have not been chosen to be tested like the people of Palestine or Syria or Bosnia. And this makes me grateful.

We often think shukr is to be found in saying alhamdullillah or thanking Allah with our tongue. But action is also required from us to show our gratitude. When someone does us a huge favour, do we simply say thank you and move on? In return we buy gifts and go out of our way to do something for them. This is a show of good character and MashaAllah a brilliant good deed.

However do we extend the same etiquette when it comes to Allah, The Provider and The Protector? We fulfill our Islamic obligations alhamdullillah but do we go out of our way for Allah? That extra mile for the one who never stops doing us favours.

To show someone we love them we commit actions solely for them. And so the key to shukr is devotion to Allah.

Ibn Qayyim says there are two types of people who do shukr:

#1 Shaakir –  The one who is thankful for what is in front of him/her and for all the blessings that come their way, like food, freedom, shelter, health, family and most beautiful of all, our faith – to be Muslim is such a blessing. Allah has guided us when so many are misguided.

#2 Shukoor – This is the one who is thankful when a difficulty comes their way. But how is it possible to be thankful in a bad situation? It’s about looking beyond that one bad thing to see that everything else is okay. If we lose our job or break a leg… Alhamdullillah for good health otherwise. If we miscarry a child or lose a loved one… Alhamdullillah we have the rest of our family. It’s not easy. It’s heart-breaking at times. But turning to Allah is the only means of psychological consolation for us. No swearing or ranting or blaming on others will heal us.

The Prophet SAW said “How wonderful is the affair of the believer? If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him”. (Muslim)

The good that comes out of calamities is not always seen. When a mother gives a nasty tasting medicine to her child she does it because she loves him and knows it’ll make him better. Allah knows the needs of our heart and so we should be thankful for His medicine, no matter how bitter it may be, it is there to make us better.

So what steps do we take to be grateful to Allah:

#1 Look down and not up. Look at those who are less fortunate and don’t have as many blessings as you have in your life. It will not only push us to be grateful but it will make us happier. Sometimes we do find ourselves looking up. We think about how someone has more luxuries than us. However luxuries are not a reality. They won’t have something that isn’t necessarily materialistic but you have it in your life such as a kind family. We have to know what to be thankful of before we can be thankful so look around you and find the countless blessings.

#2 The extra mile. The Prophet SAW was once asked by his beloved wife Aisha RA in regards to his swollen feet with blisters. This was due to the lengthy prayer of the Prophet SAW in the night. “O Prophet of Allah, why do you undergo so much hardship despite the fact that Allah has pardoned for you your earlier and later sins?” He SAW replied “Shall I not prove myself to be a thankful servant? “(Muslim). We learn from this that we have to try harder to perform optional prayers, give more Sadaqah and recite & learn the Quraan more. Even if we took ten minutes out of our day to think of one blessing Allah has gifted us with today and pray a few ayaats. This is shukr. Remember no action is too small and no deed goes unrewarded.

#3 Be thankful to others. Islam is not a inclusive religion where religion is to be practiced by oneself to better oneself. Good Muslim are good to others. When is the last time we thanked others? Does it take a major favour for us to say the words thank you? We should try to express our gratitude to others through words of thankfulness and actions of loyalty. Thank your neighbours for always being extra quiet so not to disturb your newborn. Thank your child for being  good during iftaar time. Thank your father or husband for giving you a place to live and working hard for you. Thank your brother or sister for not being as annoying today or for just being there when you need them. A thank you, a gift or a card or simply a flower from the back garden can make someone day. Never forget to thank someone if they’re a non Muslim also; kindness towards them is not only essential for faith but can draw them towards the beauty Islam.

Allah says in Surah Az-zumar “Allah will give reward to the thankful.”

We can’t afford to be ungrateful when there is so much to be grateful for. Alhamdullillah!!  😆:)

May Allah SWT give us the understanding of shukr and make us of those who are alway grateful to him; shaakir and shukoor. Allah shower your mercy on our brothers and sisters suffering around the world and grant them freedom from oppression. Ameen

🌼 Happy 15th Ramadhan 🌼

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